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Reciprocating saws are called by many names, but one of the most popular names that they are known by is a Sawzall. While the term ‘Sawzall’ is technically a trademarked term owned by the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company, it is has still become commonly known that it is interchangeable with terms such as ‘reciprocating saw.’ Today we are going to provide you with the best Sawzall of 2017 buyer’s guide to help you determine which reciprocating saw best meets your needs.
Sawzalls are one of the most critical tools that you can have in your workshop, especially for building and remodeling. In fact, some would even argue that the sawzall is the most important kind of saw that you can have. Whether that is true or not depends on the job that you need completed. If you’re on the market for a reciprocating saw and need to know what the best reciprocating saw on the market is, we’re here to help you.
In this article, we’re going to accomplish two things: First we’ll present you with a buying guide that discusses the different types of reciprocating saws and the criteria that each saw must meet; Second we’ll list out and discuss what some of the best specific sawzall manufacturers and models are currently available on the marketplace. If you are looking for more information on sawzalls, please visit our sawzall tutorial.
Sawzall Buying Guide
Generally speaking, a reciprocating saw is designed to be able to make cuts in through tough building materials for building, remodeling, and demolition purposes. The saw accomplishes this by a sharp blade that is ran by a very powerful motor. A reciprocating saw can cut through everything from wood, plaster, fiberglass, metal, and more. Many carpenters argue that a reciprocating saw is the most important saw you can own because of its versatility.
Not all sawzalls are created equal. Some are faster or higher powered and some have sharper blades than others.
Types of Sawzalls
There are different kinds of sawzalls. All sawzalls can be divided into one of two categories: Corded and cordless. Corded reciprocating saws are plugged into an electrical outlet and can run for as long as you need. In contrast, cordless sawzalls are battery powered and can only run as long as they have battery power. The trade off to owning a cordless sawzall is that it’s portable and can be used in places that don’t have electrical outlets. As long as you have extra charged batteries on standby, you can still keep a cordless saw running for a long time.
You should select either a corded or a cordless sawzall based on the kind of work that you need done. If you’re going to be working all day or in a place that has an electrical outlet, a corded sawzall would be best. Since corded sawzalls lack a battery, they are also lighter and will put less strain on your body.
Cordless sawzalls still offer plenty of variable power and just as useful as the corded saw. Even though they are heavier because of the battery, some cordless models are still very compact and easily maneuverable. There’s also no cord that could potentially get in the way of your work.
Once you’ve decided whether or not you need a corded sawzall or a cordless sawzall, the next thing to do is to look for specific features that will make your experience with your reciprocating saw better. Here are just a handful of the qualities that you need to look for:
ADJUSTABLE BLADE: Your blade should not only be adjustable, but also should rotate. The reason why you want your reciprocating saw to have both an adjustable and rotating blade is so that you can approach your cutting task from a variety of different angles while simultaneously handling the saw naturally. If you are looking for the best sawzall blade, please review our sawzall blade buyers guide.
CUSHIONED GRIP: This feature is not entirely necessary, but any reciprocating saw with a cushioned grip will be more ergonomic and comfortable to use. You will also feel less vibration with a cushioned grip as well.
BALANCE: Your sawzall of choice should not be extra heavy on the front or the rear. It needs to feel natural and that means having a right and natural balance.
MANEUVERABILITY: This doesn’t just mean that your sawzall should be light and short enough for you to move it around in tight spaces – it also means that it needs to sport an orbital action that will permit you to make both vertical and horizontal cuts.
VARIABLE SPEED: Not all cutting jobs require the same speed. You should be able to select between high, medium, and slow speeds, so you can use the right speed for the task at hand.
STORAGE CASE: A storage case simply protects your sawzall while it’s being transported. If your sawzall doesn’t come with one, then we suggest you buy one separately.
ADJUSTABLE SHOE: An adjustable shoe makes your sawzall more stable while you use it. The shoe should be adjustable manually and without the aid of any tools.
Now that we have learned about the different kinds of sawzalls that are out there and the qualities that each saw needs, the next thing that we’re going to do is talk about the specific best kinds of sawzalls that exist on the market.
By the end of this article you won’t just know what to look for in a reciprocating saw but also have a specific sawzall model in mind that meets your purposes.
Best Heavy Duty Sawzall:
The reason why we recommend the Bosch RS428 as the best heavy duty sawzall is because of the numerous changes and improvements that have been made to it over the years. These improvements have been largely made in response to feedback from customers. Originally the RS428 was significantly heavier and less powerful than it is today.
One of the most notable improvements that has been made to the RS428 is Bosch’s anti-vibration technology. Anyone who has used reciprocating saws long enough for major projects will know how quickly you can grow fatigued – not from the actual process of cutting materials but from the never ending vibration the sawzall produces. Much of that vibration has been drowned out with the RS428. As long as you also wear gloves, you will feel only a minimal amount of vibration.
The anti-vibration technology the RS428 has is not only an ergonomic feature, it’s also a safety feature as well. The anti-vibration technology may ensure an overall smooth operation when using the sawzall but it also means that you have greater control of the sawzall for continuous work, decreasing the chances of an accident.
The RS428 is a corded reciprocating saw, meaning it must be plugged into an electrical outlet at all times in order to operate. This particular saw meets each of the criteria that we set for a reciprocating saw, such as an orbital action, adjustable shoe, and a variable speed from high to low.
All in all, the RS428 is the best heavy duty sawzall that you can buy. It will be able to cut through virtually anything you need to cut through while also being easily controllable thanks to its innovative anti-vibration tech. Bosch is well known for their high quality, but they only offer a one-year warranty.
- AMPS: 14
- Blade stroke length: 1 1/8 inch
- Adjustable shoe: Yes
- Variable speed: Yes
- Blade changes: Yes
- SPM: 2900
- Overall length: 22 inches
- Anti-Vibration Technology
- Orbital Action
- 12 Foot Cord
Best Corded Sawzall:
If you’ve done any research on sawzalls, you have more than likely come across the Makita brand. Most of us reading this should already be aware of the Makita brand name. The reason is because Makita is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of power tools. They strive to make power tools that are both powerful while also being small and compact.
Their JR3070CT Reciprocating Saw is no exception to the high standards that Makita has set across the globe. Like the Bosch RS428 we just discussed, the Makita JR3070CT comes equipped with an anti-vibration technology. Makita claims this technology cuts over half of the vibration that you feel with other reciprocating saws. There’s also a variable speed on this saw that can run up to over 2800 strokes a minute and allows you to keep a constant speed on this sawzall even while you’re in the process of cutting through something.
The real reason why we would argue that the Makita JR3070CT is the best corded reciprocating saw that you can buy is because of all of the power that it produces. In general, Makita produces electronic tools that deliver plenty of power. Milwaukee is probably the only manufacturer that is able to produce saws with just a little more speed. The JR3070CT is powered by a 15 AMP motor and one is a variable speed. To be more specific, Makita offers six different speeds on this reciprocating saw that you will be able to set by a dial on the side. The orbital action has four settings, so it’s very easy to operate this saw with some high speed cutting while sawing through the toughest materials.
To ensure that the JR3070CT lasts you many years, it comes equipped with rubber seals in strategic places on its durable body that will keep moisture, dust, and debris out of the machine. Overall weight of the JR3070CT is just 9.7 pounds, making it quite portable and maneuverable despite being a corded saw.
Overall, the Makita JR3070CT is indeed the best corded powered sawzall that you can buy. It’s a very powerful and relatively lightweight sawzall that is good for building, remodeling, and demolition. Remodelers, builders, roofers, and contractors will find favor with the JR3070CT thanks to the features and versatility that Makita has invested into it.
- Weight: 9.7 pounds
- Anti-Vibration Technology
- AMPS: 15
- Electronic Speed Control: 6 options
- Orbital Cutting Action: 4 options
- Blade stroke length: 1 1/4 inches
Best Cordless Sawzall:
Many years ago, cordless or battery powered reciprocating saws were basically useless. They didn’t have batteries that could handle the high power of the saws for a long period of time. Today cordless reciprocating saws now come equipped with lithium-ion batteries that are not only rechargeable, but also have the ability to handle the high power for the time that is needed for most projects that require a reciprocating saw. As long as you have extra batteries on hand, you can swap ones out when one runs out of juice. You can recharge each of your batteries, and you’ll be set for your next project.
The best cordless sawzall available on the market today is easily the Dewalt DCS380L1 reciprocating saw. If you’ve been reading any sawzall reviews lately, you’ve most likely come across the Dewalt. Not only is it one of the best reciprocating saws period, but it’s also one of the most popular.
The first thing you will likely notice when you pick up the Dewalt is its size and comfort. This is a very compact and lightweight sawzall that allows you to operate it in tight spaces. It also has a rubber molded grip that makes it one of the most ergonomic and comfortable sawzalls on the market. That rubber grip, which isn’t large and suitable for small to medium sized hands, also absorbs much of the vibration that the Dewalt delivers, which makes it more controllable and easy to use.
Despite its small size, the DCS380 still offers plenty of power. It has a stroke length of 1 1/8 of an inch, a variable speed of zero to 3,000, and a over 20 volts of power. This means that the Dewalt is perfectly capable of sawing through the hardest woods and metals.
Dewalt has definitely done something right with the DCS380L. The DCS380L also comes equipped with Dewalt’s three year limited warranty and 90 money back guarantee, which is a longer warranty than many other sawzalls come with.
- Variable speed trigger
- Rubber over molded grip
- Weight: 13 pounds
- Adjustable shoe
- 4 position blade clamp
- Voltage: 20 volts
Best Budget Sawzall:
If you’re on the market for a sawzall but don’t have a lot of money, you may think that you have to resign yourself to choosing something that’s of a lesser quality than the other sawzalls that we’ve discussed. This is not true. The Porter Cable PC75TRS is a very high quality and durable sawzall while also very affordable.
While it has less amps than the other sawzalls on this list at only 7.5, you will find that the Porter Cable is still very effective at a variety of heavy duty applications. For example, the pivoting adjustable shoe enables you to be extra nimble around objects as you cut. The trigger is also a variable speed, so you can switch between different speeds and maintain a constant speed at the rate of your choice.
Something else that you may not have expected on a budget minded sawzall is the ability to change between blades very quickly. The Porter Cable comes equipped with a twist lock tool that makes it very easy and fast to swap between different blades in the event that one becomes damaged or if you need a stronger one for a different kind of material.
Last but not least, the Porter Cable PC75TRS is also incredibly ergonomic with a soft grip on the handle that keeps overall vibration to a minimum and makes it significantly easier to maintain control over the sawzall while you work. All in all, the PC75TRS is one of the best reciprocating saws for the money.
- AMPS: 7.5
- Pivoting shoe
- Soft handle grip
- Weight: 8 pounds
- Twist lock tool free blade change
Overall Best Sawzall:
What is the overall best sawzall on the market regardless of money? Our answer to this question would be the Milwaukee 6538-21 reciprocating saw. The reason we recommend it so highly is because it’s the most powerful reciprocating saw currently available on the market. You add this with Milwaukee’s anti-vibration system and a clutch that protects the motor, you can begin to see why the 6538-21 has the strong reputation it does.
The motor is powered by 15 AMPS and has a variable speed of over 2800 strokes a minute, with a 1 1/4-inch blade stroke. It also meets the criteria that we said to keep in mind when looking for a sawzall.
The 6538-21 will cut through the toughest steels like paper. Now granted this is not a lightweight sawzall by any means, but the trade off is its immense versatility in that it can be applied to basically any project that you would need. The blades that come with the Milwaukee are classified as heavy metal cutting blades. When combined with the 15 AMPS of power, the blades can effortlessly saw through anything.
If you need a sawzall to work on heavy duty projects involving metal for several hours, then the Milwaukee 6538-21 Reciprocating Saw is the sawzall for you. It’s not the only high quality sawzall on the market, but it is the most powerful and outperforms the other sawzalls in its class.
- AMPS: 15
- Blade stroke length: 1 ¼ inches
- SPM: 2000
- Dial speed control
- Variable speed trigger
- Gear protecting clutch
- Durable build
- Manufactured in the United States
Best Reciprocating Saw of 2017 Conclusion
A reciprocating saw or sawzall is overall one of the most valuable tools that you can own. Just remember that not every sawzall is created equal, which means it’s up to you to conduct your research and make a purchase based on your best educated decision.
While it may be a challenging task to choose a sawzall with all of the different models that are available on the market, it is not an impossible task. The whole purpose of this article has been to make this task easier for you by informing you of the different basic types of sawzalls on the market, the criteria to keep in mind when looking for a sawzall, and specific makes and models that deliver on this criteria. With the information that you have learned, you will hopefully now be able to choose a reciprocating saw that best fits your needs.
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