Corded vs Cordless Reciprocating Saw – Which Gives Best Bang for Buck?

corded vs cordless reciprocating saw

Corded vs. cordless reciprocating saw, which one is good for me? Puzzling, right? Let’s understand the fundamental differences between the cordless and corded reciprocal saw by weighing their structure, features, and use cases.

A corded reciprocating saw is powered by the alternative current (plug n play); on the contrary, a cordless reciprocating saw has a battery (usually lithium-ion) that can store energy and works as a portable reciprocal saw.

A reciprocating saw is a handheld powered tool that works by moving its blade in a constant to and fro motion. It is much like a power drill except with a blade in place of the drill shaft. No tool is worthy of its comparison when it comes to cutting through materials. Its features allow users to easily carry out construction and demolition work all on their own.

If appropriate blades are used, the reciprocal saw can cut through wood, metal, plastic, aluminum, copper, etc. Anything a crowbar, hacksaw, and jigsaw can do all together, a reciprocating saw can do all alone, and that too, better.

Not only does it save your time, but it also guarantees a fun experience while carrying out strenuous and tiring jobs like chopping trees and tearing down walls.

Two major types of reciprocating saws exist- Corded and Cordless. Allow me to help you pick out the right reciprocating saw for your need.

FeatureCorded Reciprocating SawCordless Reciprocating Saw
Power SourceCorded Electric (Alternative Current)Batteries (Mostly Lithium-ion)
RuntimeUnlimited; as long as it is plugged into a power socketLimited; until the battery runs out
MotorMore powerful due to unlimited power supply and AC currentComparatively less power as it runs on charged batteries
Voltage and AmperageUsually plugged into a 120 volt, AC outlet; 13 ampsUses an 18-20-volt battery rated in DC volts; 4.0 Ah
Stroke Length0-2,800 strokes/min; 1 1/8 inches0-3,300 strokes/min; ⅞ inches
Value for moneyProvides instant value for money Provides value for money in the long run- if used more than once
ManeuverabilityHindered because of wiresEasy to move around
Weight6-8 pounds; depends on the productAround 8 pounds; depends on the weight of the battery
Ease of UsePlug N PlayRequires to charge the battery before using the tool

A corded reciprocating saw requires its wire to be plugged into a power source throughout the entire duration of its use.

Advantages of Corded Reciprocating Saw

  • Lightweight; weighs about 6 to 8 pounds each
  • Infinite runtime if electricity is present
  • Affordable considering good quality saws range from $59.99 to $99.99
  • Has AC motors that can generate more force
  • Despite having a powerful motor, vibration is considerably low
  • Most saws are compatible with interchangeable, multiple length blades
  • Perfect for small worksites

Disadvantages of Corded Reciprocating Saw

  • Limited maneuvering option; can only go as far as the wire can from its power source
  • Cords can be challenging to manage, which can create complications in the worksite
  • One can accidentally cut the wire, making it unusable
  • Motors can heat up fast and may require replacement in the future
  • Some motors are replaceable, and some are not
  • Overall money spent on the product increases with added maintenance and blade cost

Things I like about Corded Reciprocating Saw

  • Unlimited power supply enables corded saws to have powerful AC motors
  • AC motors are quite advantageous for corded reciprocating saws because they adapt to change in current easily, low startup power, provides easy control on how much force and current is to be used initially, has high durability
  • The variable speed trigger lets you determine how fast you want your blade to cut
  • With a stroke length of 1-1/8 inches, your saw will be able to cut a longer length at a faster pace
  • Most Corded sawzalls can do about 0-2800 strokes per minute yet vibrate less than the cordless sawszalls
  • Undergoing heavy-duty work will feel like a cakewalk with a 7.5-10 amp motor

Pro Tips on Corded Reciprocating Saw

  • The tool needs to be plugged into the right socket that is on par with its optimal level of power, as mentioned in the manual
    Keep the cord out of the way of working
  • Check your wire for damage before turning on the power source; avoid causing a fire
  • Switch off the saw before unplugging, or it may still be running for a few seconds causing unexpected injuries
  • Keep the cord out of the way of the material being cut to prevent electrocution

Why is Corded Reciprocating Saw the Best?

Best suited for small DIY projects

If the task does not require moving around, it is best to use the corded reciprocating saw and not a cordless one. Smaller spaces indicate that the projects are small too. Hence, having uninterrupted runtime would help finish the job a lot faster. The wires would also need less management. All such qualities make corded reciprocating saws the better fit for small DIY projects.

Wiser Investment

Corded reciprocating saws are cheaper and better for smaller jobs as compared to the more expensive cordless options. To invest in one would be wiser instead of paying workers a hefty amount to receive unpleasant results. Not only that, but it will further enhance your construction skills and build your confidence to take on future DIY projects.

Powerful Motors

Corded saws come with a more powerful motor as opposed to cordless saws. Because of their infinite power supply, the output produced is more. The fact that energy efficiency is the least of its concern is a bonus for people looking to finish smaller jobs.

Continuous Runtime

Unlike cordless saws with a limited runtime, corded reciprocating saws can go on for as long as you want them to. You would not have to keep spare batteries charged and ready for replacement every time you work with thick materials, as corded ones do not require that. All you need is its plug to be connected to a power supply, and you will be good to go.

Economical Choice

Since the corded reciprocating saw is more convenient for those looking to finish smaller jobs, it is safe to assume that they would not be used regularly. Hence, buying a corded one, which is comparatively less expensive, will be more cost-effective on their part.

As its name suggests, a cordless reciprocating saw does not come with a wire, nor does it need to be plugged into a power source at all times. All it needs is a charged battery to run for specific periods, depending on how much power is being required to cut the object/material.

Advantages of Cordless Reciprocating Saw

  • Easy to use; turn on the switch and get to work
  • Portable as the extra load of wires is not involved
  • Can be used to work on large job sites and big projects
  • Can be used anytime without the risk of incurring an electrical hazard
  • Work gets done faster as wires do not have to be managed
  • Usually outlasts the given warranty
  • Comes with added blades and a charger
  • Most saws are compatible with interchangeable, different lengths of blades

Disadvantages of Cordless Reciprocating Saw

  • The battery has limited runtime
  • Battery life runs out faster if the tool is cutting comparatively thicker and more robust materials such as steel or aluminum
  • Depending on the thickness it cuts, the tool must be rested to let it cool down
  • A spare battery is needed in most cases
  • Additional money has to be spent on spare batteries and blades
  • If left unused for a long time, batteries may go flat, becoming degenerate

Things I Like About Cordless Reciprocating Saw

  • Powered batteries allow you to move around freely on the worksite
  • DC batteries are used, which are easier to install, low maintenance, capable of quickly adjusting to actions such as starting and stopping on command
  • Provides a good 18-20-volt battery, less energy is wasted during storage because of lithium-ion batteries; hence more battery life during work
  • A good stroke length of 7/8 inch in a cordless saw is vital given that you are working on demolition and not finessed work
  • Even with a battery inside, the tool feels light and easy to work with
  • Variable speed triggers help you have a better grip on what you want to do with the tool

Pro Tips on Cordless Reciprocating Saw

  • The battery should supply the right amount of power when the tool is in use; inconsistency in power output can be harmful to the tool.
  • Always keep the charger away from a heat source and in a well-ventilated area
  • Refrain from placing the charger on a soft surface; internal heating could cause damage to both
  • Never place anything on top of the charger
  • Make sure to remove the charger from the outlet before cleaning it
  • The charger should not be subject to a higher voltage than the volt advised in the manual
  • Keep the battery pack away from heat sources even if it is damaged
  • Cease using the battery immediately if its pack breaks or cracks

Why is Cordless Reciprocating Saw the Best?

Risk-Free and Safer Option

Corded reciprocating saws are attached to a power source while cutting materials, but cordless ones are not. This makes the possibility of incurring a fire hazard close to none. Therefore, a cordless reciprocating saw is the safer option.

Better for Large Projects

Cordless Reciprocating Saws are best for house demolitions or renovation. It requires the saw to be moved around the entire house, unlike the corded sort with limited maneuverability. Hence, a cordless one is a handier for large-area construction work.

More Efficient

Cordless saws have a better SPM and stroke length, which allows quicker and cleaner cuts than corded saws. Hence, using cordless reciprocating saws proves to be faster and thus more efficient.

More Convenient

To use corded saws, stable electricity and cautious wire management are needed. However, you can charge up your battery and switch the power to get to work in case of a cordless saw. It is the more convenient and more straightforward option of the two.

Value for Money

Spending money behind a cordless reciprocating saw may seem unnecessary at first. Still, after the completion of a project, it will prove to be worth the investment. This is especially true for those who plan to continue using the reciprocating saw in the future.

Cuts the same materials

Both corded and cordless reciprocating saws can be used to cut almost all kinds of materials. This works as long as the blade’s length attached to the saw is longer than the width of the material it is cutting.

Variable Speed Trigger

It is necessary to control the speed of the blade while working. This prevents you from using unnecessary force on an object and cutting it open, unevenly. Hence, adjusting how fast the blade runs can be beneficial depending on the material, you are cutting.

Storage Problem

Storage is essential when it comes to putting away machines and sharp objects post-work. Unfortunately, though, no reciprocating saws come with a large enough bag or case to keep all the tool components in. Because the blades are sharp and pointy, they cannot be loosely handled. Hence, users must find an additional bag to keep the blades, charger, and extra batteries in. This makes moving with the saws, from site to site, a hassle.

Added Cost

Reciprocating saws always come with additional expenditure. These costs are derived from the extra battery for a cordless saw and separate blades for both, not to mention the maintenance cost that has to be spent on the saws in the future.

  • To keep blades from getting damaged, apply oil or some form of lubricant on the blade before use
  • Always use the right blade for the right material, or else the blades will not be as effective the next time
  • Remove and replace the blades as per the manual’s instructions, or you could end up jabbing the blade too far into the tool, damaging it
  • Keep your saw debris-free by cleaning it after each use to maximize the saw’s utility
    Choose cleaning products wisely; some may end up damaging parts that are made of rubber or plastic
  • Always use a longer blade; it will be flexible and will also last longer
  • Do not touch, remove or adjust the blade when the power source is on
  • Give the blade time to cool down after turning off the power source before you remove it
  • Always wear safety goggles and gloves, steel- footwear, a helmet, earplugs, and a face shield for protection
  • Remember to wear dust masks; some material waste is injurious to health when inhaled, i:e: asbestos
  • Be careful of your surroundings, clean before starting your task
  • Do not start the cut while the blade is moving; position it beside the material first
  • Make sure your grip on the saw is rigid and balanced during use
  • When tearing down a wall with electric wiring, make sure all power sources are turned-off completely
  • Only start cutting when the saw is fully powered
  • It is advised not to cut above the height of your shoulder
My 2¢

Whether corded vs cordless reciprocating saw, both can be used for a similar line of work. With respective factors in check, both can prove to be quick and efficient too.

But here’s the catch: if you are somebody who will use the saw for a one-time job and never take it out unless absolutely necessary, then you should spend your money on a corded reciprocating saw.

However, if you need one occasionally, spend that extra amount on a cordless one, you will get your value for money in the long run. Whichever one suits you best, remember always to read the instructions in the manual carefully.

Features may vary from model to model, and it is best if you become familiar with the one you own. Nevertheless, everything listed above applies to most if not all reciprocating saws and can be followed through and through. Save your sweat and invest in a reciprocating saw, today; you won’t regret it.

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