cordless reciprocating saw

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Reviews 2019

While a task may require a single tool, a job will usually require many–unless you have a tool that can do many tasks. Most power saws either provide precise control or a powerful cutting action, but some jobs require both. A reciprocating saw, or Sawzall, combines the precision of jigsaw with the cutting power of other heavy-duty power saws. Our list of the 5 best cordless reciprocating saws may star Dewalt and Milwaukee, but the best value is yet revealed. Keep reading to find out more.

Product Image
Best Seller
DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS387B)
Top Pick
Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)
Best Value
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)
Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)
Model
DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS387B)
Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)
Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)
Customer Rating
539 Ratings
82 Ratings
278 Ratings
380 Ratings
238 Ratings
Prime
-
Best Seller
Product Image
DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS387B)
Model
DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS387B)
Customer Rating
539 Ratings
Prime
Top Pick
Product Image
Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)
Model
Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)
Customer Rating
82 Ratings
Prime
-
Best Value
Product Image
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger
Model
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger
Customer Rating
278 Ratings
Prime
Product Image
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)
Model
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)
Customer Rating
380 Ratings
Prime
Product Image
Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)
Model
Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)
Customer Rating
238 Ratings
Prime

DEWALT DCS387B 20-volt MAX Compact Reciprocating Saw – Best Seller

Sale
DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS387B)
539 Ratings
DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS387B)
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • fits between studs and allows users to make cuts in confined spaces
  • 4-Position Blade Clamp allows for flush cutting

While Dewalt’s reemergence as a professional-grade power tool brand has been a bit hit or miss, one area where they are generally one of the consistent top performers is with handheld cordless power tools. By providing a solid mix of power and performance with a generally comparable price, Dewalt is once again winning hearts and minds in an ever competitive market. When it comes to the reciprocating saw market, the Dewalt is the best selling product on our list due to a couple of factors but the combination of features for professional contractors as well as those for average consumers is likely a good place to start.

Incredibly Convenient
While many features of convenience are generally reserved more for consumer-grade products, there are a number which can be genuinely useful for professionals as well. For instance, this is the only reciprocating saw on our list that comes with an embedded LED work light. While this may seem like a bit of fluff compared to the need of raw cutting power, the particular demands of a reciprocating saw actually elevate this feature in terms of value. This is only reinforced with the most compact frame profile that we reviewed making it an ideal option for cutting in the tightest, darkest corners.

Solid Versatility
Because they are one of the most well-known brands in the world, Dewalts rides their prestige to goose the price of this saw a bit, though it is well within the market average. Beyond that, there are few true flaws outside a slightly slower cutting speed, but this is unlikely to be an issue for 99-percent of all people. In fact, one of the better qualities of the Dewalt reciprocating saw has to do with the fact that it is more versatile than even most other reciprocating saws. For one, Dewalt has a pivoting shoe to help keep the blade straight while cutting, but Dewalt goes a step further with their 4-position blade clamp that allows you to make flush cuts.

DEWALT 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS387B)

Pros

  • Has an LED work light
  • Has numerous cutting positions
  • Has a longer stroke
  • Has variable speed control
  • Is ergonomically designed
  • Is the most compact reciprocating saw reviewed

Cons

  • A more expensive reciprocating saw
  • Has a slower cutting speed

Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw – Top Pick

Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)
82 Ratings
Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)
  • Tool only, battery not included
  • The patented gear-protecting clutch helps extend the life of the tool by reducing wear to the vital areas of the saw
  • The lever action QUIK-LOK blade clamp allows you to easily remove and replace blades without the use of a tool

Milwaukee is widely recognized as one of the most well-known and respected brands of professional grade power tools. Amongst its major market competitors, Milwaukee tools are known for splitting the difference between power and precision to offer the best balance of both. For their reciprocating saw, we feel that Milwaukee tools offer the best performance at the same general price for the top tier products. To be fair, the Milwaukee reciprocating saw is definitely more of a professional-grade power tool. While this does mean that it can do more than some of its competitors, it also means that the manufacturer expects more from the user too.

Professional Grade
Milwaukee tools understands that high specs are great, but they do not matter unless you can continuously replicate them. To this end, Milwaukee included some rare features that extend the durability and overall lifespan of this reciprocating saw significantly more than for the other products on our list. First, the all-metal gear works, which includes the gears and the box, ensure that you do not have to worry about using the saw day in and day out. On top of that, the REDLINK circuitry protects the electronic components in a similar fashion. Finally, the anti-vibration counterbalances help reduce user fatigue while also ensuring the structural integrity of the Milwaukee reciprocating saw for years to come.

A Wash
Considering that the Milwaukee reciprocating saw is the only product on our list to include a number of high-end manufacturing designs, it might be surprising that it is not more expensive. Part of this may have to do with the fact that the Milwaukee is easily the largest reciprocating saw on our list in pretty much every way. First, this is the heaviest reciprocating saw we reviewed by at least 50-percent which will increase user fatigue. However, it is also the largest reciprocating saw we included as well as limiting some of the tight spaces in which it can work. That said, the various enhanced features included on top of that standard fare makes this a great choice.

Bare-Tool Milwaukee 2620-20 M18 18-Volt Sawzall Cordless Reciprocating Saw (Tool Only, No Battery)

Pros

  • Has all-metal gear works
  • Has anti-vibration counterbalances
  • Has a keyless blade change
  • Has a longer stroke
  • Has REDLINK circuitry
  • Has an adjustable shoe

Cons

  • The most expensive reciprocating saw
  • Is the largest reciprocating saw reviewed

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger – Best Value

Sale
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger
278 Ratings
BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger
  • Variable speed trigger for increased control
  • Pivoting shoe for increased control
  • Tool-free blade change

Few companies sit atop a single market the way that BLACK+DECKER commands the power tool market in general. This is not to suggest that BLACK+DECKER is the best performing power tool manufacturer on our list, but they are definitely the most well-known and highest grossing. However, BLACK+DECKER is squarely a consumer-grade brand of power tools, so it should not be purchased with the intent to be used for professional-grade jobs. That said, the BLACK+DECKER reciprocating saw is suitable for pretty much any DIY job while still being less expensive than most sawzalls. That is why we rank it as our best value reciprocating saw.

Splitting the Line
One thing to consider when looking for a budget-friendly reciprocating saw is making sure that it does not have any glaring flaws which would impact its general performance. Thankfully, BLACK+DECKER made sure to provide a sawzall that can handle most jobs in the home but does not exceed the top competitors. The pivoting shoe and keyless blade change are fairly standard, though still expected options. One area where the BLACK+DECKER does exceed expectations is with its overall size. While the physical dimensions are only good for second-best on our list, the BLACK+DECKER is the lightest sawzall that we reviewed.

Some Limitations
Of course, every budget-minded will have its limitations, though the BLACK+DECKER’s are generally not deal-breaking. One area that may limit its versatility is a shorter stroke length of only ⅞” which reduces the aggressiveness of the cutting action. On top of that, this reciprocating saw is known to have some of the worst battery life on our list which will further increase the overall cost or reduce the amount of continuous work time. That said, this reciprocating saw does offer a solid variable speed trigger control that also comes with a safety electric brake.

BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw with Battery and Charger

Pros

  • A less expensive reciprocating saw
  • Has a pivoting shoe
  • Has a keyless blade change
  • The lightest reciprocating saw reviewed
  • Has a compact profile
  • Solid power control

Cons

  • Has a shorter stroke
  • Has a poor battery life

PORTER-CABLE PCC670B 20-volt MAX Lithium Bare Reciprocating Tigersaw – Runner Up

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)
380 Ratings
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)
  • High Performace Drivetrain delivers 1" stroke length and 0-3,000 SPM
  • Compact design allows tool to reach tight spaces
  • Tool Free Blade Release

PORTER-CABLE was once a highly-regarded professional-grade power tool manufacturer, but these days, they are considered more of a mid-tier brand. Unfortunately, the power tool market is narrowing more to a professional-grade vs consumer-grade dichotomy leaving PORTER CABLE on the outside looking in. As such, PORTER-CABLE is a bit like Goldilocks without Baby Bear: nothing is just right, but that does not mean that the PORTER-CABLE is without value. In fact, the lower price combined with the surprising power might make this the best budget professional reciprocating saw.

Like a Brother
A quick glance at some of the other reciprocating saws on our list will show a close similarity with the PORTER-CABLE and the best selling product. However, the difference in price shows that PORTER CABLE can offer nearly the same performance at a much lower price. While the experience of the using them is fairly different, as we will see, the combination of a small profile and a lightweight design make this reciprocating difficult to pass up for a professional or a DIYer. Though, the PORTER-CABLE does not suffer from the minor drop in cutting speed as does the competitor.

Hard Cutting
While the PORTER-CABLE may offer a solid cutting action, it is not nearly as concerned about how the product handles. Specifically, the PORTER-CABLE seems to have missed some of the engineering advances that make this product quieter and easier to use. To wit, the PORTER-CABLE sawzall is the loudest saw on our list and also generates the most vibrations. While most reciprocating saws generate a significant amount of vibrations, few of them do so to the extent of the PORTER-CABLE. This will not only increase your fatigue, but it will also decrease the cut precision–something that sawzalls already struggle with.

PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)

Pros

  • A less expensive reciprocating saw
  • Is a lighter reciprocating saw
  • Is the most compact reciprocating saw reviewed
  • Has a keyless blade change
  • Is ergonomically designed
  • Has a pivoting shoe

Cons

  • Vibrates more than most
  • Louder than most

Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw – Also Consider

Sale
Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)
238 Ratings
Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)
  • QUICK BLADE CHANGES: No tools necessary to change blades! Simply unlatch the front and the blades will pull out easily. This tool is...
  • VARIABLE SPEED TRIGGER lets you change your power from job-to-job. Increase pressure on the trigger to increase the cutting speed and power...
  • ANTI-VIBRATION HANDLE: Work in comfort. Springs and rubber plates found inside the system make the rattling found with reciprocating...

Ryobi has taken time and dedication, but it is now recognized as one of the best consumer-grade power tool manufacturers in the world. On top of that, Ryobi is especially favored for their cordless power tools within the consumer-grade market. If BLACK+DECKER is the kind of the consumer-grade market by volume, Ryobi has equal claim to that crown in performance. That said, every product is different, and it seems as if their companies’ respective products took the others’ traditional design philosophy. As such, the Ryobi reciprocating saw is actually the least expensive product on our list but also has the most cutting limitations.

Surprising Value
Considering that Ryobi offers their reciprocating saw at rock-bottom prices, it may be a bit surprising that this is one of the lighter sawzalls that we reviewed. On top of that, in order to ensure that you do not have to worry about the longevity of this reciprocating saw, Ryobi went ahead and constructed the housing out of die-cast aluminum, providing both structural durability as well as moisture and corrosion resistance. On top of that, this also the fastest cutting reciprocating saw that we reviewed, though the difference is negligible.

Definitely DIY
One of the more surprising qualities of the Ryobi is that it is actually one of the least powerful products on our list. While Ryobi is not necessarily known for its robust power, the brand is generally fairly reliable in being able to keep itself out of the basement. To make matters worse, the Ryobi sawzall also has one of the least precise cutting actions. On the other hand, this reciprocating saw is arguably one of the more ergonomically designed. While the vibrations may affect the precision of the cut, the Gripzone overmold handle reduces felt vibrations and prevents your grip from slipping.

Ryobi P515 One+ 18V 7/8 Inch Stroke Length 3,100 RPM Lithium Ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw with Anti-Vibration Handle (Batteries Not Included, Power Tool Only)

Pros

  • The least expensive reciprocating saw reviewed
  • Is a lighter reciprocating saw
  • Has the fastest cutting speed
  • Has a keyless blade change
  • Is ergonomically designed
  • Has die-cast aluminum housing

Cons

  • Has a shorter stroke
  • Not the most powerful

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Buying Guide 2019

Cutting Power

Because reciprocating saws are so often used for demolition and other heavy-duty work, the cutting power is definitely one of the more important considerations. However, cordless reciprocating saws are a bit more difficult to judge in this regard than their corded cousins. Part of this has to do with the fact that most cordless reciprocating saws use the same rated motor which makes a quick power gauge useless. On top of that, the cutting speed range within the product market is only separated by a few degrees of difference.

That said, it is still important to make sure that the reciprocating saw can handle the level of cutting difficulty you have. As such, consumer reports and customer feedback is generally one of the best ways to gauge this quality. Another reasonable method is to look at whether the brand is generally considered a professional-grade or consumer-grade brand. That said, few of these measures are truly accurate, though it is fair to consider this product somewhat inherently designed for DIYers. This is because a heavy-duty power tool that limits its action through a cordless design is unlikely meant for professionals.

Stroke Length

While the actual cutting power generated by the electric motor can be difficult to ascertain for a cordless reciprocating saw, one hint can often be found in the stroke length. It is important to remember that the stroke length does not actually determine the maximum thickness of material that you can cut. Instead, the length of stroke has far more impact on the aggressiveness of the cutting action with a longer stroke correlating to a more aggressive cut. Since reciprocating saws are not generally used for incredibly precise work, this does not have as much of a downside.

Part of the reason this spec can be used to gauge the overall cutting power is that the longer the stroke, the more strain is put on the motor. To make sure their products are within line of their competition, a manufacturer is unlikely to make a reciprocating saw with a stroke too long for the motor to handle. That said, a shorter stroke can actually come in handy if you have some tasks which require more power than a jigsaw but more precision than a powerful reciprocating saw.

Variability

This can actually manifest in a couple of ways and can potentially be the most important aspect of a reciprocating saw that is not generally standardized. The first way that reciprocating saws increase their variability is through a pivoting shoe and occasionally even a movable blade. The second form of variability comes from a variable speed change options, often controlled by the trigger. However, it is important to understand that the increased versatility gained by a more variable sawzall does not just apply broadly.

For instance, the variable speed control is designed to allow for different materials to be cut without having to change the blade. Depending on the material, you will want the saw blade to cut faster or slower, though an experienced contractor can use this to make general cutting easier as well. On the other hand, the pivoting shoe and movable blade will allow the reciprocating saw to cut at angles and in tight spaces most other saws could not. This is especially relevant for demolition jobs that need some precision to keep part of the structure intact.

Size

Since reciprocating saws are used for heavy-duty tasks, it might come as a bit of a surprise that they are also often highly prized for having a small imprint. However, when you consider some of the specialized jobs that are best suited for a reciprocating saw, it begins to make sense. First, since heavy-duty jobs are generally not something you can knock out in half an hour, the weight of the sawzall will play a huge role in how it feels to use the product. The heavier the reciprocating saw, the more you will feel fatigued after using it. It is worth remembering that the weight provided generally does not include the weight of the battery, so you should add anywhere from ½ to 1 lb for a better estimation.

It is also worth remembering that the heavier the sawzall, the more imprecise the cut may be, depending on how the components are stabilized within the housing. On the dimension side of things, reciprocating saws generally favor small, compact frames which allow you to more easily maneuver the saw in a tight space. In fact, a number of reciprocating saws refine their profile’s design so that you can make flush cuts at unusual angles in tight corners–something bulkier sawzalls cannot accomplish. This is especially relevant if you have to make a pendulum plunge cut in an incredibly tight corner.

Ease of Use

While few cordless reciprocating saws are terribly difficult to figure out, there are still some aspects of using the tool that can be easier than others. One of the most relevant in this respect is the inclusion of a keyless blade change which allows you to maintain a quick work pace without having to stop for minutes on end to change the saw blade. That said, it is important to make sure that the keyless blade change still secures the blade firmly in place or else it could fly out of the sawzall while in use. It is also worth looking for a reciprocating saw that has a universal blade clamp as opposed to a proprietary type.

While not a standard ease of use consideration for power tools more broadly, the battery versatility may be meaningful for a cordless reciprocating saw. This is because many brands have a wide range of battery compatibility between their cordless power tools. As such, if you find or have a manufacturer you favor, looking for that same brand may help reduce the need to purchase additional batteries.

Ergonomics

While the weight of a reciprocating will play a fairly large role in the user experience for using the products, there are a number of other features which can enhance the experience further. One of the most common considerations centers around the vibrations generated by the sawzall and how to dampen them. This can be a bit tricky considering reciprocating saws are designed for heavy-duty tasks, but some manufacturers have figured out how to stabilize the motor and gear works from within the suspended housing.

Other, more obvious, ergonomic features include the commonly used D-handle that provides a solid grip with superior stability. The handle will often be coated in some type of cushioning material made out of either foam to absorb sweat or rubber to prevent slipping. Either way, the coating will also be used to help dampen vibrations.

Extra Features

Outside of the main considerations, there are a number of other, less common features that manufacturers will add to their reciprocating saw in an effort to stand out. One of the more intriguing options is a bright LED work light since reciprocating saws are often used for demolition. On top of that, a cordless reciprocating saw would be most useful in a location without electricity, and an LED work light would reduce the need to bring a power generator.

Other extra features to look for include the use of any superior metals or components as these will generally determine the longevity of the reciprocating saw. The use of strong, durable metals as well as durable engineering practices is often worth a sizable increase in cost for long term value. If you are a DIYer, you might want to look for some features focused more on the safety of inexperienced users. While these features are not terribly common in the sawzall market, a few models come with an electric brake that stops the blade when you release the trigger.

FAQ’s

Cordless vs corded reciprocating saw

Though our list focuses exclusively on cordless reciprocating saws, there is a thriving corded market as well. As such, you should figure out what you generally expect to use your reciprocating saw for and base your decision about which type to get on that. Considering that corded reciprocating saws came first, you have to understand what it is that cordless reciprocating saws improve upon. While it may differ a bit for some power saws, for reciprocating saws, the primary reason to use a cordless model is due to a lack of power supply.

Granted, many people choose a cordless reciprocating saw due to the convenience, but a professional would only choose a cordless reciprocating saw to get to an area that would otherwise be incredibly difficult for a corded model. It is worth noting that the improved maneuverability of a cordless reciprocating is the convenience factor pushing average consumers to favor that approach as well. However, it should also be noted that most cordless reciprocating saws cannot compete in terms of cutting power with a comparable corded model and often comes up short against the class below them as well. Of course, unless you are a contractor at a professional job site, this is unlikely to make too much difference.

When to use a reciprocating saw

If you are familiar with other types of power tools in general and power saw in particular, then the reciprocating saw likely looks similar to the jigsaw, and in fact, the two do actually work along a similar cutting action. However, most reciprocating saws are significantly larger and more powerful than a jigsaw. In order to accommodate this extra cutting power, reciprocating saws feature a larger housing which generally requires two hands to steady. This does at least provide some clue as to when you should use a reciprocating saw.

Jigsaws are generally used to make plunge cuts in tight spaces, make irregular cuts, and cut different types of material. These are all tasks the reciprocating saw can accomplish too with the main difference between the two power saws being that jigsaws are also often used for delicate cuts. Because a reciprocating saw in much larger and more powerful than a comparable jigsaw, the reciprocating saw is not at all suitable for delicate cuts. On the other hand, reciprocating saws are able to make larger cuts quicker due to a more aggressive cutting action. In direct comparison, the reciprocating saw should be used in place of the jigsaw for cutting heavy-duty materials or when the weight of the cut would increase the cut time by twice as long or more.

Different types of cuts

Much like the jigsaw, one of the best things about a reciprocating saw in the first place is its ability to perform a number of different types of cuts. Aside from the standard rip cut and crosscut, reciprocating saws are also great at making irregular cuts and plunge cuts too. For irregular cuts, the main thing to remember is to keep the body level with the blade to prevent it from bending or catching which can tear the material or break the blade. Plunge cuts will generally require the same setup as with a jigsaw, except the pilot hole must be larger to accommodate the thicker blade.

Of course, you can make a plunge cut without a pilot hole in a similar fashion as with a jigsaw, but you must be aware of the differences in approach. Jigsaws are much smaller and less powerful than reciprocating saw which makes cutting at an improper angle less of a risk. If you make a mistake with a jigsaw, you are far more likely to mar the surface of the workpiece rather than injure yourself. However, due to the significant increase in cutting power, using the same technique to make a plunge cut with a reciprocating saw is inherently riskier. As such, if you attempt to make a plunge cut with a reciprocating saw using the pendulum technique, be aware that the tool is far more likely to catch and pull with force than a jigsaw would.

Conclusion

For the best mix of professional and consumer features, the Dewalt skirts the line while ensuring that both markets are satisfied. While this does come at a bit higher of a cost than the market average, the Dewalt offers some features you cannot find on other products and is one of the most maneuverable we found. Of course, if you need a truly professional-grade reciprocating saw, the Milwaukee not only has the cutting power for any job but is manufactured to the highest standards. Still, if you need something a little lighter on the pocketbook, the BLACK+DECKER is an adequate consumer-grade model.