Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Makita RJ03R1 Cordless Recipro Saw

Makita RJ03R1 Cordless Recipro Saw beauty

The first thing you note about the Makita RJ03R1 Cordless Recipro Saw is that you can just about hold it any way you like. This is a very compact one-handed reciprocating saw that will store easily in the tool bag of an electrician or plumber. There’s a traditional trigger grip with a safety switch that lets you control it in an almost pistol-like fashion, and then there’s the upper paddle-style switch that lets you really choke up on the tool. If you need front leverage, you’ve got it. If you need extension to reach further away—Makita’s got you covered there as well. Two switches—infinite ways to use it. When I got to pick up this tool at the Makita 100 Year Anniversary Event I really liked the design, and it will be great to get one into the field for review.

Makita RJ03R1 Cordless Recipro Saw Features

Like most reciprocating saws, the compact Makita RJ03R1 has a variable speed motor that delivers up to 3,300 strokes per minute. With a 1/2-inch stroke length it gives you a decent cutting speed for getting through basic materials. For a 12-volt tool it offers a good combination of compact size and features. The dual-position on/off switch I mentioned above is very unique—and definitely the defining characteristic of this tool. The dual trigger design lets you use either the paddle or trigger switch operation as needed to get where you need to be for the cut. Brilliant.

Makita RJ03R1 cordless recipro saw cutting pipe

A tool-less blade change system is expected, but Makita fully allows the use of both reciprocating saw and jig saw blades. The handle feels good in the hand, and the rubberized soft grip helps reduce vibrations if you happen to not be wearing gloves. It’s also a compact tool, coming in at just 14-3/4 inches in length and weighing under 3 pounds with the included 2.0 Ah battery.

Makita RJ03R1 Cordless Recipro Saw cuts EMT
Makita RJ03R1 Cordless Recipro Saw kit

The Makita RJ03R1 cordless recipro saw looks like a winner for those looking to have something handy to cut through PVC or EMT in a pinch. It will also take on wood when needed, but if you’re going to do any serious demo you’ll want to reach for a heavy duty reciprocating saw. To protect from overloads or overheating, the Makita RJ03R1 handheld reciprocating saw has a battery protection circuit. More importantly, possibly, is the inclusion of LED status lights in the new Makita 12V max CXT batteries that tell you the remaining battery charge level. The tool also comes with a 3-year limited warranty on the tool, battery, and charger.

Makita RJ03R1 Cordless Recipro Saw Specs

  • Speed: 0-3300 SPM
  • Battery: 12V 2.0Ah (included) or 4.0 Ah (optional)
  • Tool-less quick blade release
  • Adjustable shoe depth
  • Onboard Allen wrench storage
  • Length of stroke: 1/2 in.
  • Max. cutting capacity: 2 in.
  • Tool length 14-3/4 in.
  • Weight (with battery): 3 lbs.

Shop all Makita products at Acme Tools!

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Matthew J Stern

What is the equivalent 18v model and do you have any comparisons? Thanks.

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