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How to Choose a Cordless Recip Saw – a Toolstop Buying Guide

How to Choose a Cordless Recip Saw – a Toolstop Buying Guide

Posted by Toolstop Fraser on 1st Jun 2016

Reciprocating saws (sabre saws) are mainstays of the jobsite. No matter what you’re cutting, be it metal, timber, plaster, drywall, plastic tubing, and more, it’s the ideal professional power tool for quickly cutting through whatever you need to cut through. This guide is exactly what you’re looking for to help you decide on the best recip saw to buy.


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The cuts from a recip saw aren’t going to be the prettiest – you’d use a circular saw, for example, if the look of the cut mattered – but the push and pull (reciprocation) action of the saw blade means you’ve got a powerful, adaptable and capable tool in your hands.

It’s a bit like having a jigsaw that you can use any way up you want…

In this guide to buying a cordless reciprocating saw, we’ll cover:

In our guide, we’ve included recip saws that are powered by 10.8v Li-ion batteries or 18v batteries.


Another factor that bears considering is the weight of the product.

Bigger batteries tend to mean heavier power tools, so if your main applications for your cordless recip saw are shorts bursts of cutting above shoulder height and/or in confined spaces, a smaller lighter 10.8v li-ion powered tool is probably your best bet.

We’ve listed a few of these below, check out the size and weight of the saw before you buy, making sure it’ll allow you to work safely in confined areas.

But if you’re cutting heavier workpieces and need more grunt and run time from your battery, a 4Ah 18v Li-ion model is worth looking at.
Black & Decker GKC108

Why Does the Speed and Stroke of a Recip Saw Matter

Speed is everything when you’re cutting. The faster the blade moves, the better the cut, the more control you have over the saw and the quicker the cut takes place. Click here to see the type of blades you should use.

Variable speed on your cordless recip saw’s trigger is a useful benefit as it gives you complete control over the strokes per minute the blade moves at and is typically linked with the saw having “soft start”; you control how fast the blade moves from the first moment you depress the trigger.

Stroke length is another important specification to look at.

makita recip saw
Stroke length is the distance the blade covers with one forward movement. The longer the stroke length, the faster the cut and the longer your saw blade with last.

Talking of blades, be sure to take some time to read our recip blade buying guide as using the correct saw blade for your application protects you and your recip saw, and means you get the job done faster.

Ultimately, the capacity of the cuts you wish to undertake will in a large way be determined by the blade you use.
hitachi recip saw

What Extra Features Should You Look for on a Recip Saw

We all love extra features on our professional power tools. In the world of cordless recip saws, look out for features such as electronic controls on the motor, the ability to reverse or change the cutting angle of the blade, LED job lights are always a bonus, tool-less blade changing and the ability to use your jigsaw blades in the recip saw.

What’s the Best Recip Saw to Buy

Below we’ve listed the latest cordless reciprocating saws on the market. If we’ve got demo videos of the saw in action, you’ll be able to watch it by clicking the Demo Video button.

Dewalt DCS380N 18V XR li-ion Reciprocating Saw – BODY-ONLY. Shop here

Dewalt DCS380N 18V XR li-ion Reciprocating Saw

Key Specs:

  • No Load Stroke Rate: 0-2950 spm
  • Stroke Length: 28.6 mm
  • Lever action keyless blade clamp for quick and easy blade change

Key Benefits:

  • Powerful & highly efficient PM58 DEWALT fan cooled motor with replaceable brushes
  • Part of the intelligent XR Lithium Ion Series designed for efficiency and making applications faster
  • Pivoting shoe allows for angled cuts
  • Four-position blade clamp allows for flush cutting and increased versatility

Bosch GSA18V-LI 18V li-ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw – BODY-ONLY. Shop here

Bosch GSA18V-LI 18V li-ion Cordless Reciprocating Saw

 

Key Specs:

  • No-load speed (1st gear/2nd gear): 0 – 2,400 / 2,700 rpm
  • Stroke lengths: 28 mm
  • Stroke rate (1st gear / 2nd gear): 2,400 / 2,700 spm

Key Benefits:

  • ECP (Electronic Cell Protection) – Protects the battery from Overload, Overheating & Deep Discharge
  • Electronic Motor Protection (EMP) – Makes it almost impossible to burn the motor
  • Lockjaw Blade Holder – for easy one handed blade changes
  • Aluminium Die Cast Front Housing – for optimum robustness and weight
  • 2 Gear Switch – for cutting in metal and wood
  • 2 Finger Trigger – comfortable with good handle space for users wearing gloves

Makita DJR185Z 18V Cordless li-ion Mini Reciprocating Saw (Body Only). Shop Here

Makita DJR185Z 18V Cordless li-ion Mini Reciprocating Saw (Body Only)

Key Specs:

  • Capacity wood: 50mm
  • Capacity MS pipe: 50mm
  • Stroke length: 13mm
  • Strokes per minute: 0-3,000spm

Key Benefits:

  • Single LED job light with pre-glow function
  • Shoe Adjustment
  • Will accept both reciprocating saw blades and jigsaw blades
  • Two switch levers with variable speed control; trigger switch on tool handle & paddle switch on tool body

Makita JR103DZ Reciprocating Saw 10.8V CXT Cordless Li-ion (Body Only). Shop Here

Makita JR103DZ Reciprocating Saw 10.8V CXT Cordless Li-ion (Body Only)

Key Specs:

  • Stroke length: 13mm
  • Stroke speed: 0-3300spm
  • Cutting Capacity into wood: 50mm
    • MS pipe: 50mm
  • BODY-ONLY

Key Benefits:

  • Slim, lightweight machine powered by Makita’s 10.8v batteries (NOTE: not the new CXT design)
  • Two switch levers with variable speed control
  • Electric brake

Makita DJR360ZK Reciprocating Saw Cordless Brushless 2 x 18V (Body Only). Shop Here

Makita DJR360ZK Reciprocating Saw Cordless Brushless 2 x 18V

Key Specs:
  • Capacity in Wood: 255 mm
  • Capacity in Mild Steel Pipe: 130 mm
  • Stroke Length: 32 mm
  • Strokes per Minute (Hi / Lo): 0- 3,000 / 0- 2,300 spm

Key Benefits:
  • Brushless motor
  • Electronic 2-speed selection
  • Tool-less blade change
  • Lock-off lever
  • Electric brake
  • Newly designed crank mechanism for higher efficiency
  • Retractable joist hook

Bosch GSA18VLICNCG Compact Sabre Saw (Body-Only). Shop here

Bosch GSA18VLICNCG Compact Sabre Saw

Key Specs:
  • Stroke Length: 21mm
  • Cutting depth into wood: 200mm
  • White LED job light
  • Weight (inc battery): 2.5kg
  • BODY-ONLY, SUPPLIED IN L-BOXX
Key Features:
  • Lowest vibration levels ensure comfortable use
  • Compact design for versatile – also one-handed – and overhead use
  • LED light for optimum view of the workpiece during sawing

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If you have questions about any of the cordless reciprocating saws in this buying guide, or about any other professional power tool, please get in touch using the comments section below.

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