How Does A Reciprocating Saw Work

How does a reciprocating saw work? With its usefulness in demolition and major construction projects, it is no wonder people will ask such question. And please, that’s not even a stupid query. After all, knowing how a power tool works is essential so that you can maximize its performance!

A reciprocating saw is the best tool you can use for remodeling jobs. Its design has variations, depending on the speed, power, and features. It can do a rapid push-and-pull motion so that it can tackle different materials such as wood and metal. You can almost compare it to a drill, except that it doesn’t use a spinning motion to strip embedded objects!

Specifically, here is the exact mechanism of a reciprocating saw.

How Does A Reciprocating Saw Work?

Most of the reciprocating saws today follow a simple system of operation. However, different models might use unique types of drives. Such of these are the Scotch yoke, captive camp, eccentric cam, barrel cam, a rotary drive, a linear drive, and swash plate. Both of the eccentric cam and Scotch yoke are there to balance the weight of the entire saw. In this way, fewer vibrations are being produced during operation.

On the other hand, the swash plate is the one that provides the least vibration when running. Therefore, you can expect that there will be a rotational balance when you use a reciprocating saw that has this drive. Specifically, it redirects the vibration to the blade to improve its efficiency in cutting.

Of course, you can still control the entire blade by keeping the foot of the reciprocating saw against the material you are working.

Now that we discussed the basics of a reciprocating saw let us go to its specific parts. Through this, you will be able to know how each part contributes to the entire system.


A saw without a blade is not a saw. However, different types of saws utilize their blades in a unique manner. Specifically, there are two mechanisms in where a blade operates. First is the push-and-pull motion. The second one is through an orbital motion.

There are four types of blades that you can attach to your reciprocating saw. The first one is the high-carbon steel blades, which works best against woods that embedded nails. The second one is the blade that has deep gullets and quirky tooth layout. You can use this blade for making clean cuts on green wood.

On the other hand, the diamond grit blade is your option for dealing with car iron. For cast aluminum, it should be carbide tip blades. Meanwhile, high-speed steels are essential for tackling steel pipes, plate, bars, and channels.

A reciprocating saw can do masonry jobs if it has a carbide-grit blade.


The motor or the engine is the one responsible for running the reciprocating saw. It doesn’t matter if you use a cordless a corded reciprocating saw. You will still need a powerful motor that can keep up with your pace. For a cordless type, you should choose between the 18, 24, and 36-volt model. For corded saws, your options are the 4 to 16-amp models!

The more powerful the motor, the stronger and faster the cutting force of the saw. Typically, the cutting speed ranges from 2,400 – 3,200 strokes per minute.

Variable Speed Control

We know that you like powerful reciprocating saws. However, you should know that essential control is needed so that you can cut perfectly through different materials. This is where the Variable Speed Control plays it role. This is the component of the saw that controls its cutting speed. You will need to slow down the blade when you are dealing with hard objects. The opposite should be done if you are ripping soft materials.


The shoe is the one that dictates the stability of the entire reciprocating saw. An adjustable shoe, on the other hand, can give you maximum versatility when cutting. They can also give you optimal visibility on your blade so that you can work fast and precise!


A soft-grip handle is essential for extensive projects. With this present, you can feel less fatigue and stress on dealing this power tool. Moreover, there are reciprocating saws that have rotating handles. This feature will work best if you want to cut materials at awkward angles and positions.


Knowing how a reciprocating saw works will benefit you and anyone who uses this tool. By learning the entire process, you will be able to take care of this tool correctly. Moreover, you can fully amplify the performance of your saw, since you know how each part work!

Moreover, we will remind you that reciprocating saws are still power tools. Therefore, there are still dangers every time you use them. Proper precaution will save you from a quick trip to the hospital!