9 Reciprocating Saw Uses You Need to Know

Reciprocating Saw Uses You Should Know

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If you aren’t too familiar with cutting tools, one of the most important ones out there is the reciprocating saw. The reciprocating saw is used by many different types of professionals, and it can serve many purposes. This is exactly what we are here to talk about today, the nine various things that reciprocating saws are most commonly used for.

What Is a Reciprocating Saw?

Reciprocating Saw The reciprocating saw is one of the most popular and commonly used tools in demolition, although it is often used in construction as well. It looks kind of like a large handgun, at least in terms of its shape. It features a fairly long body combined with a handle in the rear and a section to hold onto in the front, right behind the blade.

A reciprocating saw features a motor and transmission that are in line with the blade, which means that they both move in the same direction. Reciprocating saws come with very long and thin blades designed to cut through a variety of materials and can be up to a foot in length.

These blades differ depending on the materials being cut, and they can cut through many different things including wood, metal, plastic, tile, and much more. These are very popular tools due to the fact that they’re quite lightweight and compact, therefore making them easy to use overhead and in tight spaces.

9 Common Reciprocating Saw Uses

Let’s now take a quick look at all of the different things that you can do with a reciprocating saw. As you are about to find out, these are very versatile tools.

1. General Demolition in Small Spaces

Perhaps the most common use of the reciprocating saw is for demolition work, especially when it comes to cutting through framework and studs. Yes, using a sledgehammer for demolition works just fine, but it does get very tiring.

It’s much easier to use a wood cutting blade on a reciprocating saw to cut through studs, or a metal cutting blade to cut through metal framework.

These are small and compact tools with a lightweight design, which make them ideal for tight and small spaces. They can fit into spaces that sledgehammers just can’t. As long as you have the right blade, they can also cut through tile, brick, mortar, and more.

2. Pruning and Landscaping

This is something that many people don’t think of, but a reciprocating saw does actually work really well for cutting shrubs, bushes, and trees. If you have a reciprocating saw you can fit a nice wood cutting blade onto it to easily cut through small trees and branches.

Moreover, if you experienced some kind of storm, and you have some trees that fell down in the backyard, a reciprocating saw can be used to cut those trees and branches into smaller pieces for easy disposal.

If you are cutting thick branches, go for a corded model that has more power, but if you are just cutting through small shrubs and foliage, using a cordless option is best. Just keep in mind that if you need to cut branches that are high up, using a pole saw is probably the better option. You don’t always need a chainsaw to cut trees and branches.

To learn more about this use, read my article about how to cut trees with a reciprocating saw.

3. Cutting Through Nails in Wood

Yet another very common use of the reciprocating saw, especially when it comes to demolition work, is for cutting through nails that are embedded in wood, along with cutting the wood itself. What is interesting to note here is to cut through wood and nails, you don’t actually need any kind of special blade.

A normal demolition blade that most reciprocating saws come with will work just fine, as they can cut through pins, screws, small bolts, nails, and wooden studs all in one go. Just make sure that when you are doing demolition work you wear a mask to avoid breathing in any sawdust and other poisonous materials.

4. Scraping Adhesives

If you ever need to remove any kind of glue, adhesive, or even small tiles from floors or walls, then a reciprocating saw can work really well. When using a reciprocating saw to scrape away any kind of adhesive or tiling, you need to switch out the blade for a scraper.

A scraper will allow the reciprocating saw to slide right under any kind of adhesive material, therefore lifting everything up in a very fast and efficient manner. If you are doing demolition work related to flooring, and you need to rip up old tiles, floorboards, or anything else of the sort, even carpet, then a reciprocating saw is the tool of choice.

5. Cutting Plumbing Pipes

Reciprocating saws are very versatile tools, and can also be used when it comes to plumbing, especially for demolition. Plumbers often need to cut through wall studs to fit pipes into walls. Moreover, when it comes to demolition, plumbers may need to cut through both plastic and metal pipes to get them out of the way. What is also important to note is that because reciprocating saws are fairly small, compact, and lightweight, it makes them easy to use in tight spaces, which plumbing often involves.

6. Scouring and Sanding Metal

Reciprocating saws can fit many different attachments, and one of them is a scouring pad. Scouring pads can be used with reciprocating saws to clean up a variety of metal surfaces, with a dirty old BBQ being one of them.

You can also use these brushes to clean concrete, brick, stone, and ceramic tile. You can also fit a sanding pad onto a reciprocating saw which you can then use to remove rust, deburr materials, or sand wooden surfaces. There are then also wire brush attachments that can be used for rust removal.

7. Removing Grout

The next common use of a reciprocating saw is to remove old grout from in between tiles. You can use a grout rake attachment with your reciprocating saw to quickly scrape away old grout from in between tiles.

These attachments can be used to remove both sanded and unsanded cement-based grouts, and even epoxy-based grout. These special grout rake attachments have a very coarse surface combined with a curved blade that can easily make quick work out of most types of grout.

8. Overhead Work

Whether you are doing demolition work or construction, doing overhead work can be very dangerous. If you need to cut a variety of materials overhead, although some other types of saws may make quick work out of those materials, such as circular saws, they can also be very heavy. Because reciprocating saws are fairly small and lightweight, using them above your head is fairly easy and safe.

9. Making Plunge Cuts

The other common use of a reciprocating saw is for making a variety of plunge cuts. For instance, if you need to cut into a piece of drywall that has already been installed on a wall, such as to get to an electrical box, then a reciprocating saw is ideal.


As you can see, if you plan on being in construction or demolition of any kind, a reciprocating saw can be a very useful tool.