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Free Shipping Terms and Conditions How do I take advantage of FREE Shipping?

Proceed to checkout with eligible items in your Shopping Cart. (Eligible items will say “Eligible for FREE Shipping”)

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Reciprocating Saw vs Circular Saw. Which Is Useful?

There are several different types of power saws. Two of the most common are circular saws and reciprocating saws. While each saw is quite different from the other in terms of size, shape, and appearance, they do share some common functions.

What follows is a comparison of circular vs reciprocating saw so you can choose the saw which is more useful to you.

In a nutshell, a circular saw is a portable power tool with a circular blade that can be used to cut precisely through a variety of materials, including lumber, drywall, plaster, masonry, metal, and plastic. On the other hand, a reciprocating saw has a flat, flexible blade that moves to-and-fro to cut through softwood to tough steel and masonry.

You might think that the circular saw is the better choice because it is more precise and the blade is rigid than the reciprocating, but accuracy isn’t everything you need! For example, circular saws are more prone to kick-back than reciprocating saws. They also don’t work well in tight spaces and are difficult to use with long blades.

Read on to find out which type of power saw is best for you and your needs.

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Circular Saw Advantages

The circular saw gets its name from the circular, disc-shaped blade, When the saw is powered and the trigger is pressed, the blade rotates which allows the teeth to cut into the material. You can make crosscuts, rip cuts, and plunge cuts using the circular saw.

A circular saw is a two-handed saw with one hand going on the rear handle where the trigger or ignition switch is located. While the other hand is placed on the guidepost located at the front of the device.

Note: You might have seen experienced users operating the saw with one hand. This is an unsafe practice.

Operating the circular saw with two hands has three major advantages.

  • Holding the saw with two hands gives you better control especially when a kick-back happens
  • By using your hand to hold the front handle, you are protecting your free hand from injuries.
  • The use of two-hand operation forces you to clamp the workpiece which is safe woodworking practice.

This saw also features a retractable blade guard and a fixed guard that covers the top so that debris will not be directed at the user.

Circular Saw Pros Cons

The advantages of a circular saw are considerable.

The circular saw is also intuitive to use, and its weight helps in controlling the direction of the device. But there are downsides as well.

Circular saws are perfect for getting clean, accurate cuts, especially straight cuts along the thickness through material that is quite dense. With the help of a straight edge or track, you can get a perfectly straight cut comparable to a table saw.

For some applications, a table saw is arguably better. However, a circular saw is quite portable and flexible. Plus, with the proper blade, it can also cut through plexiglass, metal, and even granite. This makes it one of the most popular of all powered saws.

Reciprocating Saw Advantages

This is a powered saw that cuts through materials using a reciprocating blade. This means the narrow, sharp blade uses a back-and-forth motion to cut through materials. The blade itself is serrated on one side.

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Reciprocating saw is held in a similar manner as you would hold a rifle. Place one hand on the butt end and pistol grip, then the other underneath the saw near the chuck to control the sawing action.

This saw is often referred to as Sawzall or hackzall although they are slightly different tools that work on a similar principle.

Reciprocating Saw Pros Cons

The advantages of the reciprocating saw are as follows.

  • Versatile: Can make many different types of cuts with ease
  • Portability: Lightweight and easy to carry and use
  • Ideal for working in tight spaces
  • Ability to cut curves and shapes
  • Good for cutting pipes and conduit
  • Easy Speed Adjustment
  • Excellent for demolition work

However, the reciprocating saw is not perfect. It does have a few issues that you need to know before purchasing.

  • Difficult to cut along long straight lines (Rip cuts)
  • Cannot perform accurate angular cuts
  • No Blade Guard: Can be dangerous if not properly used
  • Leaves behind rough edges

Despite the disadvantages, the reciprocating saw is perfect for making flush cuts, cutting away tree branches, shaping hedges, and demolishing items such as wooden furniture.

Circular Saw vs Reciprocating Saw Comparison

With the basic uses, advantages, and disadvantages of the circular and reciprocating saw known, it is now time to FOCUS on the basic differences between each device.

Blade Type

Arguably the clearest difference between the circular and reciprocating saws are the blades themselves. A reciprocating saw uses a knife-like blade while the circular saw uses a disc-shaped blade. It’s pretty easy to tell the devices apart based on the shape of the blades.


Although there are major differences in terms of the blade-type, form factor, and appearance of the reciprocating saw compared to the circular saw, arguably the main difference is in the uses of each saw.

Put simply, the circular saw is for building or construction projects. While the reciprocating saw is for demolition or destroying items or materials. This should help make it easier as to which one is better for your needs.

Depth of Cut

Both saws can cut relatively deep into the wood, metal, or similar material. Cuts of 2” or more are certainly possible with both devices.

The main difference is the blade types. A reciprocating blade is knife-like in appearance. This means it can be used to cut tree branches and other objects that are not flat.

A circular saw can only efficiently cut on flat surfaces. If you need to cut some plywood, the circular saw is for you. However, if you need to prune a tree, then a reciprocating saw is better for that job.

Accessibility and Reach

Although it can be argued that a reciprocating saw is more versatile, the circular saw is easier to use. Because of its size, shape, and balance, a circular saw can be safely used by the operator. Of course, you will need to be careful when using any saw, but the circular saw offers a strong blade guard and balanced weight to make it easy to maneuver.

A reciprocating saw is considerably more dangerous to use. This is because the blade is fully exposed, making it easier to become injured. Plus, the reciprocating saw is more difficult and less intuitive to use compared to a circular saw. It takes more patience and control. Plus, you need to wear more protection while you work.

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Having said that, a reciprocating saw can be quite fast when cutting apart materials. Its speed is one of its main attributes even if it is mostly used for demolition work.

Overall, the accessibility and reach go to the circular saw in terms of its ease of use. However, the reciprocating saw is arguably more versatile.

Form Factor of the Tool

The form factor varies considerably between the circular saw and reciprocating saw. While the reciprocating saw is held much like a rifle, the circular saw has the blade in the center location. It does take two hands to properly operate both types of saws. And the placement of the hands helps to balance out each unit.


Reciprocating saws tend to be less expensive compared to circular saws, although in some cases depending on the size the may be similar.

A typical reciprocating saw will sell for around 100 with some smaller models coming in at 50. There are also more expensive versions that may reach 150 or more.

A typical circular saw will sell for around 200 with some versions that may be less expensive, such as around 150. However, there are also sizes and brands that sell for over 250.

The between the devices become similar when purchasing a more expensive reciprocating saw and a less expensive circular saw. For those who are on a tight budget, the reciprocating saw is generally going to be cheaper.

Which Saw is Useful?

The tool you should purchase should be the one that will be used most often. You will need to evaluate your work and decide which type of tool is best. Because both saws have considerably different uses, it should be relatively easy to see which one works best for your needs.

Ideally, if you have the money and perform a wide range of tasks that includes construction and demolition, then getting both types of saws may be the perfect solution. Otherwise, you should base your decision on the following.

When to Go for the Reciprocating Saw?

Reciprocating saws are best used for demolition work. When you need to tear apart material and do not care about its condition afterwards. This is because reciprocating saws leave behind a raw, rough cut that will need to be sanded and smoothed if it is going to be used for construction or renovation. For demolition purposes, the roughness of the cut will not matter.

Reciprocating saws are perfect for demolition because of their toughness as well. They can cut through wood and metal with ease. In fact, they can go through a wood with nails in it quickly and easily. Because of the form factor of the reciprocating saw, you can also make cuts in narrow spaces. This adds to the versatility of the device, especially for demolition work.

So, if you make your living in demolition, then the reciprocating saw is for you. However, if you do not mind sanding the cuts made by the saw, then you can use it in other functions as well.

Who Should Get a Circular Saw?

Circular saws are primarily used for construction and renovation work. This is because they leave behind a clean, smooth cut that can be used right away in putting together materials. For making carpentry-type cuts, the circular saw is considerably more versatile compared to the reciprocation saw.

The downside is that you need a flat surface to create the cut. A reciprocating saw does not need a flat surface since it can be held and cut materials that may be on walls, the ceiling, and other odd angles. However, the circular saw is easier to use, and its very weight makes it safer compared to a reciprocating saw.

For those who are building a project, the circular saw is the obvious choice. It makes smooth, clean cuts that speed up the construction process. From small projects to building homes, the circular saw is also quite portable and easy to use.

Reciprocating Saw vs. Circular Saw

Power saws come in wide different varieties. The reciprocating saw and circular saw are two of the most popular. Despite having wildly varying sizes, shapes, and aesthetics from one another, all saws perform specific similar tasks. The following sections compare circular and reciprocating saws to decide which is more practical for you.

Before discussing the distinctions between these two power tools. let’s briefly review what each device is. This will enable you to comprehend each instrument at its most fundamental level.

Reciprocating Saw

A reciprocating saw, commonly referred to as a “recipe saw,” is a powerful tool to quickly move back and forth and “reciprocate” through materials. The narrow, knife-shaped blade of a recip saw is used to achieve this; it is often serrated on one side. These saw blades are available in various designs that are very effective for slicing through masonry, metal, and other materials.

Similar to a tiny gun, a reciprocating saw has an extended shape. A trigger and grip in the form of a pistol are located at the butt end. The blade that faces outward is situated at the other end. A user can support and steady their reciprocating saw in the interim by placing a hand slightly behind the chuck.

Circular Saw

As its name suggests, a circular saw typically has a round form. For that purpose, a circular saw is a powerful instrument that effectively cuts through various materials using a blade shaped like a disc. A circular saw can easily make plunges, crosscuts, and rip cuts because of how quickly the edge turns when in motion. Usually, these cuts turn out moderately smooth.

What are Different Types of Circular Saw Blades?

A circular saw can be operated with two hands and is a two-handed power tool. Typically, a user will rest one hand on the guidepost that serves as support, which is situated close to the top or front of the device. After that, they put their second hand on a parallel support point in the back, where the ignition switch is. These saws also include a hood over the top of the blade housing to stop debris from being thrown at the user.

Reciprocating Saw Vs. Circular Saw

Now that you are familiar with the fundamentals let’s examine their distinctions in more detail.

Type Of Blade

One of their most noticeable differences is the type of cutting blade used by a reciprocating saw and a circular saw. As a result, each edge has a strikingly diverse shape, which influences its level of performance.

For instance, a circular saw employs a disc-like blade with several tooth types, but a reciprocating saw utilizes a knife with a knife-like serration. Even when the saws are not in use, these variations are visible from a distance

Ability To Cut

Reciprocating and circular saws blades have distinctly different cutting capacities due to their varied blade designs and sawing processes.

A reciprocating saw, for instance, can often cut through a wood plank more quickly while still leaving a rough cut edge. A circular saw, in contrast, may take a little longer to complete a cut, but the cut edge of the same wood is left much cleaner.

Similarly, the functional flexibility of these two saws varies. For example, the smooth dimension cuts required for a successful carpentry project can be made more effectively using a circular saw. In contrast, a reciprocating saw can only handle simple, rough dimensioning tasks.

Shape Factor

Both saws have very different form factors when holding them in hand. A circular saw is focused around the unit’s main disc blade and, as its name implies, is circular. On the other hand, a reciprocating saw is typically carried like a rifle and is long.

Even though these instruments typically require two hands to operate, the user’s hand placement varies greatly depending on the balancing requirements of each unit.


Based on their typical retail pricing, reciprocating and circular saws can also be distinguished. For instance, the cost of a reciprocating saw typically ranges from 50 to 150. On the other hand, although a circular saw typically costs more (between 100 and 250 on average), its increased cost generally is justified by its better degree of usefulness and precision.


Although there are significant variations between the reciprocating and circular saw in terms of blade type, form factor, and appearance, it is possible to argue that the uses of each saw differ most.

To put it simply, the circular saw is used for building or construction operations. The reciprocating saw, however, is used to demolish or destroy objects or materials. This should make deciding which option is appropriate for your needs easier.

What Should You Use Out Of The Two?

These two saw types are best suited to various jobs, as one might anticipate. For instance, the reciprocating saw is an expert in deconstruction and destruction. This is because it can rapidly and effectively cut through metal and wood (including nails). Even better, the saw’s unique shape makes it easy for users to maneuver it into tight locations where other power saws cannot.

In contrast, a circular saw is a far more versatile piece of equipment when cutting in the carpentry style. To achieve this, circular saws are often more powerful and can cut through highly resistant materials when equipped with the right blade. Additionally, circular saws “kick” much less than reciprocating saws, making them easier for beginners.

The reciprocating and circular saw are two distinct kinds of power instruments, as should be abundantly evident by this point. They are better suited for various construction and demolition operations and are not intended to be used interchangeably. Please keep all these differences in mind to ensure that your team always has the resources it needs to succeed.

Skilsaw Reciprocating Saw Review – SPT44A-00

Skilsaw is a manufacturer that has been around for decades. In fact, they created the worm drive saw. The worm drive is the saw that built America. If you aren’t familiar with their story, Bosch recently sold them to a company called Chervon. Chervon is the same company that builds Ego and other power tools. Now that Chevron owns them, I think we are going to see huge leaps with the Skilsaw brand. Knowing Chervon, I am guessing they will finally bring Skilsaw into the present day with cordless tools and more innovative products. So with that said, let’s jump into the Skilsaw Reciprocating Saw Review.

Skilsaw Reciprocating Saw Review – Overview

A lot of people get Skil and Skilsaw confused and for good reasons. As a quick note, Skil is designed for the homeowner while Skilsaw is designed for the professionals. We have done a fair amount of reviews of Skilsaw and have been very impressed with them as a company and as a professional power tool.

Two products that have really stood out to us is the SkilSaw Worm Drive Table Saw and the Worm Drive Circular saw. Great products and both based on the worm drive system. Today we are looking at something new from Skilsaw, a reciprocating saw which is great for demolition work. While the reciprocating saw has been out for decades, this is Skilsaw’s first attempt at this type of saw. Let’s jump into the features of this saw.

Skilsaw Reciprocating Saw Review – Features

While not the most powerful motor on the market, Skilsaw built this around an impressive 13 amp motor and the tool weighs in at 8.8lbs.

Skilsaw went with a D-Handle grip on the back of the saw to allow easier use at any angle.

The trigger is a variable speed trigger and is very easy to control and keep a consistent speed.

On the front of the tool, there is a nice rubber over-mold molded grip that not only protects the tool but allows the user to keep a comfortable grip.

The blade locking system is a traditional type of locking system and seems like it should hold up well when the tool gets in binding situations. The tool has a 1-1/8″ stroke length with a 0-2800 spm.

While the shoe isn’t adjustable, it does pivot.

Skilsaw Reciprocating Saw Review – Performance

Skilsaw slams home the “Buzzkill” technology. The technology is on the inside of the tool and this is where the magic happens. Buzzkill technology is an easy way to say that the saw doesn’t have many vibrations. So how is vibration compared to other like minded saws?

This is where the magic happens. If you take this saw and put it against any other reciprocating saw you will notice the difference right away. It’s amazing how little vibration and feedback you get in your hands. I am not sure how they perform this magic, but it works like a charm.

With less vibration not only do you create less fatigue in your hands and arms, but it also means more energy is getting transferred to the work and making the cutting more efficient and faster.

This saw is fast, easy to control and it doesn’t make your hands numb after extended periods of use.

Skilsaw Reciprocating Saw Review – Value

The saw is expected to be priced at 99 which is in line with saws in its class. While these inexpensive saws don’t offer a lot of features, they are used for high demanding work. Considering that this has the lowest vibration we have seen in a reciprocating saw, this is a great buy at 99.

Skilsaw Reciprocating Saw Review – Final Thoughts

Overall this saw is great. Easy to control and love the vibration control. With that said I would love to see a 15 amp saw with all the bells and whistles as an adjustable shoe, orbital selector and more.

Now that Chervon owns Skilsaw, I am really hoping to see more Skilsaw products released and also a line of cordless tools to keep up with the consumer demands.

The SPT44A-00 is Skilsaw’s first reciprocating saw. While this saw will not impress you with features, it will make you wonder why every saw isn’t built like this. The “Buzzkill” Technology is awesome and we are very impressed how little vibration this saw creates.

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