The Ultimate Guide to Reciprocating Saws, How They Work, and What They’re Good For

Also called Sawzall, a reciprocating saw is one of the most versatile tools every craftman should have in his toolbox.

It is a handheld power tool that uses a toothed blade, either as a disc or an oscillating arm, to make cuts.

Reciprocating saw also oscillating saw comprises all the saws that cut with bark and forth motion. They include:

  • Jigsaw
  • Sabre saw
  • Scroll saw
  • Rotatory reciprocating saw
  • Powered reciprocating tools used in surgery and dental surgery.

Reciprocating saws are ideal for cutting any material such as concretes, metals, woods, and other materials.

They fall into two categories: Corded and cordless (battery operated). A corded Sawzall requires electricity to work while cordless works with a battery.

Components of an Oscillating Saw

reciprocating saw or sawzall

A sawzall comprises many parts such as

The blade: The blade of an oscillating saw is so powerful that it can perform many tasks. Depending on the material and length of the blade, its use can vary.

For example, bi-metal and high carbon blades can serve in wood, and in the cutting of bolts, pipes, and rebar.

Battery: Battery is part of a cordless saw which supplies them the power to perform their task. to sawzall, and are.

Cordless reciprocating saws are common in the market, and the best ones are those with 9 to 12 volts batteries.

Motor: Motor is part of a corded sawzall, and it supplies them with energy. You can find motors of 12, 24, and 35 volts in the market.

Variable Speed Control: While most models of sawzall come with one speed, few others come with a complete speed system. Depending on the material you want to cut, you can push or release the trigger to make the blade work faster, or slower.

Shoe: The shoe serves as a guide when cutting, and also controls the level of the blade that enters the material.

Blade clamp: This helps to hold the blade in place once loaded into the saw.

Grip: Grip is where you place your second hand.

How a reciprocating saw works

Each time you turn ON your machine tool, its piston moves up and down. This piston controls the saw blade that moves back and forth in a rapid push-pull pattern.

You can use your two hands to carry the recip saw and cut any material you wish to cut. The efficiency of the blade will depend on the power of the battery or motor it uses.

Uses of Recip Saw

Sawzalls are great for performing several tasks because of their simple nature and exposed blade. Below are their uses.

Construction industries: Sawzall is a universal tool and is useful in many fields. In construction sites, they help in demolition such as removing walls and making some calculated cuts.

Plumbing and HVAC: plumbers and HVAC workers usually have a few inches of space for their work, however, using a sawzall helps them make a precise cut.

Window fitting and trimming

Homework such as tree trimming

How to use a sawzall

Using a reciprocating saw is easy, just follow these steps.

  • Mark out the place or material you want to cut with your tape measure and pencil.
  • Check your machine tool to make sure it is OFF before plugging it into an extension.
  • Wear your protective equipment and turn ON the power tool.
  • Grip the saw firmly with the non-dominant hand on the bottom front, and the dominant hand on the grip and trigger.
  • Pull the trigger to allow the saw to gain full power.
  • Place the saw on the material you want to cut and cut it following the marks.

Top 10 recip saws for DIY homeowners and professionals

We chose these top 10 saws with the users in mind and we included different sizes ranging from small models you can handle with one hand, to heavy-duty models for bigger projects.

We also focused on popular and quality brands so that you can easily replace any damaged parts

Below are the top ten power saws

Milwaukee sawzall

This is a heavy-duty portable tool that can cut through anything. It has a 4-inches blade length with 24 teeth and one lithium battery to power it.

It has a thick rubber handle for easy grip. Milwaukee Tool is very strong and reliable but it’s bulky and more expensive.

Dewalt DCS367P1 20V Compact Saw

This tool is a compact and lightweight design, suitable for making cuts in narrow spaces. The brushless motor of the saw provides up to 2.5 more run time just for quicker delivery.

The variable speed trigger allows you to deliver up to 2900 strokes per minute. Dewalt oscillating Saw is fast and efficient, it has a keyless 4-position blade clamp for quick and easy change of blade and cutting versatility.

It also comes with a LED light for illumination when working in dark areas.

Black+Decker 20V Max Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kit

Black+Decker reciprocating saw is a versatile tool for both your DIY and professional projects. Though it is the cheapest among the power saws, it comes with a powerful 3000 SPM motor, variable speed trigger, and electric brake to enhance control.

Dewalt Xtreme 12V Power Saw

This is a lightweight cordless saw suitable for homeowners and those working in tight corners. It comes with an 8-inch blade and a 3.0Ah battery.

Dewalt Xtreme has a brushless motor that delivers up to 2800 SPM for fast and efficient cutting. It also comes with a LED light, variable speed trigger for added control, two blades, a charger, and a tool bag.

Milwaukee M18 Hackzall Kit

Milwaukee Sawzall has a unique design that is both lightweight and durable. It is a one-hand control tool with a built-in LED light for visibility when working in dark places.
The tool has a powerful blade that can cut through metal, plastic, and wood. It also comes with a 5.0Ah lithium battery that lasts long per charge.
With these features combined into one tool, this 18-volt cordless reciprocating saw is the best choice for those hard to reach places.

BOSCH 12-Volt Max Pocket Reciprocating Saw

Bosch PS60-102 Reciprocating Saw Kit is a perfect tool for most DIY jobs. The saw is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for working in tight corners.
This portable saw includes an ergonomic grip designed to maximize control and reduce vibration. Plus a powerful motor that delivers excellent performance in tough jobs.

The tool also comes with a LED light to illuminate dark workplaces and a battery gauge to show capacity level. The only cons to using this tool are that it is not powerful enough for intense woodwork.

Milwaukee 6538-21 Corded Saw

Milwaukee 6538-21 sawzall is a 120 volts corded electric tool with a 15.0 amp motor. The saw comes with a constant power technology that maintains its speed and cutting performance, making it ideal to cut anything. It has a stroke length of 1-1/4 inches and a weight of 9.8 lb.
The reciprocating saw has a variable speed dial that allows you to adjust it from 0 to 2800 strokes per minute. The 15.0 amp motor offers the industry’s highest overload protection.
This corded saw is made in the United States and comes with a 5 year warranty.

Makita RJ03R1 Oscillating Saw

Makita RJ03R1 is a 12V max cordless saw that comes with a variable speed motor that delivers 0-3,300 strokes per minute and an efficient 1/2″ stroke length for faster cuts.

The tool is lightweight, easy to use, and also comes with two 4.0Ah lithium batteries for more work time.

Safety tips to observe when working with Sawzall

  • Always wear your personal protective equipment such as goggles and ear plugs before starting your machine tool.
  • Make sure you unplug the saw any time you want to change the blade or accessories
  • Don’t touch the saw blade immediately you finished working with it, it may burn your hand.
  • Always be careful when cutting near finished walls and floors, so you don’t cut through wires or pipes.

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