If you’ve ever struggled through a piece of PVC with a blunt hacksaw, you’ll love the idea of reciprocating saws. Whilst just an electric saw on the surface, the true beauty of reciprocating saws is their versatility. There are several important features to look out for when buying a reciprocating saw. Here are a few tips on what makes the best reciprocating saw of 2018 and a few reviews to help you in buying one of your own.
Whilst there is a large selection of reciprocating saws on the market, the biggest choice you’ll need to make is whether to opt for cordless or corded. This choice really comes down to the nature of your cutting work - whether you’re going to be based primarily out of a single workspace or whether you’ll need to move around a lot.
Make sure that the reciprocating saw you’re looking at comes with a quick blade change adaptor. Cheaper options can come with a hex wrench clamp, which wastes time whilst on the job and can get extremely frustrating, which will, in turn, minimize the use you’ll get out of your saw.
For help changing the blades of your reciprocating saw, check out this useful video:
Regardless of whether you’ve gone for cordless or corded, the power of the machine you purchase is something to be considered. Most corded machines range in power from 4 to 16 amps, whilst standard voltages range between 18, 24 and 36V. The higher the number, the stronger the tool.
If you’re using the machine primarily for DIY or smaller jobs, you may opt for a smaller battery or corded motor, as these machines are usually lighter and less strenuous over extended use. However, if you’re cutting through cars or other large pieces of metal, you will need to ensure that your machine is sufficiently powered.
Some saws will offer a feature known as orbital cutting action - where the blade rocks back and forth during cutting. This can lead to faster cutting, although the rocking action can be annoying given you’re likely to be holding the saw.
Here’s an awesome video of how a reciprocating saw can help you shape and fit a window:
An important feature of the best reciprocating saws is the strokes per minute statistic. The higher this number, the faster the machine cuts (with most good saws averaging 2700 strokes per minute). However, make sure this is combined with a variable speed trigger; otherwise, you’ll have little control of your saw.
Most reciprocating saws come standard with a good selection of blades for tackling a variety of cutting tasks. However, if you know that you’ll be using your reciprocating saw for a specific purpose or specific purposes, it may be a good idea to buy one or more specialized blades for the job.
Demolition blades are wider and thicker (and therefore less likely to distort during use) and are good for cutting through construction lumber. If you’re looking for a more multipurpose blade, aim somewhere in the ten teeth per inch range or higher. Longer blades will allow you to cut flush against the surface, which is important for tasks like fitting windows.
If you know that you’ll be cutting a lot of metal, ensure that your blade is hardened, to prevent bending that comes with metal work. Use a relatively coarse blade (somewhere around the 18 teeth per inch mark) if you’re cutting through thicker metal and a blade with more teeth (somewhere around the 24 teeth per inch mark) when cutting thin metal and tubing.
To increase the life of your metal specific blades, always rub a bar lubricant onto the blades before use. Diamond grit blades are best for cutting iron. Carbide tipped blades are best when cutting aluminum and carbide grit blades are best when cutting fiberglass or a vitreous clay product.
The DeWalt DCS387B is a fantastic and versatile reciprocating saw. It has a compact and lightweight design allowing for skillful maneuvering in tight spaces. The ergonomic design allows for accuracy and precision as well as fatigue-free use, although the heavy vibrations mean that gloves are recommended.
The DeWalt DCS387B can be operated one-handed, amazing considering the power supplied by the 460 Watt motor. The built-in LED light is a nice touch and adds a lot to the accuracy of your cutting. Offers fantastic build quality, surpassingly forgiving performance and flexibility through its lightweight and excellent variable speed trigger. Very competitively priced, given the quality of the build quality and extensiveness of the warranty.
The Bosch RS7 comes with one of the best power to weight ratios in its class. The 11 amp motor (this is a corded saw) packs a serious punch, and will happily deal with the majority of your cutting needs. Despite this increased power, the Bosch RS7 comes with 10 blades and a variable speed trigger, allowing the versatile machine to be used in a variety of ways.
Whilst not the cheapest model on the market, the high-quality Bosch craftsmanship, versatility and impressive power make this machine a bargain for pros and novices alike, although the power can take some getting used to at first. The Bosch RS7 is fitted with a keyless blade change system, allowing for blade changing on the fly. However, the mechanism has been known to lock up and this is something to bear in mind when buying this machine.
The Makita JR3070CTZ comes with a 15AMP motor (another corded model) and is one of the strongest motors for a reciprocating saw thaw we have reviewed. The saw comes standard with AVT, Makita’s revolutionary counterbalance initiative, which dramatically reduces the vibrations synonymous with reciprocating saws and thereby improving cutting accuracy.
The large two trigger with lock button makes cutting a breeze, allowing for maximum control even if you’re new to reciprocating saws. The Makita also comes standard with tool-less blade change technology and five position shoe adjustment, features that are a must for making adjustments and completing projects in one efficient go.
The ingenious design of the body shape funnels dirt and debris away from the tool’s motor, improving its life expectancy. The tool comes standard with Makita’s one year warranty and 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee.
At 6 AMP, 2800 RPM, the lightweight motor of the Tacklife RSK710 increases the mobility and dexterity of this saw. Powerful enough to handle daily work with aplomb, the lighter weight means that you do not need to worry about intense vibrations or hand fatigue through extended use.
The quick blade changing mechanism works well, whilst the variable speed trigger increases control. A nice feature is the speed lock on the trigger, which allows you the freedom to adjust your grip position during use, further reducing the potential for fatigue. The little motor works hard and, as such, is subject to a lot of noise, particularly at higher RPM and also kicks up a lot of wind/debris. Always use in conjunction with face protection.
The Black and Decker BDCR20B is a lightweight cordless reciprocating saw, offering great control and flexibility when cutting in hard to reach places. It comes with all the features you should have come to expect like tool-free blade changing, a pivoting shoe, a variable speed trigger and powerful 20V battery.
The runtime, in particular, of the Black and Decker is impressive and delivers as much as 30% greater output when compared to other similar batteries. The lightweight of the Black and Decker makes it extremely easy to handle and is a great introduction to the world of reciprocating saws, with less fatigue and maximum comfort.
The Black and Decker is a bare tool, with battery and charger not included, which must be noted off the bat. The light build does not offer much of a buffer to the vibrations, which can be a bit frustrating. Always use with protective gloves.
Whilst all of the reviewed saws have their uses, the clear winner of the Best Reciprocating Saw of 2018 Roundup has to be the DeWalt DCS387B Reciprocating Saw. It managed to marry the most uses together in a clean, neat, well put-together package. Whilst all of our products incorporated a tool-less blade change system, the DeWalt’s felt the most secure and held up best to repeated changes.
The power you get from the motor is seriously impressive considering it's a cordless model, which holds up well per charge allowing several hours of cutting before needing to change the battery. The variable speed trigger and pivoting shoe allow for increased control when in use whilst the compact body size enables maneuverability in inconvenient cutting locations.
Whilst best suited to someone who needs to take their saw on the road with them, the performance of the DeWalt is that impressive that its worth the purchase even for at home DIY experts, purely for the added convenience.