How to Convert a Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw to Single Speed

Do you have a variable speed reciprocating saw that you rarely use because it’s just too complicated to use? And, you don’t know How to Convert a Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw to Single Speed?

In short, to convert it, Remove the drive clutch, Remove the trigger and switch the assembly, Then solder or tape over the sensor wire. Finally, reassemble the saw.

If you want to learn more in this article, I will show you how to do it safely and easily.

Types of reciprocating saw speeds:

Before you start, it will help if you know the difference between variable speed and single speed.

1: Single speed saw parts

A single-speed saw has one set RPM, or oscillation rate per minute, which you control by the amount of pressure you apply to the blade. In order for this to work, you usually have to set a specific blade speed for any given material that will be cut. This is because different materials require different speeds, or oscillation rates per minute, in order to achieve maximum cutting efficiency. Once it’s set, it won’t change unless you switch speed settings. The parts that we need to change in order to make it a single speed are the trigger and some gears.

2: Variable speed reciprocating saw

Converting to a single-speed isn’t difficult, but it does require some mechanical ability. You will need to consider that you will have to set the saw speed at a lower RPM for wood, while higher RPMs are required for metal. This is because wood dulls blades faster than metal. If you want to use it for both materials, simply set it at a medium RPM.

How to Convert a Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw to Single Speed:

Here are some steps to convert the speed

Step 1:

Disconnect the power cord from the wall outlet. Then remove the blade guard by loosening the screw on it with an adjustable wrench, then lifting it off.

Step 2:

Next, remove the outer housing of the saw by removing the two screws that are holding it in place with an adjustable wrench or a drill/driver. Then lift off the housing and set it aside so it won’t get dirty or damaged.

Step 3:

Remove all of the components inside until you see three black gears on either side. Use pliers to pull them away from each other so you can access them better with tools when needed.

Step 4:

You’ll notice that there are several metal pieces surrounding these gears, which are called cam bars. These control how many oscillations per minute your saw makes based on how far down they are pressed against your saw’s mechanism when you squeeze the trigger.

To convert it to a single-speed, you need to bend these bars so that the saw only makes one oscillation per minute. It’s recommended to use a vise grip and an old metal file for this process.

Step 5:

Now put everything back together in reverse order of taking them apart, then plug your saw back into the wall outlet and test its speed by pressing the trigger; if it doesn’t go as fast as you would like, you can bend the cam bars again and try different speeds.

Once you’re satisfied with your new single-speed reciprocating saw conversion, feel free to move on with your task! Always be safe when working with tools such as this one. If unsure about how or why something should be done, always consult a professional.

Safety Tips:

These are some safety tips to follow when working with saw:

  • Before you begin, read the saw’s manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that this is something that can be done with your particular tool. If unable to find any information about what you’re attempting, stop and consult a professional before continuing.
  • Converting a variable-speed reciprocating saw is going to void the warranty on it so always remember this before doing anything to it. 
  • All safety precautions must be taken when using a reciprocating saw as one slip up could cause serious harm or even death.
  • Always wear hand and eye protection when operating a reciprocating saw. 
  • Never stand in front of or behind the blade as it may snag your clothing, hair, jewelry, etc., which will lead to injury or death very quickly. 
  • Always pull the trigger before moving the tool in order to prevent it from starting unexpectedly. 
  • Never release the trigger while changing blades, as this can cause injury.
  • It is important to wear gloves while doing anything that might cut your operator’s hand on a reciprocating saw. 
  • While always removing or loosening the blade holder when not in use, never look down inside the blade as this is a good way to lose your sight. 
  • Always handle blades carefully and never touch the red part which can cause injury. Be careful not to drop any parts during the conversion process as finding replacements may be difficult if lost.


I hope that you find this blog post helpful and that it answers any questions you might have about converting a variable-speed reciprocating saw to a single speed. Please feel free to ask questions below! Make sure to stay safe while working with tools such as these. Thank you for reading and happy changing!


What size tool will the reciprocating saw blade hold?

This varies from model to model.

Why does a variable speed reciprocating saw make fewer oscillations per minute than a single-speed one?

The cam bars on your saw control how many times it makes an oscillation per minute. When they are bent, the more you bend them, the fewer oscillations per minute your saw makes. This is how it can be converted from a variable speed to a single speed.

What is an oscillation?

An oscillation is an action of moving back and forth, or up and down. This is what a reciprocating saw blade does as it meets with your saw’s mechanism.

How do you know if a reciprocating saw is a single speed or variable?

If it has a knob on the handle that can be twisted, then it’s most likely a variable-speed saw. If there isn’t anything on the handle and you have to adjust your speed by moving your hands while holding the trigger, then it’s single-speed.

How does a reciprocating saw work?

Oscillations allow the blade to make fast, quick cuts; only one oscillation per minute is needed for most tasks.

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