Buying the Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw for You
Reciprocating saws are a favorite among power tool users for good reason.
Using them saves time and money because they cut through construction materials quickly. Not only that, they’re fun to use.
Cordless reciprocal saws are a good choice when you need to make a few quick cuts. The task of stretching out the power cord before use and coiling it for storage when you’re done is a thing of the past.
Grab the saw, make sure it has a charged battery, and get cutting.
Before Buying a Cordless Reciprocating Saw, be aware of…
Saw specifications such as weight and size make a difference. Using a saber saw all day is tiring and downright uncomfortable.
You should be sure the saw is light and comfortable enough for you to use over a period of time and consider the types of locations you will use the saw in.
Cushioned grips save your hands and wrists.
A wider handle is actually easier on your body than gripping a narrow one. Anti-vibration handles save your joints from some wear and tear and help keep you feeling younger.
Will you be cutting in smaller, enclosed areas and in awkward positions? A smaller, lighter reciprocating saw may be more accommodating than a large one.
Cutting in open and easy to reach spots makes a larger, heavier saw a good choice. Material that is hard or big in size needs the extra power of a bigger motor. You may want to consider a lithium-ion battery powered saw.
Heavy material means you want to buy a higher volt model because they provide more power.
Keep in mind that the higher voltage models tend to weigh more than the lower voltage saws and that can make a difference when a saw is put to actual use.
Batteries always seem to run out of charge at the wrong time. Buying extra batteries and keeping them fully charged will help ensure there is no down-time. Lithium-ion batteries have different characteristics than NiCad batteries.
You should keep that in mind before buying…
Saw Speed and Blade Stroke Length Can Determine the Best Reciprocating Saw
You will want to keep in mind the speed of the saw. The best reciprocating saw will have a faster moving blade. This allows for more control, faster work and a finer cut.
The saws stroke length is important because a longer stroke means the blade moves faster and actually lasts longer before wearing out.
Soft-start models are handy to have because you can control the blade speed from the moment you press the trigger. Most variable speed reciprocating saws include this feature.
When reading reviews or in store product features you may see the letters SPM. The letters are an abbreviation of the term Strokes Per Minute and refer to how fast a blade moves.
When you’re comparing tools, remember that a high SPM and good stroke length can determine the best reciprocating saw for you to purchase.
More tips on buying cordless SawZalls are given after the review below.
Top 5 Cordless Reciprocating Saws Review
DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw
This tool is powered by an 18V, nickel-cadmium, Sub-C battery that drives it’s a high performance, variable speed motor up to 3000 SPM.
The 1 1/8″ cutting stroke aids in cutting through hard material.
Safety benefits are provided by an electric brake that automatically stops the blade from moving before it can break. Safe handling is given by sure-grip, anti-slip handles, and using the DeWalt DC385B is easier because of them.
DeWalt made the saw versatile with the 4-position blade clamp. Flush sitting, the clamp helps keep cuts accurate and where you want them.
The shoe is pivoting, adjustable, and features an open top which gives good and easy visibility and adds to the saws safety features.
A lever-action keyless blade clamp makes changing blades quick and easy.
It is compatible with the battery pack of the 18V DC9096 saw and the 15-minute charger from the DW9117.
DeWalt provides decent warranties. A one-year, free service contract makes maintaining the saw and replacing parts worn by normal use, free. The three-year limited warranty covers any defects due to faulty materials and workmanship.
The saw weighs 6.2 pounds and measures 6.2 x 18.6 x 3.9 inches.
The DEWALT Bare-Tool DC385B 18-Volt Cordless Reciprocating Saw comes with operating instructions only. The batteries and battery charger are sold separately.
DEWALT Bare-Tool DCS380B 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion Reciprocating Saw
The DEWALT DCS380B, 20-Volt, MAX Li-Ion Reciprocating Saw shares some similar features with the other DeWalt cordless reciprocating saws in this review. These features give the winning characteristics of versatility and power.
The blade is given ample cutting power from the big 20V battery that powers the motor up to speeds of 3000 spm. Don’t forget the 1 1/8” blade stroke helps make cuts fast and fine.
Its rubber over molded handle gives a good and comfortable grip and helps keep users safe from slipping hands.
The shaft is double oil-sealed and made to resist contamination and increase durability of the tool.
The saw comes with the DeWalt, 3 year limited warranty, a 90 day money back guarantee and a 1 year free service contract.
The DCS380B weighs only 6.4 pounds with dimensions of 6.1 x 18.3 x 4 inches.
The saw comes by itself, meaning you need to buy your batteries separately.
Makita BJR182Z 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw
The BJR182Z gets juice from an 18V LXT Lithium-Ion battery that empowers its Makita built motor to deliver speeds up to 2900 spm to the blade. The variable-speed, D35 high-torque motor combines with a 1 1/8” stroke to ensure fast and even cutting.
The saw has an electric brake that stops the blade from moving after you let go of the trigger. Electric brakes are beneficial for two reasons. The blade stops quickly, making injuries less likely and you don’t have to wait for the blade to stop moving before you can get back to work.
The Makita allows cuts up to 5 1/8” deep for pipe and 10” for wood, if you are using a 12” blade.
The BJR182Z is comfortable to use because of its ergonomic, compact design and soft grip handle.
The LXT Li-Ion batteries charge in 30 minutes and are supposed to last longer and give 2.5 more cycles than other batteries. The 18V LXT Lithium Ion batteries are compact in size and weigh the same as 12V batteries, making the saw lighter than many of its contemporaries.
The BJR182Z is lightweight at 5 pounds and measures 22 x 4 x 8.5 inches.
Makita gives Lithium-Ion tools a 3 year warranty covering defects in workmanship and materials. The Lithium-Ion batteries and charger have a limited 1-year warranty
The BJR182Z comes by itself. Batteries and charger are not included
Milwaukee 2625-20 M18 18-Volt Hackzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Milwaukee put a lot of work into the design of the 2625-20 Hackzall. It is just comfortable and easy to use.
Made for 1-hand use, the saw is light, small in size and easy to maneuver.
Users will benefit from the patent-pending, dual gear, anti-vibration system.
Even overhead cutting is now a breeze. Dimly lit areas are not a problem either because there is a built in LED on the front of the saw.
Blade replacement is easy due to the keyless blade clamp and it’s compatible with both SAWZALL and HACKZALL blades.
Power-wise the saw is compatible with four other batteries: Compact 1.5Ah, extended capacity 4.0Ah, compact 2.0Ah and extra capacity 3.0Ah.
Chargers compatible with the recipro are the M18/M12 multi-voltage and the M18 AC/DC.
Milwaukee’s 2625-20 Hackzall weighs 4.1 pounds and measures 13.4 x 7.2 x 3.4 inches.
The Milwaukee 2625-20, Hackzall, One-Handed Reciprocating Saw comes by itself and a limited 5 year warranty.
DEWALT DC385K 18-Volt Ni-Cad Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kit
The DEWALT DC385K 18-Volt Ni-Cad Cordless Reciprocating Saw powers through tough material with a motor that reaches speeds up to 3000 spm.
According to DeWalt, the DC385K helps users benefit from the positive features of a reciprocal saw. The 1 1/8” stroke length allows cutting in places other saws won’t reach and there is enough power available from the 18V battery to make it through hard material.
More or less pressure on the trigger gives the right amount of power due to the variable speed adjustable control feature.
Proving DeWalts claim of versatility, the reinforced blade clamp adjusts to four positions and upside-down cutting is easily accomplished by reversing the blade. Cuts are always flush, removing some of the hassle of working in difficult positions.
Changing blades is fast and easy because the blade clamp is lever-action and keyless by design.
Safety and ease of use is aided by the shoes open-top design. The shoe has three positions and makes adjusting cut depth easy. Not only that, it helps the blade last longer, so is a money saver.
The XRP extended run batteries provide 40% more work time compared to standard batteries. A nice benefit is that DeWalt made any 18V XRP battery usable with any other 18-volt DEWALT tool and the charger does its work in one hour.
The DC385K Ni-Cad weighs 12 pounds and measures 24.5 x 10.8 x 4.9 inches. A DC385K cordless recipro saw kit comes with DeWalt’s limited three-year warranty, one-year free service contract and 90 days to get your money back, guaranteed.
This DC385K comes with a one-hour Ni-Cad charger, an 18-volt XRP battery and the carrying kit box.
Tips for Buying A Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Orbital Reciprocating Saw
The blade movement of many cordless SawZalls is an orbital blade motion.
This means that the blade moves in an up and down motion as well as the back and forth motion that gives reciprocating saws their name.
This dual action movement helps the blade cut through most materials faster, except piping. Make sure any saw you purchase has a switch to change blade action.
When choosing the best reciprocating saw for your needs, keep in mind orbital blade motion.
Choose A Reciprocating Saw (Benefits of Extra Features)
- Time saved is money earned for many of us and tool-less blade changing helps a lot. No more messing with wrenches and chucks and no more losing them. Tool-less blades are something to look forward to.
- Saws having the ability to change the blade’s cutting angle are a real convenience, because many times, a simple, straight cut is out of the question.
- The ability to cut in reverse can save a blade from binding or breaking and can save a good deal of money of the lifetime of the saw.
Ni-Cad and Li-Ion Powered SawZalls
Cordless power tools are changing with technology.
The older nickel-cadmium batteries were large, heavy and took a few hours to charge. Cordless saws that run on Ni-Cad batteries may be heavier and more cumbersome to use but they cost much cheaper than the Li-Ion ones do. Think about half and you’re in the right price range. People who only use cordless tools on occasion should be fine using tools powered by Ni-Cads.
The newer lithium-ion batteries are smaller, lighter and last longer. Many charge in as little as 30 minutes. Some manufacturers give options between regular slim packs and larger ones that last longer. Tools powered by lithium ion batteries are being designed for ease of use and comfort.
They are smaller, lighter and easier to handle than the old ones. No doubt about it, the Li-Ion powered tools are nice to use but they cost more than the Ni-Cad powered tools.
Companies are still making the Ni-Cads because of the difference in cost, so if you’re only need cutting power on occasion then you may want to remember the Ni-Cads. Craftsman and anybody who uses these on a regular basis would want to put serious thought into the lithium ion powered tools.
People who have tools powered by the nickel-cadmium batteries may be able to fit them for lithium-ion ones.
Ryobi, Milwaukee and DeWalt are three manufacturers who are designing Li-Ion batteries to fit into the older Ni-Cad models. A new lithium-ion battery may cost money, but in the long run you may save time and money.
There are many good cordless Hackzalls on the market and sometimes there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between them.
When you’re torn between choices, you may want to go for the one that feels better in your hands because you may always wish you would’ve bought it instead.
What do you think is the top rated cordless reciprocating saw?