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How to Use a Reciprocating Saw Like a Pro

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: January 21, 2024

To make a perfect cut, you must know how to use a Reciprocating saw adequately. How to change blades for different metals, use it in orbital moods, safety measure, catching the saw perfectly and the user manual is all here you want to know.

From a pro carpenter to a homeowner, whose work related to cutting woods, metals or plastic, love to have a reciprocating saw. The saws we often see or use, reciprocating saw are most useful and very easy to use. Straightforward tools can replace your different cutting tools & saws. Any DIY project to professional work, this saw can be used in almost every task you do.

Let me brief this saw different aspect and how to use.

What is a Reciprocating Saw?

How to Use a Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saw also known as (Sawzall or sabre saws). This saw is also famous as a demolition saw. It’s a handheld saw to cut and rip out the materials around windows, door, cutting through joists and paneling composition board, Masonite, aluminum, etc.

The most time-consuming work to ripping out or cut the old windows, door or balusters even the plywood’s or steel pipes, with Sawzall you can make a clean cut and slices through it.

Reciprocating Saw Types

There are three types of reciprocating saw (Sawzall) of Corded, Cordless and mini. Both are handy and needed for different work. Choosing the correct one depends on the professional who uses it.

To choose the correct one, let me give you a short brief.


In the modern world, we all want cordless, and it’s the most convenient. To carry out work anywhere, it’s the best option. Cordless saw also known as a battery-powered reciprocating saw.

This version of saw performs in the battery, which comes battery pack around 9 to 12 volts. And batteries vary to different models.

Though Cordless Sawzall is most demanding, there is some drawback like running out of battery in the vital moment of work. But if you buy more batteries to safe than sorry, you have to pay more.


This corded Sawzall version suited mostly for professionals. Who is in need to use the reciprocating saw for a long time. The unlimited time of use and no fear of battery runs out, it’s and perfect version.

But you are carrying it for work in places where no electric line available won’t help you with this tool. You will need the cordless version for this kind of work.

Mini Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saw’s come in different sizes and can be used in both or single hands. Due to the demand, the sizes vary.

Mini saws are one which can help you to work on a small object. Not for heavy-duty or cutting hard metals or use in construction work.

If you want to cut an object in tight space like pipes in a shower or kitchen, this is the best tool for you.

Parts of Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws have different parts, which have their own functionality. To understand a Sawzall better, we should look into the different parts of it.


Without a doubt, blades are an essential part to cut anything. Blades make the saw functional. Different blades help in different work.


The shoe is the flat part of the head. We can call it a guide. It helps blades to cut flawlessly.

Blade Clamp

Beneath the shoe, we found a part that helps the blades stick on the saw. Holding the blades is its primary work.

Front Grip

The front grip helps you to cut smoothly and balance the saw. In front grip your put left hand to hold the saw. It’s in the underside of the front.


The trigger is what we called the start button. But a bit different than other start buttons. Reciprocating saw has a sensitive trigger to control blades speed, slow to fast. Depend on how you want?

Power Source/Button

The power source means the cord that connects with electricity or button to activate battery power saw for the cordless version.

These are the central part of the reciprocating saw. Besides, there are Orbital Settings, Trigger Lock, Rear handle, and Vent.

Uses of the Different Blades in Reciprocating Saws

Reciprocating saw can cut different metals with the right blades. Blades are used in Sawzall measured in TPI (teeth per inch). To cut woods, it takes lesser TPI blades like 6, on the other hand, to cut metals its needs 18 more or less. Besides, there’s a wide variety of blades for particular circumstances.

Different kind of Reciprocating Saw blades

From the varieties of blades, I decided to categories into 3 and those are

1. Cutting all types of wood products: Lumber, plywood, paneling composition board and hardwood.

2. Cutting Metals: steel sheet, pipe, steel rods, aluminum, brass and copper.

3. General Purpose: Cutting Masonite, plastic and drywall.

Choosing the right blades for your work you need to decide. And when buying blades, you can ask for a suggestion from the seller.

Install the blade:

It’s essential to know the correct blades for cutting different materials. Implanting the wrong blades won’t harm your saw, but it will damage the blades. Safety warning

To install or remove blades from reciprocating saw is relatively easy.  Twist the blades to remove it from the saw. There is no need for extra tools or critical nut tightening or screw opening.

To insert the blade, twist or pull the blade clamp, insert the blades as far as it goes, and release the clamp. And it’s done.

Be sure to remove the battery or electric line before installing the blade.

Adjust the settings and what’s behind it!

Using blades from time to time makes it dull, and you want to adjust the saw to use different parts of the blades. Adjusting your Sawzall will extend the blade’s life. Use your hand to adjust the shoe. Now you can use different parts of the blade.

The blades extend beyond your cutting object so be sure to check what’s behind it and if it’s hitting something.  In case you can see what’s behind be extra cautious in cutting, not to cut wires or joint.

The time to change the blade

In case your blades start getting dull, change it before its bend and stuck in anything. Also, dull blades can damage your saw.

Blade Maintenance

But if your blades are partially dull, you can remove it to use another part though blades will get short but work perfectly fine. And if you bend your blades working hammer it to make flat again.

How to Use a Reciprocating saw

Using Reciprocating saw doesn’t need any extra setting and reasonably easy to use at first go. Here is what you should do to make your cut using a reciprocating saw.

Choose the Blade & Insert

After buying the saw, to cut anything blades is the most critical object which cuts. There are a variety of blades that I described earlier? Choose your suitable blade and insert it. I added a video from a YouTube channel could be your guide, or you can read the previous section.

Adjust the Shoe

It’s not wrong to say the shoe is your friend. The blades follow the shoe. And Sawzall shoe helps to cut smoothly. Without shoe cutting anything would be very tough. You can always adjust the shoe for your perfect cutting experience.

Use the Correct Speed

Balancing speed is important. Especially it saves blades. I mean blades last longer when you know the variable of speed. Starting slow and increase the speed later.

Press the Trigger

As you know, the trigger is what makes the blade get going. Check out adjustment and if the correct blade is set or not? If everything is subtle squeeze the trigger and activate the blade.

Use the front Grip

The front grip is vital for the balance. Grab the grip correctly for a smoother cut.

Make your Cut

It won’t take more than a few seconds to cut with your reciprocating saw. But be sure to apply pressure evenly moving your blades — a matter of fact, no need to worry too much. You will be handling this tool correctly after some use. It’s that easy.

End word

I have tried to write about the tool I got impressed with. I guess so do you? Having a tool versatile as a reciprocating saw, sure come handy for both professional and homeowner.

Let us know what my loose end in the article about is, and how to improve, your suggestion and criticism.

New from the blog:

A quick look at our all-time favorite Sawzall.

what is a reciprocating saw used for?


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