The Reciprocating Saw: A Hardworking Tool

Usually associated with demolition and remodeling jobs, the reciprocating saw can do lots of things. It is a powerful and hardworking tool which can cut anything from tree branches, to PVC pipes, to cast iron. Being a tough power tool that it is, you should need to be aware of what you will be cutting and how exactly are you going to handle it.

The reciprocating saw gets its name from the back-and-forth cutting motion of its blade. It shouldn’t be used as a tool for fine crafting projects, but this cutting workhouse is quite versatile and can be used in most situations. Its blade is exposed, making it easy to cut directly to any areas, including tight spaces.

Compared to a circular saw, the reciprocating saw is much easier to maneuver when cutting from the ladder or above your head (such as cutting wooden beams or slicing through pipes in the ceiling). Be aware though when using this tool for cutting above your head, as dust and debris can really fly into your eyes and the rest of your face, so make sure you’re wearing a pair of goggles or safety glasses, and a dust mask. A reciprocating saw can also create a lot of noise, so also wear a protective gear for your ears.

The ability of the reciprocating saw to cut many different kinds of materials lies on the blade that it uses. When changing the blade, make sure that the reciprocating saw is unplugged and the switch is in “off” position to prevent accidents. The replaceable (and disposable) blades can be installed with the teeth up or down depending on the angle you want to cut. Most reciprocating saws have a “quick change” mechanism which allows you to easily lock the blade in the machine’s chuck in place.

The “shoe” refers to the front part of the reciprocating saw which positions the machine against wood, metal or any other material you’re about to cut. The shoe can be adjusted depending on how deep a cut you’ll be making.

The reciprocating saw’s trigger produces variable speed, so the speed of the saw’s movement depends on how deep you press the trigger. Usually, the deeper you press it, the faster the blade goes.

As implied before, the ability of the reciprocating saw to cut various materials depends on the kind of blades used. As a general rule of thumb: the fewer the teeth per inch a blade has, the faster and rougher the cut it makes. A blade with smaller, finer teeth produces smoother cuts. Depending on the blade you use, you can do clean cuts of wood, steel and PVC pipes.

You can also use the reciprocating saw in creating plunge cuts on drywalls – but before you do that particular job, first make sure that the electrical wiring and plumbing are exactly located so that you can avoid in cutting right through them.

  • High-carbon steel blade – Ideal for cutting clean wood
  • Bi-metal blade – This is possibly the most expensive type of blade. The back of the blade is made of spring steel while the teeth are made of high-speed steel. This type of blade is the fail-safe choice for cutting nail-embedded wood, steel pipes, channels and plates.
  • Diamond-grit blade – It is ideal for cutting cast iron
  • Carbide-tip blade – It is ideal for cutting cast aluminum, most kinds of masonry, clay sewer pipes and roof tiles.

Best Reciprocating Saws to Buy


Product
Visual
Where to Buy

Milwaukee 6519-31

WORX WX550L

Makita JR3050T

Black+Decker BDCR20B

Dewalt DCS367B


Milwaukee 6519-31

The Milwaukee 6519-31 Sawzall is a reliable and heavy-duty tool. It has a 12 amp motor which provides 0-3,000 strokes per minute. The stroke length is 1-1/8”. It is a corded saw which runs on 120V. When you buy the Milwaukee 6519-31, it comes with a warranty of 5 years. The tool weighs 7 lbs and has a length of 17 3-4”. Moreover, the carrying case of the saw is impact-resistant, making it the best choice for traveling in industrial settings.

What makes it stand out?

This Milwaukee tool is ideal for special cutting needs and provides customization to place the blades upside down. The keyless adjustable shoe also includes room for operating in different settings.

WORX WX550L

The WORX WX550L is a two in one saw and jigsaw. It weighs 4.6 lbs and with a 20V battery. It is a cordless straw with the stroke length of ¾”. The tool comes with a 3-year warranty. It also has a built-in blower that keeps dust away while you are sawing. Moreover, its orbital cutting technology provides more accuracy when dealing with narrow spaces.

What makes it stand out?

One stand-out feature of this tool is the saw and jigsaw. The design has a pivoting head which makes switching between these two modes very easy. Furthermore, the motor is on the side of the tool, which prevents the tool from slipping.

Makita JR3050T

The Makita JRT3050T is a reciprocating saw with an 11-amp motor. Speeds are variable, and stroke length is 1-1/8”. It is a very handy tool and easily maintained because of externally accessible brushes. The plastic cage is an added benefit for carrying the machine easily. It measures 17-3/4-inches long and weighs around 7.1 pounds. When you buy this saw, it comes with a warranty of one year.

What makes it stand out?

The Makita 11-amp reciprocating saw is ideal for lightweight usage, making it the suitable buy for household usage. It is also cheaper, but equally efficient in usage. So if you need a handy saw for using on metal, drywall, wood or plastic, this is the tool for you.

Black+Decker BDCR20B

This is a 20V max cordless saw and one of the most efficient cordless saws in the market. It is lightweight and effortless to use. The motor provides 3000 strokes per minute, and variable speed settings can be applied during usage. The blade is tool-free, with an additional pivoting shoe for support.

What makes it stand out?

The keyless blade clamp is one of the critical features of this tool. This makes the reciprocating saw ideal for sturdy usage on various materials. The lithium body of the saw provides durability, and you get a two-year warranty on the tool if something goes wrong.

Dewalt DCS367B

The Dewalt DCS367B is easily the most lightweight option in cordless saws in the market. It weighs only 4 lbs but has the performance of a heavy-duty corded reciprocating saw. The variable speed trigger can provide up to 2,900 strokes per minute. It has a pivoting shoe for accuracy and increased efficiency. It comes with a three-year warranty.

 

What makes it stand out?

Firstly, it has all the features of a great saw and secondly, it has a bright LED light included. This makes it highly portable and usable for both industrial and home-based DIY project

Maintenance and Usage: Bonus Tips

The use of this power tool isn’t that difficult. In fact, it’s a case of learn-and-use. All you’ve to do is take a good look at the reciprocating saw’s manual. And as long as you select the blades according to the material that’s going to be involved in the project, it’s going to be a rudimentary operation. Use the blade to create the angle where you want to make the cut and that’s it.

For safety purposes, you should always wear some gear when you’re using the reciprocating saw. It’s the same with mitter saw too. This is recommended because the blades of these power tools are quite sharp and there’s a chance of an accident taking place. Think about wearing gloves and safety goggles, along with some form of protective clothing. With power tools, you can’t ever be too secure.

With safety covered, let’s consider maintenance. Just as the reciprocating saw is simple to use, maintaining one is also a simplistic endeavor. You shouldn’t find many debris or sawdust accumulating on the blade so all you’ll need to do is wide the blade down when you’re through. There’s nothing else that has to be done.

Conclusion

Reciprocating saws are ideal for mini projects and designed for performing maximum accuracy with a high number of strokes per minute. You can use reciprocating saws in plumbing, DIY, Garden maintenance, demolition work, and electrical jobs. They are portable, safe to use, have well-insulated wires and don’t give you blisters in the hand because of soft rubber handles. However, you need to maintain and take care of your reciprocating saw to increase its lifetime.