How to buy a reciprocating saw
A reciprocating saw buying guide
In contrast to saws that are designed for varying degrees of precision cuts, like miter saws, reciprocating saws are intended to deliver the power needed to slice through tough materials such as metal, masonry, wood and more. When thinking about how to buy a reciprocating saw, there are a few points you will want to keep in mind.
>> How much power do you need?
The first question you may ask when learning how to buy a reciprocating saw is how do you compare the power of different saws? Amperage is the answer. The higher the amperage rating, the greater the power these cutting tools will have. As a general rule, anywhere from five to ten amps should be plenty for most home projects.
>> Consider the power source
A good rule of thumb when trying to find the best reciprocating saw, or any power tool, is to find the tool that best matches how you intend to use it. As far as reciprocating saws are concerned, there are two types when it comes to power: corded and cordless.
- Corded: The advantage of a corded tool is a virtually unlimited workflow and more power to accomplish all of the various uses of a reciprocating saw without the need to stop and recharge or change batteries.
- Cordless: Portable saws and portable power tools are great for when you need a lot of mobility in your tool. If you plan on working far away from outlets, you will likely want to buy a cordless reciprocating saw. If this is something you want, be sure to look at battery life and charge times when making a reciprocating saw comparison.
>> Consider reciprocating saw features
Making good reciprocating saw comparisons is often a matter of understanding which features are available and how they function. Because reciprocating saw uses are so varied, you may find that you place greater value in one feature over another. Think about some of the following common attachments and how they pertain to your needs.
- Adjustable shoe: An adjustable shoe provides you with more control and enhanced stability. This makes the tool more stable and allows for more precision in the depth of the cut you make. When deciding which reciprocating saw to buy, make sure to look for a mechanism that makes adjustments easily in the shoe.
- Maneuverability: An important factor that is sometimes overlooked in selecting home improvement tools is maneuverability. When considering how to buy a reciprocating saw, considering maneuverability is all the more vital because often times you will be utilizing this tool in many different positions. Consider the typical places and spaces in which you will be working when evaluating whether or not the saw is maneuverable enough for you.
- Blade replacement: While you seldom have to change a circular electric saw blade on a job site or in the middle of a project, a reciprocating saw might need its blade replaced often. As such, be sure to consider how easily each model of saw can change its blade.
- Variable speed control: Many reciprocating saw brands allow you to select different speeds so that when you are working with different materials you can adjust your cut rate.
- Speed regulation: When cutting through certain materials, a blade can slow down when faced with increased resistance. The speed regulation feature enables the reciprocating saw blade to maintain its speed at all times, making for an easier and more consistent cut.
- Gear housing: A metal gear housing adds greater protection and increased durability to the reciprocating saw, and it is a popular feature that you might want to have.
>> Consider reciprocating saw blades
Lastly, when thinking about how to buy a reciprocating saw, think about which saw blades you will use. Each blade is designed for optimal performance at a particular task, such as cutting wood or metal. Think about the following blades and make sure that the ones you want to use are compatible with the particular type of reciprocating saw you are considering.
- Carbon steel: Carbon steel blades are one of the most popular types of blades because of their low cost. They work well when cutting soft woods such as pine, but can dull quickly when working on hard woods.
- High speed: These blades are much harder than carbon steel blades and are an ideal choice for homeowners who are looking for something to use on hard woods and materials.
- Bi-metal: Bi-metal blades are even stronger blades that can last up to ten times as long as carbon steel, making them an excellent choice for many projects.
- Carbide-tipped: A carbide-tipped blade is an ideal, all-around blade that holds its edge for extended use while making difficult cuts.
- Diamond blades: These blades are tipped with real diamonds and are made to cut through the toughest materials such as ceramics and concrete.
Be sure to research individual reciprocating saws that you are considering in order to make an informed decision. This way, you can find the best reciprocating saw to buy for you.