Shop Talk

Choosing the Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw

  • A good reciprocating saw is one power tool that no one should be without. Enhancing and simplifying the work of both craftsmen and homeowners alike, a recipro saw, and especially a cordless one, delivers aggressive power and the ability to champion industrial jobs with comfort and ease. Knowing which reciprocating saw best suits your own personal needs, though, is easier said than done; so, to help you determine which recipro saw is best for you, I’ve put together some information on the industry’s best heavy-duty, best light-duty, and best for the least cordless reciprocating saws.

    For the most heavy-duty users and those who simply require the most high-quality cordless power tools, Makita’s BJR181 cordless reciprocating saw offers craftsmen the best of two worlds; with ridiculous power and a surprisingly lightweight and compact design, the saw is a perfect cutting machine. Utilizing Makita lithium-ion battery technology and an optimum battery charging system, the tool has vastly extended work-time with 2x as many charge cycles; Makita is known for their superior motor quality as well, and the BJR181’s high-torque motor, delivering 50% faster cutting with a 1-1/8″ stroke and 2,900 SPM, never fails to impress. The tool weighs a mere 8.1 lbs and with an ergonomic design the saw is well balanced to deliver always even pressure. Two built-in L.E.D. lights to keep your work areas illuminated, and the saw is simple to use with fast, one-handed, tool-less blade changes and shoe adjustments. For simple serviceability this recipro saw also has externally accessible brushes ensuring the inevitable brush replacement is a far less frustrating process. This BJR181 reciprocating saw kit costs about $350 – $370, but, offering cordless portability, the strength of a Makita motor, lithium ion technology, and the big power to saw through, well, anything, this high-performance recipro saw is worth every penny (tool only: BJR181Z: $145 – $165).

    For a superior quality lighter-duty recipro saw, Bosch’s CRS180K offers a perfectly compact size and the lightweight design to make awkward, overhead, and tight-space cutting applications far simpler. The tool’s two-speed variable speed trigger allows you to match speeds to applications even as you cut – this also allows you to ease into your cutting materials without any kickback. Litheon technology lends big power and lightweight to the tool for simple industrial cutting, and a 1-1/8” stroke allows you to remove more material with each stroke of the blade. Bosch’s Lock-Jaw blade holder provides ridiculously easy blade changes, and with strikingly simple overall operation, you and this saw can work fast together to chomp through the most industrial materials with ease and unrelenting Bosch power. Ultimately, with the CRS180K, your reciprocating cutting jobs are transformed into cutting adventures – you’ll be searching, saw in hand, for limbs and pipes to cut rather than tucking your chore list under a couch cushion or into the bottom of your sock drawer. The CRS180K kit costs about $335 – $360, but you may also buy the tool alone (model number: CRS180B) for around $155 – $180.

    Hitachi’s CR18DL reciprocating saw is a high-performance industrial tool at a price that is difficult to resist; ranging in price from about $290 – $330 (single tool: CR18DLP4: $80 – $110), the CR18DL is both exceptional and economical. Utilizing lithium ion technology, the tool offers extended run-time from a lightweight, non-dwindling power source, and the saw is triple sealed to keep itself protected from the dust and debris generated during use. The tool’s ergonomic shape and heat/slip resistant grip ensure comfortable operation during even extended or awkward use, and a fan-cooled motor keeps the tool reliable and performing at its best. Also utilizing a tool-less blade changing system with accurate depth-of-cut control, your blades will last longer and deliver consistently precise cuts. Additionally, because the tool is cordless, it is also highly portable, and with a universal charger and a tool body compatible with a variety of batteries, the tool is conveniently versatile as well. The universal charger charges all Hitachi 7.2v – 18v batteries, and with lithium ion, NiCd and NiMH charging platforms, it ensures your battery arsenal is always fully charged. The tool’s body is also compatible with all Hitachi lithium ion, NiCd, and NiMH 18v batteries to ensure that that arsenal is always put to good use, and lastly, but certainly not least, the tool is covered with Hitachi’s 10 year lithium ion tool warranty, a warranty that vastly surpasses any other manufacturer promising that this portable powerhouse will be cutting inside, outside, and everywhere in between for years and years to come.

    Ultimately, one if these cordless recipro saws is certain to meet your criteria – with portable power and industrial strength these three tools are designed to deliver the best results with the greatest efficiency, and most overall convenience.