Considering that you stumbled upon this article, you already likely know what a reciprocating saw is. In case you don’t, however, it’s a power saw with a replaceable blade that moves back-and-forth. It’s mainly meant for demolition work and doing “rough” cuts. And, with the right blade, it can cut through both wood and metal.
The tool – sometimes referred to as a Sawzall – comes in both a corded and a cordless form. In this article, we will take a look at what the best cordless reciprocating saws are, as well as at the criteria to consider when choosing the right one for you.
Before continuing, though, below’s a quick table summarizing my top three picks.
TOP PICK: DeWalt DCS380B 20V MAX
Versatile tool with enough power for most tasks. Perfect for both pro and amateur handymen.
Makita XRJ06Z 36V Cordless Recipro Saw
Powered by two 18V batteries, it’s powerful. Has two different speed settings.
SKIL PWRCore 12 Compact Reciprocating Saw
Highly portable saw that can be useful around the house. Powerful enough for lighter tasks.
9 Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws
Let’s start quick reviews of the seven cordless reciprocating saws that are worth considering if you are looking into getting one.
Please note that they are in no particular order and that the right one for you will depend on your situation. Further down in this article, you can find a buyer’s guide that will help you make the right decision and pick the one that suits your needs the best.
1. Makita XRJ06Z 36V Cordless Recipro Saw
The first product I will mention in this list is one by my favorite power tool brand, Makita. The XRJ06Z 36V reciprocating saw uses two 18-volt batteries to deliver power that is comparable to that of the corded variants of the tool.
This saw can be used at two different speed settings with up to 2,300 strokes per minute in the slower mode and up to 3,000 strokes per minute in the faster mode. Each stroke is 1 1/4 inches long.
To help you with cutting in the right place even in darker spots, the saw is equipped with an LED light. And, it’s also equipped with Makita’s proprietary crank mechanism that helps minimize blade deflection and vibrations.
If you are using other 18V Makita cordless power tools, then – as long as they use the brand’s proprietary LXT batteries – you will be able to share those. However, if this will be your first Makita tool, then you should get the saw in a set with two batteries and a charger.
2. Black & Decker BDCR20C 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw
If you are on a budget, try looking at the Black & Decker BDCR20C 20V MAX. It’s not only affordable but also strong enough to tackle most of the tasks you could be facing around your house.
The saw comes with a 5-inch blade, however, you will likely want to get an extra set of blades that suit your needs. It uses a standard blade slot compatible with most blade brands and can take a blade that is up to 12 inches long.
While you can use the saw for many applications, one of the most commonly reported uses for this tool is pruning. It’s suitable for work requiring a bit more precision as well, though, considering that it has a variable speed trigger – i.e. the deeper you push the trigger, the faster the blade moves.
Finally, the tool is a part of Black & Decker’s 20V MAX system, and so its batteries are compatible with other tools in the system. It comes with a battery and a charger by default. And, while the tool is very durable, in case something goes wrong, it comes with a two-year limited warranty.
3. DeWalt DCS380B 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw
While the Black & Decker tool above is perfect for the casual handyman, if you are a pro, you will want the DeWalt DCS380B 20V MAX recip saw instead.
It has a 4-position blade clam which is helpful when cutting flush in a variety of positions. While the saw doesn’t offer multiple speed settings, it is equipped with a variable speed trigger.
The saw provides a stroke that’s 1 and 1/8 inches long, up to 3,000 times per minute. When buying this saw, keep in mind that it does not come with any blades. As such, you will want to get a separate set from the get-go. You can, of course, get DeWalt blades, however, other ones – such as those made by Milwaukee or Bosch – will work as well.
Batteries are not included with the saw either, and so you will want to get at least one 20-volt DeWalt battery. While any capacity will work, unless you want to be charging it all the time, I recommend getting the 4.0Ah one. Alternatively, you can get it as a set with a 3.0Ah battery.
4. SKIL PWRCore 12 Compact Reciprocating Saw
The SKIL PWRCore 12 compact recip saw lacks the power of the other saws in this list. However, that lack of power is more than made up for by its compactness and mobility.
The saw has a variable speed trigger that can deliver up to 3,000 strokes per minute depending on how much you press it, each stroke being 3/4 inches long. You will receive the saw with a single wood cutting blade, and so, depending on the materials you are planning to be cutting, you might want to consider getting an extra set of blades from the very beginning.
In spite of being quite small, its battery – which can be charged via a USB port – lasts long. Furthermore, the charger that comes with this product is equipped with Skil’s PWR Jump quick-charging technology which allows the battery to go from 0% to 25% in only five minutes. The battery is compatible with Skil’s other PWRCore 12-series 12-volt tools.
The one downside of this product is the fact that it does not come with a storage case. However, you can easily solve that by getting a third-party one.
5. Tacklife Advanced 12-Volt Max Reciprocating Saw
Similarly to the one above, the Tacklife Advanced 12V reciprocating saw is a compact one meant for lighter use than its full-size counterparts.
The tool comes in a set with one 1500mAh battery that can be charged in as little as an hour. Measuring only 12 inches and weighing just 3.4 pounds, this saw was designed to be operated with just one hand.
This Tacklife compact reciprocating saw is equipped with a variable speed trigger and delivers up to 2,500 strokes per minute. Each of those strokes is 4/5 of an inch long.
In spite of its compact size, it can cut through a wide variety of materials ranging from drywalls through metals and plastics all the way to wood. However, one of the best uses for it is pruning – especially so given that it comes with a clamping jaw that helps keep the saw in place when cutting a tree branch.
The one downside of this saw is its fairly short battery life. While the manufacturer suggests the battery can last for about 30 minutes, users have reported it lasting about 20 minutes or so. Because of that, if you plan to use it for prolonged periods of time, you will want to get a spare battery with it.
6. Porter-Cable 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw
Having been around for more than a hundred years, Porter-Cable knows a thing or two about power tools. As such, it’s no wonder that its 20V MAX reciprocating saw is one of the best options to consider – especially if you are looking for something for lighter use and are on a budget.
The saw delivers a one-inch stroke up to 3,000 times per minute. Compared to the larger Makita and DeWalt saws on this list, it’s quite compact. While it does not come with a battery, it’s compatible with all Porter-Cable 20V MAX batteries.
Even though it is a good saw overall, some users complained about the noise it generates and about the fact that it seems to vibrate fairly strong when in use. As such, you will not want this tool if you are a pro that needs to be cutting things day in and day out. For the occasional user, though, it is perfectly fine.
7. Ryobi P516 18V One+ Variable Speed Recip Saw
The Ryobi P516 18V Cordless One+ reciprocating saw is worth considering if you are already using other Ryobi 18-volt tools. That way, you will be able to share batteries between them.
This saw has a rubber-coated handle that prevents it from slipping in your hands. The handle is also designed to absorb the vibrations that the tool produces, and thus allows for more precise cuts than some of the other tools on this list.
It can deliver only up to 2,900 strokes per minute unlike the 3,000 that most other saws on this list can. That’s more than enough for most tasks, though. And, with the right blades, you will be able to cut easily through all kinds of woods, plastics, and metals.
You will need to purchase a battery for this tool separately. It comes with one 6-inch wood blade, and so you will want to get a set of blades in addition to that as well.
Finally, Ryobi provides a 3-year limited warranty on its tools in case they are being used for private purposes. In the case of commercial use (rental, pro handyman, etc.), the warranty is only 30 days. While the tool is sturdy and will likely last you long, if you prefer to have a standard warranty, only get it if you plan to use it at your home.
8. Hitachi CR18DGLP4 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw
The last “true” reciprocating saw on this list is the Hitachi CR18DGLP4. As it comes without a battery, you will need to buy one separately – that is unless you already have Hitachi 18V slide-on batteries.
One of the main things that are worth noting about this recip saw is its adjustable front shoe. By sliding it in and out of the saw, you can control the depth of the cut that you want to do.
The saw can deliver up to 3,300 one-inch strokes per minute with no load. It’s – of course – equipped with a variable speed trigger. While the tool comes with two wood blades, if you want to cut metal or have any other specific uses in mind, you should get the appropriate blades when ordering the tool as well.
While it’s an excellent tool overall, if you are planning to do some heavy duty cutting, you might want to consider one of the other saws on this list – or even a corded one. The reason for that being that some users reported that the tool shuts down automatically when overloaded – and that seems to happen quite easily.
9. Worx WX550L 20V AXIS 2-in-1 Recip Saw and Jigsaw
As its name suggests, the Worx WX550L is a hybrid – it can be used both as a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw. All you need to do to switch between the two modes is pivot the position of its head by 90 degrees. That takes mere seconds.
The variable speed trigger on this tool is smooth and precise – something you will find especially useful when doing precision cutting in its jigsaw mode. The saw can deliver up to 3,000 strokes per minute, each of those three-quarters of an inch long.
It’s compatible with all standard reciprocating saw blades as well as T-shank jigsaw blades. And, since it doesn’t come with any, you will want to get a set when you order the tool. On the other hand, the tool comes with a battery and a charger, and so it will be ready to use the moment it arrives at your house.
As you would expect, this is a great tool for home use. If you are a pro handyman, though, you will want to get one of the reciprocating saws mentioned earlier in this list together with a separate jigsaw instead.
What to Consider When Buying a Cordless Reciprocating Saw
Now that you know what some of the good reciprocating saws are, let’s take a look at what the factors to consider are when choosing the right one for your needs. This should help you in case you didn’t find one that you like in the list above or if you are not sure which one from the list is the perfect one for your needs.
The very first thing you need to think about is how powerful your saw needs to be. While this won’t matter that much if you plan to cut softer materials like wood, drywall, or plastics, it will be critical when cutting harder materials – especially metals. You also need to consider whether you will be cutting a solid piece of metal or something like a pipe.
You can compare the power of different reciprocal saws by looking at their voltage among other things.
As an example, while a 12-volt compact one will work just fine when cutting smaller branches or PVC pipes, for metal pipes you will want at least an 18-volt one. In the most extreme cases, you might even want to consider getting a corded one instead of a cordless one.
Most cordless reciprocal saws can deliver up to about 3,000 strokes per minute with no load. Higher stroke count will, of course, mean that you can cut through whatever it is that you are cutting faster. However, it also means less control over the cut.
As such, for cuts that need to be precise, you will want to cut slow with a low stroke count.
While some reciprocal saws offer multiple maximum speed settings, the most common way to control the speed is by using a variable speed trigger. In other words, a trigger that makes the saw blade reciprocate faster when you press the trigger deeper. Almost all saws these days come with this functionality, however, how smooth and sensitive the trigger is can highly depend on the individual model.
Generally, reciprocal saw blades are universal – they can be used on tools across brands. Similarly, most of these tools nowadays (and all of the ones in this list) offer mechanisms that allow for their blades to be switched easily, without the use of any tool to loosen the chuck.
There are still some that require more effort to switch a blade, though, and so you will want to avoid getting one of those.
Compared to an impact driver, for example, reciprocal saws use much more power. As such, even though the batteries might be compatible if you use other tools of the same brand, the battery life might be much shorter with the saw.
Because of that, you will want to buy batteries with the largest capacity (indicated in mAh or Ah) available. While they might be more expensive, they will save you the headache of having to recharge your tool all the time.
Another factor you should consider are the dimensions of the saw you are about to get. While most of the cordless reciprocating saws are fairly similar in size, there are some that are significantly smaller.
These compact saws are great if you only need to do some light pruning or similar work around your house as they have enough power and don’t take up too much space.
If, however, you are planning to do some heavier work with your new saw, then – if you have the space to store it – get a full-sized one.
Also, consider other features that each of the models has.
Some of these saws have features that are designed to increase comfort when you use them (rubber-coated handles, anti-vibration design, etc.), others that increase the precision of cutting (adjustable front shoe, etc.), and others that increase the tools’ versatility (ability to turn into a jigsaw, etc.).
Make sure to pick the tool that has features that best suit your needs.
Lastly, make sure that you are getting the right tool for your use. In this case, I don’t mean cutting wood vs. metals and so on, but rather whether you are going to be using it at your home or professionally.
If it’s the latter, you want to be especially careful, as some tools come with a shorter warranty if used in a commercial setting (like at clients’ sites or rental). And, some might not offer a warranty for commercial use at all.
Whether you need to be cutting branches off your trees, doing demolition work, or cutting pipes – both metal and PVC – having a reciprocating saw in your toolkit can make your life easier in many situations. Especially so if it’s a cordless one that you can take with you anywhere without having to worry about access to a power outlet.
With dozens of different models on the market, though, it can get challenging to pick the right one for your use. Things you need to consider include the saw’s power, speed control, battery life, and so on. All of that will depend on how you plan to use it – whether for cutting wood or metal, whether at client sites or at your home, and so on.
If you haven’t made your decision yet, I recommend the DeWalt DCS380B 20V MAX if you are looking for a standard reciprocating saw suitable for both personal and commercial use. If you are looking for something lighter, then consider the SKIL PWRCore 12 compact reciprocating saw.