A reciprocating saw is most commonly used to take care of heavy duty work, and can be seen at work in many construction type environments. You might use a reciprocating saw, for example, to cut through a wall. Reciprocating saws come in a wide variety of sizes and strengths, as well as models that work from battery power.
Unlike most saws, a reciprocating saw is like the jigsaw in that it works by pushing a blade in and out, rather than spinning one. As such, the speed of a reciprocating saw is measured in Strokes Per Minute, or SPM, instead of RPM. Faster speeds are needed for materials that are harder to cut through, such as metals or sheetrock. The more expensive reciprocating saws will have options that allow you to set the speed of the blade, while cheaper ones may require you to control the speed through the pressure that you put on the trigger.
If you are going to be working continuously with a reciprocating saw, you may really want to put down the extra cash to buy a saw that has speed settings, as well as a “cruise control” type feature. As you work for hours with the saw, you will come to appreciate not having to keep a constant pressure on the trigger. Many reciprocating saws also have a brake that will bring the saw to a stop if you should release pressure on the trigger.
As with any work, you will want to wear eye protection and exercise proper caution. Keep a very firm grip on the saw at all times, as it will be going through some heavy material and most likely vibrating violently. You should also be very careful what you cut into with a reciprocating saw. Do not begin cutting through a wall until you know what is behind that wall. A reciprocating saw will cut through electrical wiring and pipes without hesitation, so keep that in mind.
For a great reciprocating saw, consider the Milwaukee 6523-21 Super Sawzall for $175. Milwaukee offers a 5 year warranty on this saw. The 6523-21 also features easy blade changing, a 360 degree handle, 6 shoe positions, and 0-3000 SPM with variable speed settings. If you are on a budget, the $50 Ryobi Model P510 can handle most any home improvement project. The Ryobi is also cordless, powered by a strong 18 volt battery.