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Corded vs Cordless Reciprocating Saw: Which is Right for Your Needs?

Corded vs Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Corded vs Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Regardless of the type, choosing between cordless and corded tools is a debate that will likely go on for centuries. There will always be those who believe a corded saw is the only way to go and others who think you’re crazy to use anything other than cordless. There are some significant differences between a corded and a cordless reciprocating saw. We’ll give you a basic rundown of the differences you can expect between these two saws and how to determine which one will work best for you.

Corded Reciprocating Saw Overview

a corded reciprocating saw A corded reciprocating saw is a saw that uses a back-and-forth repetitive motion to cut through materials. It will have a power cord extending from the back or bottom of the saw.

See Also: Our reviews of the best-corded reciprocating saws

Basic Functions

A corded reciprocating saw is used primarily for demolition and heavy-duty projects. You can use corded reciprocating saws in tight spaces, and they generally work well when doing plumbing work or PVC cutting.

Types of Cuts

The cut you get with a corded reciprocating saw will be a bit rough compared to a circular saw. You can cut on an angle with this saw, but you will have to hold the saw steady and follow the line yourself. You cannot set the reciprocating saw to cut at the exact angle that you want.


Many blades are available for a corded reciprocating saw. There are blades specifically designed for wood, plastic, and metal. You must match the proper blade to the material you are cutting, or you will quickly snap the blade. Corded reciprocating saws have blades available in several lengths, depending on the project you are working on. Blades are generally 3–12 inches long, but the most common length is 6 inches.

Teeth per inch (TPI) is the most important spec of a reciprocating saw blade. Low TPI cuts faster but with rougher edges and is best suited for cutting wood. High TPI results in slower cutting but gives you a smoother edge, which is ideal for cutting metal.

Teeth per inch table


Corded reciprocating saws are not the safest saws on the market. Since it is a corded saw, there is quite a bit of power transferred to the blades. If power is applied correctly, there should be no issues; however, if you are a beginner, this may not be the saw for you.


Corded reciprocating saws will vary in price depending on the manufacturer, size, and strength of the saw. They are generally durable tools that should last for many years as long as you keep replacing the blade.
Corded Pros
  • Lots of power
  • Efficient and quick
  • Great for demolition work
  • Affordable
Corded Cons
  • Not very safe
  • Need an electrical outlet to use

Cordless Reciprocating Saw Overview

DEWALT DCS380B A cordless reciprocating saw has one significant difference when compared to the corded one, and that is the source of power. A cordless saw uses batteries for power as opposed to the electrical power used with the corded option.

See Also: Our reviews of the best cordless reciprocating saws

Basic Functions

The cordless saw’s primary functions are similar to that of the corded. The primary difference you will find with this saw is its portability. If you are working on pruning at the back end of your property where there is no power, the cordless reciprocating saw will not require a lengthy extension cord.

Types of Cuts

The cordless can make the same types of cuts as the cordless, except they may take longer. If you are cutting through a thick piece of wood, you will want a corded saw. The cordless is ideal for detailed cuts because it’s less powerful than the corded model.


The blades of the corded and cordless saws are the same.


Generally speaking, because the cordless saw is a little less powerful, it will also be a little safer. The cordless saw seems to bounce around a bit less when trying to make cuts. It is a better option for a beginner because you don’t need to worry about cutting the cord, either. Overall, it just makes for a much safer piece of equipment.


If you look at the price of the saw alone, the cordless usually seems cheaper than the corded version. However, when you look deeper, the lower price typically does not contain a battery. When you purchase the battery, the charger, and the saw, the cordless price will likely be higher.
Cordless Pros
  • Very portable
  • Can use it wherever you need it
  • Stable cuts
  • Good for a beginner
Band Saw Cons
  • Does not have as much power
  • Will struggle with thicker materials

man using reciprocating saw

Which Saw is Right for Your Needs?

Determining which of these saws will work for your needs will come down to two basic questions. Where do you want to use the saw? And what are you using it for?


a reciprocating saw If you do not have access to an electrical outlet or are 50 feet from the closest one, you may want to consider the cordless reciprocating saw. Although you will lose some power, you will not have to worry about the cord getting in the way. With projects where you want to move quickly and tackle large areas, plugging your saw in repeatedly in different locations will slow down the work process.


Corded and cordless reciprocating saws are capable of cutting various types of material. However, if you have thick wood or metal to cut through, you need the corded version. The difference in power is going to make the job much more comfortable. When cordless saws face complicated cutting tasks, they drain their battery quickly.


A cordless reciprocating saw is a bit heavier than a corded one. The weight of the battery tends to weigh the saw down quite a bit. This is not an issue if you plan to pick up the saw and make a few minor cuts. It becomes an issue for workers who must have a saw in their hands most of the day or continually lug it around a job site.

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It is impossible to say which of these two saws, the cordless or the corded reciprocating saw, is better. Both options have their positives and negatives. Be sure to carefully analyze your sawing skills and the task you have at hand before making any final decisions. Try not to use the price as the determining factor when choosing a reciprocating saw. The differences are not enough that you should use it as your determining factor.


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