Does Reciprocating Saw Cut Metal?

In construction and DIY projects, using power tools is as commonplace as a painter’s brush or a chef’s knife. The reciprocating saw stands out for its versatility and power among these tools.

But as you delve into reciprocating saws, you might wonder, “Does reciprocating saw cut metal?” Fear not, as we unravel the mystery behind this powerhouse tool in the world of metalwork.

Unlocking the Potential: The Reciprocating Saw

Let’s get acquainted with this remarkable tool before we delve into metal cutting with a reciprocating saw. The reciprocating saw, often referred to as a “recip saw” or “Sawzall” (a famous brand name), is a handheld power tool that uses a push-and-pull motion to cut through a variety of materials with ease. While it’s commonly used for demolition and cutting through wood, it has the potential to conquer metal as well.

How Thick of Metal Will It Cut?

saw, a recipe caught, or Sawzall (a trademarked name by Milwaukee Tool), is a versatile power tool that can cut through various materials, including metal. The thickness of metal that a reciprocating saw can effectively cut through depends on several factors:

Blade Type: The type of blade you use significantly determines the thickness of metal you can cut. Reciprocating saw blades come in different designs and tooth configurations, such as bi-metal, carbide-tipped, or specialized metal-cutting blades. The choice of blade should match the type and thickness of the metal you intend to cut.

Motor Power: The power and performance of your reciprocating saw’s motor also affect its ability to cut through metal. More powerful saws can handle thicker and harder metals more efficiently.

Blade Length: Longer blades provide more reach and can cut through thicker pieces of metal. However, longer blades may be less stable and more prone to bending if not handled carefully.

Blade Speed: Many reciprocating saws have adjustable blade speeds. Higher speeds are often more effective for cutting through metal.

Technique: Your cutting technique also matters. Applying steady, even pressure and letting the blade do the work can help you cut through thicker metal more effectively.

Can a Reciprocating Saw Cut Through Steel?

Yes, a reciprocating saw can cut through steel. Still, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of the saw depends on several factors, including the type of steel, the thickness of the steel, and the type of blade you use.

Blade Selection: You must use the correct blade type to cut through steel effectively. There are special blades explicitly designed for cutting through metal, including steel. Look for edges labeled as “metal-cutting” or “bi-metal” blades. These blades typically have hardened teeth that can handle the hardness of steel.

Steel Type: The hardness and composition of the steel also matter. A thinner, softer steel is generally easier to cut through than thicker, hardened steel. Reciprocating saws can handle various types of steel, but cutting through thicker or harder steel might take more time and effort.

Blade Teeth per Inch (TPI): The blade’s TPI also matters. Coarser blades (fewer teeth per inch) are better for cutting through thicker metal, while finer blades (more teeth per inch) are better for thinner metal. Choose the appropriate TPI based on the steel thickness you’re cutting.

Cutting Technique: When using a reciprocating saw to cut through steel, it’s crucial to apply steady, even pressure, and let the saw do the work. Don’t force the saw, leading to blade damage or reduced cutting efficiency.

Safety Precaution: Firmly secure the steel piece to prevent it from moving during the cutting process.

Lubrication: Applying a lubricant or cutting fluid to the blade while cutting can help reduce friction and heat, prolonging the blade’s life and making the cutting process smoother.

Can a cordless reciprocating saw cut metal?

  • Blade Type: The type of blade you use is crucial when cutting metal with a cordless reciprocating saw. It would be best to use a metal-cutting knife designed for steel or other metals. These blades typically have fine teeth or are made of materials like bi-metal or carbide, suitable for cutting through metal.
  • Battery Power: Cordless reciprocating saws rely on battery power, so the power and runtime of your saw can affect its ability to cut through metal. More powerful saws and higher-capacity batteries will perform better when cutting thicker or harder metals.
  • Metal Thickness: The thickness and hardness of the metal you cut also matter. Cordless reciprocating saws are generally suitable for cutting thinner metal sheets, pipes, or profiles. Thicker or harder metals may require more power and be better suited for heavier-duty tools.
  • Blade Speed: Many cordless reciprocating saws have adjustable blade speeds. Using higher blade speeds can be more effective when cutting through metal.
  • Technique: Proper technique is essential. Apply steady and even pressure, and allow the blade to do the work. Start the cut slowly to establish a groove in the metal, then increase the speed for faster cutting.
  • Battery Life: Cutting through metal can be demanding on the battery, so it’s a good idea to have spare batteries on hand if you’re doing extensive metal cutting.

What Cuts Can Be Done with a Reciprocating Saw?

In the world of power tools, the reciprocating saw is a versatile and indispensable tool that every DIY enthusiast and professional tradesperson should have in their arsenal. Its ability to make precise and efficient cuts through various materials makes it a go-to choice for numerous tasks. 

1. Straight Cuts

Straight cuts are the bread and butter of any reciprocating saw. These cuts are essential for many applications, from trimming branches in your backyard to cutting through metal pipes during a plumbing project. The reciprocating saws ability to make straight cuts quickly and accurately is one of its defining features.

How to Make Straight Cuts with a Reciprocating Saw

  • Select the Right Blade: The first step in making straight cuts is choosing the appropriate blade for your cutting material. Opt for a coarse-toothed blade for wood, while a fine-toothed edge is better suited for metal.
  • Secure the Material: Ensure the material you cut is firmly secured to prevent unnecessary movement. Use clamps or a vice if necessary.
  • Position the Saw: Hold the reciprocating saw firmly and align the blade with the cutting line. Maintain a steady hand to guide the saw accurately.
  • Start the Saw: Activate the saw and allow it to reach its full speed before making contact with the material.
  • Slow and Steady: Apply gentle pressure to the saw and let the blade work. Move the saw slowly and steadily along the cutting line, maintaining control throughout the process.
  • Safety First: Always wear appropriate safety gear using a reciprocating saw.

2. Curved and Angled Cuts

While straight cuts are the most common use of a reciprocating saw, its versatility also extends to curved and angled cuts. This capability is handy for tasks requiring more intricate and precise cutting, such as creating wall openings for electrical outlets or HVAC vents.

How to Make Curved and Angled Cuts with a Reciprocating Saw

  • Mark Your Cutting Path: Begin by marking the path of the cut on the material. Use a pencil or chalk to create a visible guide for your saw.
  • Choose the Right Blade: As with straight cuts, selecting the correct blade is crucial. A narrower blade with finer teeth is preferred for curved or angled cuts.
  • Secure the Material: Ensure the material is firmly secured to prevent movement during cutting.
  • Angle the Saw: Tilt the reciprocating saw at the desired angle to match the curve or angle of the cut. This may require some practice to achieve precision.
  • Start the Saw: Activate the saw and let it reach its full speed before contacting the material.
  • Follow the Guide: Carefully follow the marked cutting path, using the angle of the saw to navigate curves and angles smoothly.
  • Practice and Patience: Making curved and angled cuts with a reciprocating saw may take some approach to master. Take your time with the process, and always prioritize safety.

What is the best way to cut through metal?

Cutting through metal requires the right tools and techniques to ensure precision and safety. Here’s the best way to cut through metal:

Select the Right Tool:

The best tool for cutting through metal is a metal-cutting saw or a metal-cutting blade on a reciprocating or circular saw. These tools are designed for metal cutting and provide clear and accurate results.

Choose the Correct Blade:

If using a reciprocating or circular saw, ensure you have the appropriate metal-cutting blade. Blades with a higher tooth count are ideal for thin metals, while coarser blades are better for thicker metals.

Safety Gear:

Before you begin, always wear safety gear, including safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from metal shards and debris.

Secure the Metal:

Clamp the metal securely to a workbench or another stable surface. This prevents the metal from moving while you cut, ensuring accuracy and safety.

Mark Your Cut Line:

Use a pencil or chalk to mark the precise line where you intend to cut. This guideline helps you maintain accuracy during cutting.

Lubricate the Blade (Optional):

If you’re cutting thick metal, applying a cutting lubricant can help reduce friction and heat, prolonging your blade’s life and improving the cut’s quality.

Start the Saw:

Power up your saw and let it reach its full speed before making contact with the metal.

Slow and Steady:

Let the blade work; there’s no need to force it. Applying excessive pressure can lead to overheating and premature blade wear.

Cooling Breaks (Optional):

Consider cooling breaks for prolonged cutting sessions, especially with thicker metal. This involves pausing the cutting process to allow the metal and blade to cool down, reducing the risk of overheating.


After cutting, you may notice burrs or rough edges on the metal. Use a metal file or deburring tool to smooth these edges for a clean finish.

Safety First:

Always prioritize safety when cutting metal. Be cautious of hot metal edges and flying debris. If using power tools, follow the manufacturer’s safety guidelines.

Dispose of Metal Scraps Safely:

Properly dispose of metal scraps to prevent accidents. Use a metal recycling center or disposal service if needed.

Simple Score and Snap

The “Simple Score and Snap” method is a straightforward technique for cutting various materials, including thin metal sheets, plastic, glass, and more. This method is advantageous when making a clean, straight cut without power tools. Here’s how to perform the “Simple Score and Snap” method:

Tools and Materials:

  1. Ruler or straight-edge
  2. Utility knife or glass cutter (depending on the material)
  3. Safety glasses and gloves


  • Safety First: Always wear appropriate safety gear, including materials, to protect yourself from potential accidents.
  • Prepare Your Workspace: Find a flat and stable surface to work on. Ensure that the material you’re cutting is adequately supported to prevent it from flexing or moving.
  • Mark Your Cut Line: Use a ruler or a straight edge to mark the exact line where you want to cut. Ensure that the line is straightforward and the measurements are accurate.
  • Choose the Right Cutting Tool: Select the appropriate cutting tool depending on your cutting material. A utility knife will suffice for materials like paper, cardboard, or thin plastic. However, you may need a glass cutter for glass or thicker plastics.
  • Score the Material: Firmly score along the marked line with your chosen cutting tool. Apply consistent and even pressure to create a shallow groove or cut on the material’s surface. The depth of the score should be sufficient to weaken the material but not necessarily cut through it thoroughly.
  • Snap the Material: Carefully bend it along the scored line once you’ve achieved the material. Apply gentle and even pressure; the material should snap cleanly along the groove you created. This action separates the material into two pieces, with a clean, straight edge where you cut.
  • Deburring (if necessary): Inspect the cut edges for sharp burrs or rough spots after the snap. Depending on the material, you may need a file, sandpaper, or a deburring tool to smooth out the edges for safety and a polished finish.

Cutting Stainless Steel with a Grinding Disk

Stainless steel is known for its durability, and cutting it can be challenging. However, when it comes to small tasks like cutting stainless steel backsplash tiles, a rotary tool equipped with an abrasive metal-cutting disc is your best bet.

Here’s how to cut stainless steel with a grinding disk:

  • Prepare Your Workspace: Set up a stable work surface with the stainless steel piece.
  • Choose the Right Disc: Ensure you have the correct abrasive metal-cutting disc for stainless steel. These discs have a composition that makes them suitable for cutting through metal.
  • Mark Your Cut Line: Use a pencil or a marker to mark the line you want to cut on the stainless steel. This serves as your cutting guide.
  • Start the Rotary Tool: Power up your rotary tool and let it reach its full speed before contacting the stainless steel.
  • Make the Cut: Position the spinning abrasive disc on the marked cut line and gently apply pressure. Let the disc work, and avoid forcing it through the metal. Move the tool slowly and steadily along the cutting line.
  • Cooling Breaks (Optional): If you’re making a series of cuts or dealing with thick stainless steel, take occasional cooling breaks to prevent overheating of the tool and the material.
  • Deburring: After cutting, you may notice sharp edges or burrs. Use a metal file or a deburring tool to smooth these edges for safety.
  • Clean Up: Turn off the rotary tool and clean up the work area, safely disposing of metal scraps.

Cutting Metal with a Utility Knife – Simple Score and Snap

While a utility knife isn’t the go-to choice for cutting thick or hardened metal, it can be effective for thinner and softer metals.

  • Here’s how to cut metal with a utility knife using a simple score and snap method:
  • Prepare the Metal: Place the metal sheet on a flat, stable surface, ensuring it won’t move during cutting.
  • Score the Metal: With the metal marked, take your utility knife and firmly score along the drawn line. Apply steady pressure and make multiple passes if necessary until you have a visible groove.
  • Snap the Metal: Carefully bend the metal along the scored line once you’ve achieved the metal. The metal should snap along the groove, resulting in a clean cut.
  • Deburring: After cutting, check for sharp edges or burrs and use a file or sandpaper to smooth them out.


A reciprocating saw can indeed cut metal effectively when equipped with the appropriate blade. Whether you’re working on a demolition project, plumbing job, or any task that involves cutting through metal, this versatile power tool can prove to be a valuable addition to your toolkit.

With the right blade selection and proper technique, reciprocating saws can make quick work of various metal materials, providing efficiency and precision in metal cutting tasks. However, it’s essential to prioritize safety, wear appropriate protective gear, and follow manufacturer guidelines to ensure successful and safe metal cutting with a reciprocating saw.

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