Reciprocating Saws


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.

Get ready to tear the house down! Take a look at the introduction video and browse around to learn more about how to master these useful saws!

  • share

Tips & Safety
Tool Diagram

Use a reciprocating saw for breaking down pallets or reclaimed wood.

You can saw through nails to break down pallets much easier than using a pry bar or a hammer.

Use bar lubricant when cutting metal.

Cut metal more smoothly by rubbing a little bar lubricant on the blade. (Remember never to handle the blade when the power source is connected)

Changing blades.

When your blade is dull and having trouble making it through materials with ease, it's time for a new one. Most reciprocating saws have tooless blade clamps. Lift the lever and insert the blade as far as it will go. Release the lever and tug the blade to make sure it's secure.

Long and short blades.

If you have chosen the correct length blade, a small amount of the blade should extend past the other side of the material. You should always have a long enough blade to comfortably cut through your material with out the tip of the blade catching. Longer blades are for cutting larger material or for use of their flexibility.

Use a drill to make plunge cuts easier to start.

Plunge cuts may be less intimidating if you drill a good sized hole into the material at the point where you want to start your cut. This gives the saw a place to start.

Diagram: Reciprocating Saw
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
Adjustable shoe

A feature that allows the user to move the shoe forward or back, exposing more or less of the saw blade.

Instructions: Adjust the shoe forward or backward depending on how much blade length you want to use. Remember- shorter blade length is easier to control, while longer blade lengths can go deeper into materials.


Bi-Metal blades are manufactured with two types of metal. This provides a much stronger, longer lasting blade.

Blade Clamp

This is the part of the saw that holds the blade in place. Most blade clamps are tool-less and spring loaded.

Instructions: Unplug or remove the battery pack from the saw, then pull back (or lift up) the blade clamp. Insert the blade, and release the blade clamp. Make sure the blade is secure. You should never operate a saw with a loose blade.

Flush Cut

Cutting a nail or screw to lay flush against a surface. May be used for tidying up rough or sloppy work

Instructions: Using a long-length flexible blade, bend the blade until it curves with part lying flat on the surface. Pull the trigger, and the bent blade will cut the nail/screw flush against the material.

Kickback (Recip Saws)

The unexpected action of the saw hurling the material being cut or the saw in the direction of the user.

Orbital Action/Oscillation

An additional setting on some Jig Saws and Reciprocating Saws that provide an orbital action for more aggressive cuts.

Instructions: Only use this function on wood- never metal or plastic.

Pivoting shoe

A feature that allows you to rock the saw back and forth during cutting without lifting the shoe off the cutting material. This helps you get through tougher cuts.

Plunge Cut

A cut made directly into a piece of material. It starts inside the material, not on the edge. May be used for: Taking down drywall, cutting slots for doors, windows and outlets

Instructions: Without the blade touching the material, rest the shoe of the saw on the material. Pull the trigger and slowly lower the blade into the material until the blade fully enters the material.

Pocket Cut

Cutting a square or rectangle shape out of the material; may be used for creating a space for electrical outlets.


This is the part of the saw that rests against the material you are cutting. The shoe should always be flat against the material. It reduces vibration and gives you better control.

Instructions: Rest the shoe against the material before pulling the trigger. The blade should not touch the material until moving at full speed. Once the shoe is in place, you can start the saw.


TPI stands for Teeth Per Inch. This is the way saw blades are measured. The lower the TPI, the more aggressive the cut.

Instructions: If you're cutting wood, choose a 6-10 TPI blade. For metal, choose a higher TPI such as 18.

Variable Speed Trigger/Adjustment

Allows user to control the speed of the blade. This feature gives the user greater cut control.

Instructions: If you're sawing and you hit a particularly hard patch of material, simply adjust the speed of the saw to help you get through it.

Are Reciprocating Saws dangerous?

Any power tool can be dangerous if it is used improperly. If you follow all the safety directions in your manual, you should be able to use a reciprocating saw safely. Read and understand your manual before using your reciprocating saw.

What can I cut with a Reciprocating Saw?

All kinds of wood as well as masonite, plastic, drywall, sheet steel, pipe, steel rods, aluminum, brass and copper.

How do I know when to use a Reciprocating Saw?

Usually for demolition, but you can use it for making any rougher cuts when precision is not as important. You can also use a reciprocating saw for pruning trees (a pruning blade maybe needed).

How do I know which blade to use?

Consider what you are cutting and what TPI is appropriate for the job. Lower TPI (Teeth Per Inch) are usually used for wood, mid-range TPI is best for plastics, and high TPI is recommended for metals. Check the recommendations on the blades' package to know for sure.

How can I make plunge cuts easier?

Drill a pilot hole large enough to insert the blade. This will make it easier to start.

Can I use a Reciprocating Saw instead of other kinds of saws for building?

Recip saws make rougher, less precise cuts. It's best used for demoltion.

What kind of blade should I use to cut wood with nails in it?

Demolition or Multi-purpose blades are good to use when cutting through nailed wood.

Can I cut a tree with a Reciprocating Saw?

You can cut branches and limbs with a reciprocating saw. If your tree is small enough, you can cut a tree down. Bear in mind, these saws are ideal for cutting stationary material. If there's a lot of give to your branch or limb, the saw may just shake it rather than cutting through it. Use Caution.