Whether you’re a DIYer or a seasoned Pro, the landscape is changing when it comes to reciprocating saw blades (often called by the trademarked name, SawZall blades). Diablo made some pretty cool advances, but that often leaves many questions about which of their blades to purchase. Choosing the best Diablo reciprocating saw blades can help you and your crew get the best speed, performance, and life out of these accessories.
So it’s just a question of whether you intend to cut wood or metal, right? We test plenty of both in our best cordless reciprocating saw head-to-head articles.
Oh, my friend, there’s so much more to the conversation these days. So buckle up and let’s take a look at the best Diablo reciprocating saw blade for cutting wood, metal, and mixed demo work.
Diablo Bi-Metal vs Carbide
Diablo Bi-metal reciprocating saw blades are less expensive than their carbide cousins but they don’t last nearly as long. When you’re considering bi-metal vs carbide, it’s more than just the price tag. Carbide blades typically last dozens of times longer than bi-metal, so the cost per cut is actually much cheaper with the carbide Sawzall blade.
When it comes to cutting speed, an aggressive bi-metal blade is hard to beat in clean wood. However, it’ll round off quickly if you come across any nails. Since Diablo now has such a comprehensive line of carbide-tipped blades, carbide ends up being the best reciprocating saw blade for nearly every job for Pros. If you’re a DIYer with just a little cutting to do, bi-metal can still be an effective choice. Just keep in mind that if you’re making more than a few cuts with metal involved, you’re almost always better off buying a carbide blade.
Best Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blade for Clean Wood Cutting
Diablo Carbide-tipped Pruning and Clean Wood
Cutting in wood is easier than metal. You can go with a really aggressive tooth count so the high stroke rate of a reciprocating saw can rip through it. In general, the lower the tooth count the better for speed. For this, we love the Diablo Carbide-tipped Pruning and Clean Wood Blade.
When cutting clean wood, you can go with the most aggressive tooth count—as low as 3 TPI (teeth per inch). An aggressive tooth geometry comes along with it and chews through wood quicker than any other blade.
In addition to helping with the lighter part of demo work, it’s also a beast when it comes to trimming up or pruning shrubs and trees. You can leave the chainsaw in the shed for a lot of the work that’s too tough for your hedge trimmer. Need to cut through dirty roots? This is your blade.
Best Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blade for Nail-Embedded Wood
For most demo applications, the wood blade you turn to is a nail-embedded model. The tooth count increases more toward the 6 – 8 range with the goal being to keep nails from entering the gullet and ripping teeth off. Blades like the Diablo Demo Demon Carbide recip saw blade use a variable TPI configuration to get the best performance and life.
These blades do a great job in terms of both the speed of cutting and durability. You pay more than for bi-metal, but you spend less time changing blades and dealing with broken teeth and burning metal.
Best Diablo Recip Blade for Thin Metal Cutting
Metal cutting differs greatly from wood cutting. You need higher tooth counts to cut through the metal without ripping teeth off. The variable tooth design that gives you an advantage in wood works against you in metal. There, a symmetrical configuration works better. Bi-metal blades don’t usually last long and you can forget about making much progress in stainless steel.
Once again, carbide is king for cutting performance and durability by a long shot. For this reason, we recommend the Diablo Steel Demon carbide thin metal recip blade.
For thin metal less than 3/16″ or 1/8″ like EMT, you normally go with bi-metal blades. It’s the domain of electricians and plumbers for the most part. The high tooth count of thin metal blades (usually around 20 TPI) gives you a cleaner cut to work with. This TPI level used to be a bi-metal-only application since you can’t attach weld or braze individual carbide teeth at that level. However, Diablo just released a thin metal reciprocating saw blade that uses a carbide strip that the teeth are ground into.
For infrequent use, a Diablo thin metal bi-metal blade should do just fine and save you some money.
Best Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blade for Medium Metal
Diablo Steel Demon Carbide Medium Metal
Medium thickness (1/16″ – 1/8″) metal falls into that middle ground where a lot of demo work takes place (along with some plumbing). The best Diablo reciprocating saw blades for medium metal cutting are around the 10 TPI range. Definitely go with carbide if you’re making more than the occasional cut. Fpr professionals who want a reliable and durable blade, the Diablo Steel Demon Carbide Medium Metal reciprocating saw blade definitely fits the bill.
Best Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blade for Thick Metal Cutting
While Diablo continues to sell the standard Steel Demon blades, we love the enhanced performance and durability of the Diablo Steel Demon Amped Carbide Thick Metal blades. While not cheap, they offer incredible life and cutting speed through cast iron pipe and even stainless steel.
Before this, thick metals like cast iron often required a torch to cut effectively. Next came diamond blades—but they take forever and cost a fortune. Dedicated thick metal Sawzall blades drop the tooth count to the 8 TPI range—similar to what you find with carbide wood blades.
While the TPI may be similar, the tooth geometry differs greatly to work through these thicker metals. As a harder metal blend, the carbide cuts more quickly than other options. Don’t even think about going with bi-metal for these applications greater than 1/8″ thick. At best, it’ll take a long time or multiple blades to get through it. At worst, you’re just rubbing grooves into the pipe.
Price represents the only downside. Diablo Steel Demon Amped carbide thick metal reciprocating saw blades run anywhere from $15 to $20 for a single blade.
Best Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blade for Multi-Purpose
Diablo General Purpose Carbide
A Sawzall blade that works well in both wood and metal is a pipe dream, right? Not anymore. Thanks to the magic (or, rather, physics) of carbide, Diablo has a General Purpose Reciprocating Saw Blade. This one sports a 6/9 TPI configuration that covers both wood and metal blades.
Realistically, you’re better off in wood with a wood blade and metal with a metal blade. However, if you want to have a pack of blades on hand for the unexpected, these are a good bet.
Best Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blade for Fiber Cement, Masonry, and Fiberglass
Diablo Diamond Grit
The other major class of reciprocating saw blades is diamond grit. Bosch, Lenox, Milwaukee, Imperial, and Diablo make these. They’re useful in several materials—particularly fiber cement, masonry, and rigid fiberglass. I’ve used them in years past to cut black pipe out of some difficult places.
Until carbide thick metal blades came along, these were also the go-to for the toughest metal applications. Rather than having teeth that slice through the material, diamond grit Sawzall blades are abrasives. The small deposits of diamond help grind away the metal or material. Because of the effectiveness of carbide, Diablo now only makes a single 9-inch diamond grit blade.
Hopefully, this gave you a nice overview of the best Diablo reciprocating saw blades to use when cutting all sorts of materials. While bi-metal blades are cheap—carbide teeth are hard to beat when it comes to metal-cutting or anything involving nails, demo, or encountering multiple materials.
With that said, since this was a “Best” Diablo reciprocating saw (SawZall) blades article, we mostly featured carbide solutions. If you don’t have a lot of cuts to make, bi-metal could make more sense for various applications. And, of course, if you’re cutting clean wood (no nails), bi-metal might even make those cuts more quickly due to the thinner blade kerf.