This is a review of the best sawzalls on the market this year. If you have to ask what a sawzall is, you probably don’t need one. If you don’t know that you sound way cooler if you call it a reciprocating saw, you probably don’t need one.
But if you’re in construction, remodeling, plumbing, carpentry, electrical work or demolition work, you need the best sawzall you can get your hands on. They’re indispensable, indestructible and incomparable, and one should be in the bed of your pickup truck right now, if not in the passenger seat.
Actually, you used to have a sawzall that looked like it survived D-Day. You loaned it to Joe a week before he took a new job in New Mexico. You haven’t seen Joe or the sawzall since. Never fear. We have a list of the best sawzalls that’s sure to include one like your old one, except this one is even better.
So order yourself a new sawzall. Today. And why not get the best sawzall while you’re at it.
And, don’t forget to review some tips for how to use a reciprocating saw safely.
The 11 Best Sawzalls in 2020
1. Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall (2720-20) – Best Sawzall
Best Sawzall Feature: Monitors Its Own Performance
Any list of the best power tools, whether it’s drills, grinders, cutters, staplers or sawzalls is going to have one or two representatives from Milwaukee Power Tools. They’re just that good.
So it should come as no surprise that this red-and-black hero made our list of the best sawzalls. This one is cordless. Boom. Put it in a box and give it to the guy with the brown truck. We could end the conversation right there, but the M18 Fuel has more than that going for it, as you might imagine.
Yes, it’s cordless, but this sawzall takes cordless to a new level with Milwaukee’s Redlink Plus intelligence system, which monitors performance, battery condition and motor status to deliver the most SPMs possible, and in this case, it’s 3000 SPMs. That’s one of the fastest reciprocations of any sawzall on the market.
The brushless motor supplies constant power for faster cuts and reduced heat, both on the blade and inside. They have a patent on the clutch, which protects the gears from lock-up. And to throw a little light on the subject, this sawzall has a little light – an LED light at the tip to show the user what he’s cutting.
The power pack for this sawdust-tossing devil is Milwaukee’s M18 Red Lithium XC4.0 Ah battery (purchased separately) , one of the longest lasting batteries of any on our list. When it’s on its charger (also purchased separately), the Redlink Plus system monitors the flow of current to make sure the battery gets the fastest recharge possible, but it maintains a safe temperature while doing so.
Overall, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel is the best sawzall and easily tops our list. But don’t take our word for it. Put this guy to work and you’ll see it’s by far the best sawzall on the market.
Don’t forget to buy extra blades for this saw. Milwaukee sawzall blades are made in the USA and very high quality. They offer a sawzall blade pack that’s great for a wide variety of materials too. However, if you’re looking for the best sawzall blades, especially for cutting metal, look no further than these Diablo sawzall blades.
2. Skil Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw (9206-02) – Best Affordable Sawzall
Best Sawzall Feature: Metal Gear Housing for Durability
Sawzalls aren’t built to make pretty cuts or precise cuts. You don’t create a dovetail joint with a sawzall. They’re the rough, tough, rude brutes that can cut through just about any material you put in front of it. If you want pretty, get a miter saw.
Skil has been making power tools for decades, and they know how to make the best sawzalls. It’s not a glamour tool, it’s a power tool, and Skil has blessed it with a ton of power. As pictured, this sawzall draws 7.5 amps, but if that’s not enough buzz for you, there is an optional 9-amp saw for a few dollars more.
The motor is variable speed for cutting through a wide variety of materials. The harder you squeeze the trigger, the faster the blade reciprocates, powering through dense wood, masonry and even steel with relative ease. It’s ergonomically designed and counter-balanced for steady operation. This model also includes a pivoting foot for added stability.
You can change the blade without hunting for a screwdriver or allen wrench, and the heavy duty housing allows this saw to be mistreated, if that’s what you or your work crew are inclined to do. (But don’t.) The gears are protected by heavy metal housing to maintain momentum while charging through tough material.
This is definitely the best sawzall for those on a budget. It offers good power at a great price. So, if you’re looking for something cheap for a few members of your crew, get a few of these and get cutting.
Best Sawzall Feature: Self-Adjusting Brushless Motor
KIMO places high on our list with one the best reciprocating saws. The main highlight on this sawzall by KIMO is that it comes with a brushless motor. A brushless motor differs from a conventional motor in that it has no brushes – no kidding, huh? What it does have are windings on the stator – the permanently seated part of a motor – instead of the rotor. This eliminates the need for brushes.
The advantage here is that the brushless motor, once energized, fights back against drag. So in a reciprocating saw, a brushless motor doesn’t need the operator telling it to “go faster,” or “go slower” via a trigger switch. A brushless motor makes those adjustments automatically, although it still responds to input from the trigger switch.
The trade-off is more noise, slightly less efficiency and a greater initial expense, but most users prefer brushless over brushed motors because of the ease with which it changes speeds, and keeps its cool while cutting.
The KIMO M6 is both battery operated and power cord operated. And in a reversal of expectations, the battery is included and the power cord is not! (If you want to go power cord, you simply use a heavy gauge extension cord, like what you would use with an electric leaf blower.)
This kit ships with the reciprocating saw, a 20-volt 4.0 Ah battery, a one-hour charger and eight blades: six for wood and two for metal. The blades come in a variety of tooth patterns, from fine to aggressive. Changing blades is a tool-less operation, requiring only a twist of the chuck and a twist back with the new blade in place.
It’s lightweight, but it’s quite the dynamo when it’s on the job. It can deliver up to 3300 SPMs with a one-inch stroke. That puts a lot of cutting power to work, and intimidating tasks become more manageable.
KIMO was awarded a patent for its cooling system, which works actively and passively to keep the motor at optimum operating temperature. The nature of the brushless motor reduces friction and creates less heat anyway, so that the overall effect is that this product is well-defended against overheating.
Best Sawzall Feature: Ships with Four Types of Blades
With an upgraded battery and an arsenal of blades, this Kimo sawzall is ready to go to work right out of the box. It’s pretty much a straightforward tool, lacking the fancy extras that the more glamorous models come with. If fancy extras aren’t your thing, then this might be the tool for you.
They’ve recently upgraded the battery to a 20-volt 4.0 Ah, which should give you around 40 minutes of steady usage. That figure isn’t etched in stone, however. If you’re cutting through 2x4s, you might expect a little less battery life; tree branches, a little more.
This Kermit-green power tool comes with four blades: a short blade for wood, a longer blade with more aggressive teeth for wood, a short blade for metal and a longer blade with more aggressive teeth for metal. You can cut through studs AND the nails holding them in place with a controlled pass.
The stroke length is a middle-of-the-road 3/4 inch and the blade runs at a top speed of 3000 SPMs. You can control the speed with a rheostatic trigger switch.
5. Makita Reciprocating Saw (JR3050T)
Best Sawzall Feature: 11-Amp Motor
In many cases, the mere mention of the name Makita provides all some buyers need to make a purchase. And there’s a good reason for that. Makita has certainly made its mark in the power tool market, especially the professional power tool market.
Chalk this reciprocating saw up as one of those can’t-go-wrong purchases based on a trademark. It’s a real workhorse sawzall, drawing 11 amps of AC power (so make sure it’s plugged into a circuit that doesn’t already have a bunch of other devices on it). At max output, it produces 2800 SPMs with a stroke length of 1-1/8 inch.
The extra power makes the Makita live up to its promise of being able to cut through just about any material – dense wood, metal, sheetrock, PVC, plaster, etc. It’s indispensable as a demolition tool, but it can make cuts nearly as precisely as a circular saw.
Blade change is tool-less and quick, and the moving parts are fitted with ball and needle bearings for reduced friction and wear. The hard plastic shell fits firmly, and is trimmed with a rubber boot that seals out dust and debris.
This has a powerful motor that is easily serviced when new brushes are needed. Like so many of the other models, it’s a variable speed motor that responds to a trigger switch.
You can order the standard saw and carrying case (one of the nicer carrying cases in our group) or you can order a packaged set that also includes a set of six blades.
Best Sawzall Feature: Cordless and Lightweight
If you’ve ever seen a sawzall with a repaired cord – perhaps wrapped in duct tape – you should know that it didn’t come that way originally. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened. Yep. Someone cut the cord with the saw blade.
Well, that won’t happen with this DEWALT 20V MAX XR, because it’s cordless. It’s powered by DEWALT’s almost famous one-size-fits-all 20-volt lithium battery. If you have other DEWALT cordless tools on the job, you can share batteries, because they all run on the same one. At last count, there were over 180 tools that use this battery.
While the official rating for the lithium battery is 20 volts, its power under load with this tool maxes out at 18 volts. The battery holds up for several hours of cutting, but the jury is still out on whether it would hold out that long under constant use.
This sawzall is compact and lightweight, yet the motor delivers up to 2900 SPMs (Strokes Per Minute). At 14 inches, the Max XR can slip between wall studs. This would be handy for cutting notches for electrical boxes and routing pipes and electrical conduits. A front-mounted LED light helps the user see what he’s doing in low light situations.
Blade change-out is tool-less, which can be a real boost on a long day. There’s a four-position head that holds the blade in place during use and releases it easily when it needs to be removed.
This product comes with a three-year limited warranty. You probably won’t see a warranty better than this one.
7. DEWALT Corded Reciprocating Saw (DWE305)
Best Sawzall Feature: 12-Amp Motor
The proper technique for using a handsaw is to take long, steady strokes with the saw blade, engaging as many of the saw teeth as possible for each stroke.
That principle applies to reciprocating saws, but since they operate at 2500-3000 strokes per second, it’s kind of hard to achieve a very long stroke length. This model has a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches, which may seem short, but don’t forget how fast those teeth are churning back and forth. This adds up to some pretty fast cutting.
The motor speed is variable, so when you’re cutting through wimpy stuff you won’t overdo. But when the going gets tough, the 12-amp motor powers through it like a butter knife through hot margarine. Unlike the previous model, this sawzall is corded, running on standard house current. Since it pulls 12 amps, there might be a time or two when it trips a breaker on an older house, or an overloaded worksite generator, but that’s not really a serious consideration.
It comes with a three-year limited warranty, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Best Sawzall Feature: Dependable and Inexpensive
For a budget-friendly, do-anything sawzall, this guy from Porter-Cable can for sure do it! Lightweight and simple to use, it outperforms some saws costing twice as much.
It’s no slouch when it comes to motor speed. At maximum speed (without a load), it will operate at 3200 SPMs on a variable speed system, governed by a two-finger trigger. The blade shoe pivots, allowing the user to slide around corners without missing a beat.
When it’s time to change blades, the process is simple and tool-less. A simple twist-lock clamp holds the blade snug while in use and a simple half-turn releases it for removal.
Now, the motor isn’t exactly a house-wrecker at 7.5 amps, but you’d be surprised at how many tasks that would be sufficient for.
Clearly, this is more for the homeowner and DIYer than the professional, but when the day is over and the job is done, you won’t mind that it’s not pro-quality.
Best Sawzall Feature: Tool-Free Blade Change
For occasional use, this Black & Decker cordless reciprocating saw is a fine choice. For everyday use, we would recommend ponying up a little more cash for something more durable.
But, for the bare essentials of cutting oddball bits of lumber, slicing an opening through sheetrock or whacking off a tree limb that keeps whacking your noggin every time you walk under it, this does the job.
Lightweight, yet delivering an impressive 3000 SPMs maximum from a variable-speed trigger, this sawzall does what its name suggests: it saws all. A pivoting shoe helps the user maintain control during the cut, and an electric brake makes sure the cut ends when the user wants it to end.
Changing the blade is a piece of cake. No tools are necessary. Changing blades frequently is important to this and any sawzall. When you’re rough-cutting through material that fights back, the blade has to do a lot of work, and it generates a lot of heat.
Sawzall blades get dull a lot faster than other types of saw blades because of the rapid reciprocation and the tough materials they sometimes have to cut through. Keeping fresh blades on hand is highly recommended, even if you’re using the best Sawzall.
This tool is sold as “bare”, meaning what you see is what you get, meaning this doesn’t ship with a battery and charger. That’s not necessarily bad news if you already have other cordless Black & Decker 18-volt tools.
All of B & D’s 18-volt Max batteries are interchangeable, so if you have a MAX power drill or MAX hedge trimmers, their batteries can be used in this and visa-versa. Now, if you’re using all of those tools on the same Saturday afternoon project, you might run into a problem. But how often will that happen?
Best Sawzall Feature: Clamping Jaw Holds Tool in Place While Cutting
This recip saw looks mean and intimidating, but it purrs like a happy kitten when in use. Primarily, this is best suited for demo work, where precision takes a back seat to “get ‘er done.”
The most interesting feature with this tool is that set of nasty-looking teeth on the clamping jaw. The teeth dig in and hold the material being cut, or adjacent material – anything that will support the saw – and provide more control and more stability throughout the cut, while at the same time reducing vibration. This would be particularly helpful when using it as a pruning saw.
The cutting blade can be changed out without tools, and the double position safety switch prevents the saw from turning on prematurely.
This tool runs on a 12-volt battery, which is a little less than some of the other saws, yet it still generates 2500 SPMs with a 4/5-inch stroke. If you need to know if your juice is running low, just check the battery life indicator right on top. When it’s time for a recharge, the charger can take a flat battery to a full charge in around an hour.
If you’ve never heard of the Tacklife brand, you’re not alone. Tacklife has only been around since 2015, but has surged in popularity in short order. They make tools for automotive, wood shop and garden in addition to measuring equipment.
11. WORX AXIS 2-in-1 Reciprocating Saw and Jigsaw (WX550L)
Best Sawzall Feature: Blade Swivels Straight Down
It’s a sawzall!
It’s a jigsaw!
It’s a sawzall, you ignorant dweeb!
Now, hold on you two. The Worx WX550L is a sawzall AND a jigsaw! Worx has come out with a design that allows the cutting blade to swivel 90° and be used straight down, as you would a jigsaw blade. One push on the red button on the side unlocks the head mechanism.
There are a lot of cool things about this tool, as if being able to morph from one type of saw to another wasn’t cool enough. For one thing, it has a dust blower up front to keep the dust from blocking your view of the cut, Also helping out in that regard is a bright LED light that stays with the head, no matter what the orientation.
Before you change modes to change it to jigsaw mode, you must turn the blade around the other way (and probably use a different blade, anyway), and then press the lock release to pivot the head down to the jigsaw position. A lever helps you set the blade for deep cuts. WORX is not going to force people to use their blades, so any brand of reciprocating saw blade will fit.
This is powered by a 20-volt 4.0 Ah battery, which is included, along with the charger. It’s not a fast-charge charger. Charging a totally dead battery to full strength takes about three hours. If you already have a 20-volt Worx power tool, know that the batteries are interchangeable.
The blade runs at a more of an elliptical shape than straight back-and-forth with a 3/4-inch stroke length. It also moves at a maximum (no load) speed of 3000 SPMs.
Choosing the Best Sawzall
Since a sawzall performs so many tasks, it may be hard to determine what the best match is for your greatest need. If you do a lot of sheetrock work, cutting out holes for receptacles, switches or just fitting an oddball corner, you may not need a sawzall that can rip through steel pipe in seconds.
On the other hand, if you do a lot of metal work, you need a saw with the power to zip through without taking all day. When a worker has to hold a power tool in place for extended periods of time, the chances of it slipping in his hand increase. This is as much a safety issue as it is a productivity issue.
All the above descriptions include a rating for SPMs – strokes per minute. Keep in mind that the top number is almost always expressed without a load – just cutting the air, so to speak. But put that saw on a board, pipe, tree limb – whatever – and the SPMs will drop considerably. The better saws, the ones with the high-amp motors and fluid mechanics, will generally outperform the lesser ones.
The saws that don’t have to work as hard will run cooler and last longer.
Cordless or Corded Sawzall: Which Is Better?
A power cord is like a leash on a dog. When you reach the end, that’s all she wrote, and there ain’t no more. That may or may not be a big deal in your typical work environment.
The other option is cordless. The lithium battery has revolutionized the tool industry, taking cordless power tools into places they could never have gone before.
If you go with a cordless sawzall, pay attention to the battery. Most of the cordless sawzalls on our list use 18 or 20-volt lithium batteries, and most of them are 4Ah (amp hours), which is good for long usage. The weak link in the process is sometimes the charger. Some of the chargers can take a flat battery to full charged in an hour. Some of the others might take three. Also, the batteries that are interchangeable with those of other products of the same brand name make a sensible choice.
Sawzalls get a lot of abuse, because they’re often viewed as beasts that can take a lickin’. In many cases, they can, but if your work environment is one in which tool abuse is an issue, stay away from the budget tools.
And finally, read the user reviews.
If you’re looking for a high quality concrete saw, we got you covered on that too. Here are the best concrete saws on the market this year.