Power Tool Buying Guide for Reciprocating Saws

The reciprocating tool is not used to build stuff, it is used to tear down or destroy things.  A reciprocating saw is considered a demolition tool.  A reciprocating saw is probably not going to be at the top of a list for tools most often needed, but when you need to destroy anything, it is the handiest tool in the world.

A reciprocating saw is a simple tool that has a motor that drives a blade back and forth.  There are two main power types of saws, a corded and cordless saw.

A cordless reciprocating saw is have come a long way over the years.  In the past, you would never think about owning a cordless saw as you would be ripping through batteries.  Nowadays, cordless reciprocating saws are more powerful and can last a long time.  One huge advanatge is not having to worry about ruining your cord since it’s a demolition tool.
A corded reciprocating saw is a way to go if you will be doing demo for a majority of your work day.  You won’t have to worry about changing batteries or the tool bogging down.will just about cut through anything you want and if you have the right machine, it won’t bog down either.  If you’re looking to buy a reciprocating saw, I would buy a corded one.  Most cordless kits now come with a reciprocating saw.

Reciprocating Saw Feature

Cord – If you buy a corded version, make sure you get one that has a detachable cord.  Since this tool is for destroying, most of the time you will have debris on the ground and you will be bound to cut the cord.  A detachable cord is very easy to replace.

Orbital Action – Orbital action refers to the blade movement.  A typical reciprocating saw moves back and forth, while an orbital saw not only moves back and forth, but it also moves up and down.  Orbital action will help cut through material, except for pipe, a lot faster and easier.  Make sure the tool has an adjustment that allows you to change the setting from orbital to a straight cut.

Strokes per Minute (SPM) – This is how many times the blade will move in and out per minute.  It’s a good way to gauge the speed of the tool.

Stoke Lenght – This is how far the blade will move back and forth.  If you see a stroke length of 1-1/8″, this means the blade will travel 1-1/8 before moving in the opposite direction.

Shoe – This is the metal piece at the end of the saw, the piece that actually lays against your work.  Some shoes are adjustable which means you can control the depth of the shoe.  Adjustable shoes are great for getting the most use out of your blade.

Reciprocating Saw Blades


There are two main types of blades for a reciprocating saw. Metal and Wood Blades.  Metal blades have more short teeth closer together and are used to cut through a pipe and other metals.  The wood blades have longer teeth that are spread farther apart and are used for cutting wood.  The most common blade you will see is bi-metal blades.  There are other blades such as pruning blades, flush cut blades, but the metal and wood are the most widely used blades.