how to choose a reciprocating saw

A reciprocating saw is a great tool to have for any number of projects. With so many options available, it can be hard to know which one is the best fit for your needs. This guide will help you understand the different features to look for when choosing a reciprocating saw, so you can make the best decision for your project.

Step 1: Determine what you will be using your reciprocating saw for 

Before determining which of the different types of reciprocating saws described below is right for you, it’s important to determine what project or projects you’ll be using it on. If you already know, great! You can skip this step and go straight to step 2.

If you’re still not sure, let’s take a look at the characteristics of each type of reciprocating saw. 

Corded Saws 

The most powerful type of reciprocating saw is also one of the biggest and heaviest options available. These heavy-duty saws are typically used on large projects with thick wood or metal. 

Cordless Saws 

If you need to be able to work without an extension cord, a cordless model might be the right choice for you. These saws are lighter and easier to handle than their corded counterparts. They’re great for around-the-house projects, but not powerful enough for truly heavy-duty work. 

Compact Saws 

Saws designed for more precise jobs are smaller and lighter than full-sized saws. They’re more easily controlled, making them great for more detailed projects. lightweight reciprocating saws usually have shorter stroke lengths as well, which limits the depth of cut they’re capable of achieving.

Step 2: Decide what features are most important to you

There are a number of different blade speeds, stroke lengths, and power sources available for reciprocating saws. Some models offer additional functions or more advanced safety features. If you have a particular application in mind, it’s best to choose a model that offers all the features you’ll need for that project.

If you’re not sure what features are available, or if you aren’t sure which features are most important to your next project, there are a few key things to consider when choosing a reciprocating saw.

Blade Speed 

The speed of the blade is an indication of how quickly it can cut through various materials. The higher the number, the faster it will be able to cut through thick material. This factor becomes especially important when choosing between corded and cordless models. The slower speeds of cordless saws may make them unable to complete certain cuts in thicker material, while corded models would have no trouble making those cuts at all. On the other hand, cordless saws are usually more powerful than corded models of comparable size.

Stroke Length 

The stroke length is the total distance the blade moves during one full cycle of operation. This can affect how deep a cut you’re able to make with a particular model, as well as what applications it’s best suited for. Models with longer stroke lengths have more power and are better for deeper cuts, while those with shorter stroke lengths are lighter and easier to control but may not be able to go very deep into wood or metal without bogging down or damaging the material. 

Power Source 

Some reciprocating saws are corded, some cordless (battery-powered), and some offer both options (with an added accessory). Cordless models typically provide more power than their corded counterparts, but may not last as long on a full charge or be able to go as deep into thicker materials. Corded models don’t need to be recharged, so they will always have power when you need it.

Safety Features 

Some reciprocating saws come with additional safety features that help keep the user safe while working. Some models’ blades retract into the saw during periods of inactivity or when the trigger is released, which reduces the chance of injury should your hand slip down onto the blade. Other models include guards that shield your body from flying debris and dust when cutting through drywall.

Step 3: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on your new reciprocating saw

Reciprocating saws are typically not that expensive, but the more features you want, the higher the price will be. If you need a cordless saw to work around your house, for example, it’s likely that you’ll have to spend at least $75-$100 on one with good quality. On the other hand, if you only need a light-duty saw for simple projects once in a while, even an inexpensive model should do the trick.

Step 4: Make your decision and buy your new reciprocating saw

After considering everything above Joanna decided that she’d like a corded model with variable speeds. The highest speed available will allow her to cut through thicker wood without slowing down too much or bogging down under pressure. She also wants a saw that allows her to adjust the blade length, so she can work in a large range of applications. She’s not worried about a battery pack or safety features because she only needs this saw for light-duty projects around the house once in a while. Because of this, she’ll be spending less than $50 on a reciprocating saw.

Step 5: Use your new reciprocating saw without fear!

Now that you have all the information you need to choose a reciprocating saw, it should be easy to pick out one that meets all your needs and won’t break the bank. Follow the steps above when choosing your next reciprocating saw and you’re sure to find something perfect for any project. 

The benefits of owning a reciprocating saw:

  1. Many reciprocating saws come with variable speeds, allowing the user to complete different tasks and cut through a variety of different materials.
  2. Corded models never need to be recharged and will always have power when you need it.
  3. Some models offer both corded and cordless capabilities, making them even more versatile. They can always use an extension cord if their battery is running low during a project that needs lots of power.
  4. Cordless models are typically lighter and easier to control than corded ones, making them more suitable for smaller applications where you won’t need as much power.
  5. Some reciprocating saws come with safety features that retract the blade into the body of the saw when not in use or if the trigger is released. These can prevent injury to your hands should they slip down onto the blade.
  6. Many reciprocating saws allow you to adjust the depth of the cut, making them versatile enough for a wide range of applications.

The features you should look for when buying a reciprocating saw:

  1. Corded models have unlimited power, an ideal option for those doing heavy-duty work or working in a remote area where a cordless model won’t cut it.
  2. Variable speeds provide the user with more control over the saw and allow them to use it on different applications and materials easily.
  3. An adjustable blade length ensures that you’ll be able to complete even small tasks. If you need your saw for light-duty jobs around the house once in a while, this size will likely be fine for your needs.
  4. A detachable footplate provides more stability when needed but isn’t too cumbersome to remove when not required. You can always choose whether or not you want it attached depending on the job at hand.
  5. A rubber or plastic grip, particularly on cordless models, provides more comfort and control.
  6. Warranties are an important factor to consider when buying any tool. Since reciprocating saws will see quite a bit of heavy-duty use over time it’s always good to have some kind of warranty for replacement or repair purposes.

How to use a reciprocating saw safely and effectively:

  1. Keep your safety equipment nearby and ready to use. This includes gloves, safety glasses, ear protection, and a mask if the saw creates dust or splinters.
  2. Make sure you understand how to start and handle the reciprocating saw before using it on a project. The instruction manual will contain all relevant information about operation and safety concerns for that particular model.
  3. Keep the blade running smoothly by lubricating it regularly if your saw requires this. Follow the manual’s guidelines on how to do this properly.
  4. Pay extra attention when using a cordless model to ensure that you’re controlling the saw correctly and not accidentally cutting into objects around you.
  5. Always place all body parts in an appropriate position during use; one that doesn’t put them at risk of injury should you slip or bump into something while operating your saw.


So, how do you choose the right reciprocating saw for your needs? Start by considering the projects you’ll be using it for and what type of blade you need. Next, think about the power source do you want a corded or cordless saw? And finally, take into account the weight and size of the saw. With these factors in mind, you should have no problem finding the perfect reciprocating saw for your next home improvement project.