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The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One

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Saws have been around for a couple of millennia. The earliest recorded evidence suggests that the earliest models were simple serrated materials such as flint and shark teeth which were used for everyday cutting purposes. In some cases, however, saws have been used for sinister purposes in different cultures across the globe. The modern reciprocating saw is advancement over the ancient Egyptian saws and is a widely used demolition tool. This article is aimed at identifying the best reciprocating saw models currently on the market and what to consider when buying or renting one.


Reciprocating Saws; Mode Of Action

A reciprocating saw is a type of powered saw whose roots are traceable back to 1951. Milwaukee Electric Tool Company introduced the first portable electric hacksaw which employed a reciprocating mechanism. The mode of operation in reciprocating saws can be compared to their relatives the jigsaws. This pioneering saw comprised of three basic moving parts. The handle ergonomics allow reciprocating saws to be comfortably used on vertically inclined surfaces.

Reciprocating saws have been described as larger, horizontal variants of electrical saber saws. The 4 to 12-inch blades are fitted onto the holders and secured by the blade lock. The cutting action is achieved via alternating direction motion of the blade. Different brands of reciprocating saws all perform the same tasks with the only differences being the designs and additional features. Other than in demolition sites and home DIY projects, reciprocating saws have also been used in surgical theaters where cutting of bone is common.

Choosing The Right Reciprocating Saw; The Factors To Consider

Choosing which power tool to settle on can often be a daunting task. This is especially the case with reciprocating or oscillating saws. Typically, ease of use, weight and proficiency level required to operate a power tool are the most popular considerations. Other factors, however, contribute towards defining what the perfect reciprocating saw should entail. The basic points to consider should include;

1. Stroke Length

With reciprocating saws, a longer stroke translates to a faster cut. A majority of saws vary between 3/4 inches to 11/4 inches. The stroke length in some models can be adjusted, however.

2. Motor Power Rating

The higher the power rating, the easier it will be to cut harder materials. Also, the higher the power rating of the reciprocating saw, the higher the overall speed. Other factors such as orbital settings and variable speed will also come into play alongside the power of the reciprocating saw motor.

3. Variable Speed

The speed of reciprocating saw tools is expressed in terms of strokes per minute. Most oscillating saw models will have an upper-speed limit of up to 3000 strokes per minute which is more than enough for most projects; professional or basic DIY. The most important factor to consider as far as speed is concerned is the availability of variable speed settings. Variable speed settings determine the quality of the saw while preventing damage to the material being used.

4. Orbital Settings

The choice here is between orbital and straight reciprocating saws. Orbital saws cut in an elliptical motion as opposed to the traditional up and down allowing a faster and more aggressive cut. Straight saws cut in a single plane that is, back and forth.

5. Ease Of Blade Changing And Removal

Reciprocating saws require frequent changing of the blades. These recent models eliminate the need to carry around Allen wrenches and an assortment of other tools necessary for the same.

6. Shoe Adjustment

The shoe adjustment feature in reciprocating saws allows for depth control when cutting. This feature also ensures a stable and smooth cut.

As a general rule, it is advisable to wear safety gear and also read through the user manuals for safety instructions prior to operating reciprocating saws. Power tools pose serious risks especially being powered cutting implements. The danger of injury to the extremities is always present and as such the following simple rules should be followed;

1. NEVER attempt to remove or change the blade when the saw is still on.

2. Always wear protective gear such as goggles and a face mask when operating oscillating saws. Material debris and dust pose serious health risks.

The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One Jose
Mechanic Engineer

Which Is The Best Reciprocating Saws Available On The Market That You Should Buy

In the segment below, I have sampled the top five best-selling reciprocating saws available on the market. Each model boasts unique features setting it apart from the next and consequently defining its strengths and shortcomings. Have a look;

1. DEWALT DCS387B 20-volt MAX Compact Reciprocating Saw (tool only)

The DeWalt DCS387B is a compact and lightweight reciprocating saw designed to deliver a balance of power and user comfort. The 20 Volt motor delivers up to 2900 strokes per minute which allow the DCS387B comfortably handle a wide range of tasks. The motor is positioned in a diagonal position in front of the trigger. The entire tool is 14.5 inches in length and weighs a meager 4.9 pounds.

The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One

Via Amazon.com

Things We Liked

  • The DeWalt DCS387B features ergonomic handle grips that make its operation super comfortable. This fact coupled with the weight and physical dimensions make the DCS387B an easy and comfortable experience.
  • This model has a four position blade clamp that makes it the perfect tool for flush cutting. This feature also allows tool-less blade changing and removal. The clamp allows the blades to be installed in varied angle orientations relative to the handle and trigger promoting user safety.
  • Variable speed trigger is another feature addition that promotes the DCS387B’s versatility. The variable speed trigger allows for precision cuts by increasing blade control.
  • This model has a working area illumination light.

Things We Didn't Like

  • This model doesn’t have a brushless motor which is common with most other models in its class.
  • This model doesn’t have a vibration control feature.

2. BLACK+DECKER BDCR20B 20V MAX Lithium Reciprocating Saw - Battery and Charger Not Included

The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One

Via Amazon.com

The black and Decker brand is renowned for the quality of power tools produced. In the case of the BDCR20B, the quality of build, design, and finish are top notch. This reciprocating saw allows the operator to reach places where average rotary power tools wouldn’t ordinarily go. Weighing in at 4 pounds, this model is ultra-lightweight making it extremely easy to maneuver. Most lightweight saws are notorious for the level of vibrations produced during operation. The BDCR20B, however, incorporates vibration dampening technology.

Things We Liked

  • The Black and Decker BDCR20B weigh a mere 4 pounds making the saw easy to handle and operate. This feature makes the BDCR20B popular with professionals and beginners alike.
  • The variable speed settings on this model allow better control during operation. This prevents damage to the material by way of overshooting.
The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One

Via Amazon.com

  • Tool-less blade changing is a commonly appreciated feature where reciprocating saws are concerned. This model allows easy and quick blade changing without the need for Allen wrenches and other tools.

Thing We Didn't Like

  • Despite an attempt at vibration dampening, this model scores poorly on this front. During operation, the vibrations are transferred onto the user’s hand which may affect the quality of the cut.

3. Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2625-20 M18 18-Volt Hackzall Cordless One-Handed Reciprocating Saw

The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One

Via Amazon.com

This product is an 18-volt battery operated reciprocating saw that is a favorite to both unexperienced users and professionals alike. This saw accepts both sawzall and hackzall style blades hence the name. The Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2625-20 M18 operates at an average of 3000 strokes per minute. At this speed, this saw is capable of comfortably cutting through different materials. The simple and compact design of the 2625-20 M18 makes it stand out from the competition.

Things We Liked

  • This product features groundbreaking vibration dampening technology. This reduces operational fatigue and promoting user comfort.
  • This model features a compact and beautiful design. The tool’s dimensions are as follows; 17.7 inches length by 10.7 inches in length. The tool weighs in at 4.4 pounds.- This model has a powerful 18-volt motor that reaches speeds of up to 3000 strokes per minute.
  • This product is shipped with long lasting high capacity lithium ion batteries. Compared to Nickel-Cadmium batteries, Lithium ion retains power even during long storage periods.
  • The ergonomics associated with this product make it easy to operate thanks to its one-handed design.

Things We Didn't Like

  • This model is a bit underpowered making it unsuitable for professional purposes.
  • The Lithium-ion batteries used on this model are expensive.

4. PORTER CABLE PCC670B 20-volt MAX Lithium Bare Reciprocating Tigersaw

The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One

Via Amazon.com

Porter Cable is another market leader in the power tool business. The PCC670B features a beautiful design, finish and build. This saw comes with a one-inch stroke that allows precise and detailed cuts. This model boasts a powerful 20 volts rated motor that delivers up to 3000 strokes per minute. This speed works fine when cutting high-density materials. Another great feature of this saw is the ability to charge up in under 20 minutes. The charging mechanism also incorporates a temperature regulation feature which extends the service life of any power tool.

Things We Liked

  • This particular model has a 180-degree arc feature and accompanying buttons. The buttons are made of steel but are rubber coated making them stiff. The combination of arc and buttons prevents any accidental push of buttons during operation.- The saw’s ergonomics make operation and handling a very comfortable affair.
  • Variable speed trigger on this model allows for precision cuts by increasing blade control.
  • The PCC670B is a lightweight saw which weighs a mere 1.7 kilograms.

Things We Didn't Like

  • This model isn’t built to handle demanding professional tasks.
  • The battery and charger pack are sold separately which increases the amount of money necessary to own and operate one of these units comfortably.

5. DEWALT DCS380B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Reciprocating Saw, Bare Tool Only

The Best Reciprocating Saw Models Available And What To Consider When Buying Or Renting One

Via Amazon.com

The DeWalt Brand makes yet another entry onto this list of top reciprocating saw brands. This model offers a three cutting depth setting allowing the users absolute control in precision cutting. This feature allows correct depth cutting which prolongs the blade’s service life. The adjustable shoe on this model also helps with depth control and precision. This saw runs on a 20-volt motor which delivers up to 3000 strokes per minute; enough to cut through most materials.

Things We Liked

  • This particular model allows for tool-less blade changing and removal. This saves time between changing and actual cutting.
  • The DCS380B is a compact and lightweight saw which allows it to reach tight spaces with ease.
  • The four-position blade clamp allows flush cuts while at the same time increasing user safety.
  • This model features an ergonomic rubber over mold grip which enhances user comfort during operation.
  • The DeWalt DCS380B features a double oil sealed shaft which is contamination resistant enhancing the saw’s durability and service life.

Things We Didn't Like

  • This model doesn’t come with a carrying case or kit. This hampers it’s portability to some extent.
  • No vibration dampening.

The Verdict

Each entry above has earned its place among the market’s top five best-selling reciprocating saws. Each item is a great pick. However, the BLACK & DECKER BDCR20B earns the top spot. This reciprocating saw combines the aspects of power, ergonomics, and versatility making it the perfect power tool for both inexperienced users and professionals alike.

[amazon box="B00IP27DFA"]

This particular model is among the lightest oscillating saws available which render its operation quite comfortable. This fact coupled with a 20-volt motor capable of reaching up to 3000 SPM makes the BDCR20B the perfect tool for rookie DIY users. It is worth noting that this model’s 20-volt battery has been flagged as being able to deliver up to 30% more work output compared to other saws. The BLACK & DECKER BDCR20B is, therefore, the best reciprocating saw in its class.


Reciprocating saws are basic requirements in most demolition jobs today. This class of cutting power tools has come a long way since inception back in 1951. Advances in technology have seen the rise of increasingly sophisticated oscillating saws that continue to push the limits of performance, design, and power.

I do sincerely hope you learned a great deal about reciprocating saws through this article. It has been a fun and enriching experience for me. Feel free to share your comments, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments section provided below. All choosing the best reciprocating saw.

Jose A. Brown

Jose A. Brown is a mechanic engineer and an enthusiastic blogger whose mission is to provide the readers with the best tips, guides in the Home Improvement, DIY Project, and Industry.

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