Reciprocating saws, a.k.a. recip saws or sawzalls aren’t the most accurate type of power saw in the world, which is what makes it perfect for demolition, renovation, landscaping, and prepping lumber. What it lacks in precision and finesse, it makes up for in portability, maneuverability, and power.
Reciprocating Saw under $100 Buying Guide
Getting your hands on a versatile tool doesn’t require you to talk to the bank and set up a payment plan. Some reciprocating saws sell for less than a C-note, albeit with slightly worse specs than their costlier counterparts. However, budget-friendly doesn’t mean cheap, poor-quality tools in this sense. You can get most demolition, renovation, and landscaping projects are done with a budget-friendly sawzall. All you need is a little bit of knowledge of what constitutes a high-quality, budget-friendly reciprocating saw. This guide will tell you all about it.
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Corded vs. Cordless
Budget-friendly reciprocating saws can come as either a corded or cordless model. We can get into the whole “uninterrupted power” vs. “maximum portability” spiel, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Just note that corded models typically pack beefier motors that produce better cutting abilities, and cordless models can be powered by batteries of between 9 and 20 volts. Each charge can provide roughly 30 minutes of work at maximum speed (more on speed later).
If you need something that’s super inexpensive, can fit into cramped spaces, and can easily be operated in a single hand, then consider mini-reciprocating saws. These tools can navigate through pipes and in corners easily. They’re usually cordless for extra convenience. However, if power for thicker schedule pipes or boards is what you need, then forget about these mini saws.
Perhaps you’re not in the market for a mini-reciprocating saw but instead are looking for a lightweight, full-sized model. Don’t you fret; they have those, too. Reciprocating saws can anywhere from a couple pounds all the way up to 15 pounds or so. Typically, heavier models deliver more power, but they’re also considerably more expensive. The good thing about reciprocating saws is that even the budget ones are lightweight and can be operated using one hand. It’s just the shape of the tool that can get in the way and block your vision.
Strokes per Minute
The speed of the blade is measured in SPMs or how many times the blade moves forward and backward every minute. Higher SPM ratings mean chopping through lumber, pipes, and conduits quicker. The good thing is that most models, even budget-friendly ones, can reach up to 3,000 SPM. Many $100-or-less recip saws only reach about 2,500 SPM, so we recommend avoiding these and opting for a faster model.
Apart from the speed of the blade, another thing to consider is how far the blade travels forward and backward. Longer strokes can cut through any material much quicker, especially when they can reach up to and beyond 3,000 SPM. We’d suggest finding a Sawzall that travels at least 1 inch, but if time isn’t a factor, then a 7/8-inch stroke will suffice.
Blade Changing System
While we’re on the point of time, one thing you may want to consider is how the recip saw changes blades. Most modern reciprocating saws have a tool-less blade changing system which can be done using a single hand if necessary. However, most high-quality budget models require using a key or other apparatus to detach and re-attach blades and other attachments. Once again, if downtime is a big concern, then get a reciprocating saw that requires no keys or tools to swap out blades.
Batteries and/or Blades included?
Many of the budget-friendly reciprocating saws are a tool-only kit, meaning that it doesn’t come with a blade or battery for cordless models. If you’re replacing an old recip saw and have blades and spare batteries lying around then a bare-tool kit would probably be the better option, assuming that the battery is compatible with your new reciprocating saw, however, if you’re a first-time buyer or want to get straight to work after spending $100 or so, the try and find a model that includes at least one sawing blade and a battery pack.
Reciprocating saws are extremely versatile tools in the sense that not only can it cut wood, plastic, metal, and even concrete, but it can do a wide range of different jobs. For instance, you can use it to sand the wood if you purchase a sanding pad attachment. You can use chipping and scraping tools on a recip saw to get rid of dried cement and paint. You just need to be aware of what sort of attachments are compatible with your saw.
Sawzalls are not known for being dainty cutting tools. No, they deliver full power and create earthquakes that send shocks up your arms and shoulders. However, more recent models don’t vibrate nearly as much as their ancestors, but it’s still a good idea to be on the lookout for vibration-control features. A rubber grip would be a good place to start, but things like a separation of the body and handle can also help keep vibrations in check.
The shoe is the metal piece found on the nose of the saw. It’s used to give stability to the workpiece when hacking and sawing through it, so it doesn’t wobble around. In some projects, you may find that the piece you’re working with is fixed at an angle, and unless you can maneuver the tool, your arm, and your body at an awkward angle, you’ll want an adjustable shoe. You can reposition the angle of the shoe based on the angle of your work piece.
Reciprocating saws are versatile tools that can cut through practically any material. It doesn’t provide the accuracy of table saws or circular saws, but when tearing down drywall or sawing bushes and hedges, does it matterThere are budget-friendly reciprocating saws available if you don’t feel like spending more than a Benjamin. They’re powerful enough to do a lot of what a more expensive model can do, despite their weaker motors. Our guide provides you with information regarding certain specs and features to consider when shopping for a reciprocating saw under $100.