Reciprocating Saw vs Sawzall: What’s the Difference?

If you have a large construction project on your to-do list or just need a multi-purpose tool to use around the home, then consider purchasing a reciprocating saw. This saw is an extremely versatile tool that can handle a number of different tasks, so you don’t need to waste time switching between tools.

Reciprocating Saw vs Sawzall

However, if you’ve looked online, you may have come across the term “Sawzall” and have seen that apart from the name, there’s really no difference between a reciprocating saw and a Sawzall. You may be asking yourself, “What the dilly-o?” In this article, we’ll explain what the dilly-o is. We’ll talk about what each of these tools is and what the different applications where they would come in handy.

This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

What is a Reciprocating Saw?

A reciprocating saw is a handheld saw that uses a reciprocating blade to make straight cuts through wood, plastic, and even metal. Pulling on a trigger activates the motor that’s driven either by electricity – corded or batteries – or compressed air.

Reciprocating saws can come with blades that are between 3 and 12 inches with 6 to 12 TPI (teeth per inch). More teeth produce a cleaner cut which is useful for measured cuts through dense metal, and fewer teeth on the blade produce a more aggressive cut for prepping rough lumber. The shoe at the blade-side end of the blade made of either rubber or plastic rests against your workpiece to prevent it from jumping around and ruining the cut.

What is the best reciprocating saw?

Reciprocating saws aren’t exactly known for their precision and finesse way of slicing through materials. Since there aren’t any fences or attachments to guide the reciprocating blade, the accuracy of the cut depends entirely on your forearms and a keen eye. However, its lack of precision doesn’t make the tool any less valuable. This tool will become helpful in making rough cuts on tough pieces of lumber and plastic for further processing.

Reciprocating Saw | Bestseller

Bestseller No. 1
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Reciprocating Saw...
LIGHTWEIGHT CORDLESS RECIPROCATING SAW - High-powered lithium-ion reciprocating saw; VARIABLE SPEED TRIGGER - Cuts at up to 3000 SPM for a wide variety of cutting tasks

What is a Sawzall?

The Sawzall is a reciprocating saw. The term “Sawzall” is a registered trademark of Milwaukee, a popular power tools manufacturer from Wisconsin, for their lie of reciprocating saws. Over time, the term “Sawzall” has been used to mean any reciprocating saw of any manufacturer. Milwaukee also has a line of reciprocating called HACKZALLS. It’s easy to see why Sawzall is used to refer to any reciprocating saw. This type of saw is designed to cut through anything and everything.

How does a Milwaukee SAWZALL Compare?

As we mentioned earlier, a Sawzall is mainly understood to mean reciprocating saw, but when taking a look at Milwaukee’s line of SAWZALLs, there are two unique features worth noting.

First of all, swapping between different blades or attachments is extremely easy thanks to the proprietary QUIK-LOK technology that Milwaukee has implemented in their SAWZALLs. This keyless feature makes attaching and detaching blades quick and easy which significantly reduces downtime.

What does Orbital mean on a Sawzall?

Secondly, many of the models in the SAWZALL line come with REDLINK PLUS technology which prevents the tool from overload. This communication system keeps the battery (cordless models) and tool in sync so the motor won’t burn and the battery won’t experience a premature decline in power capacity.

Sawzall | Bestseller

SaleBestseller No. 1
Milwaukee 2719-20 M18 FUEL Hackzall (Bare Tool),...
1-Handed design provides superior control and versatitily over standard reciprocating saws

What can a Reciprocating Saw/Sawzall do?

This is an extremely versatile tool commonly used in a wide range of different professions. Whether you’re a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, or even an average DIY kind of guy, a reciprocating saw provides a ton of value. In this section, we’ll go over some of the most standard uses of a reciprocating saw/Sawzall.

Cutting PVC and Metal Pipes

Slicing through hard plastic and metal pipes is entirely possible with a reciprocating saw. The best thing about this type of saw is that it’s compact enough to navigate through cramped spaces so installing pipes and electrical wiring is a cinch. We recommend attaching a double-faced blade with a sharp tip to make flush plunge cuts in walls.

Can a Sawzall cut metal?

Trimming Bushes and Branches

If you have a reciprocating saw in your arsenal, you can toss away the hedge shears collecting rust and dust in your shed. Once again, it’s the compact size and small nose that makes this tool so valuable, even to gardeners and landscapers. You can push the nose of a reciprocating saw through dense leaves to access hard-to-reach branches and twigs to give your hedges and bushes a beautiful look.

Attaching Windows and Doors

One of the biggest pains in the world is installing a window frame or doorframe just to find that the window or door doesn’t fit. Instead of taking the whole thing down and giving it a run through your table saw or belt sander, you can take a reciprocating saw with a normal blade and shave the tiniest layers off. The saw’s blade will fit into the tightest corners to give your windows and doors a flush finish.

Destroying Stuff

One of the best and most enjoyable uses of a reciprocating saw is causing destruction. Because the cuts left by this tool aren’t the prettiest, you can use a reciprocating saw to tear down drywall, wooden beams, metal sheets, bricks, and even ceramic or stone tiles, provided you have the right type of blade. Basically, with a reciprocating saw can be used in home renovation projects.

Is a jigsaw the same as a reciprocating saw?

Removing Tiles

We mentioned earlier that a Sawzall can remove tiles, but this is only possible with a scraping blade. This blade uses a push-and-pull motion for tearing through dried glue and lifting ceramic or linoleum tiles. This is a lot easier on the arms and lungs compared to bashing away glued-on tiles with a hammer. It takes a lot of the dust away in common demolition jobs.

Slicing Nails and Pins

There might be times when redoing drywall that you run into a hanging nail. Instead of pulling it out with the claw of a hammer and destroying the wall in the process, use a reciprocating saw to cut it cleanly off and flush with the wall.

Replacing Drywall

Tearing through drywall can be an extremely tedious task if you don’t know whether there is any electrical wiring behind the wall. Unless you have the right tools, you could end up sawing through the wires which would cost you quite a bit to fix. Instead, you can fit a drywall blade into the nose of a reciprocating saw. This blade will tear cleanly through drywall but not the wires residing behind it.

Sawzall vs reciprocating saw


If you didn’t already know, what makes a Sawzall so versatile is the different attachments that fit into the nose. There are different blades and attachments for different tasks. With this saw, you can take advantage of the back-and-forth motion to sand away rough edges on newly cut pieces of wood or plastic by using a sanding attachment.


If you’ve got residual dried cement or glue on a spot that you need to get rid of, a reciprocating saw can do the trick. With a handy scraping attachment, you can scrape away even the toughest, most caked-on messes in no time at all. Once again, the quick back-and-forth motion of the saw gives it the ability to scrape almost anything off of most surfaces.

Reciprocating Saw | Bestseller

Bestseller No. 1
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Cordless Reciprocating Saw...
LIGHTWEIGHT CORDLESS RECIPROCATING SAW - High-powered lithium-ion reciprocating saw; VARIABLE SPEED TRIGGER - Cuts at up to 3000 SPM for a wide variety of cutting tasks

This website is supported by readers. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

We appreciate your feedback. Please add them below in the comment section.

Last update on 2021-04-15 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2 thoughts on “Reciprocating Saw vs Sawzall: What’s the Difference?”

  1. So, what does dilly-o mean or what does it do. If it’s adjective or noun, why use it. A bit confusing would’nt you say?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.