Reciprocating saws are perfect for demolition and remodeling works. This article discusses reciprocating saws and their uses.

Reciprocating saws (or sawzall) make demolishing and reconstruction work simpler and more fun. But what exactly are reciprocating saws, and how do they work? How did they get their name?

This post will discuss reciprocating saws, their uses, and safety tips when using these general-purpose hand-held tools.

What Is a Reciprocating Saw?

A reciprocating saw is a multi-purpose power tool primarily used in demolition works. However, it is also an indispensable tool in remodeling works. Also called a sawzall or a saber saw. The blade moves back and forth as you cut through wood, concrete, or other material.

The saw is designed such that the blade is exposed. This mechanism enables it to cut through tight spaces that other saws would not fit. This makes reciprocating saws the best option for demolishing works. In addition, compared to other saws, the reciprocating saw is easier to control and, thus, ideal for cutting things above your head. 

Think of a situation where you want to rip out old windows and later replace them with newer ones. A reciprocating saw would be your ideal tool to remove all the old fittings and release the window.

Uses of a Reciprocating Saw

Demolition in Small Spaces

Reciprocating saws are primarily in use during demolition work. Its compact size and effectiveness make it the best saw for demolishing works in tight spaces. We have all experienced a situation where you must work on something, but it is a very tight and awkward space. For example, a sledgehammer is the best when demolishing a wall. But what do you do when you’re in a place where there’s no room to swing the sledgehammer? Enter the reciprocating saw. 

These saws are perfect for demolition because they can cut through almost any masonry material, such as mortar, tiles, bricks, and wood.

Cutting Through Wood and Nails

A reciprocating saw is best for cutting through wood. It can cut through almost any material buried in the construction mixture. The best thing is that you do not need a specialized cutting blade to cut through wood. The regular blade that it comes with will work fine.

Plumbing Work

Plumbers must often cut through wall studs, concrete, old plumbing lines, valves, and fixtures. Such work is perfect for reciprocating saws. In addition to the effectiveness of the reciprocating saw in plumbing works, these saws are often small and fit through tiny spaces where pipes and valves typically fit.

Scraping Off Adhesives

Think of an instance where you are peeling off old floor tiles. These tiles are often tightly glued to the floor. The reciprocating saws are perfect for this task. You can use it almost anywhere to remove glue and other adhesives.


There’s a common misconception that one can only use reciprocating saws in construction and demolition-related projects, but you can also use them in your farm or backyard.

However, before you use the same blade you used to cut through concrete or metal, working with trees requires a specialized blade that will slice cleanly. If you know about pruning, then you know it should be done cleanly.

When working on your farm with a sawzall, investing in a pole saw is best. That way, you will remain in the ground while you cut through high branches.

Safety Tips When Using a Reciprocating Saw

While you may think a reciprocating saw is safer than others, it is still powerful. Also, the works involving reciprocating saws often include working in areas where things can fall on you. Therefore, before you think of the task, consider safety first.

Here are safety measures that you should put in place when working with sawszalls:

  1. Always wear safety glasses and headgear. Also, always wear ear protection equipment if you are cutting through metal.
  2. Remember that you may encounter electrical cables, plumbing installations, and heating vents when cutting through walls.
  3. Always unplug the saw when changing your blades.
  4. Reciprocating saws are prone to kickbacks. Kickbacks can happen quickly and can easily throw you off balance. Therefore, when working on ladders, always work in a stable position.
  5. Reciprocating blades often get very hot when working. Never grab the blade immediately after you use it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better: cordless or corded reciprocating saws?

There is no apparent winner between corded and cordless reciprocating saws. The best alternative for you all depends on the intended use case. For example, if you want to use it in demolition work that will take a lot of time, go for the corded recip saw. Therefore, when buying a saw, always remember the intended use case.

What are reciprocating saw blades made from?

While manufacturers use many materials to make reciprocating saw blades, high-carbon steel blades are the most common. This material is strong enough to withstand almost anything you throw at these workhorses. Some other popular materials include high-carbon steel and carbide. However, diamond-tipped blades are some of the best. Obviously, they are not very popular because of their price.

What is TPI, and what does it imply?

TPI in full means teeth per inch. For instance, 3 TPI means three teeth are in every inch of the blade. This metric in reciprocating saws ranges from 3 to 24 TPI. The lower the TPI, the quicker and rougher the cut. The higher the TPI, the cleaner the cut. To give you perspective, 5 to 8 TPI is best for rough woodcuts. 15 to 24 DPI is best for metal or plastic cutting.


To sum it up, we hope you now have a clear idea of reciprocating saws. These saws feature a blade that moves back and forth as you use it. As a result, you can use hand-held machinery for almost any demolition and remodeling work.

However, always keep in mind that recip saws are still powerful machines. They can result in serious injury. Therefore, before you use them, think about safety first.

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