15 Best Reciprocating Saws Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Reciprocating Saws

“You just can’t do without a recip, dude!” These are usually the words spoken by any DIYer worth their salt. A recip here refers to the reciprocating saw, one of the most versatile tools in your toolkit. The idea is, if you don’t have a reciprocating saw, you can’t call yourself a DIYer and you’d probably lose your DIY club card, be banished from their bar and can’t drink with the boys anymore.

To help you regain your status among the hardy DIY gang we compiled this review of the best reciprocating saws. We chose the DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw as the creme de la creme because of its 3,000 rpm for an amazing cutting speed, its versatility, 4-position blade clamp, and anti-slip grip for better handling and control. It also has an open top and an adjustable shoe for better visibility.

All in all, we reviewed 15 of the best products in the market to give you a well-rounded review and help you pick the right reciprocating saw for your DIY needs. These are

15 Best Reciprocating Saws Reviews

1. DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw

As usual we start with the very best. Our top pick is the DC385B from Dewalt. It’s the kind of reciprocating saw that just about has it all. Any feature you desire in your recip is right here in this powerful machine.

Power is the first thing that comes to mind when you talk about the DC385B. For an 18-volt battery-powered saw, it ranks high in the league of powerful recips. This is a tool that lets you cut through any obstacles that come in your way. Walls, roofs, and wood floors stand no chance against this saw.

It produces 3000 strokes a minute which makes it one of the fastest saws on this list. Getting the job done in a short time is a priority for the Dewalt. Add to that the pivoting shoe which is both designed for your comfort and to make the saw more durable. The blade clamp is keyless and allows you to change blades fast.

The handle gives you a strong grip over the saw with its anti-slip rubber. Once you clamp your hand over the saw handle it feels like part of your arm and follows your every whim.

Pros:

  • 3,000 strokes per minute.
  • Battery powered.
  • Anti-slip grip.
  • Ergonomic handle.
  • Pivoting adjustable shoe.
  • Keyless blade clamp for faster blade changing.

Cons:

  • Uses up batteries fast.
  • Trigger is not very durable.

2. Makita JR3050T Recipro Saw – 11 AMP

Not everyone likes the instability that comes with batteries. So if you prefer to have your saw plugged in, Makita got you covered. It’s an 11-amp reciprocating saw with enough power to keep you going as long as you need to. You can choose from many speed options and the blade gives you 1-1/8-inch stroke length.

The shoe and blade changes can be done on the fly without the need to fiddle with the tool or interrupt your demolition work. And since this is a corded tool, then the length of the cord is important for convenience and functionality. The Makita has an 8-foot long cord that is enough to reach the nearest power outlet.

We also liked the built-in blower. It blows off debris as you cut clearing the way for you and making it safer to cut through without interrupting your work to see what you’re cutting or how far deep in the beam you’ve gone.

Durability is one of the best features of this saw. It is designed to use all ball and needle bearings when cutting. The motor and internal parts are sealed off with a rubber boot to prevent dust and water from getting inside the saw.

Pros:

  • 11-amp motor.
  • 8-foot long cord.
  • Durable and sturdy.
  • Rubber boot to seal off motor.

Cons:

  • Light duty tool
  • Blade lock is sometimes defective.

3. Skil 9206-02 7.5-Amp Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw

Skil is a well-known name in the world of DIY. Just like Dewalt, it has a strong fanbase. But while Dewalt is known for its quality and top of the line products, Skil is more suited for the one looking for a bargain or is on a budget. In short, Skil is all about cheap products which also have a decent quality.

The 9206 is a corded, 7.5 amp saw. That puts it smack in the middle as far as power is concerned. You won’t tear down a debilitated house with it, but it will get your medium jobs done fairly quickly and without much hassle.

Blade changes are tool-less. That means you can change the blades rather fast without interrupting your rhythm. The motor is ensconced in a housing made of durable material to ensure long life and good service through the years.

You won’t get much shaking and vibration with this sturdy tool in your hand. You got the counterbalance design to thank for that. In addition, the pivoting foot gives you more stability and better control over a powerful machine.

Pros:

  • Pivoting foot for cutting stability.
  • 7.5 amp saw.
  • Tool-less blade changes.
  • Durable material.

Cons:

  • A bit unwieldy.
  • Blade slips out of blade holder.

4. Milwaukee 6519-31 12 Amp Corded 3000 Strokes Per Minute Reciprocating Sawzall w/ Variable Speed Trigger

If Elvis is the King of rock ‘n roll, then Milwaukee is the undisputed king of reciprocating saws. Ask anyone who knows something about saws for the best recip, and the answer would invariably be any Milwaukee. So why didn’t we chose this for our top pick, you might ask? Well, many reasons, comes the answer.

First the good points. The 12-amp saw has enough power to get you through a forest or a deserted town leaving rubble and destruction in your wake. You can change blades on the fly without the need to use tools. And the internal counterweight mechanism gives you better stability and less vibration for long hours of hard work without fatigue.

You can adjust the speed with your finger. The harder you press the trigger, the faster it goes. Its maximum speed is 3,000 strokes per minute. Which is really fast. And for a long-lasting motor, you have a clutch that acts as protective gear for the internal parts.

That’s all fine and dandy. But then the drawbacks. It’s really expensive. And for a powerful tool, it has a flimsy handle that keeps falling off when you hold it. Sometimes the motor jams which is really unacceptable.

Pros:

  • 12-amps motor.
  • 3,000 strokes per minute.
  • Protective clutch to seal off the motor.
  • Internal counterweight mechanism to reduce vibration.

Cons:

  • Flimsy handle.
  • Motor sometimes jams.

5. DEWALT Reciprocating Saw, Corded, 12-Amp (DWE305)

Say what you like about Milwaukee, we still prefer Dewalt. It’s not so much about personal preference as the quality and affordability that are associated with the products that roll out of the Dewalt company. So, having enjoyed our top pick, we decided to give another Dewalt a try and see how it fares.

The DWE305 lives up to its name and delivers where other recips have failed miserably. The 12-amp motor is all about power and stability. It gives you around 2,900 strokes per minute which is good enough for any job you need to finish in a hurry.

You can control the speed of the blade with your finger. Press harder and you get more strokes per minute. Ease your pressure and the saw complies with variable speed. It’s a great tool in the right hand and if you know what you’re doing, you can achieve a lot with the DWE305.

You can do just about any type of cutting with this saw. Thanks to the 4-position blade clamp, you have many cutting options and you’ll enjoy the power and versatility of this saw.

Pros:

  • 12-amp corded motor.
  • 4-position blade clamp.
  • Tool-less blade change.
  • 2,900 strokes per minute.

Cons:

  • Blades not very sturdy.

6. PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)

For affordability, we had to turn our sights to another good brand that doesn’t disappoint as far as reliability and sturdiness are concerned. The PCC670B from Porter-Cable is a good cordless saw. It runs on batteries and has a 20-volt motor that gives you 3,000 strokes per minute.

The stroke is 1 inch in length and the compact design of the saw makes it suitable for jobs inside narrow places that require dexterity to reach. You’ll also like the fact that the saw is light and doesn’t require bulky arms to handle it.

Changing blades is a breeze with the tool-less key and you have total control over the speed with your finger on the trigger. But what we really enjoyed was the pivoting shoe on this saw. Even in the hands of a total beginner, the blade was easy to keep in contact with the material providing clean and speedy cuts.

The ergonomic handle is molded and contoured giving you comfort and a strong grip over a powerful tool. We recommend this tool if you’re looking for an affordable battery-powered recip.

Pros:

  • 20-volt battery-powered motor.
  • 3,000 strokes per minute.
  • 1-inch long stroke.
  • Lightweight.
  • Molded and contoured handle for better grip.

Cons:

  • Battery and charger not included.

7. DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kit, 5 Amp-Hour Battery (DCS387P1)

Not all Dewalts are created equal. Some have better qualities than the others. Now, the idea is, from the company’s point of view and keeping an eye on a diverse market, it’s important to offer different products to satisfy different needs. This is where the DCS387P1 comes in.

It has all the best features and good quality we’ve come to expect from Dewalt as well as the added feature of being battery-powered. The 20-volt motor is top of the line as far as power is concerned. It produces 2,900 strokes per minute and gives you variable speed that you can control with the trigger.

The compact design combined with a lightweight tool means this is an easy to control saw that fits right into tight spaces and cuts with speed and ease. While the cordless CCS387P1 isn’t much different from the other products that carry the Dewalt name, it is lighter than many of its peers and gives you more access. The only drawback was its high price. This is not your first choice if you’re on a budget.

Pros:

  • 20-volt motor.
  • 2,900 strokes per minute.
  • Compact design.
  • Lightweight.
  • 4-position blade clamp.

Cons:

  • High price tag.
  • On the heavy side.

8. DEWALT Reciprocating Saw, 10-Amp (DWE304)

We just can’t get enough of Dewalt. We already told you we loved that brand and every product we picked seemed to have a satisfying feeling about it that it seemed unfair not to include it on this list. The DWE304 is a 10-amp corded saw that is easy to use despite its great power and many features.

You won’t need a manual to tell you how to use this saw. You plug it in and press the trigger. The harder you press the more strokes you get out of it. You don’t have to worry about batteries running low or the saw dying out on you in the middle of the job. It’s as reliable as it is fast and powerful.

It gives you 2,800 strokes per minute and the 4-position blade clamp makes it a versatile tool in the hands of the expert. But even a novice can get the job done without much hassle.

Pros:

  • 10-amp corded motor.
  • Easy to use.
  • 4-position blade clamp.

Cons:

  • Rather heavy and unwieldy.

9. Bosch RS7 + RAP10PK 1-1/8-Inch 11-Amp Reciprocating Saw and 10-Piece General Purpose Blade Set

Bosch makes its first appearance on our list rather late. But you know what they say, better late than never. The reason for this delay and rather low place in this review is the steep price. We always make affordability a priority when ranking our products.

With the high price always comes quality. And Bosch is a famous and reliable name so as far as quality is concerned, you know you’re in good hands. The 11-amp saw is powerful and comes with a blade set that gets you through any cutting job you have regardless of the material and space considerations.

The ergonomic handle has a soft grip that gives you more control over this powerful recip. But the distinct feature that sets this saw apart from the others is the dual-LED lights. It improves visibility and lets you see where you’re sawing to avoid making mistakes.

Pros:

  • Dual-LED lights for better visibility.
  • 11-amp motor.
  • Ergonomic handle with soft grip.
  • Reliable and durable.

Cons:

  • Pretty expensive.

10. PORTER-CABLE PC75TRS 7.5 Amp Reciprocating Saw

Porter-Cable popped in again for a quick visit with the PC75TRS. We liked this recip because it didn’t make much fuss. You switch it on and lean it against the material, it starts cutting. No excessive vibrations or noise. It’s one of the easiest recips we had come across on this list. Easy to operate, maintain, and store away.

At 7.5 amps, this isn’t the most powerful saw in your toolkit, but it never claimed to be your first choice for heavy-duty or demanding jobs either. It knows it sits comfortably in the middle and when you have a light-duty job to do, it will do it efficiently.

The pivoting shoe was really effective as we maneuvered our way around tricky cuts and made the cutting experience a really enjoyable one. Even if you’re a professional and do this for a living, having this saw in your box is indispensable. The low vibration was a bonus.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Pivoting shoe for better handling.
  • Reduced vibration.

Cons:

  • Not for heavy-duty jobs.
  • More suitable as a backup.

11. Bosch RS7 1-1/8-Inch 11 Amp Reciprocating Saw

Another Bosch, the RS7 cuts to the chase and makes a quick job of any cutting task you have at hand. We already know that Bosch delivers both on the quality and features fronts so we knew we had a big contender in our hands as soon as we unboxed this one. The 11-amp motor was convincing with its raw power.

The cutting zone suddenly became alive with the dual-LED lights. It’s the only brand on this list that comes with this feature. Now imagine if you’re stuck up in your attic trying to cut down that stubborn beam where rats have made a nest behind it. It’s dark, and you can’t even see your own hands. Then you turn on the RS7 and suddenly you can see where you want to cut.

The other features are common in many of the products we tested. They include tool-less blade change, ergonomic handle, and variable speed trigger.

Pros:

  • Dual-LED lights.
  • 11-amp motor.
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Variable speed trigger.

Cons:

  • Blade lock gets stuck sometimes.

12. Ryobi P514 18V Cordless One+ Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw w/ 2 Blades (Batteries Not Included / Power Tool Only)

If you have read our cordless pole saw review, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the heavy presence of the Ryobi brand. As a company, Roybi specializes in power tools and heavy machinery. Its products are reasonably priced and have decent quality. So we gave one of those reciprocating saws a try.

The P514 has an anti-slip handle that also absorbs vibrations giving you a stable saw that wouldn’t shake the fillings out of your teeth. And you will need this shock absorbent feature to handle the 18-volt motor which gives you 3,100 strokes per minute. That’s one fast saw that also comes with 2 blades. It’s easy to switch blades with the tool-less blade changing system.

Pros:

  • 3,100 strokes per minute.
  • 18-volt motor.
  • 2 blades included.

Cons:

  • Batteries not included.

13. Milwaukee 6538-21 15.0 Amp Super Sawzall Reciprocating Saw

Feeling we may have been unfair to Milwaukee, we decided to give a few more products a try. This 15-amp motor is as powerful as they come. Unlike many other products, this one is actually made in the USA and even though that means it’s a little more expensive, it also guarantees its quality and durability.

Since corded saws have a risk of burning from power surges, the 6538-21 has an overload protection feature that ensures the durability and long life of the motor. But that’s not all that technology has to offer here. The constant power feature means your saw has steady performance.

Gear protection is another thing we liked about this recip. No matter how tough the material you’re cutting, the motor and gear are protected from shocks to extend their life.

Pros:

  • 15-amp motor.
  • Shock absorbing technology.
  • Overload protection.

Cons:

  • High price tag.
  • Internal switch gets stuck if filled with dust.

14. Bosch GSA18V-083B 18 V Compact Reciprocating Saw Bare Tool

Bosch also has a compact, 18-volt recip that is hard to miss. Weighing only 4.4 pounds, it’s one of the lightest saws on this list. In fact, that’s the main reason it has a place on our list and its claim to fame.

Coupled with a compact design and only 15 inches in length, this is the kind of saw you need to do overhead work and tight places that need a slim saw to find its way inside. Precision is also the name of the game as far as the GSA is concerned. It gives you an .83-inch long stroke. It doesn’t get more precise than that.

The powerful Bosch cuts through wood and metal with the same ease and effortless grace. If it weren’t for its high price, the GSA would be a big contender for our editor’s choice.

Pros:

  • 18-volt motor.
  • Compact design.
  • Only 4.4 pounds.
  • .83 inch long stroke.

Cons:

  • A little too pricey without battery.

15. Milwaukee Electric Tool 2520-21XC M12 Hackzall Saw Kit

Saving one of the best for last, the 2520-21XC from Milwaukee brings our roundup to a roaring end. The 12-volt cordless recip packs a punch with its 3,000 strokes per minute with each stroke only .625 inches long. It also has a keyless blade change system that lets you change blades on the go without the need for special tools.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery takes only 45 minutes to recharge and the trigger lets you vary the speed of the strokes according to your needs. This is the kind of recip saw that you’d want in your toolkit for just about any cutting job that comes your way.

Pros:

  • 12-volt cordless motor.
  • 3,000 strokes per minute.
  • .625 inch long stroke.
  • Battery recharges in 45 minutes.

Cons:

  • Cuts a little slow for a machine this powerful.

Things to Consider Before Buy

Corded Or Battery Powered

A power source is just as important to a reciprocating saw as it is to any other tool you use. But with the recip saw it comes down to personal choice. They both have their ups and downs and which one you go with is really up to you.

Corded saws have a motor and while they’re a little heavier than the battery powered ones, they won’t die on you or require a fresh supply of batteries. On average an 11-amp motor is good enough for most jobs you need.

Batteries have a different measurement. Cordless saws are measured in volts and a 20-volt saw will do just fine. If you can afford it, get one of each type just as a backup.

Power

Now that you know how to power your saw, it’s time to discuss their most crucial feature. Their power. Your recip has to have enough power to get you through any DIY job you feel like doing. And if you’re a professional, then the more power the better.

There’s a caveat here. Too much power can be a bad thing. Not all jobs require a saw that cuts through wood or bones like a hot knife through butter. If you’re tearing down your rafters or processing your most recent hunt, you might need a lot of power to cut through the wild boar’s bones. But cutting a few twigs off your trees are better handled with a less powerful tool.

Ergonomics

The two factors to consider here when talking about ergonomics are the shoe and the grip. The shoe is the part at the tail end of the saw that the blade goes through. Whether you’re having a straight cut or got a little tricky maneuver to perform, the shoe is the one to help you pin down objects and when doing plunge cuts, it’s your fulcrum.

The handle is obviously there to give you a good grip. A slippery handle is a recipe for disaster. The last thing you’d want is to lose control over a powerful saw going at full speed. So pay attention to the grip and make sure you can hold the tool firmly in your hand.

Speed

When we talk about speed in a recip saw we’re not talking about how many miles it can go an hour. We’re talking in terms of strokes here. The number of strokes your saw makes per minute determines how fast you can go through that sturdy tree limb without losing your self-esteem.

Just need to point out here that a high number of strokes per minute doesn’t mean more power. It’s about speed, not power. More strokes means you get the job done in less time not that you can cut large objects. Speed is speed whether it’s a NASCAR or a recip saw.

Weight

As with all portable tools and heavy machinery that you need to the power of your biceps to support and lug around, weight is an important feature to pay attention to. A rather heavy and bulky tool means it’s less wieldy and probably accident-prone.

Think of that when you’re balancing yourself on the top step of a precarious ladder with a heavy tool in your hand trying to reach that space at the corner of your attic. You need a lightweight saw that acts as an extension of your arm. Just keep in mind that the more powerful recip saws are often heavier.

Recip Saw vs. Jigsaw

Now that’s a fun question. There’s a divide in the DIY world. The jigsaw camp swear by their tool while the recip saw camp believe that their tool is by far more superior. Each side looks down on the other.

While a jigsaw is great for cutting in predetermined lines and gives you precision and more control over your cutting. A recip saw, on the other hand, is all about raw power. It’s not for artisans, but or demolition jobs. When you have a toolshed that needs to be razed to the ground, short of ramming it with your pickup truck, your recip is the best choice.

Vibration

Vibration with DIY tools is not a good thing. There’s an obvious joke here but I’m going to let it go. Throbbing motors generate a lot of vibrations that can divert you away from your target and steer your blade where you don’t want it to go.

In short, you would want a recip saw that can suppress vibration and keeps your hand steady as you cut through your material. Some of the saws here have an anti-vibration feature. It keeps you from shaking with the saw like a leaf in the wind and reduces your physical fatigue.

Safety

With so much power, comes a lot of risk and danger. You can use your recip saw as a toy and try it at everything you see in sight. A pipe, a cable, the beams of the attic, or that old piece of junk of unspecified nature and shape.

You need to slow down, champ. You don’t know what’s inside that rusty trunk or whether that cable is live. Always check where you want to cut and consider where that tree limb would fall once you’ve separated it from the tree trunk. And always, always wear protective gear before you turn on that monster of a saw.

Conclusion

So what’s the final verdict? After this in depth look into the world of reciprocating saws, we learned that power, speed, and weight are the top features to look for. Then we reviewed the hottest 15 recips in the market and ranked them for you. Now it’s time to announce the winner.

The DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw is the one that clinched the coveted first place. It is powerful, feature-rich, affordable, and easy to use and manage. Whatever the cutting job, this is the reciprocating saw to rely on to deliver fast and clean cutting. Whether you’re a professional or an amateur DIYer, having the DC385B in your hands gives you confidence and power.

For all these reasons, we recommend the DC385B for all your cutting needs and DIY tasks.

founder

Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare