What top-rated reciprocating saws have in common
This is what top-rated reciprocating saws have in common, according to reviews of 2017’s best of the best reciprocating saws by Jason Saw Reviews, 10 Top Rated Reviews, Wiki.ezvid and SawingPros:
An adjustable or pivoting shoe. Top-rated reciprocating saws have an adjustable or pivoting shoe. Being able to position the tool how you need it, depending on the space, location and material involved with the job, lets you see the blade at all times. The shoe also determines how deep the saw can cut.
A detachable cord on corded models. One of the most common jobsite mishaps involving a reciprocating saw occurs when a contractor saws right through the tool’s own power cord. If the cord is not detachable, it’s likely you will have to replace your saw if that happens to you. A reciprocating saw with a detachable cord will simply need a new cord.
Speed lock. A tool that maintains its speed as it cuts—instead of slowing down when you don’t want it to—will cut more evenly. Many of the top-rated reciprocating saws also feature a variable-speed trigger, which gives you control over how fast or slow the blade moves at various points during each cut.
Motor protection. Metal gear housing will prevent the motor from burning out and will automatically stop the reciprocating saw before it gets too hot. One unit has a gear-protecting clutch that absorbs impact that might otherwise damage the motor.
A powerful motor. The hallmark of all top-rated reciprocating saws, the most-recommended tools have 10- to 12-amp motors and cut with at least 2,700 strokes per minute.
Orbital action. Basic reciprocating saws use a back-and-forth motion, like a manual saw, but faster. Orbital reciprocating saws use an elliptical motion, which means the cut has more force. For heavy-duty jobs like demolition, the orbital action is a plus.
Lightweight. Top-rated reciprocating saws are lightweight. A saw weighing between 4.5 and 9 pounds is easier to operate for long stretches than heavier ones, which can fatigue the user.
Easy blade changes. For the most part, that means no tools are required to change a reciprocating saw blade. They simply pop out and snap in.
Even the top-rated reciprocating saw is only as good as the blade you choose for it. Here is what reviewers are saying about saw blades:
- For cutting metal, the blade should feature a diamond grit, which can easily handle cuts through cast iron.
- Look for a carbide tip on a blade made from bimetal, cast aluminum or high-speech steel if it will be used to cut steel pipes, bars and plates.
- Metal blades should have many short teeth, crowded together.
- For cutting concrete or masonry, the blade needs a carbide grit. This will make it easier to slice through clay roof tiles or sewer pipes.
- For pruning, the blade will feature deep gullets and cut both when the blade pushes and again when it pulls.
For cutting wood, a high-carbon steel blade with longer teeth than a metal blade will make the cleanest cut. But for wood with embedded nails, invest in bimetal blades with a spring steel back and high-speed steel teeth.