What is a Reciprocating Saw?

DEWALT DW304PK 10 AMP RECIPROCATING SAWA reciprocating saw, sometimes referred to as a Sawzall®, is a power saw that cuts via a back and forth blade motion. A variety of saws fall under the reciprocating saw umbrella. In fact, some reciprocating saws now have orbital features as well, further increasing their versatility.
Unlike the majority of saws designed primarily for precision cuts and finish work, reciprocating saws are popularly used for demolition, rough cuts, and similar purposes. Thanks to their amazing power deliverability, reciprocating saws can quickly slice through wood, drywall, masonry, metal, fiberglass, plaster, stucco, and a wide range of tough materials.

Most reciprocating saws have built-in speed variances and some provide dual-blade action as well. This allows the blade to move both back and forth and up and down. Like most types of saws, reciprocating saws are also designed for a wide range of budgets and intended uses.

Whether you’re an avid DIYer, novice handyman, or professional contractor, our detailed guide is filled with in-depth reviews of the best reciprocating saws on the market today, so click through when you’re finished to find the best saw for you.

What Types of Reciprocating Saws are Available?

Bosch RS428 14 Amp Reciprocating Saw

From 24V cordless reciprocating saws to larger 15-amp electric models, there’s a myriad of reciprocating saw options out there to choose from. Corded electric saws typically range in power from five amps to 20 amps, making them capable of performing most heavy-duty applications. However, if you need portability and freedom of movement along with powerful cutting, there are high-voltage cordless saws available as well.

Dual-Action or orbital action reciprocating saws are also becoming increasingly popular. With the ability to cut both up and down and back and forth, these types of saws provide a much more powerful cutting action and are capable of making mincemeat of most materials.

In terms of price, reciprocating saws vary greatly. Some basic corded models with no speed variance or other features can be purchased for under $50. Larger more impressive saws, on the other hand, can sell for upwards of $400 or more.

Reciprocating Saw Applications

Reciprocating saws are widely used in the plumbing, construction, HVAC, and electrical fields. Within these fields, reciprocating saws are widely used for a number of applications. From cutting through nails and PVC pipe to cutting tree branches and fitting windows, there are dozens of possible applications for these handy power tools.

What is a Miter Saw?

A miter saw, also known as a drop or chop saw, is a handy power tool for making miters and a variety of accurate cuts at specific angles. Miter saws operate via circular spinning sawblades that cut through materials, namely wood, in controlled, short motions. Many miter saws are relatively portable with blades maxing out at approximately 12 inches.

Designed for everything from crosscuts and bevel cuts to miter and compound cuts, miter saws have become welcome additions to thousands of workshops over the years. Whether you’re a DIYer with another home improvement project to tackle or a professional carpenter in need of a quality tool, there’s a wide range of miter saws available for a variety of applications and materials.

If you want to learn more about miter saws and discover the best one for you, read our detailed guide for reviews of the best models.

What Types of Miter Saws are Available?

The various types of miter saws available are largely distinguished by their bevel and slide capabilities. Basic miter saws have no bevel or slide. Compound miter saws, which are the most popular option, enjoy both single and dual bevels. Finally, sliding compound miter saws have both sliding and single or dual-bevel capabilities.

While different, miter saws in each of these categories are available with blades in a variety of diameters. It’s important to note, however, that models with larger blades and more capabilities usually weigh and cost more.

Like reciprocating saws, miter saws are also available in both corded and cordless models. When evaluating the different types of miter saws available and all of their features, consider your intended applications and purchase the best one for your needs.

Miter Saw Applications

Thanks to their ability to precisely make a variety of cuts at specific angles, many miter saws are used for cutting trim, crown molding, rafters, and so on. However, when equipped with the right blades, they can also be used to cut tile, stone, and other tough materials.


Why would I choose an orbital or dual-action reciprocating saw?

With their ability to cut back and forth as well as up and down, orbital or dual-action reciprocating saws are much more versatile and capable of tackling almost any project.

What are the major differences between corded and cordless models?

Although many 24V cordless reciprocating and miter saws are much more portable and powerful enough to make short work of a variety of applications, electric models are typically more powerful and preferred by most contractors and serious DIYers.

What type of saw is best for me?

For rough cuts and the ability to cut through large items like tree branches and sheetrock, a reciprocating saw is ideal. Smaller, more precise cuts, however, would be better served with a miter saw.


There are a number of reciprocating saws and miter saws on the market today and just as many factors to consider when trying to find the right one for you. After taking your needs into consideration and deciding upon the type of saw that serves you best, you should examine the top models recommended in trusted reviews. By doing so, you’re guaranteed to find the right saw for your needs.