Advice needed purchasing reciprocating saw


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Old 05-02-17, 12:20 PM
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Advice needed purchasing reciprocating saw

Hi! I need to purchase a corded reciprocating saw for the pruning of branches and the cutting down of small trees and stout tree-like weeds and I have some questions-- and I'd also like some tips from experienced people about aspects of reciprocating saw use that I'm not even sufficiently aware of to think to ask questions about them!

1) Because I'll be using a ladder and seriously want to avoid falling off it, I feel an urgent need to minimize both the weight and vibration of the saw. (I borrowed a reciprocating saw from a friend recently and, between the weight and vibration of the saw, felt too unbalanced when on the ladder to actually do any sawing! It was clear to me that I couldn't simultaneously hold onto the ladder with my left hand and use the saw with my right-- the saw was too heavy-- and even if I could have, the saw produced so much vibration that holding onto the ladder with just one hand didn't seem safe.) So I have a number of questions on the subject of weight and vibration. First, is there a trade off between the two?-- i.e. if you have a lighter saw will that mean increased vibration?

2) What about the anti-vibration technology (including, but not limited to counter-balancing) for reciprocating saws that I've read about? Does it significantly add to the weight of the saw? And does this technology really work-- how much of a difference does it make? And is this anti-vibration technology available only in the higher-priced saws?

3) What about the power of the saws-- I see that the higher-amp, more powerful saws are more expensive, and I assume they cut more quickly. But is that benefit somewhat offset by their greater weight and especially by their greater vibration? Does a lower-amp saw always produce less vibration and is there a strict correlation between faster sawing and more vibration?

4) About how much does the very lightest reciprocating saw weigh?

5) Disregarding price (for the moment) and speed of cutting, what brands and models are the lightest and least-vibrating reciprocating saws available? And is there a fairly low-priced saw on the market that is light-weight and not a big vibration producer?

As I said at the outset, although I've been doing some reading on reciprocating saws in the past few days, my limited experience makes me suspect that there are many facets of their use that I should know about but haven't thought to ask, so I would very much welcome any tips and recommendations users of this forum see fit to provide to me!
 
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Old 05-02-17, 12:45 PM
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Thats a lot of words for something that is pretty simple, imo. Looks like you are really over thinking it. Lighter is a bad thing imo. It will bounce more.

Yes, more amps means heavier. But if you want to cut through something fast and not hack it to death (light saws bounce around more) you might like a heavier saw. A lot of it comes down to the blade you choose and your technique. Pushing the saw forward while you cut will reduce bouncing. Aggressive blades cut fast. Pruning blades are made for limbs.

Im not sure you would like a pistol grip saw, some swivel to do both.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 01:20 PM
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IMO, a recip saw is a two handed tool. I try to never use it with one hand if I can help it.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 01:29 PM
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Can't offer much as far as a brand recommendation as it's more a matter of what fits you, except to say that yes, there will be a certain amount of vibration attached to this type of saw. Often though, at least a percentage of that can be attributed to the blade, or, more accurately, the wrong blade. As mentioned, a pruning blade is right for your application, and, if that is not what you were using on the saw that was loaned to you, you will most likely see a big difference right out of the gate. Along with larger teeth to gnaw at the wood, the teeth will have more set, creating a wider kerf, which means less pinching. On the other end would be something closer to a hack saw blade, shorter teeth with little or no set, and yes, they will hang up a lot more. I am sure that we have all improvised, i.e. maybe not bothering to switch to the right blade for something quick, but if you were using something closer to the latter blade I described, you will definitely feel the difference moving to a pruning blade.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 02:23 PM
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Wrong tool for those jobs.
Check out a Kobalt battery operated chain saw.
One of my customer's just bought one and it held up on the same battery for 4 hours on the same battery.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 03:21 PM
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Is joecaption right when he says....

... that a reciprocating saw is the wrong tool for that type of job-- he says a chain saw is the proper one to use???
 
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Old 05-02-17, 03:45 PM
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Well, they make chainsaws on an extendable pole for limb trimming, if that's what you need to do.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 03:48 PM
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HE's not wrong. I wouldn't use one, especially corded for trimming trees. THey are bulky and heavy. I also have a corded lightweight, one handed Ridgid..........or Ridgid has it in for repairs. It has such a short blade throw (1/2") that it is only good for light work. I use a Porter Cable Model 737 with a quick change blade feature (it is my second one) First one lasted for 25 years until one of my guys sucked up a rock in the motor cutting too low to the ground.

Check into the pole chain saws at box stores. They are more balanced and appropriate for what you want to do.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 04:13 PM
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chandler, I'm not sure exactly what...

you meant when you said, "HE's not wrong. I wouldn't use one, especially corded for trimming trees. They are bulky and heavy. "

Do your words "I wouldn't use one" refer to a reciprocating saw?

And when you say, "I also have a corded lightweight, one handed Ridgid", is that a chain saw or reciprocating saw? Since I would only use it for light work, that may be just what I need. I love the fact that it's 'one-handed'!! Could you tell me more about it-- how much does it weigh, what about its vibration, etc.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 05:01 PM
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Using a recip saw trimming trees is not ideal, and I wouldn't do it. I would opt for a pole trimmer such as this Remington RM1025SPS 10 in. 8-Amp 2-in-1 Electric Pole saw/Chainsaw Combo-RM1025SPS Ranger - The Home Depot

The Ridgid is a recip saw, and has too short of a throw to be effective when cutting trees, although it is lightweight. RIDGID THRU COOL 6 Amp 1-Handed Orbital Reciprocating Saw Kit-R3031 - The Home Depot
 
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Old 05-02-17, 05:52 PM
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Fantastic info, chandler!

Thanks a million, chandler-- words of appreciation too to XSleeper and joecaption for their contributions on the subject of chain saws!-- for your guiding me to the Remington pole chain saw. This eliminates the whole problem I've been stymied by-- dealing with a heavy, vibrating reciprocating saw while trying desperately not to plummet to earth from the top of a ladder!

Have you used one personally chandler?

While there's a maximum branch size that can be cut with it, I assume there's no MINIMUM size: I would obviously want to detach the chain saw and use it to cut very small diameter trees or weeds close to the ground that might be only a fraction of an inch in thickness.

Does a chain saw have any vibration problems like a reciprocating saw?
 
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Old 05-02-17, 06:14 PM
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Yes, I have. Great tool for it's purpose. I don't know about disconnecting it from the shaft. Small stuff can be cut with lopping shears or hand clippers.

I think you are worrying about the vibration too much. No tool has too much, not even jack hammers.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 06:19 PM
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Little weeds and seedlings will need a string trimmer. Just buy a plug in electric model for $40 or less on sale. The string spool refills is what will get you if you aren't careful around fences and such. Few have refillable spools nowadays and even if they do, they often don't work well with hand wound spools.
 
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Old 05-02-17, 06:52 PM
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Chandler, the Remington pole chain saw...

... you linked me to describes it as two tools in one: a pole saw, and a chain saw that easily detaches from the pole (no tools required!) and can be used as an ordinary chain saw.

Gungguy45: I actually have a string trimmer/edger, as well as a metal hedge trimmer. The string trimmer is capable only of cutting the VERY THINNEST weeds. Surprisingly narrow-diameter weeds (a tiny fraction of an inch) will completely defeat it! The metal hedge trimmer is capable of considerably more but still is not nearly able to cut many of the weeds I have in my yard, which have diameters that are simply too large for it or are too woody. For these larger or harder-textured weeds-- and I have dozens of them-- I've been forced to use a manual saw. So I see the detachable chain saw as a good solution-- and I may not even detach it!: I don't see why I can't position it horizontally (instead of vertically), sit on a stool, and, without raising a sweat, sever all those too-big-for-my-hedge-trimmer weeds!
 
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Old 05-02-17, 08:53 PM
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I don't know what kind of string trimmer you have, but you have to run it at high speed when cutting. Also, using star string instead of round helps. I have a cheapo WORX and it chews through some pretty big weeds. Not anything real woody, but tough desert weeds.
 
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Old 05-03-17, 06:55 AM
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Actually, Gunguy45...

... the trimmer/edger I have is part of a pioneering conceptual breakthrough by Black and Decker-- one that I suspect is likely to ultimately fail. Crucially, accompanying the trimmer/edger in the package is a set of wheels, and with a few quick maneuvers you can insert the trimmer into that set of wheels, and-- without so much as a puff of smoke and a 'Presto!'-- you have magically transformed the trimmer into a lawn mower, with the trimmer's string serving as the mower's cutting "blade". And that last fact is why I intuit that this tool is destined to fail: given the rigors of mowing many lawns (most definitely mine, anyway!), whatever tool you use must be robust and relentless in carving its swath through the coarse underbrush that pounces on the yards of homeowners with jaguar-like speed and ferocity if given half a chance! And no mere string-- whether star or round, whether moving at high speed or low-- can cope with the botanical version of a jaguar the way the metal blade of a conventional lawn mower can, even a mere 12 amp one, like mine.
 
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Old 05-03-17, 03:05 PM
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I use a DR Trimmer (not cheap) to do fence trimming and around trees when needed. I also have a chain saw wheel I can attach to it, which will cut most anything 2" or so at ground level without a whimper. It may be something you would want, too, considering your description of the work. Black and Decker has been the poster child for failed innovation for years, so this comes as no surprise.
 
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Old 05-03-17, 04:34 PM
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Chandler I found your comment about Black and Decker having been the poster child for failed innovation for years a very interesting one on two grounds. First, I had no idea that that was the case: to me, someone at a distance from the hardware-knowledgeable community, Black and Decker is without question the most revered name in tools. So to learn that Black and Decker is very far from revered in the minds of the people actually 'in the know' is shocking (I'm assuming that a history of successful product innovation is a necessary condition for being revered in the tool world by people who are part of that world).

And second, it's a reminder that people like you--who are immersed in a particular environment, whatever it may be-- donít ONLY know a million specific facts about that environment that an outsider doesnít know (and would profit by knowing), but even more importantly, you have also formed, along the way to acquiring those million specific facts, a thousand Ďgeneral impressionsí, many of which, Iím sure, would surprise and fascinate outsiders like me if they somehow got to hear about them-- just as your Black and Decker observation did on this occasion!
 
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Old 05-03-17, 05:01 PM
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My experience in using a reciprocating saw for garden work is that it is an almost useless tool. If the branch is sturdy enough to not vibrate when using the saw it will take a long time to cut versus a chain saw. The recip is totally useless in cutting smaller twigs or woody weeds. Even the chain saw is poor when using it against fairly flexible weeds and shoots. I have never had much luck with a hedge trimmer other than the newest of growth on a hedge.

Something I have done, albeit a dangerous combination, is to affix a small circular saw blade to an angle grinder to cut off woody shoots and roots close to and in the ground. The biggest problem is that I had to remove the back guard on the grinder and therefore one slip and I would have been covered in blood.

Another idea, probably won't work with your current string trimmer, is to install a circular saw type of blade instead of the string hub. Mostly these are for engine-powered tools but larger electrics can also use them. I have a ten-inch diameter (maybe twelve) called a "Renegade Blade) that I bought off of E-bay for about $20 a few years back. It will cut almost anything (including your shin) almost as fast as the string cutter going through grass. Going through one-inch diameter woody shoots is effortless and very quick.
 
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Old 05-03-17, 05:46 PM
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What happens on each side of the board is interesting. On one side, you have marketers, sales persons, and homeowners (nothing wrong with that, as I am one). On the other side you have professionals who use these tools daily, wear them out, swear by (or at) them, and come to a reasonable conclusion as to which ones will work in the real world of rugged use.

A good salesman could sell ice cream to an eskimo, and engineers and marketers really don't get out that much. So it will depend greatly where and from whom you get your information.
 
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Old 05-03-17, 06:15 PM
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I also have the Remington pole saw and love it! My doesn't detach from the pole very easy, that would be nice!
 

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 05-03-17 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 05-03-17, 06:25 PM
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Furd, I found your post irresistibly entertaining, especially this paragraph: ďSomething I have done, albeit a dangerous combination, is to affix a small circular saw blade to an angle grinder to cut off woody shoots and roots close to and in the ground. The biggest problem is that I had to remove the back guard on the grinder and therefore one slip and I would have been covered in blood.Ē

Initially, in reading those words of yours, I was left utterly unhinged, howling at the moon in a brief spasm of madness, so great was my incredulity at your evident willingness to occasionally sacrifice a body part or two if an improvised tool would quickly get you a neat lawn. But after I returned to sanity, I realized that if inventors had my attitude and werenít willing to shed a little blood at times, the Industrial Revolution would yet to have occurred. Heck, Cro Magnons wouldn't ever have dared to tame fire!

So bravo to you, Furd, in affixing a circular saw blade to an angle grinder-- though my fingers are twitching slightly as I speculate on just how long it would take before I sliced one of them off if I ever tried that!
 
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Old 05-03-17, 06:57 PM
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Chandler says, ďOn the other side you have professionals who use these tools daily, wear them out, swear by (or at) them, and come to a reasonable conclusion as to which ones will work in the real world of rugged use.Ē

Very well expressed, Chandler, and exactly the realization I had mere moments after my first visit to this forum! Thatís why Iím still here, soaking up every stray bit of knowledge I can! Unfortunately, my parents were the very well-educated children of immigrants who disdained 'working with their hands' the way my grandparents did, so in growing up, I never encountered anything more than a screwdriver in my house. I've had to spend my adult life compensating for that!

Tolyn Ironhand: Iím glad you love your pole chain saw-- youíre whetting my appetite for my own. But Iím disappointed to hear about your difficulty detaching it-- I know that there are two models, and that the one Iíll be getting is the later one. Do you know the model number of yours?
 
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Old 05-12-17, 05:49 PM
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SAFETY FIRST. You should be able to RENT from Home Depot exactly what you need for either 4 hours or 24 hours to take care of everything - where you can be SAFELY ON THE GROUND while doing the work. If you really think you'll do this stuff every year or two, then maybe it's worth buying something.

Gas Hedge Trimmer on Pole Rental - The Home Depot
Power Pruner Rental - The Home Depot

If things like this isn't tall enough you can get manual ones and get pole extensions to reach whatever you need:
Fiskars 14 ft. Bypass Pruner-93006966J - The Home Depot

Really the last place you want to be with a power tool is up on a ladder, especially where the ladder is sitting on soil instead of solid ground - even IF you can keep one hand on the ladder or tree while you do the work. One accident just isn't worth it! You only have one body - a fall from only a few feet up can cause serious damage.

If you insist on doing this with a reciprocating saw, the adage that usually applies is "use a cheap saw and really good blades".
 
 

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