Reciprocating saws are one of the most versatile tools you can pack into your toolbox. The best sawzall can chop through wood, metal, cables, trees, drywall, and more. Almost all sawzalls come with a heavy duty saw blade to cut through the toughest material. Most importantly, these super tools are made for dirty jobs where precision isn’t as important as perseverance.
Want to find the best reciprocating saws? Here’s how we’ll help:
- We’ll show you the top things to look for in a reciprocating saw
- Check out our comparison of corded reciprocating saws vs cordless reciprocating saws
- Pick the best reciprocating saw and buy it today with a convenient link
Is this affiliate content? yes. But it’s not mindless. Our craftsman over at Artisan Born and the hunters over at Hunting Locator test out tough equipment all the time. Our reviews come from real-world experience, not a keyboard warrior in the Philippines.
Here’s a quick video to help you get the most out of your saw.
Ready to discover the best reciprocating saws? Let’s get into it.
Table of contents
- Understanding the Power of the Reciprocating Saw
- Best Corded Reciprocating Saws
- Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws
- Best Sawzall Buying Considerations
- Additional Best Sawzall Tips and Tricks
Understanding the Power of the Reciprocating Saw
First, let’s get the name right. A “sawzall” is actually a Milwaukee product that everyone else knows as a reciprocating saw. Milwaukee’s marketing was so good their tool name became the generic name for the best sawzall available then.
Now, let’s tackle how one of these beasts works. A sabre saw (yet another name for one of these!) has a reciprocating saw blade coming out of the end of a powerful motor unit. It reciprocates, which means the blade moves back and forth really fast thanks to the motor in the handle.
Most saws come with a variable speed trigger to help you get started cleanly and then power through your cut. Standard reciprocating saw blades are made for heavy duty cutting because many people use them for rough work, like demolition work or framing.
Key things to consider
Like all power tools, reciprocating saws come with tradeoffs. A cordless reciprocating saw is undoubtedly more convenient than a corded reciprocating saw, but may not be as powerful or last as long. So, here’s what you want to look out for when choosing your next tool:
- Get enough power. Don’t buy a weaker saw if you know you’re going to be working on tough materials, such as old hardwoods or metal.
- Choose battery or cord. Cordless reciprocating saws are easy to use and haul around. But they are going to be heavier because of their battery and the battery will die, usually halfway through a cut. Corded reciprocating saws have more power but you’ll need to move your cord.
- Buy a brushless motor if possible. Brushless motors have more speed control and are more energy efficient, but they cost more. If your budget stretches to a brushless motor, then buy it.
- Plan for blade changes. Most reciprocating saws now feature a tool-free blade change. But be sure to check it out. You don’t want to waste half an hour a day changing blades or looking for your Allen keys.
Apart from these points, there’s not much else to consider. We’ll show you the best sawzall you could haul onto your job site. We’ll tell you why they are the best. Then it’s up to you to choose the next power tool to add to your arsenal.
Best Corded Reciprocating Saws
Corded saws have more available power and they won’t ever run out of battery. This makes them great for heavy duty cutting and constant use. But the cord might be inconvenient in tight spaces. Here are our top picks for the best corded reciprocating saw on the market.
The Milwaukee 6519-31 Sawzall reciprocating saw is a robust tool designed for heavy-duty tasks, ideal for the collaborative environments of workshops and field work. Powered by a 12 Amp motor, it delivers exceptional performance with 0-3,000 strokes per minute. This Sawzall offers a 1-1/8-inch stroke length, enhancing its cutting speed and efficiency. Key features like the QUICK LOCK technology allow for tool-free and swift blade changes, essential in fast-paced team settings. The saw’s vibration reduction mechanism, thanks to an internal counterweight, provides greater comfort and accuracy, a significant benefit when precision is crucial. The gear protecting clutch is an added advantage, extending the motor and gear life by absorbing high-impact forces, making it ideal for rugged use.
Pros and Cons
- High-powered 12 Amp motor ensures efficient cutting through various materials.
- QUICK LOCK technology for fast and tool-less blade changes, enhancing team efficiency.
- Vibration reduction mechanism provides comfortable and accurate use for extended periods.
- The corded nature may limit mobility compared to cordless models.
- Heavier weight (7.1 pounds) might be a consideration for prolonged use.
In a team setting, the Milwaukee 6519-31 Sawzall has demonstrated its worth as a powerful and reliable tool. Its high-impact performance was particularly appreciated when dealing with tougher materials, a common requirement in our workshop. The ease of changing blades without tools significantly enhanced our workflow, allowing for quick adaptations to different tasks. For our team, this was the best sawzall we could use.
The Milwaukee 6519-31 Sawzall Reciprocating Saw is an excellent choice for teams looking for a durable, powerful, and user-friendly saw. Its high-powered motor, convenient blade change system, and reduced vibration make it suitable for various professional applications. While its weight and corded design may be considerations, its overall performance and durability make it a valuable asset for both workshop teams and field professionals who require a reliable and efficient reciprocating saw.
The Skil 9206-02 is a durable and versatile reciprocating saw, suitable for both workshop and field use. Its 7.5-Amp motor delivers reliable power, and the variable speed control provides flexibility for various cutting requirements. This saw features a tool-less blade change for easy blade swaps, enhancing productivity. The heavy-duty metal gear housing adds ruggedness and durability, ideal for demanding projects. A counterbalance mechanism controls vibration, making it more comfortable and precise to use, while the pivoting foot offers additional stability when cutting tough materials.
Pros and Cons
- Ample power from a 7.5 Amp motor suitable for a variety of tasks.
- Easy and quick blade changes without tools improve efficiency in group settings.
- Counterbalance for vibration control, making it comfortable for extended use.
- Limited to corded use, which may restrict mobility in some situations.
- Might be a bit heavy for continuous one-handed use.
In our diverse team environment, the Skil 9206-02 has proven to be a valuable asset. Its power and variable speed made it adaptable for various materials and applications, from woodwork to metal. The tool-less blade change was a highlight, significantly reducing downtime between tasks. The vibration control was effective, allowing for more precise cuts, which is particularly beneficial when accuracy is essential. The saw’s weight was manageable, though it required a bit of adjustment during prolonged use, especially for our team members who are less accustomed to heavier tools. It’s not the best sawzall, but it’s close.
For teams in workshops or outdoor environments like hunting and outfitting, the Skil 9206-02 Reciprocating Saw offers a blend of efficiency, durability, and user-friendliness. Its strong motor, ease of use, and vibration control make it suitable for a wide range of applications. While its corded nature and weight are factors to consider, its overall performance and value for money make it a practical choice for teams looking for a reliable and effective reciprocating saw.
The Ingersoll Rand 429G is a high-quality air saw, perfect for individuals needing precision in their cutting tasks. With a powerful performance of 10,000 Strokes Per Minute (SPM) and a 3/8″ stroke length, it excels in cutting intricate shapes and light radius curves in various materials like plastics, fiberglass, and metals. The saw’s ergonomic grip reduces vibration and increases comfort, making it ideal for extended use in projects like body shop repair, muffler and exhaust work, and sunroof installations. Its compact size, at only 1.8 pounds and 9.1 inches in length, makes it easy to handle and maneuver in tight spaces. Additionally, the front exhaust design keeps the work area clean, and the enhanced blade guard provides added safety.
Pros and Cons
- High-speed cutting capability (10,000 SPM) for efficient work.
- Ergonomic design with reduced vibration for comfortable handling.
- Lightweight and compact, offering great maneuverability for intricate tasks.
- Limited to use with an air compressor, restricting mobility without a portable air source.
- Specialized for light materials, might not be ideal for heavy-duty cutting.
In my own use, the Ingersoll Rand 429G has proven to be an excellent tool for detailed and precise cutting work. Its ergonomic design significantly reduced hand fatigue, which was particularly beneficial for projects requiring a steady hand and high accuracy. The compact saw has high speed that made quick work of materials like sheet metal and plastics, and its compact size allowed for easy handling in confined spaces. The need for an air compressor was not a significant issue for my setup, but it is a consideration for those without access to a stationary air source.
For individuals requiring a compact, high-speed reciprocating air saw, the Ingersoll Rand 429G is an outstanding choice. It offers precision and ease of use, making it ideal for detailed cutting tasks in a variety of materials. While it necessitates access to an air compressor, its performance, comfort, and design make it a valuable tool for tasks requiring finesse and accuracy.
Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws
Battery powered saws are super common on construction sites and demolition work sites. They are used for cutting through nail embedded wood and trimming lumber and metal down to size for rough work. Their portability is what makes them so useful on job sites in the field. The best sawzall is the one you’ve got in your hand when you need it.
The DEWALT 20V MAX XR Compact Reciprocating Saw (DCS367P1) is an exceptional tool for individuals needing both power and portability in their cutting tasks. This cordless reciprocating saw is powered by a 5.0-Amp Hour battery, ensuring long-lasting performance for various projects. Its compact design, with a length of 14.5 inches, makes it ideal for working in tight spaces. Weighing only 5 pounds, it is both lightweight and easy to handle. The saw features a keyless 4-Position Blade Clamp for quick and versatile cutting blade changes, a 1-1/8-inch stroke length for efficient cutting, and a variable speed trigger capable of delivering up to 2,900 strokes per minute. Additionally, the bright LED work light enhances visibility in dark work areas.
Pros and Cons
- Compact and lightweight design for easy maneuverability.
- Powerful performance with variable speed up to 2,900 SPM.
- Keyless blade clamp for quick blade changes enhances convenience.
- Battery life may vary based on the intensity of use.
- Blade and charger are separate purchases, which may add to the overall cost.
I’ve found the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Compact Reciprocating Saw to be a reliable and handy tool for various home and outdoor projects. Its lightweight and compact nature made it exceptionally easy to use, even in confined spaces. The variable speed trigger provided great control for different materials, ensuring precise and efficient cuts. The LED light was a useful addition in dimly lit environments. While keeping an extra battery on hand was helpful for longer tasks, the overall battery performance was satisfactory for most of my needs.
For individuals looking for a versatile, portable, and efficient reciprocating saw, the DEWALT 20V MAX XR Compact Reciprocating Saw is a superb choice. Its design and features make it ideal for a wide range of applications, from DIY home projects to more demanding tasks. The ease of use, combined with DEWALT’s reliable performance, makes it a valuable tool for anyone needing a compact yet powerful reciprocating saw.
The PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B) is an efficient and convenient tool for a variety of cutting tasks. It’s designed with a high-performance drivetrain that delivers up to 3,000 SPM, making it capable of handling aggressive cutting jobs. The compact 14.5-inch length allows for easy operation in tight spaces, a feature particularly useful for DIY enthusiasts working in various environments. The saw’s tool-free blade release allows for quick and easy blade changes, enhancing its versatility. The variable speed trigger provides control for cutting through different materials, and the pivoting shoe helps maintain constant contact with the material for smoother cuts. The saw’s ergonomic handle and light weight of 3.75 pounds make it comfortable for prolonged use, and being part of the 20V MAX* SYSTEM, it offers cordless convenience.
Pros and Cons
- High SPM for efficient cutting.
- Compact and lightweight design for easy handling.
- Tool-free blade release for quick blade changes.
- Variable speed trigger for control over different materials.
- Battery and charger sold separately, which may add to the overall cost.
- Limited to the power and longevity of the battery.
In my use, the PORTER-CABLE Reciprocating Saw stood out for its ease of handling and effective cutting capability. The compact size was particularly beneficial when working in confined spaces or at awkward angles. The quick blade change system was a time-saver, allowing me to switch between tasks effortlessly. Although I had to purchase the battery separately, the tool’s performance made it a worthwhile investment for my home projects. The light weight reduced fatigue, making it suitable for prolonged use without discomfort.
The PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX* Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B) is a great choice for DIY enthusiasts and homeowners looking for a versatile, easy-to-use, and efficient cutting tool. Its compact design, combined with powerful performance and user-friendly features, makes it a practical tool for a wide range of cutting tasks. While considering the additional purchase of a battery and charger, its overall functionality and convenience make it a valuable addition to any tool collection.
The Craftsman V20 Battery & Charger Starter Kit, paired with the cordless reciprocating saw (CMCS300B), offers a practical solution for various cutting tasks around the home. The kit includes two 20V max 2Ah Lithium batteries that provide extended runtime for demanding applications. The charger recharges the battery in 60 minutes or less, ensuring minimal downtime. The reciprocating saw itself is part of the V20 cordless system and features a high-performance motor with a 1-inch stroke length for quick cutting. Its compact size of 14.5 inches allows for easy access in tight spaces, and the tool-free blade release facilitates quick blade changes. The variable speed trigger offers added control for cutting different materials, and the pivoting shoe helps maintain constant contact for smoother cuts. The saw’s contoured, overmolded handle ensures comfort during use.
Pros and Cons
- Efficient battery life with quick recharge time.
- Compact and lightweight saw design for easy maneuverability.
- Tool-free blade release for convenient blade changes.
- Variable speed trigger for versatile cutting.
- Battery and saw sold separately, adding to the overall cost.
- Battery life may vary depending on the intensity of use.
In my experience, the Craftsman V20 Battery & Charger Starter Kit with the reciprocating saw is a great combination for home improvement projects. The saw’s performance was impressive, handling various materials with ease. The battery life was sufficient for most tasks, and the quick charging feature was very convenient. The compact size of the saw made it easy to work in tight spaces, and the comfortable grip reduced fatigue during prolonged use.
The Craftsman V20 Battery & Charger Starter Kit with Reciprocating Saw is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a reliable and versatile cutting tool. Its efficient battery system and the saw’s performance make it suitable for a wide range of applications. While the separate purchase of the battery and saw should be considered, the overall quality and convenience offered by this combination make it a worthwhile investment for home DIY projects.
Best Sawzall Buying Considerations
When choosing the best reciprocating saw, consider the following factors:
- Price vs. Quality: Balance cost with quality. Higher-priced models often offer more power or durability, suitable for professionals, while more affordable options can meet the needs of occasional users.
- Brand Reputation: Established brands like Milwaukee, DEWALT, and Craftsman have a reputation for reliability and customer service, which can be crucial for long-term use.
- Intended Use: Assess the typical tasks you’ll undertake. Opt for a saw with a higher amp motor if you need a lot of cutting power. For light to medium tasks, a less powerful but more maneuverable model is preferable.
Avoid impulse buys and always check for compatibility of blades and batteries (for cordless models) with your intended tasks.
Additional Best Sawzall Tips and Tricks
Reciprocating saws are pretty simple in mechanical terms. They are an impressive tool and the elliptical motion makes cutting through a variety of materials really simple. Based on our use, here are two simple things you want to remember:
- Maintenance: Regularly check blades for wear and replace them as needed. Keep the saw clean and store it in a dry place. It sounds simple, but these are tough tools that do tough work. People take them for granted and fail in regular maintenance. This leads to premature tool failure and breakage.
- Common Mistakes: Avoid using a saw that is too powerful for delicate tasks, as it can lead to loss of control. Similarly, don’t use a less powerful saw for heavy-duty work, as it can overheat. Check your speed settings because metal cutting is best done with a slower speed. Also, turn off the circular motion for cutting through metal. it will simply dull the serrated blade with improving your cutting speeds.
Reciprocating saws are pretty simple to use, but don’t overlook these easy tips to get the best results from them.
What should you not do with a reciprocating saw?
There are a lot of things to say here. But here are the top five things to avoid when using most reciprocating saws:
- Leaving the orbital action on when cutting metal.
- Only using one saw blade instead of changing for the material.
- Fail to do simple maintenance and care.
- Take the tool for granted because of its simplicity.
- Work in an unstable or dangerous environment.
These powerful tools are so useful, but failing to do simple maintenance and safety checks can get you in trouble fast.
What is best use for reciprocating saw?
Cutting wood, tree pruning, metal cutting, and more. Other saws are more specialized, but a reciprocating saw is good for many tasks. Probably the only thing you shouldn’t try to do is much fine, detailed work. A skilled craftsman can use one for almost anything, but other saws are better for complex joinery or detail work.
Are reciprocating saws any good?
Yes! They are a great addition to a demolition crew, auto body shop, plumbing truck, or any other work environment where versatility is key. If you know their uses and limitations, they can be a great time saver.
Which is better jigsaw or reciprocating saw?
These two aren’t better or worse. A reciprocating saw is used for rough cutting different materials and is not used too often for fine, detailed work. A jigsaw is used to cut wood and metal, and especially curves. It provides more control than a sawzall, but isn’t used for quite so many tasks.