The Types of Reciprocating Saw and Their Usage with Pros and Cons

A reciprocating saw is a popular choice when it comes to demolition tasks and speedy cutting requirements in any woodworking job. Hence, professionals, construction workers, and homeowners like the reciprocating saw alike.

But most of them find it hard to pick the right reciprocating saw for their job due to the several types of reciprocating saw in the market and their usage. That’s why we have decided to invest our woodworking experience in this regard to bring the best benefits, applications, and disadvantages of all the reciprocating saw types in front of you.

Thus, if you are going to buy the reciprocating saw soon, it is a must-read article for you.  It will help you save huge time and energy in finding the right reciprocating saw shortly.

The Types of Reciprocating Saw

Although reciprocating saw was invented for woodworking jobs mainly, it is widely used in metal, bricks, and other industries as well. Also, the saw equips with a large blade with sharp teeth. A motor rotates the blade back and forth rapidly for great cutting speed and efficiency.

Here we present to you the most common reciprocating saw types with their usages. It will make your purchasing session convenient and quick.

Corded Reciprocating Saw

This saw has an attached cord at its back and runs directly by electric power. The cord is connected with the wall outlet, and it can perform continuous cutting as long as it gets the power supply. We measure the corded reciprocating saw power in ‘Amps.’ The range varies between 7amps to 15amps, mostly meeting various professional and DIY project requirements.

As it operates with a direct power supply, it is usually powerful and is used in different cutting and demolition industries. The different use of the corded reciprocating saw depends on the variable amp’s output which determines its cutting capacity and efficiency largely.


  • You will see its application in the woodworking industry
  • It is used to cut through metal and concrete too
  • Professionals use it to cut in the walls


  • Great cutting efficiency
  • Enhanced power
  • Variable Amps range
  • Wide availability in stores


  • Limited reaching the facility
  • Not meant for outdoor use

Cordless Reciprocating Saw

The corded reciprocating saw, despite its several benefits, had one major setback as it has limited reaching capacity. The cordless reciprocating saw is free from such disadvantages and works nearly as efficiently as the corded version.

Since it operates with battery power, it is also called the battery-powered reciprocating saw. It has a built-in battery slot, and the number of batteries will determine its power and cutting capacity. It is ideal for outdoor use where finding the power outlet can be a tough task. Also, due to its power efficiency and easy usage, it is the most widely used types of reciprocating saws in the market.

Its downside is the weight and size as it houses the batteries inside.


  • In outdoor cutting areas where there’s no power outlet, usually
  • In higher positions such as on the roofs and walls
  • In the metal and masonry industry for demolition jobs


  • No limit in reaching capacity
  • Highly portable due to battery power
  • Power efficient and eco-friendly
  • Ability to work in outdoor space


  • Limited power
  • Not for heavy-duty usage

Compact Reciprocating Saw

The compact reciprocating saw is designed to work in tight spaces thanks to its compact size, high maneuverability, and lightweight feature. This is the top fit for working in congested places where large reciprocating saws such as the heavy-duty or pneumatic variants won’t have access.

The compact reciprocating saw can be corded or cordless, depending on its power output. The corded version has power ranging from 5amps to 10amps, mostly. The cordless version operates with a 6-12 volts battery.

The compact saw can be of two variants-

  • One-handed: It is the most compact of all reciprocating saws and is usable with one hand. It is the best fit for tight space, thanks to its ultra-compact design. You can conveniently use the one-handed reciprocating saw and won’t feel hand fatigue.
  • Two-handed: You have to use both hands to operate the two-handed reciprocating saw. It is a little larger than the one-handed version and equips with more power too. Thus, it is suitable for larger cutting requirements. But it causes hand fatigue soon during long projects.


  • Best for operating in tight spaces
  • You can quickly work in plumbing closest
  • Also, it is usable in wall interior at ease


  • Doesn’t cause hand fatigue
  • Lightweight design for portability
  • Best for both indoor and outdoor
  • Easy application because of lightweight


  • Smaller blade limits the cutting capacity
  • Won’t be able to run for a longer time

Pneumatic Reciprocating Saw

The pneumatic reciprocating saw operates through an air compressor as its primary power source. Hence, it is also named the air reciprocating saw. The saw is used mostly in the industrial sector because of its great power. You will see its most common uses in gas refineries and chemical plants.

The power output is measured by CFM, referring to cubic feet miter output. It means the power is determined by the air output in each miter in every minute by the reciprocating saw. As the air reciprocating saw comes with enhanced power, it is the best fit for heavy-duty cutting and demolition jobs. Henceforth, it is widely used in both commercial and industrial sectors.


  • Auto-body shops for cutting steel tubes and metals
  • It is used to cut fiberglass
  • Cuts through both wood and plastic materials
  • Offers easiness in fine crafting


  • Highly versatile uses
  • Sheer power and efficiency
  • Durability
  • Durability due to motor-less operation
  • Self-cooling feature
  • Quieter functioning


  • Needs an air compressor for working
  • Only for industrial works
  • Not so portable

Mini Reciprocating Saw

It is the smallest reciprocating saw variants available in the market. Despite its small size, you will find the mini reciprocating saw in different sizes for different cutting jobs. Thanks to its compactness, it is a highly fitting saw for homeowners and DIY workers.

The small reciprocating saw equips with a 12-inch blade which is the smallest version in the shops. As it has compact construction and application with one hand, it also fits into tight spaces easily. It thus has greater application in various sectors.


  • Cutting pipes
  • Small handy crafts
  • Cutting wood in tight spaces


  • High portability
  • Best for DIY projects
  • Inexpensive pricing
  • Useful for blocked space


  • Not made for construction works
  • Only limited in small cutting jobs

HVAC and Plumbing Reciprocating Saw

Both HVAC ad plumbing spaces are tight and heavily congested. Thus, using a standard reciprocating saw be tough in these sectors due to space issues. Henceforth, manufactures have invested in the HVAC and plumbing reciprocating saw.

It is designed with an adjustable blade to work neatly in hard-to-reach locations. It works remarkably well on drywalls and performs brilliantly in trimming down various materials to meet your project requirements.


  • Working in crawl areas
  • Heater and closet plumbing
  • HVAC installations in spaces
  • Inside an office or home wall


  • Adjustable facility
  • Safe uses on pipes
  • Applications in HVAC


  • Has to be adjusted with the mini saw

Medium-duty Reciprocating Saw

As the name suggests, this reciprocating saw is made for performing medium-duty demolition and cutting jobs. It is seen widely both in homes and professional sectors. Also, it is less pricey and suits beginners to kick-off their woodworking career.

Depending on the power output, the medium-duty reciprocating saw can be either corded or cordless. It is larger than the compact saw and is also heavier too. Nonetheless, it has enhanced work efficiency too, which is a benefit of the saw.


  • Metalworks
  • Industrial plumbing


  • More powerful motor
  • Best for both home and construction sites


  • Heavier size
  • Large and not so portable

Heavy-duty Reciprocating Saw

It is more powerful than the medium-duty reciprocating saw. Henceforth, it is used mostly for industrial and commercial purposes for metal, wood, and plastic cutting and demolition jobs. It has higher motor power and is usually large.


  • Large plumbing jobs
  • Making massive furniture
  • Plastic and metal cutting for construction sites


  • Powerful motor
  • Fits professional use


  • Pricy unit
  • Immobile functioning

Super-duty Reciprocating Saw

It is much like the pneumatic reciprocating saw and is designed to perform the heaviest cutting and demolition jobs. You will see its application in the largest construction projects, militaries, and other super-structures.


  • Various uses in metal, wood, and plastic industries
  • In the construction of super-structures


  • Most powerful of all reciprocating saws
  • Incredible versatility
  • Best for industrial uses


  • Most expensive
  • Immobile functioning


The types of reciprocating saws are so widespread that it is near impossible to list all of them in a single article. Thankfully, our professional plumbers and woodworkers team has made it possible only for you. Hence, you should now have a brief and clear idea of the reciprocating saw types.

You can know quickly opt for the reciprocating saw that suits your purpose and budget. Also, you will know how to use the reciprocating saw effectively in various practical applications.

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