What Is a Reciprocating Saw Used for & how to safely use it

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 17, 2022
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Reciprocating saws are one of the popular tools used frequently by many carpenters and even regular people. Many people buy a reciprocating saw for using it for various crafts in their daily life. But some of them may not understand how to use it.


If you happen to buy a reciprocating saw and want to know what is a reciprocating saw used for, then this article is for you.

Reciprocating Saw

These are handheld power saws that work using back-forth motions for cutting. This unique mechanism is known as reciprocating action.

The saws that follow this mechanism are usually called reciprocating saws, such as jigsaw, saber saw, rotatory reciprocating saw, scroll saw, etc.

These are found in both corded and cordless options. The corded one has a cable and requires an electric source for it to turn on. On the other hand, the cordless reciprocating saw runs with simple lithium-ion batteries.

How to Use a Reciprocating Saw

Before using your saw, the first thing you need to ensure is the safety materials. Always remember to use safety goggles and earplugs before you start working.

How to use a reciprocating saw

Turn on

Now, the first thing is to plug your reciprocating saw into an electric source if it’s a corded one. Insert batteries in if it is a cordless one.

Prepare the Cutting Surface

Then you should draw a line on the surface of the material you will cut for your convenience. Doing so will allow you to get a clean cut on the surface.

Then, hold the reciprocating saw firmly with your hands and put the blade’s edge against the material to gain a firm position with the saw.

Onto the Cutting

How to strip wire fast
How to strip wire fast

Finally, pull the trigger of the saw to increase its speed according to your needs, and firmly press the tip of the blade against the material. By doing so, you will be able to cut metal with a reciprocating saw, wood, or any piece of material smoothly.

Always remember to disconnect or turn off your reciprocating saw when you’re done with the project.

Uses of Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws are generally common tools used by window fitters, construction workers, and even by emergency rescue services. However, many people also use reciprocating saw in their homes for different types of crafts. Some common uses for the reciprocating saw are given below-

  • Because of its compact design, you can cut materials both horizontally and vertically using a reciprocating saw. That’s why these are used to cut wooden and metallic surfaces generally.
  • Reciprocating saws are light and handheld but still have a lot of power. For this reason, it is one of the best tools for tree pruning and light trims on the branches and surfaces of a tree.
  • One of the advantageous factors of reciprocating saws is that you can change their blades depending on your project. For this reason, you can also do demolition and construction works using its long blade.

Reciprocating saws are regarded as one of the most potent and versatile demolition tools in the business. Now, if you are just starting, getting full control over your cuts can be very difficult, and if you make any minor mistakes, it can lead to severe accidents.


Therefore, you need to know how to use a reciprocating saw before diving straight into it without any knowledge. Because that is just a recipe for disaster, but don’t worry, as, in this article, we will break down every step that you will need to take to use a reciprocating saw properly.

Using a Reciprocating Saw: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here are the steps that you will need to master using a reciprocating saw.

Step 1: Cutting the Power Off from the Saw 

You can’t start working with your reciprocating saw unless you assemble it first. At first, make sure that the saw isn’t connected to a power source, meaning it isn’t plugged into an electric socket or batteries plugged inside the saw. 

Because it will be a complete disaster if the saw powers up when you are attaching the blade. So be cautious and double-check before you start to proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Selecting the Proper Blade

This part entirely depends on what type of material you will be cutting through with your reciprocating saw. As reciprocating saws can cut through almost anything if can choose the right reciprocating saw blade, your decision on the blade type is crucial unless you want an unsuccessful cutting session.

Reciprocating saw blade

Along with that, the length and the weight of the blade play a significant role. Because the longer and heavier the blade is, the harder it will be for you to control. Therefore, choose the edge wisely.

Step 3: Attaching the Blade

On the saw’s chuck, you will be able to find a lever or a button. Push it and keep holding it. Then slide in your selected blade, and remove your finger from the lever. There will be a clicking sound, ensuring that the blade is attached to the saw.

Step 4: Drawing the Cutting Line

Now, go to the object you will be cutting and draw a line for the cut you want. Make sure that the lines are visible even when you are using glasses.

Step 5: Clamping the Object (If Possible)

This isn’t a necessary step, but you should try to clamp the object you will be cutting through if possible. Because as there will be a lot of vibration, if improperly clamped, you might end up with a cut that you don’t want.

Step 6: Gearing up

This is a necessary step. You should always wear the right gear before using your reciprocating saw. So, wear your gloves, eye, and ear protector before you jump into the action.

Step 7: Powering up the Saw

Once the preparation is complete, put the shoe on the surface and push until you feel the resistance. Ensure that you are holding the saw with both of your hands. Lean in to make sure the handle is touching your stomach. Then with your index finger, power on the saw.

Step 8: Controlling the Saw

After powering up the saw, if you feel that you have got control over the saw, start the cutting process. Don’t rush; be calm and cut slowly. And once you are done, power off the saw and hold it until the blade is still.

There you have it. These are the steps that you need to follow to use a reciprocating saw.


Reciprocating saws may have a unique mechanism, but it is effortless to use if you know what is a reciprocating saw used for, then you can deal with complex projects efficiently.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.