Best Sabre Saw. Complete Guide to Sabre Saws

by Sam Wood | Last Updated: 20/10/2020

Sabre saw is a term often used interchangeably with a reciprocating saw, and for most people, they are now the same tool. Some brands seem to use both terms while reciprocating saw appears to have become the dominant term, particularly here in the UK.

Best Sabre Saws

What is a Sabre saw?

This type of saw is a reciprocating saw, think of a Jigsaw on steroids. They are a very flexible cutting tool that has many uses, finesse, however, is not one of them. These saws feature a straight blade which will cut through most materials and will do it with speed. However, don’t do expecting clean, precise cuts.

As almost all tools do reciprocating saws come in two distinct flavours, corded and cordless. As the name implies a cordless reciprocating saw will leave with an attached tether. However, corded tools don’t have the issue of running out of juice, and they also provide a bit more power as they don’t have to rely on 18v batteries.

On the other hand, a good cordless tool can go anywhere. You don’t have to be near a plug socket or run an extension cable to get power. They are super mobile and a lot more versatile than their corded cousins.

The decision between corded or cordless comes down to you, the buyer. Is the lack of mobility that much of an issue for you? Or do you need that extra freedom? If you already have some 18v batteries from a drill for example, then we would recommend going with the cordless variety.

Best Corded Sabre Saw

Best Corded Sabre Saw
Bosch PSA 700 E Sabre Saw

The PSA 700 E is a powerful, corded multi-saw. This multi-saw is the rough cut-specialist for any material. It has a range of useful features which you will find essential when working on the more demanding DIY projects.

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The Bosch 700E features a robust 710W motor meaning it has speed and power and will cut through pretty much anything given the correct blade. One feature we really like about this saw is the tool-less blade changing. You can pop the old blade out and get a new one attached in just a matter of seconds. Meaning more time cutting.

Bosch provides a wide range of blades for this saw, including wood blades, metal blades, plastic blades and even flexible mixed-use blades. One thing to note about this is that we have always found Bosch to be an excellent manufacturer of accessories, although we use Makita tools here such as the cordless drills we always use Bosch drill bits.

Another cool feature of the Bosch power saw is its electronic speed control which automatically varies your cutting speed for you ensuring a constant, smooth cut.

Best Cordless Sabre Saw

Makita Sabre Saw

We use Makita as our tool platform of choice here so its no surprise we recommend the Makita DJR186Z as our cordless power saw of choice. Again like the Bosch, the Makita features a quick and easy tool-less blade changing system. Making getting blades in an out a cinch.

The Makita cordless has also been redesigned with tons of great features, one such exciting new feature is a brand new crank mechanism which has translated to lower vibration and also reduced blade deflection. It also features XPT(eXtreme Protection Technology) which is a salesman’s way of saying you can use it outdoors and not worry about it getting dusty or wet.

This epic saw has enough power for cutting through branches, beams and more depending on the blade you use. It really does pack a punch for quite a small form factor. With one of these in your arsenal, you really will be a lot more versatile.

Please bear in mind this saw does come battery-less like most cordless tools these days. So if you don’t already own a Makita battery and charger, you will have to add the cost to your purchase price. However, you do get a blade included.

Runner up cordless sabre saw

Runner Up
DeWalt XR Sabre Saw

Latest generation premium Reciprocating Saw featuring XR Lithium Ion Technology

Part of the intelligent XR Lithium Ion Series designed for efficiency and making applications faster

Powerful & Highly Efficeint PM58 DEWALT fan cooled motor with replaceable brushes, delivers fast cutting action up to 2,950 strokes per minute and 28.6 mm stroke length maximising user productivity

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DeWalt Sabre Saw

The DeWalt is one of the best cordless reciprocating saws available and as such is a really good tool, don’t get me wrong. The reason we have placed it as our runner up is simply cost. At over £60 more expensive than the Makita at the time of testing it really is hard to recommend.

The DeWalt is a great tool, and much like the Makita will cut anything you throw at it, no matter the length, but it doesn’t do enough extra when compared with the Makita to justify that additional cost.

Included with this saw is a powerful & Highly efficient Dewalt PM47 fan-cooled motor with replaceable brushes. It delivers fast cutting action up to 3000 strokes per minute maximising user productivity. The DeWalt reciprocating mechanism and magnesium gearcase offer the user optimised power to weight ratio.

Reciprocating saw cutting through wood

Reciprocating saw cutting through wood

Buyers guide

So you are obviously looking for reciprocating saws, be it DeWalt, Makita, Bosch or other, let me help you out by letting you know what you should be looking out for. We have compiled a buyers guide below to help you make the right purchasing decision for you.

Size

If you are planning on using your saw in tight spaces, then the size of the tool is essential for you. You want a stubby short-handled tool to get into all those nooks and crannies. If this is not as much of a concern for you, then you may instead want to look for comfort oversize when it comes to the handle design. Please note that size does not always equal power!

Strokes Per Minute

This is the measurement of how quickly the blade can reciprocate and how much power it has. This is what provides the cutting power, but more strokes per minute is not always a sign of a better tool. A saw the moves at a rapid speed but with a poorly designed cutting mechanism will vibrate like crazy, making clean, accurate cuts almost impossible.

Weight

This is another crucial factor to analyse when buying your next sabre saw. Weight will be more of an issue if you plan on holding the saw above your head for extended periods. So if you want to use it to cut roof joists or saw tree branches, then weight should be a significant factor on your list.

Blade

The blade is just as important as the tool. make sure you buy the correct blade for your reciprocating saw. This will save you a lot of headaches down the line. A metal cutting blade is never going to cut wood anywhere near as well as a wood cutting blade will.

Related Questions

What is the best reciprocating saw?

For us, it has to be the Makita DJR186Z. We love the price point of this tool and also its excellent performance. This reciprocating saw has enough power for cutting through branches, beams and more. It really does pack a punch for quite a small form factor. With one of these in your arsenal, paired with a great blade, you really will be a lot more versatile.

Is a Sabre saw the same as a reciprocating saw?

Sabre saw is a term often used interchangeably with a reciprocating saw, and for most people, they are now the same tool. Some brands seem to use both terms while reciprocating saw appears to have become the dominant term, particularly here in the UK.

Whats better reciprocating saw or jigsaw?

Well, this depends entirely on the case use. For cutting out shapes and more delicate patterns a jigsaw will be the much better tool. Whereas for chopping through beams or tree branches then a sabre saw will be the much better tool.

Why is my saw not cutting straight?

The most common reason will be that your blade is bent or misaligned. A bent or wonky placed blade will result in cuts that are far from straight. We would recommend checking for a bent blade as your first step.

What is the best blade for my saw?

We recommend Bosch blades as a great blade for any powered saw. Bosch makes great accessories and we use their screw bits and drill bits in all our tools. So get a Bosch blade for a great balance of price and performance.

What speed should I be sawing on?

This depends on a few different factors, the material you are sawing, the length of the cut you need to make, the blade in your saw, the power of your saw and the accuracy of the cut you are after. When it comes to speed though I always edge on the side of caution and go for a slower speed if in any doubt.

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Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!