If you’re looking to seriously enhance your cutting ability, a reciprocating saw is well worth adding to your power tool inventory. However, picking the best reciprocating saw for your requirement can be a daunting prospect if you’re unfamiliar with the saw category or new to the world of DIY in general. To help you make a more informed decision, we’ve put together a handy buying guide that highlights some of the most important spec to keep in mind.
Reciprocating Saws Explained
Before we delve too deeply, let’s take some time to explore what a reciprocating saw is and the kind of jobs it can be used for. Also known as sabre saws, reciprocating saws are handheld tools that are often put to use in heavy-duty situations requiring demolition applications. The best reciprocating saws can be used in lieu of crowbars and hammers to make rough cuts and pull away materials around door arches and window frames. They can also be used to cut through stubborn joists and rip through plasterboard with relative ease. Such saws are a must for those looking to replace old doors and windows, amongst other tasks, with the removal of existing materials arguably the most time-consuming aspect of the overall project.
Reciprocating saws are powered by a motor that moves the cutting blade in forwards and backwards motions. As such, they operate in a similar manner to jigsaws, with the blade fitting component of a reciprocating saw much the same as the type found with jigsaw models. When picking out a reciprocating saw, a key feature to look out for is an LED work light. This is particularly useful for those likely to work in darker environments, but such a light will illuminate target areas for greater efficiency in general.
How to Handle a Reciprocating Saw
Handling is perhaps the key difference between reciprocating saws and other power cutting tools in your inventory. Unlike other tools, a reciprocating saw doesn’t feature a flat base. The benefit of this is that it can be used to work in very awkward areas with ease. The types of job that call for such a tool will often involve very tight angles and awkward cuts, so this a definite strength. Furthermore, recip saws tend to feature an adjustable foot. This foot can be moved down and up in relation to the blade you’ve fitted to the saw. With the help of this adjustment, you can enjoy much greater levels of control over the cuts you’re making to material. Any quality model will also feature a sturdy grip, usually made from rubber, to ensure the saw stays firm in your hand while you carry out cutting actions. This rubberised grip not only allows you to work more safely and securely, it also dramatically reduces vibration when working.
Cordless vs. Corded
As with many types of power tool and saw, the question of whether to go for a cordless model need to be considered. There’s no firm rule on this, with the answer ultimately being determined your individual requirements. If you anticipate the need for continuous use over long periods of time, you are almost certainly best advised to go for a corded saw model. Corded varieties of reciprocating saw generally have more efficient motors that deliver more powerful cutting action, allowing you to carry out the task in hand without having to wait to recharge or swap out replacement batteries. Additionally, corded saw models often allow you to use longer blades. This is a must for those who intend to make bigger cuts with their reciprocating saw. The downside of corded varieties of this type of saw is that you’re usually dealt less user-friendly handling and poorer ergonomics.
You should perhaps consider cordless reciprocating saws if you anticipate more challenging work environments and cutting situations. If you require the freedom to move around scaffolding, for example, a cordless model is the way to go. What’s more, if you don’t think you’ll have ready access to mains power, a cordless model is almost certainly the best choice of saw for you. That being said, you’ll want to ensure that efficiency is as good as it can be. Therefore, opt for cordless reciprocating saws that utilise powerful lithium-ion batteries that can be quickly recharged and carry a lot of operational performance after a single charge.
Should You Invest in a Reciprocating Saw?
If you’re a DIY enthusiast looking to up their game, forking out for a reciprocating saw is well worth considering. Even a moderate home renovation project can be made far more straightforward with the use of one of these power tool heroes. Heavy-duty in nature and easy to handle, it will make quick work of all manner of materials, from door frames to plasterboard. Even more specific cutting jobs can be handled by a quality reciprocating saw, provided you’ve invested in the additional blades befitting of the task. For example, you can carry out more careful pipework with such a saw model if you’ve properly combined the base saw with the correct blades.
The more proficient DIY enthusiast will definitely want to add to their tool inventory with a reciprocating saw. Handled correctly and paired with the right blades, demolition jobs and renovation applications can be carried out incredibly quickly with such a tool. Furthermore, professionals will almost certainly want to have a reciprocating tool in their repertoire as a standard. If you think you fall into one of the two latter camps, you’ll definitely want to consider looking at the more premium end of the market, with quality corded saws and top-tier cordless models worth investigating further.
Hopefully by now you’ll have plenty to think about when picking a reciprocating saw to add to your tool line-up. To help make life even easier, we’ve put together a line-up of some of the best reciprocating saw models currently available. We’ve scoured the market to bring you a top selection of must-have sabre saws from the most reliable brands in the business, with options to accommodate all budgets.
Check out our post on the best Mitre Saws
TACKLIFE Reciprocating Saw, 850W 2800SPM Sabre Saw with Rotary Handle(90° Left & Right), LED Light, Variable Speed, 2 Saw Blades (Wood 6T and Metal 14T), Carrying Box – RPRS01A
First and foremost, this reciprocating saw from TACKLIFE is an incredibly affordable option, with plenty of premium spec to make quick work of heavy-duty demolition jobs and renovation work. The powerful 850W motor ensures impressive levels of performance and power, making quick work of cutting jobs, no matter whether you’re sawing through wood or metal. This powerful motor is particularly efficient, with speeds of up to 2800 strokes per minute achievable. What’s more, you can look forward to even easier cuts with stroke lengths of 28mm.
This is also a very user-friendly model. The rotatable hand shank means the saw can be rotated to three different positions to accommodate all manner of individual situations, ideal for awkward cutting jobs. What’s more, you can make swift and simple adjustments for different cutting lengths and angles, allowing you to work at speed without the need to stop and take stock. Efficiency is further enhanced by the quick-change clamp that lets you swap out the blade without the use of a separate tool. You’ll also be glad of the inbuilt LED light that enhances your view in darker working conditions. This is an incredibly easy to handle reciprocating saw thanks to its ergonomic design and more compact profile. The soft grip handle ensures comfort during long cutting sessions, while also minimising vibrations as you go. Affordable, ergonomic and efficient.
The Makita DJR186Z is a powerful choice of reciprocating saw for those seeking high cutting speeds and efficient operation. With this affordable saw model, you can look forward to speeds of up 2,800 strokes per minute, while a maximum stroke length of 32mm gives it the edge over the previous choice in our list. More neat features of this saw include the crank mechanism which drastically reduces blade deflection and minimises overall vibration during operation.
More standout features of this saw include the tool-less blade change feature, making it a good choice for those who value simplicity. There’s also a large variable speed trigger as standard to add to the user-friendliness of this design. Ergonomics are further enhanced by the elastomer construction of this model, with the saw a comfortable fit in the hands of most users. With its compact design and sleeker profile, this is an ideal choice for more awkward jobs like overhead cutting or when you need to hold the device upside down. You can also look forward to handy safety features like the lock off lever and electronic brake. Designed with heavy-duty use in mind, this saw also boasts eXtreme Protection Technology to withstand harsh elements and exposure to dust and water.
Enjoy premium performance without breaking the bank with this Scorpion Saw. This versatile take on the reciprocating saw is just the ticket for cutting various types of material, including metal, wood and robust plastics. It’s a little smaller than other models on the list, with a stroke length of 10mm, but it should adequately handle everyday cutting jobs. Building on the versatility of this model, the cutting mode can be quickly switched between straight line and curved cuts. What’s more, there’s variable speed control, with up to 5,500 strokes per minute possible. With the smaller stroke length and an ergonomic, more compact build, this saw is ideal for those looking to carry out accurate cuts in safety.
A very affordable option, this reciprocating saw is limited somewhat by its corded design and shorter stroke length, but it more than makes up for it with its user-friendly nature. For the average DIY enthusiast or those seeking something to carry out less heavy-duty jobs, it’s well worth a second look.
There’s bags of brilliant features on offer with this reciprocating saw from Lomvum. A powerful 850V motor delivers efficient performance, with speeds of up to 2,800 strokes per minute achievable. As such, you can expect powerful cutting performance as standard here. This model is also incredibly easy to handle and adjust, with a rotatable design that allows you to operate in three distinct positions. If you expect to be working in all manner of environments where awkward angles are common, it’s more than fit for the task at hand.
A user-friendly design with simple adjustments, this reciprocating saw is bound to become a firm favourite and a standout of your power tool line-up. Included in this great value package is the main body of the saw itself, along with a 3 inch blade for cutting wood. You’ll also find a 1 inch blade for cutting metal as well. A highly affordable option that doesn’t skimp on top-tier features and functionality.
Ryobi excels again with this RRS1801M Reciprocating Saw. This robust saw boasts powerful 18V performance and the freedom of a quality cordless design. There’s some very impressive cutting speed spec on offer here too, with up to 3,100 strokes per minute achievable. What’s more, stroke lengths of 22mm enable you to make quick and efficient cuts in woods at depths of up to 180mm. This is a very user-friendly model to consider if you’re thinking about investing in a reciprocating saw, with a tool-less blade change feature and anti-vibration technology as standard. What’s more, there’s an adjustable shoe to ensure your blades can be utilised for as long as possible. Another top feature of this saw is that it falls under the ONE+ line-up, meaning you can use the rechargeable battery to power over a hundred other power tools from the Ryobi range.