What a RotoZip RotoSaw Is and How It's Used

Rotary Zip Saw

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RotoZip RotoSaw has developed such a mystique that it is now considered to be indispensable and practically a required purchase for homeowners making their initial purchase of remodeling tools. It is also a solid cross-over tool, found in the toolboxes of as many professional tradespeople as DIYers and home crafters.

Do you need a spiral saw in your toolbox? Specifically, does that spiral saw need to be a RotoZip RotoSaw brand saw?

What a RotoZip RotoSaw Is

Like the brand name saw Sawzall, which has come to refer to all reciprocating saws, and Skilsaw, which has come to refer to all circular saws, RotoZip RotoSaw is a brand name that many people use to refer to any spiral saw.

A spiral saw is any kind of tool with a rapidly rotating blade that looks like a drill bit. Spiral saws allow for plunge cuts and are good for thin materials and for curves.

How a Spiral Saw Works

The idea had been percolating in the minds of DIYers and industry professionals for a long time. That idea had been to build a jigsaw that can plunge-cut into the material and turn circles without acrobatic maneuvers on the part of the user.

It wasn't until the early 1970s, when Bob Kopras built the RotoZip RotoSaw, that this become possible. Imagine a power tool that transforms from a drill into a saw. Start with drilling straight into wood or drywall first, then move sideways to cut holes. This type of maneuvering is simply not possible with a drill or router.

A RotoZip RotoSaw looks like a handle-less drill. Its RotoBits move at extremely high RPMs. Start it up, plunge it into the material, and then carefully cut out your piece. Its closest cousins, the reciprocating saw or jigsaw, cannot begin the plunge cut by themselves; both need a starter hole created by a drill or a similar tool.

When to Use a RotoZip RotoSaw

Cutting Holes in Drywall

RotoZip's most famous use and the one that spawned its creation is as a drywall tool for cutting electrical box openings. This can be done before the boxes are installed or even while they are in place.

This is no minor benefit for those who intend to install boxes in drywall on a large scale. But for the buyers that are only intending to use the RotoZip RotoSaw for only a few boxes, try purchasing a jab saw instead. A manual jab saw costs about 90-percent less than a RotoZip RotoSaw and is much better for single jobs. 

Removing Grout

Grout can always remove grout manually. But with the RotoZip RotoSaw, the blade moves effortlessly through the grout.

Cutting Holes in Tile

Cutting holes in ceramic or porcelain tile can be difficult because tile tends to crack. A spiral saw like RotoZip RotoSaw can make round cuts in tile with less potential for breaking the tile.

Cutting Laminate

RotoZip is a useful tool for cutting rounded or amorphous shapes in many thin materials like laminate or veneer board.

Fabricating Solid Surface Countertops

Solid surface countertop materials, like Corian, can be cut with a RotoZip RotoSaw. The tool is especially valuable for making sink cut-outs.

  • Powerful

  • Good for bends and curves

  • Excellent for thin materials

  • Cuts wide range of materials

  • Has other uses, such as a mini angle grinder

  • Customer support

  • Collet system difficult to work with

  • Dust Vault does not capture dust well

  • Thick cord slows movement

  • No secure place to store the wrench

  • No included box or bag

  • Poor grip handle

Pros and Cons


Drawing 5.5 amps and topping 30,000 RPMs, RotoZip RotoSaw is a powerful fast-moving tool. If power is the main concern, a tool like this one would be better than lower-powered cordless spiral saws.

RotoZip RotoSaw does cut thin, soft materials very well. As long as users pay attention to instructions about moving clockwise or counter-clockwise around the bends, they will have reasonably good control over the tool.

The included multipurpose bit plunges into and cuts thin materials (such as 5/8 inch drywall or 1/4 inch wood) with ease. Be careful not to take the RotoZip RotoSaw beyond its intended limits or the bit will start smoking as it tries to penetrate the material.

RotoZip has a full range of optional bits for every sort of intended purpose: bits for fiber-cement boards, windows, and doors, tile, grout, laminate, metal, and underlayment, as well as a range of other uses.

With the optional DD1-10 Direct Drive Attachment accessory, the RotoZip can be turned into a miniature angle grinder and cutting tool.

The company offers robust customer service in the form of a toll-free support number, forums, and an online chat.


The collet system is highly inconvenient. Collets are the removable metal sleeves that hug the bits and help them fit into the collar of the tool. When you change a bit, you need to change the collet, too. Even worse, the collets are not marked for size; as a result, it becomes a matter of trying them on one by one until you happen upon the right size.

RotoZip RotoSaw throws off a lot of dust and byproduct that the Dust Vault does not capture.

The tool cuts a nice straight line as long as you have set up a guide. But the high RPMs make this tool difficult to control, resulting in wavy cuts.

With any kind of saw, you need to keep an eye on the cut. But this is difficult with the RotoZip RotoSaw because the bit is hard to see. When adding the Dust Vault, the bit becomes even more difficult to track.

Ordinarily, the fat, heavy electrical cord would be an item worthy of praise. But this is one case where the tool is light enough that the heavy cord drags down the tool and hampers movement.

There is no secure place to store the wrench on the tool itself. However, you can store it on a loop attached to the power cord.

The tool does not come with an included tool case, box, or bag. While tool cases are often superfluous with many tools, in this situation it is necessary with the RotoZip RotoSaw, due to the number of small parts that the user must have on hand while operating the tool.

The RotoZip RotoSaw does not have a soft friction grip handle, though the shape of the handle will assist your grip.

Should You Buy One?

RotoZip RotoSaw is a robust tool with a variety of uses for home improvement. But for many do-it-yourselfers, it can be more tool than they need.

For those who simply want to make a few cuts or holes in light materials a couple of times a year, consider using a hand saw such as a drywall jab saw.