Cordless Saw Reviews

Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout!


The Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Rankings

Editor’s note: Some requested brands declined to participate in The Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout. Several companies have new models due out in 2017.

Bosch 18V Lithium-Ion Reciprocating Saw

Specifications

  • Model: Bosch CRS180
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
  • No Load Speed: 0-2,400 / 0-2,700
  • Orbital Action: no
  • Vibration Control: no
  • Weight (Bare): 6.32 pounds
  • Weight (With 6.0 AH Battery): 7.74 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: Check on Amazon (bare), Check on Amazon (kit)

Key Features

  • Brushed motor
  • Lock-Jaw blade lock allows one-handed blade insertion but requires twisting the lock on the shaft to release it
  • Pivoting shoe does not have adjustable length
  • Selectable speed switch mechanically governs trigger for low speed, flip to center for lock off and right for high
  • Fairly lightweight and best ergonomic grip in the group
  • Battery life indicator on the battery

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-09

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 53.21 seconds (7th place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 22.57 seconds (8th place)

Ergonomics: 2nd place

Overall: 8th place

Bosch’s entry in the Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout is highlighted by excellent ergonomics. While cutting performance is relatively slow, it’s not a saw that will beat you up the way some other saws do. The Lock-Jaw blade lock is a standout feature for this model, keeping the blade lock open and automatically locking it when you insert a blade. This saw has been around for a while and after the success of Bosch’s 18V compact reciprocating saw, it wouldn’t shock me to see a new brushless model coming sometime in 2017.

Hitachi 18V Lithium-Ion Reciprocating Saw

Specifications

  • Model: Hitachi CR18DSLP4
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Stroke Length: 1″
  • No Load Speed: 0-3,300 SPM 
  • Orbital Action: no
  • Vibration Control: no
  • Weight (Bare): 6.44 pounds
  • Weight (With 6.0 AH Battery): 7.92 pounds
  • Warranty: Lifetime Lithium Ion Tool Warranty
  • Price: $139.00 (bare)

Key Features

  • Brushed motor
  • Blade lock lever on shaft doesn’t require twisting
  • Shoe adjustment requires a tool
  • Lock off switch
  • Ergonomic and reasonably lightweight design
  • Lowest vibration in the group
  • 6.0 amp hour battery available
  • Battery life indicator on the tool

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-07

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 55.10 seconds (8th place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 17.86 seconds (6th place)

Ergonomics: 1st place

Overall: 7th place

We’ve pretty much come to expect excellent ergonomics from Hitachi on most of the tools we review from them and their 18V reciprocating saw is no exception. Relatively slow cutting speed is offset by the lowest vibration we felt in any of the saws. Now that Hitachi has a 6.0 amp hour battery and they’ve started rolling out some new innovative cordless tools, this is another brand that wouldn’t surprise me with a new brushless reciprocating saw in the near future.

Ryobi 18V One+ Reciprocating Saw

Specifications

  • Model: Ryobi P516
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 2,900
  • Orbital Action: No
  • Vibration Control: Anti-Vibe handle
  • Weight (Bare): 5.26 pounds
  • Weight (With 4.0 AH Battery): 6.84 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 year
  • Price: Check on Amazon (bare), $121.99 (P517)

Key Features

  • Brushed motor
  • Standard blade lock lever on side of the upper housing
  • Shoe adjustment requires a hex wrench
  • New vibration control includes a separated anti-vibe back handle
  • Lock off switch
  • Lightest saw in the group

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-08

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 39.51 seconds (6th place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 16.70 seconds (5th place)

Ergonomics: 3rd place

Overall: 6th place

Ryobi continues to be one of a very select group of companies that bridges the gap between professional users and weekend warriors. Part of what makes them so impressive is the breadth of their cordless lineup and part of it is the consistently decent performance they get from the tools while maintaining an outstanding price point.

Ryobi’s 18V reciprocating saw comes in as a lightest in the group and has a little better vibration control with a newly designed handle. While it’s not going to knock your socks off, it will absolutely get the job done and $79 for the bare tool is a price that no one else in this group can touch.

Ridgid Gen5X 18V Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Specifications

  • Model: Ridgid R8642
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
  • No Load Speed: 0-3,000 SPM
  • Orbital Action: Yes
  • Vibration Control: No
  • Weight (Bare): 6.88 pounds
  • Weight (With 5.0 AH Battery):8.60 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 year
  • Price: $109.99 (bare), Out of stock (new Octane kit)

Key Features

  • Brushed motor
  • Standard shaft twist blade lock
  • Tool-free shoe lock below the front housing
  • Lock off switch
  • Orbital mode made for fastest cutting in wood

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-06

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 9.54 seconds (1st place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 20.08 seconds (7th place)

Ergonomics: 5th place

Overall: 5th place

The Ridgid Gen5X 18V reciprocating saw is an all-around solid performer. Having the only orbital action in the group – and including it even in their previous model – it’s no surprise that they blew everyone away when cutting through nail embedded would. It came back down to earth when it came to metal cutting speed, but it handled vibration very well when it wasn’t an orbital mode.

Several cordless tools from Ridgid in the Gen5X line this year have included brushless motors, so don’t be surprised if you see one for the recip saw next. Now that they have a hammer drill, impact driver, and circular saw with brushless motors, all that’s missing is a brushes reciprocating saw to build the standard 4-piece general contractor’s kit.

Metabo ASE 18 LTX Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Specifications

  • Model: Metabo 602269850
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Stroke Length: 1-3/16″
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 2,700
  • Orbital Action: No
  • Vibration Control: No
  • Weight (Bare): 6.80 pounds
  • Weight (With 6.2 AH LiHD Battery): 8.74 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 year
  • Price: $169.00 (bare)

Key Features

  • Brushed motor
  • Blade lock
  • Tool required for shoe adjustment
  • Have to press and hold in safety switch while starting the motor
  • Metabo LiHD batteries extend run time and boost power

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-05

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 28.37 seconds (5th place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 15.52 seconds (4th place)

Ergonomics: 4th place

Overall: 4th place

When we took the best reciprocating saws available out to the job site to give some of the Pros a shot at using them, they had simply never heard of Metabo. That’s not terribly surprising considering the relatively small distribution and focus on metalworking. However, their LiHD batteries are game-changing. Need proof? Take a look at the Metabo 9-inch grinder they’ve come up with on their 36V battery platform!

Featuring German engineering, Metabo’s tools tend to be precise machines. Even though their cordless reciprocating saw has been out for several years, it still performed very well being bested by only the most recent models. The safety is a bit awkward to defeat since you have to push it in and pull the trigger at the same time rather than simply sliding over a lock off switch. Metabo is another company that is due for a new cordless reciprocating saw and with their new battery technology, I expect it to raise some eyebrows whenever they decide to tackle that project.

DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Brushless Reciprocating Saw

Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCS388B
  • Voltage: 60V Max (54V nominal)
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
  • No Load Speed: 0-3,000 SPM
  • Orbital Action: No
  • Vibration Control: No
  • Weight (Bare): 7.76 pounds
  • Weight (With 2.0 AH Battery): 10.08 pounds
  • Warranty: 3 year
  • Price: $156.99 (bare), $219.99 (kit)

Key Features

  • Brushless motor
  • Standard blade lock lever on side of the upper housing
  • Pivoting shoe, but the length is not adjustable
  • Lock off switch
  • FlexVolt 60V Max (54V nominal)
  • 162 watt-hour battery coming soon (60V Max, 3.0 amp hour)

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-12

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 19.44 seconds (4th place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 10.65 seconds (2nd place)

Ergonomics: 8th place

Overall: 3rd place

In the build-up to our Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout, several people commented that DeWalt should dominate it with their 60V Max FlexVolt platform. While it performed very well, especially in metal cutting, the average ergonomics and high weight ended up relegating it to third place. As DeWalt continues to develop the FlexVolt line, additional features like an orbital action will boost its woodcutting performance significantly. Don’t expect it to get much lighter though. The FlexVolt line is all about producing power that DeWalt couldn’t easily get on its 20V Max line and that comes at a cost.

There’s been plenty of talk about the FlexVolt battery and their new 162 watt-hour version is due out in just a couple of months which will boost the runtime. As far as performance goes, the FlexVolt is a good place to start as DeWalt begins to dial in exactly what professional users will demand out of a reciprocating saw (among other cordless tools) that operates at this high of a voltage.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key

Specifications

  • Model: Milwaukee 2721-20
  • Voltage: 18V
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 3,000
  • Orbital Action: No
  • Vibration Control: No
  • Weight (Bare): 7.54 pounds
  • Weight (With 9.0 AH Battery): 9.94 pounds
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $208.49 (bare), $634.14 (kit), $520.00 (HD kit)

Key Features

  • Brushless motor
  • Blade lack slide on side of the front housing
  • Standard tool-free shoe lock lever under front housing
  • Rafter hook included
  • One-Key enabled with 4 customizable settings
  • Available 9.0 amp hour battery
  • Lock off switch

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-11

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 19.28 seconds (3rd place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 10.90 seconds (3rd place)

Ergonomics: 7th place

Overall: 2nd place

Many of the folks that thought someone other than DeWalt would take home the top prize as the Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw naturally chose Milwaukee – after all, they invented this class of tool. Like others, the M18 Fuel Sawzall would benefit from orbital action.

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-03

Where Milwaukee stands out away from everyone else in this group is with their One-Key technology and the customizable settings that come with it. It’s more than just setting the blade speed though. For metal cutting, in particular, you can tell the app what material and what type of blade you’re using to let the system select the best combination of settings. In the case of cutting our EMT, the app chose a soft start which cost the saw a little bit of time but helps to extend the life of the blade. This is one of those cases where cutting a little slower is worth it when you look at the number of consumable blades you end up saving. On a side note, we had trouble connecting to the One-Key app twice. While probably isn’t a consistent issue, it’s something to be aware of.

Using the 9.0 amp hour battery, Milwaukee definitely suffered a little bit in the weight category along with DeWalt and Makita. That seems to be the price of performance though as the three heaviest saws ended up taking the top three spots in our best cordless reciprocating saw shootout.

Makita 18V X2 LXT Lithium-Ion (36V) Brushless Cordless Recipro Saw

Specifications

  • Model: Makita XRJ06Z
  • Voltage: 36V
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/4″
  • No Load Speed: 0 – 2,300 / 0 – 3,000 SPM
  • Orbital Action: No
  • Vibration Control:  yes
  • Weight (Bare): 7.04
  • Weight (With two 6.0 AH Batteries): 9.96 pounds
  • Warranty: 3-year limited warranty
  • Price: $149.99 (bare), $299.00 (kit)

Key Features

  • Brushless motor
  • Blade lock on shaft remains open and auto-locks when the blade is installed, twist required to release
  • Shoe is fixed
  • Rafter hook included
  • Electric brake
  • 2-battery system gives offers 36V power without leaving the 18V battery platform
  • 3-position switch for high speed, low speed, and lock off
  • Best overall speed and user experience in the group

best-cordless-reciprocating-saw-shootout-13

Average Speed in Nail Embedded Wood Cutting Test: 15.11 seconds (2nd place)

Average Speed in Metal Cutting Test: 9.50 seconds (1st place)

Ergonomics: 6th place

Overall: 1st place

Makita comes in first place in the Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout having stayed near the top of both wood and metal cutting tests. Although the ergonomics were more average than as we normally expect from Makita, using two of their 18V LXT batteries gave them the biggest gas tank of all the saws in this test. Of course, using two batteries does have a weight penalty associated with it, but the results seem to speak for themselves.

All in all, Makita did a great job designing this model. However, a couple of things stood out to us as odd. The shoe has a hex bolt underneath it, but it’s actually a fixed shoe so there’s no adjusting the length. That’s certainly not unheard of, but their 18V brushless model has a tool-free adjustment and came out in a similar time frame. As I mentioned before, the upper housing design left me struggling to find a natural grip. This is pretty unusual for Makita since I usually love their ergonomics. Like most issues with physical design, this comes down to preference and the guys with larger hands liked it a lot.

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RLE
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RLE

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?

Yoshivan
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Yoshivan

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
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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
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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
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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!