Our search for the best corded reciprocating saws brought us to two distinct categories and one that falls in between. Often referred to by the Milwaukee proper name, Sawzalls, these demolition tools represent an industry that still has a very strong wired presence.
What's the Best Corded Reciprocating Saw Power Rating?
There is a big difference between using a 10 amp reciprocating saw and a 15 amp reciprocating saw. Both have their place and can make the best corded reciprocating saws around – it just depends on what you're cutting.
Reciprocating saws with 10 to 12 amp motors offer high value and trade-off performance for a lighter design. They are a good choice for light demolition and when overhead must be cut.
A 13-amp reciprocating saw is somewhere between light-duty and heavy-duty cutting. They are significantly more powerful and heavier than their 10 to 12 amp counterparts, but weaker and lighter than their 14 to 15 amp counterparts. For some brands, this is the most powerful saw they make, and not every brand plays in this area. They are a good compromise between performance and size for upper and lower tiers.
14 and 15 amps are where the heavyweights decide the game. It's easy to think these saws are raw muscle, but they're so much more than that. We've seen the best vibration controls and feature sets here, often making them the best choice overall, even if they're heavier.
Skilsaw 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw SPT44-10 with Buzzkill Technology
In an intense three-way battle for the crown of best corded reciprocating saw, Skilsaw's 15-amp Buzzkill model beat Makita and Milwaukee with superior cutting speed and higher value scores. The downside of the Skilsaw is that it is a heavier tool. No matter which one you choose, these three tools are demolition artifacts!
Best corded reciprocating saw for cutting speed
Skilsaw SPT44-10 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw with Buzzkill Technology
There is no doubt that the 15 amp classes have the fastest cutting speeds and they are the route to the best overall performance.
In our studded wood tests, Skilsaw's 15-amp Buzzkill got the top score, followed by Milwaukee's 15-amp Super Sawzall. Using a roof sandwich made things tougher, the clearances were nearly the same, although both saws were slower.
The same was true when we switched to 2" EMTs in our thin metal testing. However, in our thick metal test, the Skilsaw ended up falling short of the Milwaukee when it came to cutting rebar.
In test after test, Skilsaw's 15 amp Buzzkill model cuts faster than anything else in the 15 amp class. It's the only saw we've tested that tops its class in every speed test.
The tradeoff is weight. Not only is the 15-amp chainsaw heavier than other power classes, but the Skilsaw is 2.6 pounds heavier than the Milwaukee's overall.
Best Corded Reciprocating Saw for Vibration Control
Makita JR3070CTZ 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw
In general, less powerful reciprocating saws vibrate less than more powerful models. However, flagship 15 amp saws tend to have the advantage of developing the best vibration control.
Makita's AVT (Anti-Vibration Technology) design on its 15-amp JR3070CTZ swayed our testers, awarding it the best vibration control and not far behind Skilsaw's Buzzkill technology.
In the lower power classes, Makita's JR3050T is the best in the 10-12 amp group, while Skilsaw's Buzzkill has the edge in the 13 amp saw.
Most compact corded reciprocating saw
Ridgid Fuego 10 Amp Orbital Reciprocating Saw
A 10 – 12 amp chainsaw is your best choice when you must fit into small or awkward spaces.
In this case, Ridgid set itself up for the lightest at 0.5 pounds and kept its design compact, although DeWalt's DWE305 is an inch shorter. Ridgid packs the best balance of weight and size into one phone.
In the 13-amp class, the Milwaukee 6536-21 Super Sawzall, recognized for its excellent cutting performance, is the lightest and most compact of the group.
Milwaukee's 6538-21 Super Sawzall and Bosch's RS428 are tied for the lightest in the 15-amp class, with Bosch having the most compact frame.
Best Corded Reciprocating Saw Value
Skilsaw SPT44-10 15 Amp Reciprocating Saw with Buzzkill Technology
Value isn't just about finding the cheapest corded reciprocating saw, it's about finding the sweet spot between design, performance, and price. For our money, the performance and design attributes of Skilsaw's 15-amp reciprocating saw make up for the difference in cost when you're looking for the best bang for your buck.
It's not the only product with a high value score, though. Here's the full list, and we believe it will get you a lot for your money, scoring over 90 points for value for money.
10 – 12 amps
- Metabo HPT CR13VST: $99.00
- Ryobi RJ186V: $69.00
Kobalt K13RS-03: $139.00(discontinued)
- Skilsaw SPT44A-00: $109.99
14 – 15 amps
- Skilsaw SPT44-10: $169.00
Best Corded Reciprocating Saw: How We Tested
We designed 4 independent tests for each corded reciprocating saw to prove its worth. However, not every category is suitable for the toughest test, such as our roof sandwich – so we exempted all but the 15A model from that test.
Here's a baseline test of every reciprocating saw we've tested. We calculated the time it would take to cut 2 x 10 PT pine with five 16D galvanized nails embedded in it, and averaged the results for each saw. We strapped 5 lb weights to each saw to make sure they applied an equal amount of downforce.
For this test we used LENOX Demolition CT carbide inserts. These 6 TPI blades last 6x longer than standard LENOX bi-metal blades and feature studded wood with a thick profile for a stable cut. You can pick it up in 6", 9" or 12" lengths from your favorite LENOX retailer.
To test metal cutting speed, we take the average time it takes to cut 2″ EMT. As with the wood cutting test, we use a 5 lb weight to achieve the same downforce.
For this test, we used the LENOX LAZER 18 TPI Medium Metal Bi-Metal Blade for 1/16" – 1/4" cuts. Its taller cutting profile makes for a more stable cut, and the Power Blast design increases the overall life of the blade by increasing its strength. They are available in 6", 9" or 12" lengths.
For thick metal cutting speed, we tested how long it would take to cut #5 rebar (5/8″). Again, we used a 5 lb counterweight for consistent downforce.
For this grueling test, we swapped out the inserts for LENOX LAZER CT carbide inserts for thick metal. In head-to-head matches against Milwaukee and Diablo, we cut more of the rebar before the teeth started falling out significantly. For slicing and slicing, they're the best thick metal blades we've tested. You can choose from 4", 6" and 9" lengths.
Roof Sandwich (15 amp class only)
Only the sturdiest saws are put through our toughest tests. Using a sandwich of 2 x 10 PT, flashing lights, tar paper, asphalt shingles, and five 16D galvanized nails, we found the average time needed to cut a 15 amp class.
But this time we didn't use weights. When you're cutting the roof, you can't use the weight of the saw to help you, so we cut it freehand. To make sure we got consistent results, both Tom Gaige and I stopped editing.
We went back to the LENOX Demolition CT carbide inserts for this test.
With all our test material in hand, we sent teams of three at a time to cut to our hearts content. Each of us had to rate each corded reciprocating saw on a scale of 1-4. Once we have all the results without interacting, we add them together and average.
In general, corded tools don't have as many bells and whistles as cordless tools. However, there are still some important design features to consider. Here's what we're looking for:
- Operation Orbit
- variable speed dial
- Swivel, tool-less adjustable shoe
- Lever blade release (not shaft twist lock)
- Rafter Hooks / Belt Hooks
- LED LightSpring blade pops out
- unique features
size and weight
When you use an aggressive tool like a reciprocating saw, the vibration and weight can work against you over time. While the weight of each class increases with more powerful motors, picking the best corded reciprocating saw for you can make a big difference in the weight category.
Length isn't as important as it is in the realm of cordless compacts where you're trying to get into really tight spots. However, if you are a plumber, electrician, or other trade that forces you into some awkward spaces, a more compact saw can be helpful.
We take many factors into account when calculating value. It's not just the price – it's what you pay for. In other words, who gives you the most bang for your buck?
Why Use a Corded Reciprocating Saw?
Despite the abundance of cordless options, corded reciprocating saws are still a relevant area. They're much cheaper than their cordless counterparts, have no runtime issues (unless someone unplugs you), and they can take a beating.
We are also currently seeing better vibration control developments in corded tools. Makita's AVT is exquisite in its cordless saws, while Skilsaw's Buzzkill technology doesn't work with any cordless models.
Between the two power options, cordless saws are catching up to, and sometimes surpassing, corded saws in cutting speed. Most standard 18V reciprocating saws are much faster than 10-12 amp corded saws. In many cases, cordless models are even lighter.
Still, the benefits of low cost and near-infinite uptime continue to make wired courses relevant to many job sites.
Ever looked at a "review" site, but you can't tell if they actually tested the tools, or if they were just "recommending" Amazon bestsellers? That's not us. We won't recommend anything unless we've actually used it ourselves, and we don't really care who the major retailers are. It's all about providing you with sound recommendations and our honest opinions on each product.
We've been in business since 2008, covering tools, writing reviews and industry news coverage for the construction, automotive and lawn care industries. Our professional reviewers work in the industry and have the skills and experience to see if a tool will perform well in the field.
Every year, we introduce and review more than 250 individual products. Our teams will use hundreds of other tools at media events and trade shows throughout the year.
We consult with innovators in tool technology and design to gain a broader understanding of where and how these products work.
We work with more than two dozen specialty contractors across the U.S. who review products for us on real job sites and consult with us on testing methods, categories, and weightings.
This year we're giving readers over 500 completely free new pieces of content, including objective reviews of tools and products.
The end result is information you can trust because we collectively draw on editorial, scientific, and real-world professional experience every time we pick up and test a tool.