Cordless Saw Reviews

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout!

Performance Testing

Recip saws are used in a variety of demo applications, but we find the majority of their time is spent cutting wood, nail embedded wood, and reasonably light metal like EMT. There are certainly tougher tasks than these – they just don’t make up the meat and potatoes of a recip saw’s day.


It’s not just the saw’s power that determines how fast it’s going to cut through material, it’s also a function of the stroke length and the stroke speed. By multiplying the stroke length and the number of strokes per minute, we can take a look at how many linear inches each tool is sawing per minute.

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout Stroke Speed

Nail Embedded Wood

For testing in wood applications, each saw was required to make a cross cut through 2 x 12 pressure treated pine with five 16D galvanized nails in it. Each saw would start with a brand new Diablo Demo Demon Carbide Tipped Recip Blade and make three successive cuts. Their final score was calculated as an average of the three cuts.

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout

To keep the test fair, a pair of weights provided a consistent 10 pounds of downforce and we only used our arms to stabilize each saw against the wood as we cut.

With friendly bets taken, we lined up the saws and got to work. After testing all eight saws, the Ridgid Gen5X blew away everyone else.


Many Pros would have guessed this one without ever picking the saws up. Ridgid (9.54 seconds) is the only model in this group that includes an orbital action. The aggressive nature of the cut created a gap to Makita (12.55 seconds) and Milwaukee (19.28 seconds).


Having used plenty of corded recip saws that include orbital action, it seems to beg the question as to why the other brands left it off their best cordless reciprocating saw. That said, we have it on good authority (but we can’t tell you the details yet) that several of these brands have new models coming out for 2017.


Metal Cutting


There are a variety of metal materials you’ll come into contact with when doing demolition work with a reciprocating saw. To simulate metal cutting, we went with a series of five pieces of EMT – three 1-inch pipes and two 3/4 inch pipes.

Like we did with the wood, the same 10-pound weights would be producing the downforce on each saw and we would only use our arms to stabilize the cut as the blade moved through the material. Starting with a new blade, three successive cuts were made, and the final score was taken from the average of those cuts.

With orbital action no longer a factor, the race became a lot tighter. The names you’d expect to be out front were with Makita (9.50 seconds) in first place, DeWalt (10.65 seconds) in second, and Milwaukee (10.90 seconds) rounding out the podium.

 Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout Nail Embedded Wood

Next Up: The Rankings!

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Hasan AhmJohn SullivanClint DeBoerRLEYoshivan Recent comment authors
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It would be cool if you would do an exhaustive comparison including all cordless sawza’s available in the U.S . What’s the point of the article if you don’t include all brands?


That’s very weird that Dewalt 20v reciprocating saw was not mentioned here. That’s the best because of the 4 position blade holder! I didn’t buy the 60v Flex it’s because they somehow installed only 2 position blade holder which is so lame.

Kip Keppoler
Kip Keppoler

I just purchased the Dewalt Flex volt reciprocating saw and I believe it will be a great saw for big demo jobs. If I had it to do it again I would buy the smaller Dewalt recip saw. When I purchased the saw at Home Depot the Flex volt was sold as a kit with battery, charger, and bag. The 20 volt recip saw was sold as bare tool only. When you add the cost of the battery, charger, and bag there was maybe a $20.00 difference in cost between the two. My motto in this case is “go Big… Read more »

Michael Petrik
Michael Petrik

Great review! I wonder if the results would have differed if all the saws had the same battery. Since the 18V is the common denominator, they all get a 18V 5ah battery, then run the tests again?

Joachim Osmundsen
Joachim Osmundsen

Thanks for the test! I really encourage you to try out the new Bosch brushless recip saw with the new 6,3 or 7,0 battery – it will surprise you!