News & Opinion

Reducing Vibration in Reciprocating Saws


Tool manufacturers have made great strides in fatigue-reducing features with lighter materials and better ergonomics. These two improvements are all you need for fatigue reduction in a tool with rotary action. But for reducing vibration in reciprocating saws, materials and ergonomics can only take you so far.

That’s because vibration is inherent in the blade’s motion as it moves from distal extreme to proximal extreme and back again. Moreover, the rough demolition style cutting that recip saws are used for creates a lot of vibration that can wear out a user’s arm in a hurry. Manufacturers have successfully reduced vibration in reciprocating saws over the last few years.  Some of the designs are downright ingenious.  Most companies now employ varying types of anti-vibration technologies.

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Reducing Vibration in Reciprocating Saws

The more a manufacturer can reduce vibration in their recip saw, the less fatigue you’ll experience.

Reducing Vibration in Reciprocating Saws Through Design

You may be wondering how a  reciprocating saw’s action works in the first place. There are several ways, actually. A crank, a swash plate, a cam, and even some other mechanisms that turn rotary motion into linear motion can be employed. Of course, all of these mechanisms create a vibration, although some create more pronounced vibration than others.

The first and simplest anti-vibration technology is a shock absorbing handle. Although this is really like addressing the symptom, an accordion-like design can soak up a noticeable amount of vibration.

By far the most sophisticated anti-vibration technology that some manufacturers employ is an internal counter-balancing weight system. These counter-balances work by reducing vibration in the plane of rotation or otherwise neutralizing the vibration with an opposite movement.

Reducing Vibration In Reciprocating Saws Through User Control

Reciprocating saws with better vibration control have much better consistency than the ones without it. Sawing through wood may not reveal the starkest difference, but cutting slows down through metal, and this brings out the vibration. There are ways the user can help reduce vibration under these circumstances. We’ll address those in another article, suffice it to say here that the orbital action mode (for those reciprocating saws that have it) is only appropriate for wood and not for metal.

The user should also be sure to use the saw’s shoe – that’s the metal nose through which the blade sticks – to reduce vibration. By pushing the show up against the cutting surface, the material being cut absorbs some of the vibration. If the shoe isn’t pressed against the cutting surface, all vibration is transferred back through the blade, into the saw, and into the user’s arms.

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As you can see, reducing vibration in reciprocating saws has been the target of much tool technology although, with proper use, the user can mitigate a small amount of vibration. We wish you happy reciprocation. If you’re a professional tradesman and have reciprocating saw tips to share, add them in the comments below or shout out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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