Buyer's Guides Reciprocating Saws

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws: 2020 Buyer’s Guide

woodworking tool

Reciprocating saws use a push and pull type motion that creates a cutting action that’s similar to a jigsaw. You can rest the foot of the saw on the cutting surface to help control it during use. The best cordless reciprocating saw will have variable speeds that are controlled via a dial located on the side of the power tool or the trigger. These saws are highly portable and will be a great tool to have on hand whether you’re working at a job site or in your workshop.

Since there are several popular cordless models on the market these days, finding one that’s powerful and a model that can meet your needs can take plenty of research. You may spend hundreds of dollars on a feature-packed model, only to have it up and die on you six months down the line. Because of this, I decided to put together this buyer’s guide, which will show you exactly what features to look for to ensure you end up with a cordless reciprocating saw that’s designed to last. I’ve also tested many of the leading models, narrowing it down to four that have what it takes to get the job done. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart which features each of the models on my list, their rating, and their top best features.

Cordless Reciprocating Saws Comparison Chart

ProductsPowerIncludes BatteryCharge TimeRating
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C
Reciprocating Saw

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20VNo4 Hours
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw

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20VNo3 Hours
KIMO Cordless Reciprocating Saw

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20VYes1 Hour
WORKPRO Cordless Reciprocating Saw

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12VYes1 Hour

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw


Our Rating: (5/5)

This cordless reciprocating saw by Black and Decker is lightweight, powerful, and easy to use. It comes packing a 3000 SPM motor that features variable speed control, complete with an electric brake for improved control. The toolless blade change design makes swapping out the blade a cinch, while the adjustable pivoting shoe further adds to the convenience of using this saw to get plenty of jobs done around the workshop. This model runs on a twenty-volt battery and features 0-3000 strokes/minutes, with a stroke length of 7/8”. The saw is covered by a two-year limited warranty, which is a huge plus for any buyer.

Pros

  • Two-year warranty
  • Variable speeds
  • Twenty-volt battery
  • Pivoting shoe

Cons

  • Shakes a lot during use
  • Does not include charger or battery

Conclusion

This cordless reciprocating saw is loaded with power, running on a twenty-volt lithium battery and offering 0-3000 strokes/minute. The lightweight design will cut down on user fatigue, while the electric brake and variable speed trigger improve user control during use. This saw is versatile, built tough, and offers the type of performance you need to get small to large sized sawing jobs done in a fraction of the time.

DEWALT MAX Reciprocating Saw


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This cordless reciprocating saw by Dewalt comes with a variable speed trigger, bright LED lights that illuminate your workpiece, and a three-year limited warranty. The saw is powered with a max of twenty-volts and has a variable speed of 0.2900 SPM, with a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches. The included pivoting shoe helps to improve user control by stabilizing the saw as you cut. This model is designed for use on both metal and wood. This type of cutting versatility is just one of the reasons why this saw is one of Dewalt’s biggest sellers. The saw itself weighs in at just five pounds, which will minimize user fatigue and promote a longer use time.

Pros

  • Lightweight design
  • Powerful
  • Easy to use
  • Variable speed trigger

Cons

  • Short runtime

Conclusion

This cordless saw is packing the type of power you need to get jobs of all sizes done. The cordless design will also give you the freedom to move around and make a variety of cuts, without being tied down by a cord. The low price, combined with the three-year warranty and durable design gives you every reason to buy a powerful saw that can handle whatever material you throw at it.

KIMO Cordless Reciprocating Saw


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This model by KIMO comes with a long-lasting battery and a fast charger that will fully charge the battery in as little as one hour. This cordless model allows you to handle any type of project easily, giving you the type of freedom you need to make a wide variety of cuts. The brushed motor prolongs the runtime by 2.5 times compared to competing models, so you can tackle big jobs in the garage or at work, without worrying about the battery dying in the middle of a project. This model is also able to remove fifty percent more material with every stroke, resulting in faster cuts. The saw can handle cutting wood up to six inches thick, which is pretty impressive. It also offers a stroke length that delivers 0-3,300 SPM and features a lightweight design that helps improve the saw’s maneuverability. According to the manufacturer, this model is twenty percent lighter than competing models, which can significantly reduce user fatigue and hand and wrist strain.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Long runtime
  • Fast charge time
  • Powerful

Cons

  • Price

Conclusion

The compact saw’s design allows you to handle tough cutting tasks in tight spaces, which is a huge plus for professionals such as electricians and plumbers. The saw’s toolless blade change design adds to the saw’s ease of use, by allowing you to easily and quickly switch between a wide variety of standard blades that you can use to cut roots, thinner steel, copper, aluminum, fiberglass, PVC pipe, tree limbs, plastic, tile, metal, and wood.

WORKPRO Cordless Reciprocating Saw


Our Rating: (4/5)

This cordless model is equipped with a clamping jaw designed to increase friction during operation for better cut control. The saw’s variable speed trigger also provides improved cutting control for a wide variety of materials when the motor reaches up to 2,900 strokes per minute. The lightweight, compact design reduces user fatigue and allows users to easily maneuver the saw. The tool-free blade release design will allow for fast and easy blade changes. Which is a huge plus for any user. This model also comes with a double safety switch that requires users to press both switches in order to fire up the saw. This is an excellent safety feature and a must-have for any beginner.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Variable speed motor
  • Excellent safety features
  • Tool-free blade design
  • Fast charging time

Cons

  • Low-powered motor

Conclusion

This compact, lightweight cordless saw is easy to use, beginner friendly, and comes loaded with some great features that make it a good choice for jobs around the yard or in the workshop. The lower powered motor can make using this saw limiting, since it can struggle cutting through thicker and tougher materials. While the saw is not pro quality by any means, it’s still a great saw to keep on hand in a home workshop and one that offers many features that are designed to improve user control and comfort.

Cordless Reciprocating Saws Buyer’s Guide

These saws move with the use of oscillation. Oscillation is what moves the blades in an elliptical action, which will allow them to cut faster. These saws can cut metal, plastic, or wood, depending on the size and tooth configuration. These power tools are very versatile and can even handle the same type of work that a small chainsaw can, if it’s equipped with the right blade.

Reciprocating saws come in both corded or cordless designs. Often, cordless saws are chosen due to portability requirements.

Use

Most of the power tools in your garage are designed for precision work. Miter saws, band saws, circular saws, and jigsaws are all meant for precision cuts. While most users will want a precision cut, there are times when you need a tool that doesn’t make these types of cuts, a tool that will use raw power and force in order to cut through difficult objects. That’s where the reciprocating saw comes in.

Unlike most types of saws that are used for precision cuts, the reciprocating saw is meant to make rough cuts. You’ll need this type of cut when you’re doing demo work on a house or for cutting lumber. Basically, this saw is a good choice when you need to use brute force and it doesn’t matter what the cut looks like.

When it comes to design, these saws look very similar to jigsaws and work just as well. These handheld saws come equipped with a blade on each end, however, the reciprocating saw’s blade is much larger than the blades used for jigsaws.

When you pull the trigger on this saw, the blade will move up and down in order to cut through materials quickly. These saws are built tough and designed to cut through most types of tough materials such as ceramics, metals, drywall, fiberglass, masonry, hardwood, and more. While this type of saw may not be for everyone, they’re still a handy tool to keep in the workshop.

Cordless Design

Using a cordless model comes with a couple of important advantages. First, since they run off of a battery, they can be used pretty much anywhere. Next, since they lack a cord, these saws are much easier to use and maneuver.

The big drawback is that they have to be charged often. If you do purchase a cordless model, make sure you purchase one that runs on a lithium-ion battery, since these batteries offer a longer runtime.

Orbital Action

The blade on a typical reciprocating saw moves up and down. With orbital action, the blades move side to side and up and down. This action increases the saw’s cutting power by allowing it to make more aggressive cuts. If you have a challenging job that a reciprocating saw isn’t able to finish on its own, all you have to do is switch on the orbital action and watch as the saw easily finishes the job.

Variable Speed Controls

Since a reciprocating saw is used to cut through a wide range of materials, it’s important that you purchase a model that allows you to switch up the speeds based on what you’re cutting. The reason behind this is that there are certain types of materials that you can cut more efficiently at a higher or lower speed. As an example, when you’re cutting through some types of materials, such as wood, you’ll need to use a higher speed, but when you’re cutting through other types of materials, such as metal, you need to use a lower speed.

Adjustable Shoe

On a reciprocating saw, the shoe refers to the metal guard located around the blade. A shoe that’s adjustable will allow the user to make different types of cuts and provides better stability and control during use.

Blade Replacement

All blades will get worn out at some point. Regardless of how well a person takes care of their saw, the blade will wear out and become dull, so it will need to be replaced. In order to make this easier, find a saw that offers fast and easy blade changes. Some models will require tools to swap out the blade, while others will feature a toolless blade change design.

Stroke Length

A longer stroke will result in a faster cut. A shorter stroke will take more time to finish the job, but this is the best stroke to use for plunge cuts in which there’s no starting hole to pass the blade through.

Low priced saws often come with a stroke length that ranges from ¾ of an inch up to 1 ¼ inches. Choose a model with a stroke length based on what you need the tool for. Higher priced models come with a stroke length that’s adjustable, which is perfect for remodeling work.

Automatic Stop Brushes

This feature is a must-have since these brushes will make a saw safer and will increase the lifespan of the saw. When these brushes wear out, they’ll automatically stop the saw, preventing damage to the motor.

Housing

When you’re shopping for a reciprocating saw, you’ll come across some models that have plastic housing, while higher priced models will have metal housing. Metal is a better choice since it works to dissipate the heat more efficiently than plastic, which will allow for a longer runtime.

Battery Type

These saws run on nickel-cadmium batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Always opt for models that use lithium-ion batteries since these batteries are designed to hold a charge for a longer period of time and the batteries are lighter and smaller. The lighter battery will help reduce the overall weight of the saw.

Vibration Reduction

Higher-priced models often come with vibration reduction. This feature is designed to give the user better control over the saw, while helping to reduce user fatigue and discomfort. Look for this feature if you plan on using your saw continuously, for several hours. This feature will reduce vibration but will also allow users to make smoother cuts.

Comfort Grips

This feature is commonly overlooked, but it’s one that will have a major impact if you’re using the saw for a longer period of time. A cushioned grip will be significantly more comfortable than a hard metal or plastic grip.

Carrying Case

Models that come with a carrying case will allow you to safely store your saw, while keeping any accessories easily accessible and organized.

Blades

Before you buy a saw, check the saw’s blade availability. Bi-metal models are usually available in different pitches and lengths. You’ll need to use a fine tooth blade in order to make smoother cuts or when you’re cutting metal. A coarse blade is a better choice for tougher cuts and when you’re cutting into soft materials such as wood.

Motor

In the past, corded models were significantly more powerful than cordless. These days, many battery-powered saws can work as hard or harder than their corded counterparts. Their cordless design also allows users to move about freely, without having to worry about cord length. For the toughest jobs, look for a model that comes with at least a 7.5 amp motor. It’s possible to find models that offer more power with thirteen to fifteen amp motors.

If you’re shopping for a cordless model, then go with one that features a brushless motor. These motors are electronically commutated. This means that no brushes will make direct contact with the motor’s commutator like they would with a standard brushed motor. While brushless motors are pricier, they offer many benefits such as a smart tool circuitry, greater efficiency, and a longer lifespan.

Voltage

Just like you can find models that come with motors that offer a variety of different amperages, you can find saw batteries with many different voltages ranging from twelve volts up to thirty-six volts. Some voltage differences are merely a matter of marketing, however, some will also represent a material difference when it comes to force. A nominal voltage will only tell a fraction of the story regarding how much work a battery is able to perform.

Warranty

Purchasing a saw with a warranty will ensure that you’re able to return the saw for repairs or a replacement if the saw doesn’t perform the way it’s designed to. Many manufacturers offer a warranty that ranges from six to twelve months, however, higher priced models may come with a two to four-year warranty, depending on the manufacturer and the model.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy a Corded or Cordless Reciprocating Saw?

Corded saws provide impressive power and versatility and they’re suitable for several different types of jobs at home or work. Cordless models are much lighter, safer, highly portable, and easier to use. There are pros and cons for each type, however, if portability is a priority, then a cordless model is a must-have.

How do You Cut Wood Straight with a Reciprocating Saw?

The saw should be held in front of the user in line with their stomach. The shoe can be pressed against the material, aligning the blade as closely as possible to the marked line. The saw should be angled downwards slightly, allowing it to rip through the material with the pressure applied by the user.

Can You Cut 2×4 with a Reciprocating Saw?

Yes. These powerful saws can cut through pretty much everything, even the thickest lumber that’s embedded with nails.

How Thick of Wood Can a Reciprocating Saw Cut?

The saw blades range from three to twelve inches in length. Remember, the longer the blade, the deeper the cut. A wider blade will reduce wobbling and bending. A heavy-duty blade is usually around 7/7 inches wide, with a thickness that comes in at 0.062 inches.

Are Reciprocating Saws Dangerous?

These saws are able to cut through metal, wood, and all sorts of construction materials. The reciprocating saw can also be very dangerous and should be handled with care. The saw’s potential for kickback is one of its main hazards.

What Saw Blades Make the Smoothest Cuts?

Blades that are packed with teeth will make the smoothest cuts. Usually, these blades are limited to cutting wood that’s one to two inches thick or less.

Final Thoughts

The best cordless reciprocating saws will allow you to use brute force to cut into the toughest materials. These highly portable saws will be invaluable in your workshop, job site, or for around the home use. This buyer’s guide, combined with the products I’ve included here will help you choose the perfect saw to meet your needs, whether you’re doing some serious demo work at home, or you need a saw you can rely on daily for pro use.