Pruning with a Reciprocating Saw – DeWalt 20 Volt

In our YouTube Video we quickly show a tool review of the DeWalt Cordless Reciprocating Saw, model #DCS380B, 20-Volt MAX Li-Ion and how well you can do pruning with a reciprocating saw.

A Reciprocating Saw has many uses around the farm and workshop. It’s traditionally a demolition tool as it was not designed to make precise cuts. As you can see from this video, it can be used for branch trimming and pruning as well. Battery powered and fitted with an appropriate blade, it performs well at this task.

My wife Marilyn wanted an easier way to trim and she did not want to use a chainsaw. I think the Recip Saw is an ideal alternative for this. I like the DeWalt as the price is competitive with other models plus the batteries fit other tools I already own.

Recip Saw Pruning

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Marilyn was using the small handsaw, the PocketBoy 130, to trim branches in our back woods. So pruning with a reciprocating saw should be much easier.

Pruning with a pocket boy
Pruning with a pocket boy

It’s a great saw but after a while she found trimming manually was hard on her shoulder and hand.

Pocket Boy 130 folding hand saw
Pocket Boy 130 folding hand saw

Reciprocating Saw

She wanted a better way to trim and she was not comfortable with a chainsaw so I decided to get her a battery powered reciprocating saw for her birthday. She’s used chainsaws in the past but the weight and danger factor is a concern for her.

Dewalt reciprocating saw
Dewalt reciprocating saw

And I picked up a pruning blade made by Diablo. This is a 9″ blade and it’s super sharp.

Diablo Pruning Blade

Diablo pruning blade
Diablo pruning blade

The combo of the two would make a great alternative to a chainsaw.

Pruning reciprocating saw diablo blade

Rechargeable Batteries

For the saw I also bought a two pack of the Dewalt 20V Lithium Ion batteries. Always a better deal that way, and so handy to be using one while the other is in the charger. I happen to have a few other DeWalt tools so having these extra batteries is a bonus.

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20V DeWalt batteries
20V DeWalt batteries

I already had a charger from my drill and driver combo so I didn’t need another.

Pruning reciprocating saw dewalt battery
20V DeWalt batteries charging

Setting Up the Saw

The blade is easy to insert. There’s a small tab you lift and it slides right in. You can set the blade at any one of four positions. Each 90 degrees to the next.

Pruning reciprocating saw insert blade
Pruning reciprocating saw insert blade

You can also adjust the position of the shoe effectively decreasing the stroke or depth of cut of the saw. It easily slides and locks into position.

Pruning reciprocating saw with blade

Pruning with a Reciprocating Saw in action!

With safety glasses and gloves, Marilyn is ready to cut. And cut she did! She spent hours in our back woods trimming branches and cleaning up the space. One of the best things about trimming this way is the noise level is way lower. You don’t need any ear protection in most cases. And the tool is very light in comparison. There’s no oil or gas to deal with either.

Cutting cedar branches with a recip saw
Cutting cedar branches with a recip saw
Pruning reciprocating saw woman trimming
Pruning reciprocating saw trimming

And she cut some big limbs too! The blade carved through them with ease. Most of our trees are softwood (cedar & fir mainly) so that helped too. But I suspect the saw and blade would cut hardwood well.

Cuts well through small trees too!
Cuts well through small trees too!


At the end of the day I asked her to give me a quick review of the features she liked about the saw. She liked the safety switch; so she could be sure it was off before she put it down.

Pruning reciprocating saw safety switch
safety switch

She also liked the handle grip and felt it was non-slip and perhaps reduced overall vibration.

Pruning reciprocating saw handle grip
rubber grip

She liked the push-button, digital battery life indicator on the 20V batteries.

Pruning reciprocating saw battery indicator
battery life indicator

She also liked that the saw was relatively light and quiet. She commented that it was not hurting her shoulder and that she didn’t feel the need to wear ear protection.

Pruning reciprocating saw trim cedar
Diablo Pruning Blade

So the pruning blade and the reciprocating saw performed very well. I’d say Marilyn was very happy with her birthday present! Pruning with a reciprocating saw will become a common activity I’m sure.

Pruning reciprocating saw lauging woman

Tool Reviewed

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Pruning Saw

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