Ryobi P517 Brushless Reciprocating Saw Cordless Saw Reviews

Ryobi P517 Brushless Reciprocating Saw

Cordless Reciprocating Saws

Build Quality
Feature Set
Cutting Speed
Final Thoughts

The Ryobi P517 moves into the professional entry-level category and touches the mid-range, but not to the point where we're talking about taking on the premium cordless models.

Overall Score 4.2 Pro Review

Available at Home Depot, you’ll find the new Ryobi P517 One+ 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw. That’s right, another brushless entry. Considering the other products in this category, it’s a just about time for a Ryobi 4-tool brushless kit. Maybe we’ll see that closer to December in time for the holidays. But I digress…

The big question is whether the build moves Ryobi into the Pro-level conversation. This is a class of tool that already finds itself well-established as a Prosumer product for Ryobi. With each new brushless tool, we’re curious if it’s an intentional move to target budget-minded Pros.

Ryobi P517 Top Features

Brushless Motor

The big talk of the town is the fact that Ryobi packs the reciprocating saw with a brushless motor. The advantages are well-documented and as we move into 2018, it’s pretty close to something we can demand on a Pro-level cordless recip saw.

Ryobi P517 Brushless Reciprocating Saw


Orbital Action

The Ryobi Brushless Reciprocating Saw features orbital action – and that’s good news. Back in our cordless reciprocating saw shootout, only Ridgid’s Gen5X had orbital action. It’s a trend that’s slowly catching on for the cordless class. The switch itself is a little funky. You’ll notice it next to the blade lock. Just flip the tab and twist to the icon you want – orbital or straight cutting.

Ryobi P517 Brushless Reciprocating Saw

Blade Changes

Speaking of blades, a new feature is the stay-open blade clamp to make blade changes easier. When you flip the lock out, a two-stage mechanism holds it open. Flip it with your thumb to lock the blade in place and you’re ready to work.

In practice, there have been a couple of time where I didn’t have the blade set quite right and the lock didn’t close completely. The good thing is that it’s really obvious when this happens, so you won’t be putting the blade to wood when it’s not properly locked (unless you’re just really not paying attention). When you release the lock, the blade simply falls away if you tip the saw down so you don’t have to risk burning yourself.

Handle Design

It also features Ryobi’s Gripzone microtextured overmolding. It’s comfortable enough and certainly not a surprise to find. However, Ryobi’s handle is growing up and getting some curves to it. It’s noticeably more form fitting to your hand than traditional Ryobi handles.

What’s Missing?

A pivoting shoe allows for adjustable depth-of-cut control. However, this isn’t one that adjusts out to make the most of your blades.

Editor’s Note: Yeah, that was wrong. There’s a hex key that stores in the handle that you’ll use to loosen and adjust the shoe. I’ll give myself 50 pushups for missing that the first time around.

Ryobi P517 Brushless Reciprocating Saw

If you’ve read many of my reviews, you know I’m always on the lookout for a rafter or belt hook for most of my power tools. The Ryobi P517 is lacking both. Sort of. The space between the battery and the motor actually sits really well on 2x material in lieu of a rafter hook.


With a 1-1/8″ stroke length and 3200 strokes per minute, the Ryobi brushless reciprocating saw is definitely Pro-level on paper. The proof is in the pudding, though. We typically turn to a carbide-tipped recip blade for, well, all of our cutting. However, it’s not necessarily the best choice when cutting in clean wood. An aggressive, low TPI blade is the way to go if that’s what you’re cutting with the Ryobi P517. Stick with the higher TPI carbide blade when there’s metal in the mix.

But when you need to cut nail-embedded wood or a demo cocktail mix, bi-metal just isn’t a reasonable option. It’s with a carbide nail-embedded wood blade that I noticed the cutting is a little slower than some of the premium saws we use.

The anti-vibration handle is a nice addition. When you can lean in against the material you’re cutting, it does a decent job of keeping you from getting jelly arms. Overall, it’s an improvement over Ryobi’s previous generation. It just doesn’t bring it to where the top players are.

Ryobi P517 Brushless Reciprocating Saw


Final Thoughts

So does the Ryobi P517 make the cut into the Pro level conversation?

It moves into the professional entry-level category and touches the mid-range, but not to the point where we’re talking about taking on the premium cordless models. It’s a good fit for maintenance crews and occasional users. I really like it for PVC and smaller metal pipe. However, demo crews that need to work with it all day will turn to a more premium option. For the Prosumer, this model should be a big hit. You get a lot of Pro-level features and even though it does break the $100 mark, the brushless motor gives you an additional layer of performance and lifespan.

Ryobi P517 18V One+ Brushless Reciprocating Saw Features

  • Brushless Motor
  • Stay-Open Blade Clamp
  • Orbital Action
  • Anti-Vibe Handle
  • LED Light
  • Gripzone Overmold With Microtexture
  • Adjustable, Pivoting Shoe
  • Variable Speed Trigger
  • Die-Cast Aluminum Gear Housing
  • On-Board Wrench Storage

Ryobi P517 18V One+ Brushless Reciprocating Saw Specifications

  • Model: Ryobi P517
  • Power Source: Ryobi 18V One+ battery
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
  • Stroke Speed: 3200 SPM
  • Weight: 5 lb. 13 oz. bare (7 lb. 7 oz with 4.0 AH battery)
  • Price:  $109.47
  • Warranty: 3 years

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NatBryanScott HallKenny Koehlerdave Recent comment authors
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Mine was a few months old when a micro wire connected to the trigger severed. Pretty poor quality.

Scott Hall
Scott Hall

Ok, my biggest fear did come true and what they say about the light housing and the position in where it is has been validated by me. This occurred when my blade slipped out of a cut and hit a solid surface with the tip of the blade, that forced shock and trauma to the blade and plastic housing section, chipping but the plastic guard and the plastic light. My light still works but the damage is done. I now reinforced that area with a piece of metal and plenty of J-B Weld. Not sure if this will do the… Read more »

Scott Hall
Scott Hall

To Kenny Koehler. I have read on several reviews that they have destroyed their light with the blade because of where the light is housed. Any thoughts? Is this true and or have you even heard or read about this? I am thinking of buying the P517 but a few negative reviews have me a bit indecisive.


Ahem, if the shoe didn’t adjust out then what did you think that hex key down near the battery, and the screw at the shoe was for? Granted, the range of adjustment is quite small (around 2/3″?), is something they’ll hopefully fix in the next (P518?) version. I’m also hoping they’ll eventually move on to brighter LED(s) as the ones they’re using now are pretty weak, especially in the context of a tool that uses several amps to run yet what’s there looks like a 0.5W LED. They could have had at least a 2W LED if they used a… Read more »

chris sheldrick
chris sheldrick

4 tool brushless kit now available here in New Zealand…circ saw…drill and impact driver.. also angle grinder…recipro saw would be nice but then that would be a 5 tool kit….looking forward to when you guys review the 10″ brushless chainsaw…