Corded or cordless reciprocating saw - Pro Construction Guide

Corded or cordless reciprocating saw: which is better?

Corded or cordless reciprocating saw? Manufacturers make them in both corded and cordless models. Which is right for your job?

Pros and cons

Corded Reciprocating Saws

Electric reciprocating saws have power cords, and they have to be plugged into an electrical outlet to operate. Because they can deliver non-stop torque—and lots of it—they are well-suited for demolition and industrial work.

Contractors nearly universally agree that a corded reciprocating saw has more power and is better for cutting through heavy materials.

Also, a corded reciprocating saw doesn’t have a battery, so it is considerably lighter than a corded tool with a battery pack. A lighter saw allows you to work continuously without feeling fatigued. A lightweight saw also is easier to use on jobs that require you to reach overhead.

Plus, you never have to worry that a low battery will stop the job if your reciprocating saw is plugged into the wall.

A corded saw has a few drawbacks, however:

  • Dragging a power cord around a debris-laden demolition site isn’t easy. The cord can make it hard to maneuver.
  • It’s almost a given that you will cut the power cord sooner or later. A tip: Buy a corded saw with a detachable cord. That way, you can replace the cord—rather than the tool—if you ruin it.
  • Not all construction sites have electrical outlets. If your only reciprocating saw has a power cord attached, you won’t be able to use it if there’s no place to plug it in.

Cordless

Cordless reciprocating saws are battery-powered. Their batteries, which typically are rated at 18 or more volts, are rechargeable and have a run life of several hours.

Every cordless reciprocating saw comes with a charger. It takes about half an hour to recharge the battery.

Contractors like cordless reciprocating saws because they are portable and can be used anywhere—even on a jobsite with no power source.

Cordless reciprocating saws allow you to maneuver into corners and tight spaces easier than a corded tool will. They’re easier to carry around because there’s no need to unplug them when you get too far from an electrical outlet.

Lithium-ion battery technology means you can run your new, cordless reciprocating saw for much longer than older models, which ran on standard batteries.

Still, cordless reciprocating saws have their limits. For example:

  • Many contractors say cordless saws—even high-powered newer models—are not as powerful than their corded cousins. But manufacturers are getting there: Some cordless saws rated at 20 volts, and their makers claim they match corded tools when it comes to torque.
  • Cordless saws weigh considerably more than corded models. The more powerful the tool, the heavier the battery.
  • You have to charge the batteries between uses. Many contractors invest in an extra battery so they can work continuously, even when a battery is charging.
  • Cordless saws typically cost more than corded models, and the batteries can cost more than the saw.
  • “There is no reason to buy a high powered cordless model with a heavy battery if you are always within distance of a power outlet,” one reviewer said.

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