Reciprocating saws are amongst the most useful power tools out there and they’re commonly used across multiple projects. For those who do not know, a reciprocating saw is a handheld saw, similar to a jigsaw in appearance. This saw has a saw blade at one end, which will be doing all of the work. As suggested by the name itself, a reciprocating saw works in a reciprocation motion, which means that the saw blade will move back and forth to produce the force required to cut through materials. A reciprocating saw can get the job done when other saws aren’t that effective and you can accomplish the given task with efficiency and convenience. Reciprocating saws are quite popular amongst construction workers, renovators, or remodelers. While you can get construction-grade reciprocating saws as well, those used in DIY, remodeling, or renovation are usually more compact, making the entire job convenient. If you’re looking to get your hands on such a saw, you should certainly check out the highest-rated compact reciprocating saws in 2023.
Buying a compact reciprocating saw is a smart decision since it will let you perform numerous tasks and accomplish a lot of projects, in a significantly convenient manner. By owning such a saw, you get to have the freedom to work the way you want to and you can work on a project on your own, in accordance with what you like and desire. While we’re at it, it is also important to mention that a reciprocating saw can be difficult to purchase due to a couple of reasons.
Firstly, if you start browsing for one right now, you’ll realize that there are thousands of products available out there and a similar number of brands manufacturing them. With such a large variety to choose from, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up getting confused. Moreover, all of those options will have different specifications and features, making it difficult for you to choose from.
Since there’s one way to go about choosing the ‘best’ compact reciprocating saw, this comprehensive guide to the best compact reciprocating saws will help you navigate this purchase and choose the one that fits your requirements.
Why Do You Need a Compact Reciprocating Saw?
Reciprocating saws are quite useful and we’ve already touched upon their usefulness. We’ll go deeper into the uses of this saw and understand why it is such a handy tool.
One of the primary uses of a reciprocating saw is demolition. Because of the nature and motion of this powerful tool, you can use it for demolition, to cut down things that you do not need. Demolition is an important part of remodeling since you’d have to remove the older materials first and a reciprocating saw will come in handy for this job.
A reciprocating saw is commonly used for pruning. If you’ve got overgrown trees and branches, you can use this saw to trim them down. The power and precision of this tool will allow you to cut through even thicker branches, without any additional manpower. Moreover, compact reciprocating saws are even more suitable for this purpose, since you might find yourself climbing the tree or a ladder to get to the overgrown branch.
You can use excess wood that is of no use to you and transform it into decoration pieces or woodwork projects using these saws since they’ll allow you to cut them the way you want to.
Remodeling and construction
Compact reciprocating saws come in very handy as far as construction and remodeling projects are concerned. You can cut materials that you do not need and shape other materials in accordance with your requirement, in order to complete a remodeling or construction project.
What Are the Different Types of Reciprocating Saws?
Reciprocating saws come with different features and specifications and for you to understand which models align with your requirements, you need to go through the different types of reciprocating saws that are available out there.
Compact vs heavy-duty
Heavy-duty reciprocating saws are heavier, more powerful, and bulkier. In contrast, compact saws, as suggested by the term itself, are smaller, more compact, and more convenient. Of course, if you’re opting for a compact one, you’ll be compromising on the power. This is where you need to think if you actually need a heavy-duty saw or would it just be overkill considering your needs and requirements.
If you need a reciprocating saw for heavy-duty projects, you should go for the bigger saw; however, most projects and jobs can be done using compact ones and they’re significantly more convenient as well. If you do not need a very powerful reciprocating saw, a compact reciprocating saw is a way to go.
Cordless vs corded
A corded power saw is one that will have to be plugged into a power socket to work, while a cordless saw is one that is powered by batteries and does not require a power socket all the time. Generally, corded reciprocating saws are considered more powerful, since they’re powered directly through a socket. On the other hand, since cordless saws are powered by a battery, they’re considered relatively less powerful. However, modern technology standards have made it easier for manufacturers to make powerful cordless saws.
As far as convenience and portability are concerned, cordless saws are the winners, hands-down. Cordless reciprocating saws are way easier to carry around and you can easily carry them to the location that you want to. If you’re remodeling or pruning, you’d certainly need to shift positions very often and it would be difficult to do so with a corded saw.
In our opinion, if you’re not looking for something heavy-duty, a cordless saw would be a much better option. Goodell David, founder of WoodWorking Clarity, says, “A cordless reciprocating saw is perfect as a secondary option for getting into tight spots, and it’s also great for DIY. If you do a lot of quick jobs or work mainly from your shop, you don’t need a cord. ”
What Factors Should Be Considered Before Buying a Compact Reciprocating Saw?
The motor of a saw is what gets the blade moving, which obviously makes it an important factor to consider. While you don’t need to get into the specifics of the sort of motor that you need, the only thing that you should consider is the new brushless motor technology. Brushless motors, as suggested by the name, do not require carbon brushes, which makes them more efficient, long-lasting, and cooler. If given the option, you can opt for a saw that is equipped with a brushless motor.
The speed of a compact reciprocating saw is measured in terms of Strokes per Minute or SPM. Higher SPM would mean that the saw would work faster, allowing you to cut the material with more ease, precision, and accuracy. The SPM that you require depends entirely on the task at hand.
The stroke length determines the distance that the saw blade will move back and forth in a single stroke. A greater stroke length would make it easier to cut through the material.
Additional Features That Would Be Good To Have in a Compact Reciprocating Saw
The capability to change the speed (SPM) at which a saw operates is a great additional feature to have, as it will allow you to vary the speed in accordance with the requirement of the job.
Power tools generate a lot of force and a lot of vibration with them. Vibration can cause a lot of fatigue, making it difficult for you to work for longer periods. Some compact reciprocating guns come with vibration absorbing mechanisms, making it convenient for the one operating the saw
Auto-stop is an important safety feature and it would be great to have it in your tool. Auto-stop mechanism basically stops the tool if it senses that anything has gone wrong. Not only is it an important feature for the material that you’ll be working on, but also for the operator’s safety.
Detailing Our Favorite Compact Reciprocating Saw of 2023
When it comes to power tools, Dewalt is amongst the most renowned brands in the world and you cannot go wrong with it. The Dewalt 20V MAX XR Reciprocating Saw is a great product, to begin with. It comes with a brushless motor that delivers up to 2.5x more runtime. The product itself is also very compact and measures just 14.5 inches, making it very portable. It’s also very lightweight, weighing just 5 lbs. The stroke length of this product is 1-⅛-inch and it has a keyless 4-position blade clamp, making it easier to change blades. Other features include 2900 SPM and LED light.
The Makita 18-volt cordless compact reciprocating saw is an excellent product that will fulfill your needs and your requirements. It has a very compact design, making it suitable for even narrow spaces and tight spots. The motor can deliver a maximum speed of 3000 SPM and you can adjust the speed in accordance with your requirements. High SPM combined with the ½” stroke length will make sure that you can cut through materials with ease. Another feature that makes it a convenient offering is the deal-position power switch, letting you operate it with either the paddle or the trigger.
The 18-V compact reciprocating saw by BOSCH is one of our top picks for this category and it has everything that you’re looking for in a compact saw. This product comes with a very compact and lightweight design, with a weight of just 4.4 lbs and a length of around 15 inches. The stroke of this saw is also optimized for maximum performance, with a stroke of 0.83 inches. Moreover, this saw lets you change the blade without any tool, making it very convenient. Lastly, you can adjust the speed of this saw in accordance with the material that you’re trying to cut through.
The 12V cordless reciprocating saw by NEWONE is one of the top products that you can get right now and you would not want to skip it. It is a very compact and lightweight product that weighs just 2.56 lbs, which is the lightest of the options that we’ve listed. Despite its small size, it packs a big enough battery that can power the tool for 20-30 mins. It is also equipped with a pressure sensor trigger that allows you to adjust the speed up to 3000 SFM. Other additional features include tool-less blade change, power indicator, and fast charging.
If you’re looking for a compact reciprocating saw that can get the job done, the SKIL 20V compact saw is worth checking out and worth considering. It comes with a 2.0Ah Li-ion battery and a 20V fast charger. It is a powerful tool as well, with a stroke length and stroke speed of 1 inch and 3000 SFM, respectively. The battery is also equipped with an innovative system to manage temperature, keeping it cooler when operated. Other features of this product include an adjustable pivoting shoe, adjustable speeds, and LED light for illumination.
Easy and seamless blade change
Innovative temperature management system for better use of the battery
Relatively less compact compared to other listed options
People Also Asked
Q: Do I need to take any precautions before using a compact reciprocating saw?
You should avoid using this saw in the presence of kids and pets and you must wear all the recommended safety gear before operating it.
Q: Are reciprocating saws going to cost me a lot?
While the price of a saw depends on a lot of factors, you need to understand that such tools are a long-term investment and you should opt for a product just because it’s cheaper.
Q: Which blade should I use for my saw?
The choice of the blade depends on the job at hand. If you know what you need to do, you can browse over and purchase the blade that’ll get the job done.
Q: What is a compact reciprocating saw used for?
A reciprocating saw is a handheld saw commonly used for demolition and remodeling. You can use it to cut through many types of materials such as wood, metal, PVC and nails.
Q: Can you cut straight lines with a reciprocating saw?
Yes, reciprocating saws can make straight and curved cuts.
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Expert Contributions By Goodell David
"Like many people reading this, I started woodworking out of necessity. Years ago, my house suffered severe water damage. I had to rip out old boards and do a semi-extensive remodel. When I got the quote from the contractor, I nearly fainted! A friend of mine said he could help me out a bit and we should try fixing it ourselves.
So, we got to work. To my surprise, the end result was pretty appalling – I don’t know why I thought it would work. However, I fell in love with the process and decided to keep trying, but with smaller projects next: drawers, chairs, kitchen cabinets, banisters. I turned my entire house into an experiment and eventually, I got very good! After that, my friends and neighbors started coming to me with opportunities. What began as a hobby became my main source of income in about two and a half years. So, I quit my job and dove right into it and I have never looked back."