What can you cut with a reciprocating saw?

by Sam Wood | Last Updated: 21/10/2020

Everyone knows that a reciprocating saw can cut a lot of different things, but what exactly can you cut with a reciprocating saw? Join us as we list everything you can cut with a reciprocating or sabre saw below.

what can you cut with a reciprocating saw

What can you cut with a reciprocating saw?

Timber

Tree Pruning ( check out our best reciprocating saws for tree pruning )

PVC

Metal

Nails

Pipe

Plasterboard

Walls

Tile

Stone

As you can see a reciprocating saw ( Sawzall ) will go through pretty much anything! With the correct blade, you can cut many, many different materials with a reciprocating saw.

Reciprocating Saw Blade

For metal you will want a metal cutting blade, these will have very fine teeth much as you would find on a hacksaw. Wood will need a different recip saw blade entirely with large, well-spaced teeth.

So lots of different blades are available for reciprocating saws. However, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed; they are always very well labelled. Just make sure you have the correct blade to hand for what you want to cut through, simple.

Cutting Tile

For tile and stone, your blade often won’t have teeth at all and will instead be coated in a rough grit often made from tungsten carbide.

Cutting Timber

You can definitely cut timber with a recip saw. This is one of their main jobs after all. To cut timber you just need a regular wood blade. You can get different lengths of blade for cutting through bigger pieces. however be warned that a longer blade tends to bend when cutting, making it very difficult to actually achieve a straight cut.

Cutting Tree Branches

You can also cut trees with the right blade. If you are planning on cutting green wood, such as tree branches, then you will need a special pruning blade. Living wood will be full of sap and moisture so would clog up a regular wood blade.

Check out our full article on the best pruning blades for more information.

PVC

This is yet another material that can be cut with a reciprocating saw. Just get some plastic cutting blades for your saw and you will fly through PVC.

Cast Iron

If you need to go through some cast iron with a sabre saw then you definitely need to make sure you are packing the right blades. Cast iron will quickly blunt and wear out softer blades. Carbide tipped blades can help but if you want the real McCoy then you will want to get your hands on a diamond blade.

A diamond blade reciprocating blade that has nickel alloy brazed diamond particles that maintain sharpness to keep cutting after conventional carbide grit fail.

These blades are not cheap but are much cheaper than diamond-coated grinder blades, so may still save you some money in the end!

Nails

When cutting wood you may often come across nails. Nail embedded wood is common in older houses where nails have been inserted over the years. But worry not, if you have a multi-purpose or carbide blade in your saw it will go through these nails with no trouble at all.

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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!