Tool School: The Demolition And DIY-Ready Reciprocating Saw

Tool School: The Demolition and DIY-Ready Reciprocating Saw

The reciprocating saw (better known as a recip saw or Sawzall) is a common sight at construction sites, but it also has a place in a home owner's arsenal of power tools.

The recip saw is a two-handed tool and can be quite cumbersome to the uninitiated. It weighs in at about 4.5 kilograms, but the bulk is helpful to dissipate vibration and provide better grip. The controls consist of a variable speed trigger, and most saws can switch from a straight back and forth sawing motion which is ideal for cutting metal to an orbital stroke that is better for cutting wood.

A recip saw is extremely useful for demolition purposes. It cuts through 2x4's, plywood, and drywall with ease. With the proper blade it can also cut through metal pipe and nails.

This video shows common applications and tips for using a reciprocating saw:

DIYers will probably find more use for a compact or one-handed recip saw that are made for working in tight spaces such as cutting pipe under a sink, trimming PVC, cutting holes in drywall or light duty carpentry work.

Tool School: The Demolition and DIY-Ready Reciprocating Saw

Cordless recip saws are also growing in popularity as lithium-ion battery technology gets better. Get two batteries if you go cordless, so one can charge while the other is in use.

Lifehacker's Workshop column covers DIY tips, techniques and projects.


    great tool, i had a corded one and never really used it, when i was upgrading my cordless gear it came in the 'kit' i was purchasing. It is now one of my favourite tools being cordless as often it is the type of thing you get out when faced with 'interesting' problems renovating. i think it really only comes into its own once cordless.

    I don't find it too nasty on batteries, the grinder or circ saw chew them worse than this does, on that as with any cordless pick your brand right from the start and stick with it that way this isn't an expensive addition as a 'bare' tool.

    Why does the Milwaukee's saw blade have blood on it? You've been chopping up dead bodies, haven't you lifehacker?

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