How to Use a Reciprocating Saw

Published On: May 23, 20200 Comments on How to Use a Reciprocating SawTags: , Last Updated: February 11, 20243 min read

Reciprocating saws are commonly known as “Sawzalls”, but they can go by many names. One thing’s for certain, they’re not like every saw out there on the market – most different types of saws are designed for one style of cutting altogether. Well, a reciprocating saw can cut through many materials, and the only thing you need to change on it in order to achieve this is a blade.

How to Use a Reciprocating Saw

There are some things that one needs to know when it comes to using them however – how to use them. You need to be safe, and kickbacks on these saws are very easy to happen, and can happen frequently as well – so you need to be sure that you’re going to be holding the saw and using it properly so you don’t lose a limb. Fun fact, in Belgium they are called reciprozaag, which we think is a pretty cool word.

Keep Your Hands and Feet a Safe Distance

First off, you need to keep your hands as far away from the blade as possible. How do you do this when your hand is already so close to it? Fortunately, most Sawzall have a rubber boot towards the front of the saw, and you’ll hold onto that boot for dear life. There’s a lot of vibration, but as long as you hold the rubber boot, you should be able to control the saw a lot better, and keep it from bouncing all over the place, which puts you at risk for getting hurt.

The other hand should always be on the handle with the trigger in order to control the saw. When you’re cutting, you want to have a firm grip on the handle, and keep your finger as relaxed as possible when gripping and squeezing the trigger. This is so you can always let go should and allow the saw to power off (and stop) should the saw kickback, or you have a problem with it bouncing or vibrating too much. Many accidents happen simply because a person is gripping not only the saw wrong, but also the trigger.

How to Use a Reciprocating Saw - women cutting

Never Cut Towards You

This doesn’t just apply to scissors and knives – you don’t want to have a saw blade flying at you should it slip either – especially an electric one that could do fatal damage. You should:

Always anticipate that there are going to be issues when cutting into walls or floors. You need to consider where other obstacles that may pose a problem are going to be, and expect them to be in your way (wires, and plumbing pipes are prone to being underneath walls and floors – making them a dangerous obstacle that can damage the saw or you). If you hit a snag when cutting wood with a reciprocating saw, your saw will still push and pull even if your blade isn’t going. It basically operates like a jack hammer. If this happens, you need to let go of the trigger, get the saw blade out of the bind by wiggling it out of the wedge from the cut, and then start it over.


One thing’s for certain – it’s not rocket science when it comes to using a reciprocating saw, but they’re just as dangerous and prone to causing accidents. Not only that, but they get pretty hot, so you should never grab the blade. Either way though, these tips can help you make sure that you’re using the saw the right way.

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