Table of Contents
- View The Best Reciprocating Saw Below
- 1. Makita JR3050T Recipro Saw
- 2. DEWALT 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw
- 3. Skil 9206-02 Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw
- 4. SKILSAW SPT44A-00 Reciprocating Saw
- 5. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw
- 6. BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw
- 7. Bosch Pocket Reciprocating Saw Kit
- 8. WORX WX550L AXIS 2-in-1 Reciprocating Saw
- 9. Ryobi P514 Cordless One+ Reciprocating Saw
- 10. TACKLIFE MAX Reciprocating Saw
- Reciprocating Saw Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to cutting through thick branches, metal or PVC pipe, drywall, and more, reciprocating saws are the top pick for the tool to get it done with speed. A reciprocating saw may not deliver the cleanest cut. However, they are still excellent saws to use for rough cuts, demolition, and landscaping jobs too substantial for loppers but where a chainsaw is not needed.
With new features such as orbital action, variable speed triggers, and tech to negate vibrations, reciprocating saws are some of the best overall tools to have on hand to tackle typical jobs requiring a saw.
Reciprocating saws are available in a wide variety of designs, offering a plethora of features. We have researched top models available in 2020 to bring you a list of the ten best overall performing designs to narrow your search.
View The Best Reciprocating Saw Below
1. Makita JR3050T Recipro Saw
If you want a flexible and easy to use a corded reciprocating saw, this is a model that should be toward the top of your list for ones to research. It has a powerful 11-AMP motor and a variable speed trigger mechanism capable of reaching up to 2,800 strokes per minute with a long 1-1/8 inch stroke length.
It boasts an internal dust blower to keep your line of sight clear of sawdust, tool-less blade changes and shoe adjustment for speed and ease of use, and a soft-grip handle for comfort and improved control.
+ Tool-less blade change
+ Tool-less shoe adjustment
+ 1-1/8 inch stroke length
+ Variable speeds
+ Includes case
Why We Like It – Easy to use, powerful, and versatile, the Makita JR3050T Recipro Saw is one of the best overall corded reciprocating saw models available. It has the power and options to be appropriate for a wide range of jobs.
2. DEWALT 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw
The DEWALT MAX XR Reciprocating Saw is a model those who want the maneuverability of a cordless model that is light and compact while still powerful enough to get the job done. It is capable of up to 20 volts of power with a variable speed trigger with a maximum speed of 2,900 strokes per minute and a long 1-1/8 inch stroke length.
It is compatible with a range of different battery designs, allowing you to find a balance between weight and amp-hours, and an LED light makes for improved visibility. Additionally, the reciprocating saw is backed by a 3-year limited warranty.
+ Keyless blade clamp
+ Variable speed trigger
+ Compatible with multiple battery types and designs
+ LED light for improved visibility
+ 3 year limited warranty
Why We Like It – This is the best reciprocating saw for those who want a lightweight and compact cordless model without sacrificing power.
3. Skil 9206-02 Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw
This is the reciprocating saw for those who need a high-quality tool on a budget. The 7.5 amp motor may have less raw power than other models, but it is still strong enough to tackle most jobs. The housing is metal for superior durability and heat dissipation, and it has a counterbalance system to control vibration. This improves control and helps you keep working for longer without fatiguing than you would be able without vibration control.
Blade changes do not require tools for quick and straightforward change-outs, and a pivoting foot improves stability when cutting through challenging materials.
+ Tool-less blade clamp
+ Metal housing for increased durability
+ Vibration control built-in
+ Pivoting foot for added stability
Why We Like It – High utility at an affordable price makes the Skil 9206-02 7.5-AMP Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw one of the best models for those who need a good power tool on a budget.
4. SKILSAW SPT44A-00 Reciprocating Saw
Handheld power saws have one major drawback. The vibrations caused by the motors and movement of the blades can make them confusing and tiring to use and control. SKILSAW has developed vibration suppression technology to combat this problem with up to 35% more vibration reduction than other systems. This means you can have the power of a 13 AMP Motor and 1-1/8 inch stroke length without sacrificing precision or increasing fatigue.
The saw also has a variable speed trigger for seamless control no matter what materials you are cutting, and a one-year limited warranty backs the reciprocating saw.
+ 13 AMP Motor
+ Variable speed trigger
+ Vibration suppression
+ 1 year limited warranty
Why We Like It – If you want to make sure you have a reciprocating saw with plenty of power, this heavy-duty saw is one of the best to fit the bill without jarring your arms into jelly.
5. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw
This is another model to consider for those looking for smaller reciprocating saws. Cordless but still powerful, the PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw belongs to the 20V Max System, known for being cordless power tools with high-performance. The blade release requires no tools, making replacing fast and easy.
It has a one-inch stroke length and variable speed trigger for flexible control throughout each job. The trigger has a maximum speed of 3000 strokes per minute and a minimum of zero for a near-instantaneous stop when needed. Plus, with a length of just 14.5″ inches, it can fit just about anywhere.
+ Tool-free blade clamp release
+ Variable speed trigger
+ Compact design allows work in small spaces
+ High-performance cordless power tool
Why We Like It – The PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw is an example of small but mighty. It may be small, but with speeds of up to 3000 strokes per minute, it can handle most jobs.
6. BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw
Longer stroke length makes for faster work, but sometimes control and precision is more important than speed. This reciprocating saw has the power of a 20V Lithium-Ion battery powering the up to 3000 strokes per minute possible with its variable speed trigger control. Yet the shorter 7/8 inch stroke length, pivoting shoe, and firm handle grip improve the precision of the tool.
A tool-free means of changing the blade means it is fast, simple, and easy to change out saw blades without holding up work. Plus, the saw is covered by a 2-year limited warranty for peace of mind.
+ Tool-free blade change
+ Variable speed trigger
+ High-performance cordless power tool
+ Backed by a 2-year limited warranty
Why We Like It – The BLACK + DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw is one of the best reciprocating saws for those who want the control of a shorter stroke length without skimping on power.
7. Bosch Pocket Reciprocating Saw Kit
There are times you need a compact and flexible design to handle cuts in cramped, hard to reach places. Bosch designed this cordless reciprocating saw with a uniquely shaped, lightweight, and small design covered in a soft, easy-grip material so that it could be held firmly in multiple ways and positions. While small, it is also mighty, capable of tackling difficult materials such as conduit and a cutting speed up to 3000 strokes per minute.
Multiple protection systems keep you safe as you work and coordinate to improve the saw’s durability. An LED light improves visibility.
+ Compact design for working in tight spaces
+ Soft grip body for multiple options to hold the saw
+ Powered by a Lithium-Ion battery
+ Built with numerous protections for high durability
Why We Like It – The Bosch 12-Volt Max Pocket Reciprocating Saw is a cordless reciprocating saw ideal for those who need a compact power tool for working in tight spaces.
8. WORX WX550L AXIS 2-in-1 Reciprocating Saw
For those with limited space for tool storage or a tight tool budget, flexibility can be a significant concern, especially with power tools. The WORX WX550L 20V AXIS 2-in-1 Reciprocating Saw’s pivoting head and additional features give it the versatility of a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw in one compact design. It is lightweight and highly maneuverable while retaining the power needed to cut through a range of materials.
A built-in dust blower clears debris and sawdust from your line of sight to keep you on track while working. The capability of orbital cutting adds more power when needed, and it is compatible with any standard t-shank or reciprocating saw blades.
+ Compact design for working in tight spaces
+ Pivoting head changes blade position
+ Compatible with multiple blades
+ Orbital cutting ability
Why We Like It – If you want a cordless reciprocating saw with a great deal of flexibility, this should be in the list of saws you consider.
9. Ryobi P514 Cordless One+ Reciprocating Saw
Ryobi’s P514 18V Cordless One+ Reciprocating Saw might not offer as many bells and whistles as other reciprocating saws, but it a solid option with all the necessary functionality to see a job through to the end. Blade changes are quick and easy, and it even comes with two replacement blades to save you even more time.
The handle is covered in a non-slip rubber grip and built to reduce vibration to improve accuracy and handling. Variable speed controls are available with a top cutting speed up to 3,100 strokes per minute, and it works with a range of Ryobi batteries.
+ Change the blade without tools
+ Anti-vibration handle
+ Compatible with multiple battery types
+ Comes with two extra blades
Why We Like It – This is an all-around cordless reciprocating saw for those who want the convenience of a tool-less blade clamp, compatibility with several batteries, and one of the best cutting speeds available.
10. TACKLIFE MAX Reciprocating Saw
Not every DIYer is blessed with grace. TACKLIFE understands this, so they built in a double switch safety feature for those of us for whom random muscle spasms can cause nasty accidents when dealing with power tools. Additionally, it has a clamping jaw to grip onto the material being cut for added stability and precision. It offers a variable speed trigger with a top cutting speed of 2,500 strokes per minute, so while compact and safety-focused, it still packs plenty of utility.
The fast charge feature, allowing for a full charge in an hour, adds additional convenience.
+ Change the blade without tools
+ Double switch safety feature
+ Battery fully charges in one hour
+ Battery indicator prevents surprise stops
Why We Like It – This is a lightweight, single-handed design made with DIYers like the author in mind, whose hands can sometimes surprise them. A double switch safety feature prevents accidents from random finger twitches or spasms.
Reciprocating Saw Buyer’s Guide
What is the best brand of reciprocating saw?
This is a difficult question to answer. There is a reason so many different brands of reciprocating saws are represented in the list above, and it is not because we were trying to avoid showing favoritism. Most of the larger brands offer excellent reciprocating saw models, and which one someone will find the best will depend upon their unique needs.
That being said, some brands to outperform others for specific factors, and this can help narrow down where to look.
When it comes to blade variety and availability of sets providing several different blades, with each blade specialized to handle a particular type of cutting or material better, DEWALT tends to score high. Makita, Skil, and BLACK + DECKER all three do well when testing focuses upon functionality balanced against price point. WORX saws perform well when the testing rubric focuses on flexibility and how multifunctional the tool is overall.
Yet, as you can see from the list above, most brands have excellent options no matter which features you find most important, and the differences between one brand or model and another are relatively subtle. Therefore, unless you have a brand you prefer over others or one brand of replacement blade that is easier for you to find, we recommend focusing on features and cutting strength over brand when researching different reciprocating saws.
Which cordless reciprocating saw is the best?
As with most other questions of this sort, the answer depends on the uses planned for the power tool. A reciprocating saw, cordless or not, should be considered based upon a few different factors for a “fit” tailored to your needs. While the best model for one person might entail high power, variable speeds, and maximum stroke length, a recip saw with these features may be too much for another’s needs.
Since they cannot pull power directly from the power grid, the most significant difference between looking at cordless reciprocating saws versus corded reciprocating saws is the amount of power they can produce and utilize. The thicker and tougher the materials you plan to cut, the more power you will need to have available. Likewise, the larger the projects you have planned, the longer battery life you will need to get the job done promptly.
Whether or not the batteries available for the model you choose are rechargeable, how long they take to recharge fully, and whether or not they are interchangeable are also things you want to make sure to check when researching cordless models. Those with large, lengthy projects in mind will benefit from one with long-lasting batteries that can be changed out easily and recharged in a short time. Still, these factors will not be as important for one who will only use their reciprocating saw for shorter projects.
Additionally, the size and weight the battery adds to the recip saw can impact the usefulness of the tool. A larger, heavier batter might not matter much if you only ever use the saw for a few minutes here and there for small jobs; however, a lightweight battery can make longer jobs much easier to manage.
Some cordless reciprocating saws offer a range of different battery sizes and types for which they are compatible. These models tend to have four to six different batteries to choose from, meaning you can find a balance between overall strength, size, weight, charging time, and work hours. A few models even allow for the use of older battery models as well. These make it possible to take advantage of the compact size and low weight for its total energy availability you get with Lithium-Ion batteries or use an older Nickel-Cadmium battery you already have on hand without a problem.
Are cordless reciprocating saws any good?
While it is true that a corded reciprocating saw will be stronger and able to pull more energy at any given moment than cordless saws, that is not to say the battery-operated models are poor ones. If this where the case, we would not have included so many cordless models in our list of top reciprocating saws.
Yes, cordless models are limited by the capabilities of the batteries they use, but there are many other factors to consider when choosing a cutting tool. Overall, the majority of these saws perform as well or better than another corded reciprocating saw for most tasks. Their durability is comparable. They offer excellent blade quality, simple and fast blade changes, and a replacement blade is easy to find. Many have equal or better top strokes per minute than other models with stroke lengths that match up, giving them comparable speed and capability of cutting through tough material.
In fact, a number of the better compact reciprocating saws happen to be cordless, so some may prefer them if they have small hands or tend to work in small, cramped spaces.
What should I look for in a reciprocating saw?
A reciprocating saw is a tool meant for times where raw power is needed over precision and finesse. Reciprocating saws are brought in for demolition or making rough cuts through tough material. So, strength, power, control, and ease of maintenance are key factors to keep in mind when looking for the best reciprocating saw to fit your needs.
To start, let’s look at the blades. Any tool used for cutting will eventually have blades in need of sharpening or replacement. That’s just a fact of physics, so it is best to consider it well before it becomes an issue. That a durable blade is preferable goes without saying, but even the best will wear out eventually, especially if you are cutting through rigid, dense materials regularly. Therefore, the easier a particular reciprocating saw makes blade replacement, the better.
Some reciprocating saws allow for blade changes without the need for tools, while others require at least one or two tools to change out your blades. Blade changes not requiring tools are much faster than those requiring the use of tools, and they negate the need to retrieve additional tools. This makes this option preferable because it reduces the time needed to get the job done.
Similarly, reciprocating saw models with readily available replacement blades will give you a better experience overall. After all, what good is a fast and easy tool-less blade change if you must search for days to find a new blade?
As with most other power tools, you can find both corded and cordless reciprocating saw models. Cordless saws give you greater flexibility since there is no cord to worry about or limit your movement. Still, the addition of the large battery required can often make them heavier than their corded counterparts. Corded reciprocating saws tend to have greater power available for cutting, but the length of the cord limits your movement. The batteries for cordless models are almost always rechargeable, but recharging them takes time. This can be a limiting factor for the amount of work you can do in a day that does not exist with corded models.
There are two different types of cords commonly available for corded models: plastic and rubber. Rubber cords have a couple of advantages over those made of plastic. They are less stiff and more flexible, making them easier to work around while having the least effect on your mobility. This also reduces the chances of your cord getting in the way of the blade, making them safer overall.
Cordless models have a similar outlook when it comes to the batteries they can accept. Most power tool batteries are either Lithium-Ion or Nickel-Cadmium. Nickel-Cadmium batteries are the old “tried and true” models. They are less energy-dense in their charge release, making them ideal for long-life batteries for devices with low power requirements.
Lithium-Ion batteries are much more energy-dense. This makes it possible for them to be smaller and lighter than Nickel-Cadmium batteries while increasing their energy output while still maintaining a good charge life. Given the energy requirements for a reciprocating saw, models capable of utilizing a Lithium-Ion battery for power are usually preferred.
What type of housing would be the best for your reciprocating saw? Both plastic and metal housings are available. Plastic is the lighter and less expensive option, but metal housing has higher durability and is more capable of distributing the heat of operation and friction on the blade. This means you can keep working for longer without the saw overheating, and your saw will be more likely to hold up for a long time.
Consider stroke length as well. A short-stroke length works better when you need to make a plunge cut without drilling a starting hole. Longer stroke lengths cut faster, though with a bit less control. Although they are usually on the more expensive end of the spectrum, there are reciprocating saws with adjustable stroke length for increased versatility.
Next, we need to look at different features available in reciprocating saws today.
The best reciprocating saws will offer variable speed settings. This gives you the freedom to speed or slow the blade’s movement as needed to suit the material you are cutting. Harder materials require slower speeds than softer ones for controlled cuts without damage to your saw or blade.
Models with an adjustable shoe, or a guard constructed of metal positioned around the blade, allow for several different types of cuts to be made with the saw. Plus, they help stabilize the saw to give you better control and improve the safety of use.
If your top pick has to have the maximum strength possible, you will want to look for a reciprocating saw with an option for orbital action. What does this mean? A reciprocating saw’s blade moves typically forward and back. When orbital motion is engaged, the blade also moves from one side to the other. This increases the overall cutting power of the blade, allowing it to cut through materials it otherwise would not have the ability to tackle.
A reciprocating saw with auto-stop brushes is safer than those without. These act like brakes for the saw blade, halting all motion the moment power to the saw is cut instead of allowing it to slow to a stop. This helps prevent accidents and injuries, and it also protects your saw’s motor from damage caused by the blade still moving through the material without the motor engaged.
Both comfort grips and vibration reduction make for better control and comfort of use when you need to make a lot of cuts for a particular job. Not only does a cushioned grip feel better after a while when using a saw, but it also gives you a better grip on the saw and thus more control. Likewise, the more vibration is absorbed and reduced, the less it will affect both your cuts and your hands.
Then there are specialized options that may appeal to a few. Take the Milwaukee 6519-31 corded reciprocating saw for an example. It matches up reasonably well with the other tools on our list for most cutting jobs. What sets the Milwaukee 6519-31 apart from different saws is the ability to clamp the blade upside down to work in situations where the usual cutting methods will not work.
When researching different reciprocating saws, there are a few various factors to keep in mind to find the model best suited to your needs. One of the first things to consider is whether you would prefer a corded reciprocating saw or one of the cordless saws available.
Corded reciprocating saw models tend to have more strength available at any given time, but the cord also limits your maneuverability. After that, you need to consider how easy it will be to replace your recip saw blade and whether or not it offers tool-less blade change.
Next, saws vary based on stroke length and the number of strokes per minute (SPM) they can manage. A long 1-1/8 inch stroke length makes for faster cutting while shorter stroke lengths have better precision. The more SPM, the faster you can cut, but some materials do require slower speeds, so variable speed control is another ability to keep in mind.