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Reciprocating Saw vs Oscillating Saw: Which Is Better?

Reciprocating Saw Vs. Oscillating Saw

Power tools are sometimes used in woodworking and construction operations to cut wood or other forms of building materials, which is a common occurrence.

The question is how you determine which power drill to utilize for which job.

Oscillating saws & reciprocating saws are the two main types of power tools used in construction, and picking the appropriate saw can make a difference in the world.

For many construction companies today, it can be difficult to determine which of their power equipment requires the most immediate upgrading or replacement. This is especially true with regard to reciprocating saws & oscillating multi-tools, which seem to be staples of today’s construction & demolition tool kits, as well as other power tools.

Reciprocating Saw Vs. Oscillating Saw

In fact, some people have begun to mix up these instruments and believe that they execute many of the same activities as one another, which is incorrect.

As it seems out, there are significant distinctions between these two tools that you should be aware of before making a decision on which to use.

Material compatibility: Reciprocating Saw Vs. Oscillating Saw


Reciprocating Saw

Oscillating Saw

Plastic YES
Steel YES
Tile YES

Point of differences: Reciprocating Saw Vs. Oscillating Saw

Reciprocal saws & oscillating saws are both used for cutting, however, the methods by which they cut are vastly different.


Reciprocating saws are those that move the blade backward and forth over a straight line back and forth. A gentle swinging motion from side to side is created by oscillating saws, which rotate the blade in a circular motion.

Blade Configuration

The blade of a reciprocating saw contains teeth on only one side, which is the cutting edge. The blades of reciprocating saws are very thin and serrated, similar to the blades of a bread knife. In order to modify the direction of the cut, the blade can indeed be bent or flexed. The most blade can be placed with the teeth pointing up or down, depending on the manufacturer.

The blades of oscillating saws are typically rectangular or square in shape. The teeth are located at the end of the blade, as well as on its sides in some cases. There are other blades that are semicircular in shape.

Stroke Speed & Length

Industrial/contractor quality reciprocal saws can run at speeds of up to 9,000 RPMs, while mid-range reciprocal saws can operate at speeds of roughly 3,000 strokes per minute. Their long strokes length crunches through material swiftly, however, they may not leave a neat edge on some materials. Oscillating saws seem to have a shorter stroke length than reciprocating saws, resulting in cleaner cuts. They can also cut at speeds of up to 20,000 RPMs.


In comparison to a reciprocating saw, the oscillating multi-tool is significantly more versatile. By simply switching out the blade and attachment, you may execute a variety of tasks with a single piece of equipment. There is only one thing that reciprocating saw is useful for sawing. Even while it is extremely effective at this task in a number of situations, it cannot be utilized to sand, grind, and scraping surfaces.


Reciprocating saws are more durable than oscillating multi-tools in terms of durability. They can be supposed to live up to 10 years if they are maintained properly. The thin blade does need to be replaced on a regular basis, especially when you’re first learning how to operate the saw.

Oscillating multi-tools, on the other hand, have a lifespan of less than half that, lasting on average approximately five years.


The reciprocating saw is also referred to as a ‘wrecker’ saw in some circles. It isn’t particularly accurate or nimble, but it is capable of cutting through practically anything in a short period of time.

Oscillating saws are far more precise and maneuverable than other types of saws. They need more timing to cut, but the edges are smoother as a result.

About Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws are heavy-duty, strong power tools that are rifle-shaped and capable of cutting through virtually anything. Using two hands to handle their stocky, hefty body is necessary, and the end of their blade, which is extremely thin, moves in a rotational movement, or back and forth, is also required.

The use of a reciprocating saw to make inner (plunge) or exterior cuts can be accomplished with the application of adequate safety precautions.


  • These extremely strong cutting instruments are frequently employed during the deconstruction phase of a building project.
  • You won’t have to worry about navigating around any existing screws and nails because they can slice through metals, wood, & plastic without a problem.
  • Another typical application for reciprocating saws would be in the yard or in the garden.
  • When trimming is required or a difficult root system has taken the place, a reciprocating cutter is an ideal tool for gnawing through the thicket of vegetation.
  • When equipped with a masonry blade, reciprocating saws could even cut through tile, terracotta, and brick surfaces.


  • Not good for précised work

About Oscillating Saw

This product is officially known as an ‘oscillating multi-tool. Even though blades may be connected to this power drill, enabling you to use it for slicing and sawing, this is much more than a simple saw. The attachments that are attached to the oscillating multi-tool allow it to perform additional functions such as grinding, sanding, and scraping.

The mechanical motion known as oscillation is one of the 4 types of mechanical motion. The other 3 are rotational, reciprocal, and linear motion, respectively. ‘Swinging from side to side is the best way to explain the phenomenon of oscillation. When an oscillating saw is used, the blade travels in a manner that is similar to that of a clock’s pendulum.

A broader blade with big teeth will make flush cuts that are efficient and clog-free with an oscillating multi-tool. With an oscillating multi-tool, rigid scraper knives can be linked to a rigid scraper knife to remove old carpet or linoleum. When it comes to removing caulk or paint, flexible scraper knives are preferable. There are even particularly unique hook-shaped scraper knives that are designed specifically for rinsing out crevices, cracks, or other tight spaces.

When it comes to challenging removal chores, such as eliminating thin-set mortar and tile glue, a grinding blade and grinder disc is indeed the best tool to use. When used in conjunction with the oscillating multi-tool, this abrasive action of the blades can easily remove even the most obstinate of materials off the work surface.

Detail sanding can be accelerated by using an arrowhead-shaped sanding pad in conjunction with varying grades of sandpaper.


  • This makes them particularly well suited for cutting sheet materials like fiberglass, sheet metal, and plastic.
  • With an oscillating multi-tool, you may create plunge cuts with a smooth, narrow & straight blade with tiny teeth.
  • Bimetal blades with a square form can be used to produce flush cuts into nails, screws, and other metal obstructions.


  • Mobility is limited


The reciprocating saw is preferable for cutting applications that demand a lot of power, such as those that are difficult. Finer, more precise work is best accomplished with oscillating saws.

Oscillating multi-tools can be used for a variety of tasks such as sanding, grinding, & scraping, whereas reciprocating saws are only capable of cutting.

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