With so many types of saws, choosing the right one can be a difficult task. Depending on what you’re working on, the materials that you need to cut through, and the sheer scale of the project a variety of saws are at your disposal. Many tradies carry complete sets and have several more stored at home when not needed. One of the most widely used and versatile saws is the small reciprocating saw, usually sold as a cordless battery-powered tool.
What are Reciprocating Saws?
Reciprocating saws are small handheld saws with horizontally fitted blades that cut in a push-pull or ‘reciprocating’ motion. This makes them particularly versatile in a range of situations, ideally in vertical cutting, demolition work (instead of hammers and crowbars), plumbing, electrical installations, and general construction work. Their small profile allows them to be used in tight, hard to reach places. With blades similar to those used in jigsaws, they can cut through different materials quickly and at the desired depths. Though you’ll find large heavy-duty corded models, most are compact battery reciprocating saw modelspowered by rechargeable batteries.
Cordless battery-powered reciprocating saws, with their compact design, and a large array of different blades, are versatile tools ideal In countless cutting situations. To get smooth cuts in trees, shrubs and plants, a reciprocating saw will replace handsaws, while sparing you the effort and time. Portability, with no straggling cords, and the option of variable speed settings help here.
Besides pruning, it is used in carpentry, for cutting into wood of all depths and hardness, ideal if you want both straight or curved cuts. The blades are flexible enough and combined with a good grip you can make detailed precision cuts in small wooden pieces. Getting the best finishes in windows, doors or any type of frames is achieved quickly. Also, to get the best finishes in exterior cutting, like wooden cladding or roofs shingles, you’ll want a battery reciprocating saw.
With a quick switch of blades, battery-powered reciprocating saws can also cut into harder materials, like metals, ceramics, and plastics of all sorts. This makes them the tool of choice for plumbers when cutting and shaping copper, stainless steel or plastic piping. Plunge cuts in tight spots like kitchens and bathrooms are also easy. Electricians will also find them useful in quickly cutting plastic or metal conduit, removing damaged or rusted housings and couplings and preparing thick copper wire for installation.
Possibly the most widespread use of reciprocating saws is in interior demolition work where plasterboard is involved. With different lengths and widths of blades, cutting into plasterboard of any type and thickness is effortless. When replacing with new boards, use smaller blades to make the final touches when adding things like switches and lights.
Other areas where cordless reciprocating saws are seen are in rescue missions, like firefighters cutting through metal panels in vehicles involved in accidents, and gathering firewood for the campsite barbecue.
Advantages of Battery Reciprocating Saws
With their compact design and ease of use, cordless reciprocating saws have several advantages over other tools used in cutting applications.
The small dimensions and weight and the fact they have no cords makes battery reciprocating saws portable cutting tools. Combined with powerful brushless motors and Li-Ion batteries, they won’t need a mains outlet to get the job done. You won’t be needing any extension cords either.
Versatility and Convenience
Blades for reciprocating saws come in a variety of lengths and widths, meaning you can get a range of cuts. Smaller blades will be suited in detailed wood finishes, while longer blades for cutting into harder materials, like metals. Straight, curved and plunge cuts are also easy with the right type of blade. Look for flexible blades for curves, and longer blades in cut-outs and plunged cuts in different materials. Changing blades is easy and quick, saving you valuable time when on the job.
Convenience means that you can use the saw in a range of settings, often replacing a whole set of tools at a time. This is good for various DIY uses, where one reciprocating saw can handle more than one job, meaning you save money. It is also found in the toolboxes of carpenters and plumbers as the first and last tool they use.
Battery reciprocating saws are one of the quietest saws out there. Good in large scale projects, but also for minor jobs at home when you don’t want to disturb the neighbours. Blades can achieve very high speeds, up to 3000 back and forth strokes a minute, meaning quick cutting. For more control, variable speed settings let you can start out slowly to avoid errors. Grip and general feel are comfortable with rubberised handles and indented grips for complete control. Most saws have quick releases for changing blades on the fly.
Buying Battery Reciprocating Saws
Like all cordless tools, you can go for bare saws, that don’t include the battery. Some brands have interchangeable batteries, that you can use among different types of tools. If you’re buying your first cordless tool this is something to consider. Otherwise get packaged sets, with the battery of your choice, and a set of blades for cutting into different surfaces. Hardware stores stock reciprocating saws from reputable brands with the features you’ll need for your next job.