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Reciprocating saws make a lot of jobs easier, whether you’re tearing down a house or just want to make your yard look great. However, it’s not easy to shop for replacement blades online.
Manufacturers aren’t shy about inflating what their blades can do while downplaying any potential downsides. If you want to get a deal on a great set of reciprocating saw blades, but don’t know which sets are good deals and which are junk, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve created these reviews with you in mind. We break down every set and show you its strengths and weaknesses, so you can find the set that works the best for you. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide, so if you’ve never bought replacement blades, you can learn everything you need to know before you buy.
|Milwaukee 49-22-1129 |
(Best for the Money)
|IRWIN Tools 4935496||11-Piece||4.3/5|
|Janchi Sawzall Blades||5-Piece||4.0/5|
The Milwaukee 49-22-1129 12-Piece Set is our favorite choice for cutting metal. It features 12 blades coming in five different styles. The best of these are easily the “ax” blade, which is designed to easily cut through wood that might have nails in it, the “wrecker,” which is great for general purpose demolition, and the “torch,” which is designed to slice through metal like it’s butter. These blades are thick and tall, which means they have a ton of strength relative to other blades of similar length, which reduces their flex and greatly increases their durability.
This set comes with a nice carrying case, which includes a compartment for each blade size, which keeps them safe during transport, and also makes it easy to find the size you’re looking for when you need them. The one thing you have to watch out for is how heavy these blades are. They’re taller and thicker than most blades, which means they could put a strain on weaker reciprocating saws. If you’re using a battery-powered saw, you might want to get a set that’s a bit thinner. However, this is the best set on the market for most people.
The Bosch 5-Piece Set B000FAPPAA is the best set for pruning on our list. It comes with incredible wood blades that does a great job at pruning or cutting green wood, but also does well when it comes to trimming firewood or other dry wood tasks. They hold their edge well, even in demanding situations. And, they’re 12-inches long, which means you have the reach you need to hit hard-to-get-to spots, or to work with large logs. The manufacturer estimates that they last up to three times as long as standard blades, and while that’s probably an overestimate, these blades have a reputation for exceptional longevity relative to other brands.
They’re color-coded, so you can find the one you need quickly without having to hunt around your tool bag. The only real flaw this set has is that the blades have a lot of flex relative to other blades. Most people won’t like that, as they expect their blades to be stiff and unbending, but they work so well that the bend is just a minor irritation. If they were stiffer, they’d easily take first place on our list.
The DEWALT DW4856 is our choice for best for the money. You can get six blades in this pack for a price that is a fraction of the cost of the first two blades on our list, making it a great deal right off the back. The blades vary from six to 24 teeth per inch, which gives you a wide range of options for when you get to work, so you can have a blade for just about any task you come across. The blades also feature raker teeth, which increase the surface area of the cutting blade, which leads to faster cuts, even when you’re using blades with more teeth per inch.
The own downside to this set is that it’s short. Each blade is six inches in length, some of which is given over the mount, and you’ll lose a bit more to the front casing on whatever reciprocating saw you use. That means that you could get as little as three inches of usable blade, which is enough for home projects, but would disappoint a contractor. If you’re looking for a great price and don’t need long saw blades, then this is the set for you.
The IRWIN Tools 11-Piece Set (4935496) isn’t the cheapest option on our list, but it comes with a ton of blades, which somewhat justifies its price. This set includes 11 blades across four sizes, though it confusingly includes nine blades of the two smaller sizes, and just two in the larger, more useful size. That’s too bad, but you’re still getting a ton of blades for the money. It also includes 8% cobalt teeth, which should add some strength to these blades.
However, the teeth are welded on instead of being pressed or sharpened. That’s the weakest configuration on saw blades, and it could lead to early loss of teeth. These blades are also prone to getting bent. That’s never a quality you’ll want to have in your reciprocating saw blades. Ultimately, they’re not very durable, and that costs them a lot of positions on our list. They are still relatively cheap, and if you’re looking to buy in bulk and don’t mind burning through them quickly, they could meet your needs. However, these are the wrong choice for most people, and if you’re looking for the toughest saw blades on the market, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
The Janchi 5 Piece Sawzall Blades might interest you if you’re looking to do a lot of pruning with your reciprocating saw. These blades are designed to work with wood, and that’s all they’re designed for. Since you’re getting five blades that are meant for trimming wood, you could get a lot of value out of this set if that’s all you’re looking to do. They’re made from carbon steel, which should increase their lifespan.
However, they have one huge quality control problem. They’re prone to breaking at the base near where the blade connects to the reciprocating saw. If one of these blades breaks, it’s almost always there, which suggests a serious design flaw. They also don’t hold their sharpness exceptionally well, so if you’re looking for something that will last a long time, you’re out of luck with this set. Overall, this might be a good set for you if you’re looking for a very cheap set of pruning blades, but ultimately, the blades probably won’t last long enough for you to get your money’s worth out of them. If you’re looking for a better pruning option, check out the Bosch set that’s higher on our list.
We hope that our reviews already have you thinking about a set that you might like to buy. If you’re still not sure what you’re looking for, be sure to check out this buyer’s guide. We’ve included all the information you’ll need to think through this purchase and narrow down the available options to the one that’s right for you. It’s a good resource to read if you don’t know much about reciprocating saw blades, or if you’re buying replacements for the first time in a long time and you want to see if there’s anything new on the market that could upgrade your experience.
Teeth per inch is the biggest distinguishing factor when it comes to reciprocating saws. Different blades might have different lengths or thicknesses, but if they have the same teeth per inch, they’re generally going to be used for the same tasks.
Any saw blades that you find that have fewer than ten teeth per inch are going to be most useful for dealing with wood. They’re great for working outside, for pruning, cutting logs, or creating firewood. Saws that fall into this category are also typically capable of cutting through nails, so if you’re using a blade that is in this range, you don’t have to worry about using it when taking apart a framed structure.
At ten teeth per inch and higher, the blades become less useful for cutting wood, and might even burn it badly while you cut, but become great for cutting PVC and metal. At about 14 teeth per inch or higher, the blades should be used on PVC or metal only, and you’ll want to hold off on cutting the hardest metals until you get to 18 teeth per inch or higher.
Some manufacturers make blades with 24 teeth per inch, or higher, which are great for cutting through very though metals, but do poorly with wood and are only average at cutting PVC. If you use them for those tasks, you’ll wear them out very quickly.
There’s no standard reciprocating saw length, so you need to know what length you’ll need before you go to buy.
The largest blades you’ll find are about 12 inches long. You’ll want one of this length if you’re doing heavy-duty demolition or you’re going to be trimming bushes or cutting down medium-sized trees with your reciprocating saw.
At the other end of the spectrum are six-inch blades. They’re useful for cutting through small things like PVC pipes and can cut through many kinds of lumber. However, if your reciprocating saw has a large front, you could lose up to three inches, meaning you only have three inches of useful blade, which isn’t that much.
A happy medium can be found in the nine-inch blades that come in many kits. They’re long enough to do almost any kind of job, but they’re also not so long that they feel bulky or out of control.
You get better value out of your blades if they last longer, and there are a few features you can look for that typically increase or decrease durability.
Many people think that a blade that isn’t rigid isn’t strong. However, sometimes a blade has a little give and is stronger for it. Some stiff blades break more easily with less force than those that can flex some. While you might find the flexing annoying, it may not hurt the blade’s durability.
Something to watch out for is welded-on teeth. The very best sawblades are sharpened by hand or by machine, while the next best category is pressed or stamped sharp. The latter category already displays a significant decrease in quality, so keep that in mind when you’re looking at welded-on teeth, which are even worse.
If those teeth are cheaply welded, you can expect them to shear off the blade quickly. It’s not that you can’t get a good blade with welded-on teeth, but it’s generally a good sign that the manufacturer is cutting corners, and the odds are good that it wasn’t done correctly in the factory.
While thicker and taller blades last longer, and also generally more pleasurable to use than blades that have more flex, you’ll want to make sure that your reciprocating saw is up to the task. Battery-powered models generally don’t have the same power as a corded electric or gas-powered model, so if you want to use thicker blades, you’ll want to avoid battery-powered models.
Other blade types we’ve reviewed:
The Milwaukee 49-22-1129 12-Piece Set is our favorite option for cutting metal and includes thick, durable blades that will last you a long time. The Bosch 5-Piece Set B000FAPPAA is the best set for pruning due to its great wood-cutting blade. This set includes four other great blades, though the flex that they have keeps them out of first place. The DEWALT DW4856 comes with six blades featuring a great raker-tooth design that speeds up your cuts, and comes at the best price on our list, making it the best value overall. The IRWIN Tools 11-Piece Set (4935496) has 8% cobalt teeth, but the fact that they’re welded on, and the blades are prone to bending and not overall very durable drops them to fourth on our list. Finally, we have the Janchi 5 Piece Sawzall Blades which are designed for pruning but tend to break near their base and don’t hold their sharpness well when they do hold up.
We hope that our reviews and our buyer’s guide have led you to a set of reciprocating saw blades that will serve you well and that you can get at a price you’ll love.