Reciprocating saw is a broad term that can be used to refer to any number of saws, but which is generally used to refer to a two-handed cutting saw. Reciprocating saws are a general cutting saw that is good for a wide variety of applications.
Their back and forth cutting motion makes them perfect for cutting through wooden planks, branches, and other wooden fixtures. With the right blade and saw combo, you can also use them to cut through things like piping, plastic, and metal sheets.
Because of this versatility, we firmly believe that everyone, whether they be a professional or an amateur, should have a reciprocating saw in their tool shed or garage. But, given this tool’s usefulness and popularity, there are a lot of them out there.
Naturally, this leads to the question of “what is the best reciprocating saw.”
In this article, we are going to answer that question for you by reviewing some of the best saws that we could find. We will review them and let you make the decision. However, if you want to know what our opinion is, we would recommend that you go for the DeWalt DWE305 Reciprocating Saw.
A Spotlight On Some of The Best Reciprocating Saw 2020:
Best Reciprocating Saw Reviews:
Black+Decker BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw
To properly kick off our search for the best reciprocating saw, we figured that we should start with a relatively safe choice. In particular, we are going to be looking at a saw from Black+Decker, which is a tool brand that we are sure every single one of you has heard of before.
They are up there with brands like DeWalt, Milwuakee, and Bosch in terms of brand reputation and knowledge. It just wouldn’t be a proper list of the best power tools if we didn’t at least mention this brand once.
For this particular review, we are going to be taking a look at the Black+Decker BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw. There are tons of reciprocating saws out there from this brand, but we feel that this one has all the great qualities that we looked for when deciding what saws should be featured on the list.
Before even talking about the saw itself, we have to talk about the brand. If you are an experienced handyman, contractor, or anything like that, then you are probably familiar with this brand. Black+Decker tools tend to be pretty similar and have the same sort of profile.
As a general rule of thumb, tools from Black+Decker are usually pretty affordable, reliable (in the sense that you always know what you are going to be getting when you use them), and very easy to use. At the same time, they also aren’t world class in any sense.
We will tell you right off the bat that if you are looking for the absolute best reciprocating saw on the market today, then the Black+Decker BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw is not the option for you. It is good, but it isn’t the most high-end reciprocating saw. However, if you just want a reliable tool and you don’t feel like blowing your entire budget on a single power tool, then this might be your own personal choice for best reciprocating saw.
Alright, let’s discuss the tool itself. The Black+Decker is equipped with a 20-volt battery, which gives it a decent power output. Is it the most powerful reciprocating saw around? No, but if you equip it with the right blade and unless you are trying to cut through some extremely tough material, then you probably aren’t going to have too many complaints with regards to the power of the tool. If you want an accurate measure of this saw’s power, it can deliver a maximum power output of around 3,000 SPM (strokers per minute). Again, this isn’t the highest you can find, but it is respectable.
The Black+Decker BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw is equipped with a lot of other really good features that we should note. For example, it has a variable speed trigger that lets you easily get the blade going at just the right speed for whatever it is that you are trying to cut. It also comes equipped with a highly adjustable shoe to let you further adjust how much control you have over the saw blade.
Finally, while it may not be a major feature, we personally appreciate the presence of a tool-free blade changing system. We find that with reciprocating saws, you often need to change the blade when working on a large job as different situations require completely different kinds of blades. Having to completely stop your work and pull out a separate tool just to change the blade can be frustrating. With the Black+Decker (and many other reciprocating saws) you don’t have to do that. You can just stop the saw and pull the blade out.
- Tool-free blade changing system.
- Decent power output.
- Highly adjustable foot for greater accuracy.
- Cost effective.
- Comes with battery and charger.
- Lack of a cord makes it a very maneuverable tool.
- Saws from this brand usually aren’t going to last for too long.
- Those in the market for a really high-end saw will be disappointed.
Milwaukee 6509-31 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit
In the previous review on this list, we mentioned that Milwaukee is a fairly well-known and well-respected tool brand. Given that fact, you probably were expecting to see at least one reciprocating saw from them show up on our list.
While it wasn’t an easy decision to narrow it down, we do think that of all the various options from Milwaukee, the Milwaukee 6509-31 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit is the best one overall. This is a heavy-duty reciprocating saw that is well-equipped to tackle a wide variety of jobs, which we are sure is going to make it a favorite among contractors who may need a versatile cutting tool.
For starters, the Milwaukee 6509-31 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit is the first corded reciprocating saw on this list (for those who may not have noticed, the Black+Decker was a portable, battery-powered reciprocating saw).
So, what does that mean exactly? Well, the cord definitely reduces your mobility when using the reciprocating saw (as cords tend to do with any power tool). However, because corded tools can draw their power directly from an outlet, they tend to be fairly powerful when compared to their battery-powered brothers. This Milwaukee reciprocating saw is a fairly powerful tool. It is equipped with a 12 amp motor and it can easily cut through pretty much any kind of material if you equip it with the correct blade.
In addition to all this, the motor on the saw is capable of reaching a max power output of around 3,000 SPM. This gives the Milwaukee 6509-31 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw the ability to quickly and efficiently cut through whatever it is that you are working on.
A hallmark of Milwaukee tools is their durability. They may carry a higher price tag than some other power tools, but when you buy a tool from them, you can be confident that it is going to provide you with high-quality performance for quite a while.
That is definitely true with this reciprocating saw from them. It is exceptionally well-made, and you can feel that when you first start using the reciprocating saw. It is hefty and it can definitely survive quite a few years of very heavy use. A big part of this tool’s durability also comes from its gear protecting clutch. What this clutch does is reduce the pressure on both the gears and the motor in the event that something bad happens.
By “something bad,” we mean things like the blade catching on material or the blade locking-up suddenly. Events like this can destroy a regular reciprocating saw quite quickly, but that isn’t the case with the Milwaukee 6509-31 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw.
Something else that we noticed about the Milwaukee Reciprocating Saw that you are sure to really love is the features it has to reduce vibration in your hand when in use. Now, reciprocating saws aren’t exactly precision tools, but depending on the job that you are trying to do, you may need to have as much accuracy as possible when cutting. With some reciprocating saws, the vibrations given off by the saw can make that a bit tricky, especially for the inexperienced. The Milwaukee 6509-31 12 Amp Sawzall Reciprocating Saw is equipped with a counterweight system to prevent these annoying vibrations.
- Counterweight system reduces vibrations.
- Built to last for a long time.
- Gear protecting clutch helps to make the tool last longer.
- Fairly powerful.
- Not too expensive, but definitely on the pricier end of the spectrum.
- Shoe isn’t adjustable.
- The fact that it is corded may reduce mobility.
Makita JR3050T Reciprocating Saw
Continuing the trend from the last review of looking at really well-built tools, we are going to be reviewing the Makita JR3050T Reciprocating Saw. Makita isn’t quite on the level of DeWalt or Black+Decker when it comes to pure name recognition, but they do somewhat of a reputation.
Makita tools, in our experience, are well-built, highly adjustable, and generally a joy to use. They always quickly become a favorite of anyone who does regular work with power tools (contractors, woodworkers, etc.). In this review, we plan to cover what makes this particular offering from Makita worthy of appearing on the list.
Usually, we would start the review with the most aspect of the reciprocating saw. However, in this review, we are going to start off by talking about the weakest aspect of the saw overall, which is its power output. The Makita has an 11-amp motor that can also put out about 2,800 SPM. Now, if you read other reviews on our best reciprocating saw list, then you probably recognize that this is a bit on the underpowered side.
So, why is it on this list if it isn’t as powerful as some of these other saws? Well, while it is true that it isn’t quite as powerful as some other entries on the list, the power differential probably isn’t enough to be noticeable for most. Consider the previous reciprocating saw that we reviewed on this list. It had a 12-amp motor and a power output of 3,000 SPM. So, as you can see, the gap between the Makita and other high-end reciprocating saws.
To make up for the small power differential, the Makita has a bunch of other really helpful features that make it a great investment overall. For example, we mentioned in the very first review on our best reciprocating saw list (and we will no doubt mention it again) the importance of being able to make changes to your reciprocating saw’s foot and blade without tools.
As you might have guessed, the Makita offers both of these features. You can quickly swap out the blade or adjust the foot on the saw without having to pull out a tool to do so. This may sound minor but trust us when we say that it is a very useful feature. Nothing is worse than having to stop in the middle of a big job and pull out a tool to make a minor blade adjustment.
The Makita is also a very durable tool. Both the exterior and interior of the tool are made with strong materials. The inside has solid steel ball bearings and a high-quality motor, which should keep the tool working for a very long time. Plus, if you do need to do maintenance (what power tool doesn’t require at least some maintenance?), then the Makita JR3050T Reciprocating Saw is designed to be very easy for you to break open and to start working on.
Before ending the review, we should also mention that the Makita comes with a plastic carrying case. This isn’t a big feature, but we figured that we should mention it since it is the first carrying case on our best reciprocating saw list. The case isn’t anything special, but it is well-made and it lets you easily pack up the saw and take it with you on the road.
- Very durable.
- Made with high-quality components both inside and out.
- Can make blade and foot adjustments on the fly.
- Comes with a plastic carrying case.
- Not as powerful as some other options on this list.
- Stiff cord can be hard to work with.
DeWalt DWE305 Reciprocating Saw
We have mentioned the DeWalt brand in a few other reviews on this list, so you probably knew that at one point we were going to be reviewing a reciprocating saw from DeWalt. They are one of the most, if not the most, recognizable tool brands out there. They have a name that is synonymous with quality and reliability. This is why we had no issues whatsoever featuring the DeWalt DWE305 Reciprocating Saw on our best reciprocating saw list.
It can be hard to pick an area to start with when it comes to this saw, as it has so many positive qualities that we feel are really worth mentioning. Since we have talked about the power of reciprocating saws in so many other reviews, why don’t we start this article off by talking about that first. DeWalt tools tend to be pretty powerful.
In the case of this particular reciprocating saw, it is among the most powerful saws that we have reviewed so far. With a 12-amp motor and a close to 3,000 SPM output, it matches many of the other high-end reciprocating saws that we have looked at so far.
As with those other saws, the power of the DeWalt, when combined with the right kind of blade, lets you cut through a wide variety of material. You can cut just about anything that you can think of, including thing pieces of wood, hardwood, metal piping, hard plastic, plaster, and much more.
Of course, this saw has more going for it than just power. For example, it comes equipped with a variable speed trigger. This is a feature that has only appeared on one other reciprocating saw on this list so far, but it is a very important feature. The variable speed trigger lets you quickly and easily control the speed of the blade just by pressing the trigger. It helps to ensure more accurate cutting overall. It also has some other good features like a 4-position blade clamp.
Is it a perfect saw? No, it isn’t. However, we should say that the only major flaw that we really identified was the weight of the saw. DeWalt tools tend to be fairly heavy and this is true when it comes to the DeWalt DWE305 Reciprocating Saw.
It isn’t super heavy, but it definitely has a bit more heft than certain other reciprocating saws. The weight isn’t really an issue if you are an experienced tool handler, but it can cause issues for newcomers and for people who may be trying to use the tool from an awkward position.
- Great power output.
- 4-position blade clamp.
- Reliable and well-made.
- Comes with important variable speed trigger.
- The weight of the saw can make it a bit hard to control.
Ryobi P515 One+ Reciprocating Saw
Next up, we have arrived at the final review on our best reciprocating saw list. To end off the list, we are going to be taking a look at the Ryobi P515 One+ Reciprocating Saw. This saw has quite a few things going for it that we will mention, however, we think that the saw’s main attraction is its price. This is among the cheapest reciprocating saws on this list, so it is great for any budget.
We won’t spend too much time talking about the price of the Ryobi, we will just say that it is fairly affordable overall and that it doesn’t compromise on quality to achieve that price.
What is amazing about the Ryobi P515 One+ Reciprocating Saw is how it manages to fit in so many great features, despite not costing nearly as much as some of these other reciprocating saws. For example, in terms of power output, the Ryobi boasts a max output of 3,100 SPM. This puts it in the running for one of the most powerful saws of this kind on the market today.
In addition to being very powerful, it also has other great features that we are sure that you are going to love. For example, it comes equipped with a comfortable, anti-vibration handle that lets you use the saw comfortably and accurately for a long time. Likewise, the Ryobi comes with a variable speed trigger and a quick blade change system that doesn’t require tools.
- Pretty inexpensive.
- Handle absorbs vibration, which increases accuracy.
- Tool-free blade changing.
- A powerhouse saw.
- Power output of 3,100 SPMs.
- Needs a lot of adjustment.
Reciprocating Saw Buying Guide
In the first part of our article, we looked solely at products that we feel could be a contender for the title of best reciprocating saw. This involved us reviewing products. While we did get to talk a bit about what separates a good reciprocating saw from a bad one, we didn’t get too much of a chance to do so. We aim to rectify that issue in this second part of the article.
In this buying guide, we are going to try and give you as much information as we possibly can about reciprocating saws. We are going to tell you what they are, what jobs they are good for (there are quite a few that are worth mentioning), and how you can separate the good ones from the bad ones.
What Are Reciprocating Saws Exactly?
The answer to this question is really all in the name. Reciprocating saws are technically any saw where the blade goes back and forth to achieve a cutting motion (reciprocation).
The term reciprocating saw could be used to refer to things like jigsaws, however, it is often to refer to a specific kind of saw. A reciprocating saw will usually be a two-handed saw that is used for general cutting purposes. They are a must have tool when doing things like home construction or working on any sort of construction project.
What Jobs Are They Good For?
As we mentioned in the last section, reciprocating saws are a must-have tool on home construction sites. This should give you a good idea of the sort of jobs that they can excel at. For example, do you need to cut through old piping? Well, with the right blade, then you can’t find a better tool for that then a reciprocating saw.
Need to cut wooden framing? Again, the reciprocating saw is a great option for this. Finally, it is also good for cutting through materials like plaster, plywood, plastic, and other materials that are commonly found on house construction sites.
While it isn’t going to be the go-to tool for general cutting jobs (that is more what a circular saw or table saw is for), you can still just use them for that. If you need something cut, then grab your reciprocating saw, get the right blade, and get to work.
Corded vs Cordless
There are two kinds of reciprocating saws, as you saw from the reviews on our best reciprocating saw list. There are corded saws and there are cordless saws. One of your first questions, if you are new to these kinds of saws, is probably which kind you should go for.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you value more, power or convenience. Corded models of power tools are always more powerful than their cordless counterparts. This is true when it also comes to reciprocating saws. Corded models generally bring a lot more power to the table. At the same time, some may dislike the fact that corded models aren’t as maneuverable as cordless models. The stiff cord found on many corded reciprocating saws can be a bit annoying to work around.
So, again, it depends on what you value more. Personally, we would say to go for power (for reasons that will be explained shortly), but the decision is yours to make.
Picking Out A Good Reciprocating Saw
Alright, so now we can move to the main part of this buying guide, which is going to be looking at how you can go about picking out a good reciprocating saw on your own. We are going to focus on certain features that we feel are more important than others, and then we are going to explain why those particular features are so important.
The first thing that we want to discuss is power. If you read the reviews on our best reciprocating saw list, then you no doubt saw that we mentioned power a lot. It was usually the first thing that we talked about when reviewing the saws.
There was a reason for this. When it comes to reciprocating saws, or any cutting tool really, the number one thing that you want to look for is power. The reason why is pretty obvious. A cutting tool needs to be able to cut through a wide variety of different material quickly and efficiently. The only way to ensure that they can do that is by buying a reciprocating saw that has a high power output.
But this leads to the question of “how does one know how powerful a saw is?” There are two ways to determine the power level of the saw that you are looking at. The first way is by looking at the voltage or the amps on the reciprocating saw (cordless models use voltage and corded models use amps).
The second method is by looking at the strokes per minute of the reciprocating saw. Strokes per minute refers to the number of times that the saw goes back and forth in a single minute. While the number can vary, a good reciprocating saw will have an SPM of around 3000 (give or take a few thousand).
Something else that we said a lot on our best reciprocating saw list, was the importance of blade changing. A lot of the versatility and cutting ability of the reciprocating saw comes from the fact that you can swap out the blades very easily. Different blades are great for different jobs. Furthermore, there are certain jobs where you may find that you need different blades for different parts of the job.
Being able to change the blade on your reciprocating saw easily is crucial. That is why we put such a high value on reciprocating saws with an easy to change blade system. Quite a few of the saws on our best list had tool-free blade changing. Examples of this include the Makita JR3050T Reciprocating Saw and the Black+Decker BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw.
Comfort And Vibration
Depending on what you are doing with the reciprocating saw, you might be holding it in place for quite a while. For thick material, even a strong reciprocating saw can take a bit to cut through the material. So, ideally you will need a reciprocating saw that is comfortable to use and that you can easily hold in place.
For the first part, we would recommend looking for a reciprocating saw that has a comfortable handle. Something with a rubber handle instead of a hard plastic one would be a good idea. You also want to make sure that the reciprocating saw doesn’t vibrate too much. Experience tool users probably don’t mind vibration too much, but having a tool that creates too much vibration can be difficult for amateurs and it can make ultra-precise cutting a lot more difficult.
While we understand that our best reciprocating saw article was a very long read, we hope that you managed to get through and learned things along the way. If you still have some questions, we would recommend scrolling down and leaving a comment for us. You can leave any questions or feedback that may be wracking your brain.