Best Reciprocating Saw of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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Building a boat is a big task and requires a lot of different tools for you to make it through your next build successfully. Thus, it is crucial to use the most applicable tools i.e. the best reciprocating saw.

In some cases, one tool can do several tasks, and that makes it a handy item to have in your toolkit whenever you’re working on a big project.

For many, the best reciprocating saw can make a huge difference in how well you can get the job done.

Reciprocating saws are a versatile type of handheld saws that are especially useful when working on a big boat build.

Best Reciprocating Saw Reviews

Comparison Chart

BLACK+DECKER
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS367B)
PORTER-CABLE 20V MAX Reciprocating Saw, Tool Only (PCC670B)
Milwaukee 2722-20 Reciprocating Saw
Ryobi P519 18V One+ Reciprocating Saw (Bare Tool)

1. BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw

Being in the industry for years, BLACK+DECKER is a brand known by people who purchase and use power tools.

Their popular BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C is an affordable reciprocating saw that you can buy in a few different packs, depending on your needs.

You can purchase the saw-only pack, saw with one blade set, saw with an inflator, saw with an extra battery, and saw with extra blades. 

Product Highlights

The BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C is a powerful, lightweight reciprocating saw that can be very useful for boat building and more.

It has a strong 3,000 SPM motor as well as a variable speed trigger for better control.

The BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw also has a pivoting shoe for easy maneuvering and added convenience.

That ensures you can get even more control when working in tight spaces or on large projects.

There is also an electric brake on this system. Plus, the blade change system on the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw is easy to use. You can even swap blades without any tools.

Additionally, the saw can run at variable speeds between zero and 3,000 strokes per minute. The stroke length is ⅞-inches, which is great for handheld, delicate work.

The Good

The best thing about the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw when it comes to boat building is the convenience of using it because of its lightweight.

The construction and features of the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw ensure that it is easy to use on projects big and small.

Likewise, it’s not so large that you can’t use it for important detail work.

From the variable speed to the short stroke length of the tool, this BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw is built to be a great variety tool in your toolbox. 

The Bad

One problem that you may encounter while using the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw is that it vibrates a lot as it works.

That vibration will easily transfer to your hands, which can lead to uncomfortable feelings and even blisters. 

Avoiding this is simple, though; just wear gloves while using the saw so that the vibrations are no longer a problem.

PROS

  • Reliable brand
  • Two-year limited warranty
  • Fits in small spaces
  • Variable speed control
  • Short stroke length
  • Easy to control and change blades

CONS

  • Vibrates a lot
  • Cuts slow compared to models with a longer stroke length

2. DeWalt MAX XR Reciprocating Saw (DCS367B)

DeWalt is another brand that established a good reputation in the power tool industry.

With a good line of products, this 20V reciprocating saw is a high-end, at-home tool that can be useful for building boats.

Product Highlights

The DeWalt MAX XR Reciprocating Saw (DCS367B) is a compact, lightweight product built to last through your home building projects for many years.

The saw measures in at 14 inches, which is the perfect size to fit between studs when needed. It’s also not too big to fit into your various boat areas.

The DeWalt MAX XR Reciprocating Saw (DCS367B) runs at variable speeds from zero to 2,900 strokes per minute.

It also has both a pivoting shoe to fit any space and a bright LED light to make it easy to see your cuts.

The stroke length on this DeWalt model is a bit longer than the BLACK+DECKER; precisely, it measures in at 1-⅛ inches.

DeWalt designed this saw to be used for both wood and metal cutting scenarios, so you can use it in various parts of your build with ease.

The Good

The durability of the DeWalt MAX XR Reciprocating Saw (DCS367B) is great thanks to its brushless motor.

The said motor also makes it a more high-end model than similar saws.

Brushless motors like this one use a circuit board rather than brushes.

They are known to last longer than other motors, and the lifetime of this saw may be up to two or three times longer than similar models because of that.

The Bad

Vibration is a common problem with reciprocating saws, and the DeWalt MAX XR (DCS367B) is no different.

The problem is that with some models, wearing gloves is enough to ease the discomfort, but the DeWalt MAX XR vibrates enough to cause some imprecision when cutting materials.

If you have used this type of saw before, controlling this should be easy to do.

For those who are new to reciprocating saws, though, might want to consider a unit with less vibration.

PROS

  • Limited three-year warranty
  • Keyless blade changing system
  • Blade installation in multiple directions
  • Compact design
  • High durability and efficiency

CONS

  • Vibrations cause unsteady cuts
  • Need to charge batteries frequently

3. PORTER-CABLE MAX Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B)

Similar to the two brands, PORTER-CABLE is among the power tool manufacturers that have been in the industry for years.

The PORTER-CABLE MAX Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B) is one of their affordable products that many individuals use to get used to this type of tool.

Product Highlights

The PORTER-CABLE MAX (PCC670B) is a high-power, lightweight reciprocating saw that is compact enough for you to use conveniently even in tight spaces.

The variable speed on this particular saw allows for stroke speeds between zero and 3,000 strokes per minute.

Its stroke length is one inch, which is a good middle-ground for saws at this price point.

You can change the blades on the PORTER-CABLE MAX Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B) through a tool-free blade release system.

That makes it quick and easy to swap out blades even while you’re working on a project.

Depending on the blades and speeds used while cutting, you can cut a variety of materials with this saw.

For that reason, many people like to use the PORTER-CABLE MAX Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B) for their boat building and other hobby projects that use multiple materials.

Lastly, the pivoting shoe and over-molded grip handle on this model make it easy to control the saw while it is in use.

The Good

The standout feature of the PORTER-CABLE MAX Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B) is definitely its lightweight, compact design.

While it measures around the same length as many other saws, it is significantly lighter than other models around the same price point, even with the battery installed.

When you need to carry the PORTER-CABLE MAX Reciprocating Saw (PCC670B) around to specific areas of your build, this will be very useful.

The Bad

Unfortunately, this affordable saw does not come with the battery or charger that you will need to operate it.

While that may sound weird to those who are new to power tools, it is common for brands to lower the price of their items by not selling them with batteries or chargers.

Since you can interchange most batteries and chargers within a brand’s tools, those who already own batteries can save money by not needing to buy a new battery every time.

PROS

  • Strong motor
  • Metal casing; protects the motor from damage
  • Lightweight, compact design
  • Reliable brand
  • Ergonomic grip handle

CONS

  • Short stroke length; limits project size
  • Battery and charger sold separately

4. Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw

Milwaukee Tools is another manufacturer that has a good line of power tools, accessories, outdoor equipment, and more.

The Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL is a high-end option for those seeking one of the most powerful cordless reciprocating saws on the market today.

Product Highlights

The Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw is a cordless option that provides the power and speed of a corded saw thanks to its brushless motor.

Milwaukee designed this SAWZALL saw to have overload protection to prevent damage that could shorten the saw’s lifespan.

The Milwaukee 2720-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw runs at speeds of up to 3,000 strokes per minute.

It also has a built-in LED light to ensure accurate cuts.

The Good

The added features on the Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw are what set it apart from others in its category.

It has a few features that simply make it easier to use when building items, such as boats. Milwaukee also gave this model a rafter hook for easy and safe storage.

We also love the LED light installed on the Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw that will help you achieve better cuts.

It also has a battery gauge that will make it easy for you to check the tool’s power level.

Lastly, there is a trigger lock to ensure you can safely move around with the Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw.

The Bad

The biggest thing that you might find frustrating about the Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw is its weight, which is almost eight pounds.

While using this tool will be a workout, that added weight is equivalent to added power.

Every cut made with this tool is stronger because of that extra weight.

PROS

  • Durable, trustworthy design
  • Powerful
  • Easy to change blades
  • Reliable brand
  • Easy to store and use

CONS

  • Sold without battery or charger
  • Heavy

5. Ryobi P519 One+ Reciprocating Saw

The last product on our list is another tool made by one of the most trusted brands in the industry.

The Ryobi P519 One+ Reciprocating Saw is another affordable option that might work for your next big build.

Product Highlights

The Ryobi P519 One+ is marketed as a high-quality reciprocating saw that works for the hobby builder or the first time power tool owner.

It features a one-inch stroke length on the blade, making it suitable for cutting through a variety of wood and metal materials.

The variable speed trigger on the Ryobi P519 One+ Reciprocating Saw has a speed level ranging from zero to 3,400 strokes per minute, which is a bit faster than the other models we featured on this list.

The Good

The higher speed of this affordable reciprocating saw lets it cut through some items more quickly than comparable reciprocating saws.

If your main goal is to make quick cuts in tight spaces, this saw fits the bill very well.

The Bad

Compared to the other models we’ve covered today, the Ryobi P519 One+ Reciprocating Saw has a slightly lower battery voltage.

It won’t determine the exact output or use time since your battery will also affect that, but you might not be able to get as much power as 20V models.

Still, 18V saws are known to be more durable in many cases, so it’s up to you to decide what matters most.

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Speed up to 60% higher than similar models
  • Good for tight spaces

CONS

  • Sold without batteries or battery charger
  • Brand not as well known as others

Reciprocating Saw Buyer’s Guide

Whether you will use the reciprocating saw for boat building or other small projects, it’s important to know what features to look for or are necessary.

It goes without saying that not all saws are the same, and some features will be more useful to you than others.

Thus, you should look closely at the features outlined below before you make your final choice.

Otherwise, you might end up with a saw that cannot accomplish what you bought it for.

Motor

The motor in the saw will determine how much power you can get out of it, and how powerful the tool is particularly important in cordless models for boat buildings.

That said, both brush and brushless motors are reliable, but brushless motors are known to have higher durability.

As such, if you are willing to pay more for your reciprocating tool to last longer, opt for a brushless model.

Battery

The battery’s type, charging time requirement, and operating and standby hours is important.

It will determine how much work the saw can do, what amount of power it can work with, and how long you can use it.

Some reciprocating saw models will include batteries, while others will need to be purchased separately.

The batteries for these saws are rechargeable, and many hobby boat makers like to have two batteries so that they don’t have to wait for a recharge.

It is also best to check if the reciprocating saw matches the battery of your other power tools from the same brand.

Stroke Length and Speed

The stroke length and speed of the reciprocating saw will determine how much cutting it can do in a specific amount of time.

The cutting speed will be determined based on both the speed and length, so you want to be sure that you choose something that will cut fast enough for you.

If you prioritize speed, look for something with at least a one-inch stroke length and a maximum speed level of 3,000 SPMs.

Orbital Action

If you want even, faster cuts, it’s important to look for a saw that offers orbital action.

It is usually a bonus feature that will help make the linear cutting speed faster.

Orbital action doesn’t apply to cutting metal, though, so keep that in mind when you’re out shopping for your reciprocating saw.

Blade Changes

You must also pay attention to the process of how you can change the blade in the saw.

Some reciprocating saws require either a tool or key, while others have a tool-less system.

Look for a saw that has a straightforward and safe way to change out the blades because you will need to do this frequently.

Adjustable Shoe

Reciprocating saws with an adjustable shoe are better than those without one. The shoe helps stabilize the saw while you are making certain cuts.

As such, if the shoe is adjustable, you can maneuver the saw into positions while still making safe, even cuts.

Variable Speed Trigger

Boat builders should always look for a reciprocating saw with a variable speed trigger because they will need to cut different materials or different tasks.

Different speeds are necessary to make cuts on different materials, so you want to make sure that you can use your all-purpose tool for each case.

Other Features

If there are any other features that you believe would be very useful, like a built-in LED light for easy cutting in dim areas of your boat, make sure to list them down.

Many features can be added onto a saw, but they all come with an added price tag.

Consider what you actually need and what will make your boat-making process easier.

Reciprocating Saw FAQs

What Are Reciprocating Saws Used For?

You can use reciprocating saws to cut through practically anything, including wood frames, metal pipes, and wall studs.

They are the best tools to use when you need the power of a saw in a tight area or on something that cannot be cut with a table saw.

You can use the reciprocating tool on a variety of materials by merely changing the blade, so it is one of the first tools that most people get.

When boat building, reciprocating saws are great for making fit cuts, removing problem areas, trimming back edging, cutting metal, and more.

Are Reciprocating Saws Any Good?

Reciprocating saws are an excellent tool for most people to have at home because of how versatile they are.

They are great for quick cutting wood, branches, bushes, pipes, and more.

These saws are also usually powerful enough to handle a lot of light demolition and hobby or DIY projects.

Thus, many people choose to invest in a high-quality reciprocating saw early on in their building process.

Which Is Better: Jigsaw or Reciprocating Saw?

Jigsaws are better for precision cuts while reciprocating saws are better for quick, powerful cuts.

Which saw is right for you will depend on what the job is, but you can use the two interchangeably in some cases.

When it comes to boat building, having both on hand is probably your best option because they will make the overall process simpler.

If you need to select only one, a reciprocating saw may be the better option.

How Thick Can a Reciprocating Saw Cut?

Reciprocating saw blades are available in sizes ranging from three inches to twelve inches, and you can make cuts as long as the blade.

To do this, though, you also need to keep in mind the blade’s durability and thickness, as well as the reciprocating saw’s stroke length.

All of these factors will determine how thick and fast a reciprocating saw can cut.

Are Reciprocating Saws Dangerous?

Like any power tool, reciprocating saws can be dangerous if not used with the proper safety precautions.

You must only use a saw if you know how to do so safely and if you’re wearing safety gear while cutting.

Choosing a reciprocating saw with a safety trigger lock is also a great idea to ensure the safety of you and everyone around you.

Which of the Options Should You Choose?

Choosing the best reciprocating saw among many great options is difficult. Plus, each saw has a number of great features that can make your task easier.

Among the great reciprocating saw options we reviewed, though, we decided that the Milwaukee 2722-20 M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating is the best tool you can choose to supplement your boat building.

While heavy, this tool offers the best durability, added features, and power among all the options.

These features are the most important when working on your hobby build, and that is why it stands out among all of the other saw options today.

If the Milwaukee saw is out of your price range at this time, the BLACK+DECKER BDCR20C Reciprocating Saw is a great alternative.

It offers a high level of reliability based on the BLACK+DECKER name and its features, but it isn’t quite as high-end as the Milwaukee model.

Still, it has what is needed to do the precision cuts in tight areas.

And for more boat building tips, drill advices, and saw reviews, check out Boat Diaries’ blog section.

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