3 Best Cordless Saws For Cutting Tree Branches

Cordless Reciprocating Saw

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Cordless saws continue to grow in popularity as models combine the speed and power of traditional reciprocating saws with the versatility and lightweight design of compact versions.

The Milwaukee M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Bare Saw, Dewalt 20v Cordless Reciprocating Saw, and Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hackzall are the three best compact, cordless saws for cutting tree branches and other projects.

These three saws combine the best features of both corded and cordless models, providing users with streamlined designs that improve performance and product quality.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out how to choose a cordless reciprocating saw and what features to look for, and then judge our top picks for yourself.

Milwaukee M18 Sawzall Reciprocating Saw17″7.6 lbsMilwaukee M18 SAWZALL
Dewalt 20V Cordless Reciprocating Saw14.6″5 lbsDewalt 20v Cordless
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall14.8″5 lbsMilwaukee M18 FUEL Hackzall
The links in the table go to Amazon.

How To Choose A Cordless Reciprocating Saw

If you’re looking into recip saws, then chances are you already have an idea of what you’d use it for. These saws are popular for all kinds of work and have a wide variety of uses, making them one of the most common tools across all workers.

But before you head to the store, here are some important things to consider when selecting the right cordless reciprocating saw for you:

  • What Material(s) You Need To Cut – These saws can cut through almost anything, ranging from concrete to metal to plaster to wood.
  • The Saw’s Intended Use(s) –  Some people only use recip saws for DIY projects, while others use them for more serious demolition and construction work.
  • How Often You’ll Be Using The Saw – Corded models that can run all day are common, as are cordless variants that are better for shorter periods of work.
  • Your Budget And Desired Saw Quality – There are many different recip saws on the market that fit a variety of needs and budgets.

Though you may be looking for a reciprocating saw to cut tree branches, it’s unlikely that’s all you’ll ever use it for. Even if you’re involved in a lumber or related business, recip saws are so handy that they’re often applied to other work, as well.

Parts of a Reciprocating Saw

Since it’s so easy to change out the blades, it’s often more cost-effective and useful for potential buyers to look at recip saws that excel in a variety of areas versus just tree-cutting.

Once you’ve answered the general questions above, you can begin to look at the specifics of what you’ll need. These include:

  • Comfortable Grip – Features like vibration control and grip material/ situation can reduce hand and arm fatigue, in addition to providing you with better control.
  • Blade Type – There are different blades for each material you need to cut, ranging from 4 – 12 inches; types include wood, metal, combo, specialty, and more.
  • Maximum Speed – Most saws have a maximum speed of 2,700 – 3,000 SPM (strokes per minute); many also have variable speed settings that provide increased control.
  • Orbital Action – In addition to moving back and forth (push-pull), some saws also have the ability to move in an elliptical-like pattern, speeding up the cutting process.

If you’re looking at saws in-store, it’s much easier to gauge these elements. If you’re shopping online, user reviews are a great place to look for this information.

Doing further research online also provides insight into elements of the saw that you may not have previously considered.

People discuss how practical saws are for specific situations, how ergonomic the design is or what flaws exist, and how well various blades perform against expectations.

Two elements that are often discussed are traditional versus compact models and corded versus cordless models. Likewise, you should seriously consider what type of saw you want and which model would work best. 

One Hand vs. Two Hands

Traditional reciprocating saws are two-handed models, allowing users to grasp the handle and neck of the saw. These saws can weigh 10 Ibs or more (4.5 kg) and may be up to 24 inches (61 cm) in length.

This bulk gives them power. They’re heavy-duty and can handle whatever material you throw at them (or rather, cut with them).

But there are also drawbacks to these models. They result in arm and hand fatigue more quickly because of their weight and can be more awkward to handle.

Compact models solve these issues. They are designed to be operated one-handed and are much smaller and lighter. They generally weigh around 4 Ibs (1.8 kg) and average 12 inches (30 cm) in length.

Compact recip saws are better for cutting in tighter areas and cutting overhead. Their smaller size lends them more versatility, but also limits their power.

They don’t result in the same fatigue as two-handed models, but also may not be able to handle thicker materials or large quantities of material.

Two-handed recip saws may be corded or battery-operated, while compact versions are generally cordless and rely on batteries.

Before choosing a two-handed or compact model, think about the specifics of what spaces you’re going to be working in. Are there lots of tight corners or space constraints? Are you going to be working on ladders or in crawlspaces often?

These kind of practical considerations can make or break your final choice for a reciprocating saw.

Battery Life

Cordless saws have both pros and cons when compared to the original, corded models. Though corded models offer more power and longevity, they’re less versatile and create additional safety hazards.

You can use cordless recip saws in places that have no close electrical outlets, and the lack of a cord reduces the risk of tripping and related accidents.

If these benefits will improve your work more than the drawbacks will hinder your work, then a cordless saw if perfect for you.

The battery life of a cordless reciprocating saw is one of the most important specs to look at. This is a determining factor for whether or not a specific saw will fit your needs.

Batteries range from 16 – 60 volts and can power a saw from 20 – 60 minutes. Keep in mind, a battery’s lifespan is also affected by the size, density, and quantity of the material being cut.

A saw with a 20-minute battery life may work great for the DIYers, but would be a poor fit for people who will be using it for the better part of a day.

To find out a recip saw’s battery life, look at the provided specs. You’ll see information like the length, weight, and (bingo!) the battery life.

You should also examine the purchasing information and be aware of what’s included. Many cordless saws don’t come with the battery, which will need to be bought separately. Make sure to consider this when setting your budget.

Depending on how often you’ll be using the saw and how long each period of use will be, you may need to buy multiple batteries. Think about whether this would be appropriate for you and, if so, plan accordingly.

The Best Cordless Reciprocating Saws Reviewed

We’ve taken everything discussed in this article into consideration and compiled our top three best cordless reciprocating saws. These recip saws are superior to competitors in terms of power, speed, versatility, and durability.

Check out our top picks and see if any of them are the right pick for you.

Milwaukee M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw

Milwaukee M18 SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw

The Milwaukee M18 recip saw combines the best features of all models into one holistic package. It has the versatile convenience of a compact model and the durability and speed of corded saws, making it a strong contender for any project.

It uses a REDLITHIUM XC 4.0 Extended Capacity Battery Pack that delivers up to twice the run time and a tool life more than five times better than competitors, providing cutting power on par with corded tools. Batteries are 18-volt lithium ion.

This SAWZALL is made of high-carbon steel and has a blade speed of 3,000 SPM, so that you can tackle even the toughest projects with confidence.

It features REDILIN PLUS Intelligence, total system communication between tool, battery, and charger that optimizes performance and protects against overloading, overheating, and over-discharging.

This model also has a patented gear protecting clutch, adjustable shoe, integrated LED lights to illuminate your cutting space, and a hand hook for convenient storage.

At 7.6 Ibs, (3.4 kg) and 17 inches (43 cm) long, it’s easy to handle, carry, and store.

It has over 1,000 global reviews on Amazon and a 4.8 star rating out of a possible 5 stars. People raved about this saw’s durability, battery life, and overall value.

Purchase includes the tool itself; batteries, chargers, and blades are sold separately.

DeWALT 20v Cordless Reciprocating Saw

Dewalt 20v Cordless Reciprocating Saw

The Dewalt 20v recip saw is perfect for those looking for a tool that’s light, fast, and maneuverable. From its compact size to the keyless blade clamp and more, every aspect of this saw is designed for convenience and versatility.

Whether you’re working between studs at a commercial construction site or doing some demo work in your kitchen, this tool is the right fit for the job.

The 20-volt batteries power blades with a variable speed trigger of 0 – 2,900 SPM. It has a keyless four-position blade clamp for quick and easy blade changes.

The plastic casing keeps the tool lightweight (approximately 5 Ibs (2.2 kg)), while its compact dimensions (14.5 x 6 x 7 inches) (36.8 x 15 x 17 cm) ensure workers can focus on their projects instead of tired arms. 

Some notable features include a 1 – 1/8″ stroke length, pivoting shoe for increased cutting stabilization, and integrated LED lights to illuminate your working surface.

Extras like the non-slip comfort grip are just bonuses to an already-great tool.

It has nearly 9,000 global reviews on Amazon and a 4.8-star rating out of a possible 5 stars. People loved its versatility, ergonomic and easily maneuverable design, and long battery life.

Purchase includes the tool itself; batteries, chargers, and blades are sold separately. It’s backed by a limited three-year warranty.

Milwaukee 2719-20 M18 FUEL Hackzall (Bare Tool)

Milwaukee 2719-20 M18 FUEL Hackzall

The Milwaukee M18 model packs a massive punch given its diminutive size. The essential compact saw, this M18 FUEL is guaranteed to impress.

It has a POWERSTATE brushless motor that increases cutting speed and power, while the compact design provides superior control and versatility.

It weighs less than 5 Ibs (2.2 kg) and has impressive product dimensions: 4.4 x 14.8 x 6.8 inches (11.2 x 37.6 x 17.2 cm).

Just like the Milwaukee M18 SAWZALL, this model includes red lithium XC5 18-volt batteries for superior battery pack construction and performance, delivering more work per charge.

It also has REDLINK PLUS Intelligence for system communication and optimized performance.

The 7/8” stroke length removes more material with each cut, making projects as fast as they are easy.

Additional features like a pivoting shoe and dual gear counter balance mechanism reduce bucking and vibration, resulting in smoother cuts and better overall products.

It has over 2,000 global reviews on Amazon and a 4.9-star rating out of a possible 5 stars. People were drawn to its overall value, ease of use, and long battery life.

Purchase includes the tool itself; batteries, chargers, and blades are sold separately.

My Final Recommendation

All of the saws reviewed are designed for speed, durability, and versatility. They’ve been vetted by thousands of users and have not only met, but exceeded all manufacturer claims and commercial expectations.

These saws are suitable for a variety of different work and can handle all of the same materials as two-handed and corded models, with the added benefits of being less bulky and fatiguing.

  • Best Overall – Milwaukee M18 SAWZALL – If you’re looking for a saw-of-all-trades that can handle any project you have in mind, there’s no better tool than this one. It’s powerful, full of features to optimize your work, and has an impressive battery life.
  • Best Compact – Dewalt 20v Cordless Reciprocating Saw – If you need speed, a lightweight design, and the ability to work in small spaces, this is the saw to go with. It can fit in tight spaces, makes maneuvering easy, and fights fatigue with every cut.
  • Best Value – Milwaukee M18 FUEL Hackzall – If you want the most bang for your buck, this is the perfect saw for you. The smaller size and more compact design only make this saw’s speed and longevity even more impressive.

Once you’ve selected the best cordless reciprocating saw for you, head on over to our review of the best pruning blades!