What Is a Pneumatic Reciprocating Saw And What Is It Used For?

A pneumatic reciprocating saw is a type of power tool that uses compressed air, rather than electricity. It is known for its power and efficiency, making it a valuable tool for different cutting tasks. The saw is equipped with a long, sharp blade that moves back and forth in a reciprocating motion, allowing it to effectively cut through a variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, and even concrete. Its pneumatic power source makes it more powerful and efficient than an electric saw and it does not produce sparks or generate heat, making it safer to use in certain environments. 

What Is It Used for?

A pneumatic reciprocating saw is useful for a variety of tasks, including cutting holes in walls or floors, removing nails or screws, and cutting through pipes or plumbing fixtures. Its versatility makes it a valuable tool for completing a range of cutting projects. Here are a few more examples of tasks that a pneumatic reciprocating saw might be used for:

  • Trimming branches or pruning trees.
  • Demolition work, such as tearing out walls or removing old fixtures.
  • Cutting through metal or other materials in automotive repair applications.
  • Cutting through concrete or other masonry materials.

 Types Of Pneumatic Reciprocating Saws

There are several types of pneumatic reciprocating saws available, each designed for specific applications and tasks. In this section, we will take a closer look at the different types of pneumatic reciprocating saws and the features that set them apart: 

  • In-line pneumatic reciprocating saws:  The blade of these saws is parallel to the handle and is straight and in line with the handle. This makes it possible to enter small locations with ease and provides clear views of the cutting line.
  • Offset pneumatic reciprocating saws:  These saws have an offset handle design that enables a more comfortable grip and improved saw control.
  • Pistol grip pneumatic reciprocating saws:  Have a handle that is shaped like a pistol grip, which allows for a comfortable and secure grip.
  • Right-angle reciprocating saws: These saws have a 90-degree head that allows for cutting in tight spaces and at awkward angles.
  • Variable-speed pneumatic reciprocating saws:  they have a trigger that allows the user to adjust the speed of the saw blade, depending on the material being cut.
  • High-pressure pneumatic reciprocating saws: They use higher pressure which allows for faster cutting speeds and provide more power.
  • Low-pressure pneumatic reciprocating saws:  They use a lower pressure which is ideal for delicate cutting applications.
  • Pneumatic reciprocating saws with adjustable stroke length: They come with a mechanism that allows the user to adjust the length of the stroke of the saw blade, which can be useful for different cutting applications.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Pneumatic Reciprocating Saws

Pneumatic reciprocating saws are a popular choice for many professionals due to their high power and speed. However, there are also several considerations to take into account when deciding whether or not to use a pneumatic reciprocating saw, including: 

Advantages of pneumatic reciprocating saws 

Disadvantages of pneumatic reciprocating saws 

Pneumatic reciprocating saws are generally lighter in weight than electric saws, making them easier to maneuver and control.

Pneumatic saws require an air compressor to operate, which can add to the cost and complexity of using the saw.

Pneumatic reciprocating saws produce less vibration than electric saws, which can make them more comfortable to use for extended periods of time.

The initial cost of purchasing both the saw and the air compressor may be higher than that of an electric saw.

Pneumatic saws are generally quieter than electric saws, making them a good choice for use in noise-sensitive environments.

The air compressor still  makes a noticeable sound.

Pneumatic saws do not produce emissions, making them suitable for use in indoor or enclosed spaces.

Pneumatic saws are tethered to the air compressor, which can limit their mobility and flexibility on the job site.

Pneumatic saws require less maintenance than gasoline-powered saws and do not have the same wear and tear on components such as brushes and commutators that electric saws do.

Pneumatic tools can be more specialized and may not be as commonly found in hardware stores or home improvement centers as electric tools. 

Things To Consider When Buying A Pneumatic Reciprocating Saw 

When shopping for a pneumatic reciprocating saw, consider the power and speed of the saw, as well as its size, weight, blade size, and comfort features. It’s also important to think about your budget and the reputation of the brand and make sure the saw has appropriate safety features.

Consider the types of materials you’ll be cutting most frequently and make sure the saw is capable of handling them. Look for a saw with a durable build quality, and consider features that are most important to you, such as adjustable speeds or a variable stroke length. If you use the saw in tight or awkward spaces, look for a compact or adjustable design. It may also be helpful to consider the availability of replacement parts and services for the saw you’re considering.

Take the time to carefully evaluate your needs and do your research before purchasing to ensure you get a saw that meets your specific requirements and performs well for your intended use.

Maintenance Tips For Pneumatic Reciprocating Saws

Proper maintenance of a pneumatic reciprocating saw is important to ensure that it performs at its best and lasts for a long time. Here are some tips on how to maintain your saw:

  • Clean the saw regularly: Keep the saw clean by wiping off any sawdust or debris that accumulates on it over time.
  • Lubricate the saw: Lubricate the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions to help it run smoothly and prolong its lifespan.
  • Change the blade when necessary: Replace the blade when it becomes worn or damaged to ensure that the saw cuts effectively.
  • Check for wear and tear: Regularly inspect the saw for any wear and tear, such as broken or damaged parts, and repair or replace them as needed.
  • Store the saw properly: When not in use, store the saw in a dry, protected location to prevent rusting and damage from harsh environmental conditions. 


What are the different types of blades that can be used with a pneumatic reciprocating saw?

Pneumatic reciprocating saws can use a variety of blade types, including wood, metal, and multi-purpose blades. The type of blade to use depends on the material being cut and the desired finish.

Can a pneumatic reciprocating saw be used for continuous cutting, or does it need to be rested between cuts? 

It is generally recommended to allow the saw to rest for a few minutes between cuts to prevent overheating and extend the life of the tool. Some saws are designed for continuous use and may be able to handle longer cutting periods without overheating

Can a pneumatic reciprocating saw be used to cut through thick materials or is it better suited for thinner materials?

Pneumatic reciprocating saws can be used to cut through a variety of materials, including thick materials such as tree branches or metal pipes. The thickness of the material and the desired cutting speed will determine the size and power of the saw.


Pneumatic reciprocating saws are versatile and powerful tools that are well-suited for a variety of cutting tasks in industries such as construction, automotive, and manufacturing. These saws are powered by compressed air, making them better than any other type of saw for outdoor activities where electricity is not easily available.