Choosing the Best Reciprocating Saw: A Pro’s Guide
The first thing to consider when choosing a reciprocating saw is your budget. You need to decide if you want a top-of-the line model or one with a lower price tag. There are several types of reciprocating saws available today, but they all have their pros and cons. Some models come with multiple attachments while others only offer two or three options.
If you’re looking for a reciprocating saw, then it is very important to choose the right type of blade.
If you plan on using the saw regularly, then you’ll probably want to invest in a higher quality blade than what comes standard with the saw. A cheap blade will not cut through thick branches as well as a high-quality one will. Another consideration is whether or not you intend on making your own tools from wood. For those who do, then you may want to look into a saw that comes with a table saw attachment.
These attachments allow you to make simple hand tools out of wood without having to buy expensive cutting boards.
Choosing the Right Blade Type
There are many different types of blades available for reciprocating saws. Each type offers its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important that you understand which kind of blade is best suited for your needs before making your purchase decision.
Tooth style blades are not very common, but they do offer a few advantages over other blade types. One thing to note about tooth style blades is that they can cause materials to get stuck in the saw easier. This can make them dangerous to use at times, especially for those who are unfamiliar with their operation.
Tooth style blades can be great for clean cuts. This is why they are often the preferred blade type for professions such as plumbing or those who work with drywall and other wallboards. The cost of tooth style blades is usually a bit higher than other types, but this varies by supplier.
Flat style blades are the most common type of blade. This is probably because they are very versatile and can cut through almost anything. One thing to note about flat style blades is that they can cause materials to splinter and break off. While this isn’t usually a problem when cutting through softer materials, it can be a problem when cutting through harder materials, such as hardwoods.
When cutting harder materials with a flat style blade, it is important to apply even pressure and use slow deliberate strokes.
Flat style blades can be a bit more on the expensive side, but you usually get what you pay for. In some cases, it may even be worth it to buy cheap flat style blades in bulk because they are so commonly used.
Toothed style blades are very similar to tooth blades, except they have fewer teeth and a larger gullet. These types of blades are also not as common as flat style blades.
Particle style blades are not as common as flat or toothed style blades either, but they are a variation of flat style blades. Particle style blades have small teeth and can be used for a variety of different materials.
The size and shape of the teeth on these blades make them great for a lot of different applications, but this also makes them a bit more expensive than other blade types.
Wire style blades are probably the least common blade type for a reciprocating saw. They are great for cutting through softer materials like wood, plastics, and vinyl siding. However, they do not work as well on harder materials such as metals or rocks.
The main benefit to wire style blades is that they can make smoother cuts in softer materials than the other blade types. This makes them ideal for sheet goods such as plywood and particle board when installing flooring or counter tops.
Using Your Saw Safely
Safety should always be your number one priority when using any type of power tool, but especially one that has the capability of cutting through anything with a high speed blade spinning at 10,000+ RPM. Here are some tips that can help keep you safe while using a reciprocating saw.
Wear safety glasses or goggles at all times while operating this or any other power tool. Even a small piece of wood or metal splinter flying into your eye could result in permanent vision loss or injury.
Keep other body parts away from the area behind the blade and anywhere that may potentially get hit by the blade itself.
Use extra caution when cutting overhead or at an angle. This is when it is easiest to have your hand or other body part slip and get hit by the blade.
Always keep a firm grip on the saw and be prepared to release it instantly if necessary.
If the blade starts to bind up, let go of the trigger and let the blade come to a complete stop before trying to free it up again.
Keep your ears protected! These saws are very loud and can result in hearing damage with repeated exposure.
Don’t wear loose clothing or jewelry when using this or any power tool.
If you feel yourself getting dizzy or light-headed, STOP what you are doing and take a break.
As with any power tool, use the right one for the job. A jigsaw or hand saw would probably be better for most wood cutting jobs. However, a reciprocating saw is the perfect choice for cutting through metal pipes or conduit.
Reciprocating Saws and Plumbing Applications
While there are certainly times you will need to use a reciprocating saw to complete a job, there are certain types of jobs that they work best on. Cutting through metal (especially thin metal) is one of them.
Even though there are wood cutting blades available for these saws, they aren’t perfect for every job and should not be used as a substitute for a hot wire or other sheet metal cutter.
When you need to cut through thin metal, securing the saw to your body will give you the most control and the least amount of vibration. You will want to use both hands to firmly grip the tool. Making sure that you have a good grip is especially important when cutting through metal since the slightest bit of slippage could cause a serious injury.
For most metal cutting applications, you’ll also want to clamp the metal you are cutting to some sort of stand or table. This will help keep the sheet from bending and flexing while you cut.
Do not use your reciprocating saw to cut thick metal pipes or conduit. While it can be done, you run the risk of overheating the blade as well as putting excess stress on the rest of the tool.
Using a metal cutting blade designed for thin metal is definitely the way to go when cutting through thin metal sheeting. These blades are able to cut through thin metal with less heat build-up and are also specially designed to help prevent them from getting stuck in the metal as well.
The Best Reciprocating Saws on the Market
The DEWALT DWE315K is a great choice when it comes to reciprocating saws. It has a compact design which makes it easy to control while still having plenty of power to get through most types of wood and metal. The variable speed trigger allows you to choose the exact speed that you need while the tool also has an adjustable shoe for added versatility.
Pros: Variable speed trigger.
Shoe has a built-in wire cutter.
Includes a blade clamp for easy and secure blade changes.
Compact design. Cons: Clamp is made out of plastic and can strip easily if not careful.
The DEWALT DWE315K is a great saw that comes at a price that most homeowners are going to be able to afford. It has a compact design that will make it easy to control while giving you the power you need to get the job done. The shoe has a built-in wire cutter that will come in handy as well as the adjustable shoe for increased versatility.
The shoe also has a built-in level, which is something that you don’t always see on a reciprocating saw. The price is definitely one of the biggest selling points, but it isn’t without its flaws. The shoe clamp is made out of plastic and can be prone to breaking if not treated carefully.
The MAKITA XSS01Z is a little more expensive than the DEWALT DWE315K but is still pretty affordable. It has a slightly bigger housing than the DEWALT, but it also has a longer blade that is going to allow for tighter turns. It also has a variable speed trigger as well as an adjustable shoe.
Pros: Comes with a nylon holster for easy tool storage and transportation.
Has an integrated LED light to allow you to work in darker locations.
Can lock onto the trigger for continuous use.
Cons: Only has one blade clamp which can make changing blades a hassle if you need to do it quickly.
The MAKITA XSS01Z is a great saw that is definitely worth the extra money over the DEWALT DWE315K.
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