14 Benefits Of Reciprocating Saws

Reciprocating saws are very versatile and useful cutting tools with the ability to handle many tasks. Here are some clear benefits they can bring.

1. Reciprocating Saws Cut Metal

Reciprocating saws are great for cutting metal.  If you need to cut metal in a pinch and don’t have any power tools that can do the job for you, reciprocating saws used with metal blades can get through mild steel without too much effort.

Reciprocating saw blades are rated for cutting thin, medium, and thick metal. This includes cutting:

  • Nails
  • Rebar
  • Wire
  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Cast iron
  • High-strength alloys

When it comes to cutting metal with a reciprocating saw, the length of the blade, teeth per inch (TPI), and thickness of the blade are important. Generally, a 8-24 TPI is recommended for cutting metal, with the hardest metal using the least number of teeth.

2. Reciprocating Saws Cut Plastic

Being so flexible due to the variety of blades they can use, reciprocating saws are capable of cutting plastic. This includes:

  • PVC pipe
  • Foam insulation
  • Vinyl siding
  • Plastic drums
Reciprocating Saw Worker

3. Reciprocating Saws Cut Glass

A reciprocating saw is great for cutting some types of glass, including:

  • Plexiglass
  • Fiberglass
  • Car glass windshield

Emergency services and fire departments use special reciprocating saws to cut through car windsheilds. However, when cutting glass, it is necessary to wear face filter masks or sheilds because it produces fine glass dust particles.

4. Reciprocating Saws Cut Rebar And Nails

Reciprocating saws are known for their ability to cut and trim rebar that is within or sticking out of concrete.

In order to cut the rebar, reciprocating saws have a reciprocating action. This reciprocating action moves the blade back and forth allowing it to make cuts that are much deeper than those made by circular saws or jig saws.

However, steel rebar is often thick and very strong. This is a hard metal to cut through and requires using a reciprocating saw blade that has less teeth. Also, choosing a rigid bi-metal blade will help keep the blade from bending while cutting.

Wood boards with nails embedded withing them. This is very handy when you need to cut through it fast without stopping to remove them.

5. Reciprocating Saws Cut Wire

Small, thin, coated wires are easily cut using a reciprocating saw. This includes metal wire, wire mesh, and coated electrical wire. Since wires are often embedded within walls, wood objects, and even concrete, a reciprocating saw blade that matches these materials will work for cutting wire.

Howeve, attempting to just cut wire with a reciprocating saw may result in it jamming inside the blade opening or release chuck, so be careful.

6. Reciprocating Saws Cut Wood

Reciprocating saws are known for their exceptional ability to cut wood, making both smoothe or rough cuts. This includes plywood, 2×4’s, and even tree branches.

Nearly all types of wood, soft and hard can be cut using a reciprocating saw with a wood cutting blade. Keep in mind the TPI of the blade when considering the wood type you are cutting. More teeth on the blade will make a smoother cut, while less teeth is good for rough cuts on hard woods.

7. Reciprocating Saws Cut Concrete

Reciprocating saws can cut concrete using a concrete cutting blade. This includes, sidewalks, concrete cinder blocks, bricks, and stucco. However, this can produce a lot of concrete dust, so make sure to wear goggles and a face mask when cutting.

8. Reciprocating Saws Cut Tile And Brick

One suprising benefit to many is the reciprocating saws ability to cut tile and brick.

Tile that is on a wall can be cut with long reciprocating saw blades. Tile that is on the floor can be cut with shorter reciprocating blade lengths. Indoor and outdoor brick (flooring, fire places, decks, driveways) can also be cut using a reciprocating saw.

In fact, reciprocating saws are well suited to the task of tile cutting because they’re easy to handle and provide just about the right amount of power.

9. Reciprocating Saws Are Water and Dust Resistant

Reciprocating saws are not water-proof, but they are very water and dust resistant. They can stand up to dirty conditions and keep operating. Reciprocating saws are often used in dusty conditions, sometimes in wet conditions.

Ordingary reciprocating saws are not submersible, but can be used in conditions where water sprays or splashes.

10. Reciprocating Saws Can Be Battery Powered

Reciprocating saws come in both battery and cord powered versions.

This gives them mobility and allows for the user not having to worry about where the cord is. You won’t have to worry about tripping on the cord or accidentally unplugging it.

The only downside is the charge on the battery is limited to about 1 hour and you must be near a recharger.

11. Reciprocating Saws Are Easy to Carry And Store

Reciprocating saws are made to be carried and transported with you wherever you need to go. They often come with their own storage cases or bags that are made of either hard plastic or durable fabric.

Reciprocating saws are not very large and can fit within the cab of a car or truck, the bed or trunk, or in the corner or on the shelf of a garage.

12. Reciprocating Saws Have A Variety Of Blades To Choose From

Reciproating saws have different types of interchangeable blades for many types of materials used in construction. They are made if different materials that allow them to cut wood, metal, and masonry.

Types of reciprocating saw blades include:

  • High Carbon Steel
  • High-Speed Steel
  • Bi-Metal Blades
  • Carbide reinforced

14. Reciprocating Saw Blades Are Easy To Change

Reciprocating saw blades are easy to change due to their keyless quick release chuck, or quick lock clamp.

One great benefit to reciprocating saws is their ability to change blades quickly without the need for a key.

First, unplug the saw and let the old blade cool down before touching it. Hold the saw with one hand and open the blade clamp with the other. Slide the new blade in and close the blade clamp. Make sure the blade is firmly positioned before starting to cut again.

In Closing

Reciprocating saws have many benefits. However it is imporant to always consider safety when using them. Wearing adequate PPE will help prevent injuries to yourself or others.

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium