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Eight Amazing Sawzall Reviews that Made the Cut in 2018 – Make the Cut in 2018

Tools

When your circular saw just won’t cut it, and a jigsaw isn’t an option, the best sawzall is the tool professionals tend to reach for. Well, you don’t have to be a pro to own or operate a reciprocating saw, and our experts are here to bring you the top options…

Last updateOctober 22, 2018
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Fletcher Adams
Today’s expert
Fletcher Adams
Eight Amazing Sawzall Reviews that Made the Cut in 2018 – Make the Cut in 2018

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Pros

15-amp motor

Built-in clutch

6-speed dial

Tool-less blade changes

Adjustable shoe

Metal case

Cons

Overkill for casual use

Learn more
Pros

Ease of use

Variable speed trigger

4x lower vibration

Lightweight

Battery, bag, and charger included

Cons

Size isn’t ideal for everyone

Light on features

Learn more
Pros

Ease of use

8-foot cord

Vibrates less than other sawzalls in this range

Variable speed trigger

The price tag

Cons

No orbital mode

The shoe isn’t adjustable

Learn more
Pros

Lightweight, compact design

Ease of use

Keyless 4-position clamp

3-year warranty

Cons

Vibrates more than full-sized saws

May feel underpowered to some

Learn more
Runners up

Also good products

4 / 5

The DCS388T2 is a 60V cordless kit with plenty of power and the company’s outstanding FLEXVOLT power system.

4 / 5

With a 360 degree handle and a 13-amp motor, this unique sawzall can take on a variety of tasks with ease.

3.7 / 5

This cordless sawzall won’t break the bank and is compatible with over 100 tools from the Ryobi One+ lineup!

3.5 / 5

Reliable and rugged, the Porter-Cable orbital sawzall hits the sweet spot between price and performance.

How We Decided

28Products
Tested
47Hours
Spent
06Experts
Interviewed
16Consumers
Consulted
Fletcher Adams
Today’s expert
Fletcher Adams

Fletcher has lopped off hundreds of tree limbs, sawn through walls, and cut countless pieces of rebar with a sawzall. He’s also had his fair share of accidents and advises you to proceed with caution when using any tool with a high-speed blade capable of cutting a car in half.

General shopping guide

Some may call it a reciprocating saw while others prefer sawzall. No matter what you choose to call it, the best sawzall can rip into lumber or metal like a hot knife through butter. Unfortunately, finding the right one can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for which is where we step in.

Research You Can Trust

All the top manufacturers have multiple versions of the sawzall, so we took a different approach and focused on brands known for producing quality tools, and then we dug into their top models. As someone who has owned and operated sawzalls for over a decade, I have a great deal of experience with this particular tool as well.  

We also took other professionals opinions into account by speaking with a few contractors along with dozens of verified user reviews. While we cast a wide net in our research as always, we relied more on personal and professional experience this time around.

best sawzall

The 30-Second Review

If you want to buy the right tool the first time around, it pays to do your research beforehand and know all the important areas instead of going in cold. Unfortunately, that’s not an option for everyone – especially if you’re sawzall just bit the dust and you need to make use of Prime’s speedy shipping to finish a job.

When time is of the essence, pay attention to the size of motor or voltage if you plan on going cordless. The stroke length and type of stroke should be next on your list as you may want orbital action instead of a controlled cut. The build quality and warranty are two other things that should be high on your list if you’re in a rush to buy.

Considerations

Sawzall Buying Guide for 2018

A sawzall is a tool millions of people have used, and millions more have wondered about. They look a little mean compared to other types of cutting tools, but there’s a reason for that. If you are unfamiliar with the tool, it’s best to think of it as a motorized hacksaw.

Whether you’re doing a demo work or cut pipe flush in a cramped spot, the best reciprocating saw is the right tool for the job. You can literally rip through almost anything if you have the proper blade including metal stock, 8-inch tree limbs or even the side of a house with some help from a Bobcat…

Another important thing to remember is that a sawzall and reciprocating saw are the same things. Sometimes you’ll see manufacturers refer to their tool with one or both of those terms although the “sawzall” moniker is a just term coined by Milwaukee. It’ typically an area of confusion for consumers new to the tool world, but rest assured the terms are interchangeable – they are the same type of tool.

The Anatomy of a Sawzall

Consumers that have never used this ferocious tool will want to understand how it works before choosing your first sawzall. If you’re an old Pro with power tools or are just looking for a replacement, feel free to skip ahead to our top pick so you can find the right corded or battery-powered solution for you.

  • The Handle – While not a high-tech part of your tool, don’t overlook the grip. They are usually in the D-style and made from plastic with texturing for additional grip. The best handles are overmolded with rubber however which keeps your hands fresh and cuts back on vibrations.

 

  • The Boot  – Unless you’re Hercules reborn, a sawzall is something you’ll need two hands for which is where the boot or top grip comes into play. As you need to apply some pressure and control the cut, a good reciprocating saw needs to have a thick boot with a non-slip grip.

 

  • Motor – Sawzall motors come in one of two forms with brushed or brushless. The former is cheaper and tends to wear out quicker although some models allow you to provide maintenance which lengthens the life of your tool. The motor is also tied to the SPM rating of a saw and tells you how many strokes per minute it’s capable of.

If you go brushless, you’ll get a more efficient motor which quieter and capable of outlasting its brushed counterpart by years… not months.  The motor is also where you’ll get your power, so you want higher amperage if you’re doing industrial work and want a tool that can handle any job.

  • The Shoe – The shoe doesn’t go on the bottom of your sawzall, but on the front. This flat piece of metal acts as a brace for the saw and comes in one of two styles which we’ll address in the additional features section below.

 

  • Trigger – A sawzall cut can take anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. It depends on the type of material you’re trying to cut through, but regardless of the length, look for a saw with a large two-finger trigger.

 

  • Blade Clamp – As the name implies, a blade clamp or chuck is the part on the end of your tool where you’ll place the blade. There are still some models that use the old-fashioned hex key method, but most tools nowadays have a keyless system in place.

Aren’t there two types of strokes?

Yes, there are, and while all sawzalls can perform one, the second style of stroke is not as easy to find on some models. A straight cut is a feature found on every reciprocating saw and utilizes the back and forth motion we’re all familiar with. It’s not fancy, but it certainly gets the job done and can give you an extremely accurate cut.

If you need to move material quickly and aren’t overly concerned about the accuracy of your cuts, you’ll want to consider a saw with an orbital stroke. When this kicks in, the blade will move up and down to a degree along with the back and forth action which gives you a more aggressive cut for troublesome material. You also have to consider one other area when it comes to the stroke of a sawzall…

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Stroke Length Explained

Every sawzall will have a standard set of specifications including something called stroke length. It’s often something missed by beginners or consumers that are new to this type of tool. Usually, stroke length runs from ¾” to 1-1/4” depending on the model and manufacturer.

Simply put, a longer stroke takes more material at once which is great when speed is critical, and you want aggressive cuts.  Alternatively, a reciprocating saw with a shorter stroke length gives you more control and is better in tight areas.

Additional Sawzall Features

Like most products, sawzalls have a particular set of features, and most are common across the board. While there aren’t as many bells & whistles as you’d find on a laptop or even the best recliner, there are a few things you can look for.

In the old days, all reciprocating saws had a fixed shoe which is self-explanatory. Well, an adjustable shoe speaks for itself as well, and it’s a feature which is hit or miss on even the top models. Pivoting shoes are also an excellent choice when you’re dealing with angled cuts more often than not.

Ever used a cutting tool in a dimly lit area? If so, you already know how much of a pain that can be. Work lights help but are no substitute for a built-in LED light. That’s an option you’ll find on plenty of cordless models and so are tool-less blade clamp.

We told you it was common, and it is, but how it’s handled makes a significant difference. Blades can get extremely hot, so the ability to flip a clamp and “shake” a blade loose is something you won’t regret.

What about Multi-tools?

Despite a recent increase in popularity, multi-tools are not the same as a reciprocating saw although some will definitely cut through a nail. Otherwise known as Oscillating tools, these are all-in-on systems that allow you to accomplish various tasks without carrying around a bag full of tools. Cutting and sanding are two popular functions, but they cannot replace the power or prowess of a sawzall.

The Pros and Cons of Cordless Tools

You may think this is one area that would be relatively straightforward as we live in a wireless world where batteries power everything from our smartphones and laptops to our vehicles. Well, it’s not as a 20V battery may not be as powerful as you think unless you know what those numbers mean.

Cordless tools have been around for ages, but new technology has changed the game to bring them up to the level or their corded counterparts. That’s only if you have a high-powered battery however as “120 cuts per charge” may sound nice, but it all comes down to the material you’re trying to cut along with half-dozen other factors.

By comparison, corded tools will never run out of power as long as there’s an electrical outlet or generator nearby. They usually have the same set of features found on cordless tools although build quality is one exception. You’ll find more corded sawzalls in the contractor class than battery-powered models, and 60V tools are still far and few between.

If you decide to go cordless…

You’ll have to carry a bit more gear as corded models don’t need chargers or battery packs and battery life is an obvious enemy. The size of those cells matter from a horsepower standpoint, so the bigger, the better, but keep an eye on the Ah measurement which stands for Amp hours.

Volts determine the strength or your tool, but amps are the equivalent of time. While there is no simple conversion, we can teach you, the minds from MIT will explain it better than we ever could. Again, bigger is also better with Ah, but you’ll have to pay a pretty penny if you want extended batteries for power tools with a high voltage.

Charging times are another concern, so look for a kit with a quick charger if you want the best cordless sawzall. They can usually charge up a battery in around an hour, and are an accessory well worth paying extra for. Buying a cordless kit can save you a considerable amount of cash, just be sure you’re invested in the company’s tool system beforehand as many lines have backward compatible batteries.

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Warranty Information

Every tool we put on our list has a solid warranty, but some are better than others. It also varies by the tool type as a corded model has one warranty while battery-powered sawzalls break things down between the tool, batteries, and charger.

A 3-year warranty is around the average for reciprocating saws although Milwaukee and a few other brands go above and beyond that mark. While we included all that information in our reviews, pay close attention to exactly what’s covered. Some may only give you 1-year free parts and labor, which can make a difference when you’re torn between two saws.

As for the batteries, that’s trickier and varies wildly although 2-3 years seems to be the average among the top brands. From personal experience, I can tell you batteries are usually the first thing to go, so look for a kit with two power packs and check on the price of replacements beforehand. Third-party batteries are an option as well but proceed with caution if you go down that road.

Contractor or Homeowner class?

Some products are specifically labeled as being for one crowd or the other, but that’s not always the case. The grade of the tool makes a huge difference in price as well as the build quality when you’re dealing with sawzalls.

Power is an excellent way to tell the difference with both corded and corded tools. Anything in the Pro range will be 18 volts or have a 15-amp motor. Some manufacturers make corded models with heavy-duty parts and smaller motors in the 13-amp range, once more… but bigger is always going to be better if you’re doing demo work.

Tools in the homeowner class have fewer features and are under 18 volts or 13-amps aside from a few select models. You’ll find thinner casings and more plastic parts in this range, but warranty length and basic features usually stay the same.

Blade Guide

Even the best miter saw, or top of the line jigsaw generally comes with a poor quality blade – if you even get one in the box. It’s just how it goes unless you but a combo kit with a blade set, so you may need to prepare to purchase blades for your new tool. If you don’t already have a pack handy or aren’t sure what type of blade you need for the job, here’s a quick breakdown on sawzall blades…

A sawzall can cut through almost anything including tile, concrete, wood, and metal. The first question you need to ask is what you plan to cut; then you’ll want to consider the length of the blade and how many teeth it has. Want to cut a car in half like the gentleman below? Well, you’ll want a saw with enough oomph and a very sturdy blade.

As a rule of thumb, you want to add around 3-inches to the length in length to the material you plan to cut. If you want to cut a 5-inch post, then you’ll want a blade at least 8 to 9-inches long. Teeth are measured in TPI which stands for teeth per inch and is easy to figure out.

For wood, you’ll want anywhere between 3 to 10 TPI while metal requires more teeth per inch. The thinner the metal, the more teeth you’ll need. For something like plaster or cement board, your best bet could be a carbide tipped blade.

Can I sharpen a sawzall blade?

While it’s entirely possible to sharpen this style of blade, it’s not something we recommend you try yourself.  Blades are cheap and made to be replaced, so don’t try to use a knife sharpener or other implement to regain an edge… just buy new blades. If it’s an expensive carbide-tip or specialty blade, look for a local shop to give it a quick touch up.

The Best Sawzall Reviews

01

Makita 15 Amp AVT Recipro Saw JR3070CT

Makita 15 Amp AVT Recipro Saw JR3070CT

Makita’s popular Blue and Black color scheme is something you’ll find in most professional shops, and it’s a brand I personally have plenty of experience with. They have an excellent lineup of tools including reciprocating saws like the AVT Recipro and its anti-vibration tech.

This sawzall falls into the contractor category but will be a homeowner’s best friend as well. That’s due to its sheer power and the build quality as it’s the type of tool that will last a decade if properly serviced. The brushed are easy to access when maintenance is required; something you don’t see on cheaper corded tools.

At close to 10 pounds, this saw may be a little heavy for casual contractors. It has a thick rubber boot and comfortable grip overmolded with rubber. We’re big fans of the extra wide trigger as well, and you’ll never hear us complain about a power tool with a lock button. Overall, it’s easy to use and easier on your arms and hands than other reciprocating because of some special built-in tech.

AVT Technology

This is the company’s answer to the extreme vibrations cause by tools like industrial chipping hammers and sawzalls. In this case, it’s a counterweight inside the tool which works to dampen vibration along with the extra padding in the handle and boot. You can read more about this feature here, but trust us when we say it works as advertised.

Now for the tech specs. The JR3070CT has a 15-amp motor with a couple of extra tricks up its sleeve. It can hit speeds up to 2,800 SPM, but it’s also efficient thanks to an electronic speed controller which keeps your speed even under load. It also has a unique clutch which will disengage the gears if you get the saw in a bind. It’s bound to happen, and this feature will prevent damage when it does.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the speed dial on this sawzall or its orbital capabilities. A handy dial set into the bottom of the handle lets you adjust the speed from one to six depending on your needs. There are four settings for orbital mode as well which you can access from the side of the saw. Makita made the shoe adjustable, so blade changes are a breeze thanks to that and the tool-less system.  Here’s a quick look at the saw in action…

The Makita JR3070CT is an excellent option for anyone that wants a high-quality reciprocating saw regardless of your prowess with power tools. It may be overkill for homeowners in some cases, but you do get a lot of bang for your buck. The saw comes with a manual, metal case, two blades and a 1-year warranty along with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If you need more blades out of the box, check out the variant which comes with a 6-pack of mixed usage blades.

Features

  • 1-1/4” stroke length
  • 2-finger trigger
  • Anti-vibration tech
  • 4-position orbital action
  • Electronic speed control

Pros

15-amp motor

Built-in clutch

6-speed dial

Tool-less blade changes

Adjustable shoe

Metal case

Cons
Overkill for casual use

02

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall Kit 2719-21

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall Kit 2719-21

This style of sawzall was only a dream a decade ago, but technology has allowed manufacturers to use unique form factors with their tools. When you need to whizz through wood, metal or plastic at awkward angles, the M18 Fuel Hackzall is your best bet and a tool you’ll need to see to believe.

This hybrid tool looks like an experiment gone awry in the R&D lab at Milwaukee. It’s a compact sawzall with a pistol grip, a style only a few manufacturers have attempted thus far. Due to its size, it’s not one we could classify in the “industrial” class although with 18 volts you’ll have more than enough power to handle most tasks. You can also use it with one hand, a feature that could put your tree trimmer into retirement.

Whether it’s a board full of bolts or a small to medium sized limb, the POWERSTATE brushless motor is a winner. The company claims this saw cuts up to 50% faster than similar models, and it’s hard to argue with that mark after seeing it in action. The M18 Hackzall has a stroke length of 7/8” and a variable speed trigger with a top speed of 3,000 SPM.

According to the user manual, there’s also a trigger lock to help prevent accidents and battery drain. That may seem minor, but many of us have zeroed out a battery when the trigger gets mashed against something in a storage bag or toolbox.

How long does the battery last?

18 volts of lithium power is nothing to scoff at, and the company uses something called REDLITHIUM tech in their power packs. Their system runs cooler and produces more power when used in conjunction with the REDLINK Plus Intelligence chip and the POWERSTATE motor. One pack is rated for around 150 cuts on a 2x12, and this kit comes with the XC5.0 battery and a multi-voltage charger.

HackzallM18 battery compatiblity - Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall Kit 2719-21

Do you own other cordless tools from Milwaukee? If so, you will be blown away by the backward compatibility of their battery system. Both the chargers and batteries are interchangeable to a degree, and replacements are affordable in our opinion. A 9.0Ah extended pack won’t break the bank and can add a considerable amount of runtime to the tool.

Other features of interest for the Milwaukee 2719-21 include a pivoting shoe, and a tool-less blade change system. You’re going to get some extra swag with this one as well in the form of a contractor bag, and general purpose blade along with the aforementioned battery pack and charger. The tool itself has a 5-year warranty, but the batteries and charger have their own separate warranties.

Features

  • POWERSTATE brushless motor
  • M18V battery system
  • Compact design
  • 7/8” stroke length
  • REDLINK PLUS Intelligence
  • Rubber Seal and Weep Holes for water ingress

Pros

Ease of use

Variable speed trigger

4x lower vibration

Lightweight

Battery, bag, and charger included

Cons

Size isn’t ideal for everyone

Light on features


03

SKILSAW SPT44A-00 Reciprocating Saw with Buzzkill Tech

SKILSAW SPT44A-00 Reciprocating Saw with Buzzkill Tech

SKILSAW has been around since 1924, and it’s safe to say they know more about crafting a fine saw than other contenders and pretenders in this field.  Their tools are found on job sites around the globe, and the SPT44A-00 is an excellent corded sawzall thanks to its build quality and the company’s patented Buzzkill tech.

This sawzall has a glass filled nylon exterior with a thick rubber boot that helps fight vibrations and keeps your hands fresh. They kept the flair to a minimum, so while it has all the essential features, the design won’t win any awards. Consumers felt the SPT44A-00 was comfortable to use although it lacks a rubbery grip like other models in this class.

The power comes from a 13 amp motor which is brushed and provides a cutting speed of 2,900 SPM. You can adjust the speed to suit your needs as it has a wide, variable speed trigger, and the stroke length is set to 1-1/8”. It’s fairly light at 9 pounds, and those brushes are easy to access if you want to use a little TLC to extend the life of this tool.

What about that Buzzkill tech?

The standout feature of this sawzall is something called Buzzkill, a technology which is said to suppress vibration by up to 35%. This results in less fatigue with extended use and more control over your cut regardless of the material. Blade length and the usual factors still play a part in things, but Buzzkill is a feature that actually lives up to the hype as you can see in the video below.

Like most modern reciprocating saws, the SKILSAW SPT44A-00 allows you to leave the chuck behind as it’s keyless so changing blades is a breeze. According to the user manual, the footplate pivots, but the shoe is not adjustable. That’s not a deal breaker, but something to consider depending on your needs and the types of cuts you need to make.

The SKILSAW SPT44A-00 is ideal for homeowners that need something rugged around the house that will last for years on end. It’s strong enough to be used on the job as well – just make sure you’ve got the right blade for the task at hand. This reciprocating saw has a 1-year warranty to go along with the company’s Stay True 180 day guarantee. If you prefer something a little more industrial, check out the beefy 15 amp variant of this saw.

Features

  • 13 amp motor
  • 1-1/8” stroke length
  • Bladeless tool clamp
  • Patented Buzzkill tech

Pros

Ease of use

8-foot cord

Vibrates less than other sawzalls in this range

Variable speed trigger

The price tag

Cons

No orbital mode

The shoe isn’t adjustable


04

DeWalt DWE357 Compact Reciprocating Saw

DeWalt DWE357 Compact Reciprocating Saw

While we love DeWalt’s cordless tools, sometimes less is more. The DeWalt DWE357 may not come with as many technical advances or accessories as the FLEXVOLT DCS388T2, but we think you’ll dig the style and appreciate its power.

This is the saw that you want by your side when space is an issue, but horsepower isn’t a major concern. The DWE357 is in the medium-range in regards to its power with a 12-amp motor although with a stroke length of 1-1/8”. It’s a variable speed reciprocating saw with a range of 0-3,000 strokes per minute, so while it’s far from underpowered, it’s just not a 15-amp sawzall.

How small is it?

Pretty small considering its only 14.5-inches long and weighs 6.8 pounds. By comparison, the Super Sawzall 360 is 19-inches long, so the difference is definitely noticeable. Your arms will thank you at the end of a long day, and we appreciate all that extra rubber on the handle and boot as well.

The latter is shorter than you may be accustomed to, but still large enough to accommodate folks with larger mitts. Here’s a quick video of this small saw in action…

As you can see, this little saw is ideal for overhead work or areas where space is tight. The keyless chuck allows you to change blades quickly, but with one cook perk as you can turn the blade itself. It’s not a feature you’ll find on all reciprocating saws, but the ability to turn a blade sideways or upside down is something you won’t want to live without once you’ve used it.

This saw has a 9-foot cord and comes with a nice kit bag to keep it clean and safe when not in use. You’ll also get the standard product manual and the company’s tiered 3-year warranty that’s standard on all their power tools. If you’re looking for blades geared toward metal, be sure to check out IRWIN’s lineup of bi-metal blades which range from 4 to 12-inches.

Features

  • 1-1/8” stroke
  • 0-3,000 SPM
  • 12-amp motor
  • Pivoting shoe
  • Kit bag

Pros

Lightweight, compact design

Ease of use

Keyless 4-position clamp

3-year warranty

Cons

Vibrates more than full-sized saws

May feel underpowered to some


05

DeWalt FLEXVOLT 60V MAX DCS388T2 Reciprocating Saw Kit

DeWalt FLEXVOLT 60V MAX DCS388T2 Reciprocating Saw Kit

When we do a tool breakdown, DeWalt is always a lock whether it’s –onsite tool link—or the best cordless sawzall. The DeWalt FLEXVOLT DCS388T2 is one of our top options in the battery-powered realm and an excellent choice if you’re already invested in the company’s lineup of tools.

DeWalt went with a brushless motor in this sawzall which makes it more efficient than its corded brethren. The motor is capable of speeds up to 3,000 SPM, and it has a 1-1/8” stroke length with a pivoting shoe. It also has a strong LED work light built into the chassis, and nobody will complain about blade changes thanks to a keyless system.

What about battery life?

51UsF6v5BFL e1540231271406 300x223 - DeWalt FLEXVOLT 60V MAX DCS388T2 Reciprocating Saw KitWe’re pleased to say DeWalt rates this saw at around 158 cuts per charge on a 2x4, and you’ll get not one, but two batteries in the kit. They utilize the company’s FLEXVOLT tech, which is backward compatible with their 20V MAX tools along with 60V monsters like the DCS388T. The cells work with 120V tools as well in case you want to pop them into the company’s Double Bevel Miter Saw or the DW745 Table Saw.

While there’s no patented vibration dampening tech in this saw, users we spoke to found it comfortable to use for extended periods of time.  That’s due to the anti-slip comfort grip that covers boot and handle. Overall, it’s a well-built sawzall with plenty of pop that’s built to last. If something does go wrong, you can always fall back on the company’s tiered 3-year warranty which is top of the line.

DeWalt left no stone unturned on the DCS388T2. It has all the standard features you could ask for like a variable trigger and the keyless clamp, but the kit is what makes it special with the added value. The two 60V FLEXVOLT batteries are definitely a bonus as is the DCB118 fast charger. The charger can bring those cells from zero to full in around an hour, so there’s not much downtime (if any) when you have both batteries juiced up!

You can all that gear around in a branded heavy-duty bag, another perk of this particular kit. In addition to those goodies, you’ll get the 3-year warranty, a user manual, and a low vibration blade. If you need more than one blade to get you started, this multipack set should cover most folks needs.

Features

  • Brushless motor
  • 2950 SPM
  • 1-1/8” stroke length
  • Variable speed trigger
  • x2 BCB606 batteries
  • Carrying bag

Pros

Excellent value for the price

Backward compatible FLEXVOLT batteries

158 cuts per charge

Fast charger

Pivoting shoe

Built-in LED light

Cons

No 4-way blade change

Need to be invested in the brand


06

Milwaukee 6523-21 Rotating Super Sawzall

Milwaukee 6523-21 Rotating Super Sawzall

In the market for something powerful that can lop off a large limb in seconds or take the tops of posts? The Milwaukee 6523-21 can handle both those tasks with ease and but is the only saw on our list with a handle capable of rotating 360-degrees.

The draw for this sawzall is the handle, so that’s what we’re going to touch on first. It has 360 degrees of rotation and locks at 45-degree increments along the way. It’s capable of continuous rotation, so you don’t have to start and reset, and the trigger stays active as well.

31F7019DPZL 300x153 - Milwaukee 6523-21 Rotating Super SawzallBut is it complicated?

While it may have taken an engineer to pull of this feat, you don’t have to be one to use Milwaukee 360 Super Sawzall. We love tools that are easy to use, and the 6523-21 is no exception. The stroke length is set to 1-1/4,” and the action is smooth with low vibration. The boot takes care of some of that, but the handle isn’t exactly the most ergonomic we’ve come across.

The overmolding on the grip is only in the palm area without wrapping all the way around like the Makita JR3070CT and other top-tier models. It won’t wear you out, but you may notice a difference in the grip. On the flip side, we love the placement of the speed dial which is towards the top and easy to access with your thumb.

Whether you’re locked in at a 45-degree angle or doing a straight cut, this saw should have enough power for almost everyone. There’s a 13-amp motor inside the sturdy housing with a top speed of 3,000 strokes per minute. It has a long 10-foot cord, and the warranty is best in class with 5-years as soon as you register your new sawzall.

There are no blades included with this saw, just a manual and case, which is a disappointment considering its price. While we appreciate a good carrying case, several users found this one a little too cramped for their liking. Those are the only two drawbacks for Milwaukee 6523-21 provided you need a reciprocal saw that rotates 360 degrees.

Features

  • 1-1/4” stroke length
  • 13-amp motor
  • 360-degree handle
  • Counterbalanced against vibration
  • Gear protection system


Pros

Speed dial

10-foot cord

Orbital action

Quick-Lock clamp

5-year warranty

Cons

The price tag

Heavy at 10 pounds

Rotation feature is unnecessary for some


07

Ryobi P514 18V Cordless One+ Reciprocating Saw

Ryobi P514 18V Cordless One+ Reciprocating Saw

Ryobi may seem a bit out of place considering most of the brands on our list are major tool manufacturers geared towards the Pro range. Well, the Ryobi P514 can hold its own on a job site and is perfect for homeowners that need affordable cordless power as well.

This tool comes from Ryobi’s One+ cordless tool system and delivers 18 volts of power with the press of a trigger. The stroke length is set to 7/8,” and it also has a higher stroke rate than other models at 3,100 SPM. Needless to say, this sucker is fast although it’s not brushless like most of our picks from the cordless class.

When it comes to features, all the standard options are present. This means you’ll get a variable speed trigger, tool-less blade clamp, an adjustable shoe, and some Anti-Vibe tech baked into the handle. There’s nothing fancy, but there are an electronic brake and that adjustable shoe pivots. Consumers found the overmolded grip to be quite comfortable as well, and the ease of use is high due to the lack of flagship features.

The Ryobi One+ P514 is a little basic compared to other sawzalls we’ve touched on, but it has one huge advantage of the rest of the pack with its battery system. While we love Milwaukee, DeWalt and others have systems of their own, Ryobi has over 120 tools in their cordless arsenal, and all are affordable. Just let that sink in for a minute…

For the price of one top-tier tool with batteries, you can pick up the complete cordless contractors set like the P884 One+ with six tools and two batteries. They also have plenty of lawn and garden tools cordless pole cutters along with things like hand vacuums, drywall screw guns, and even 18V bolt cutters. There is truly a tool for everyone if you roll with Ryobi, and the prices are tough to beat.

Aside from a few slight drawbacks with the build quality and bundling, the Ryobi P514 is one you should consider if you need a light-duty solution for the shop or garage. Obviously, it’s not as heavy-duty as contractor grade tools although the 3-year warranty helps in that regard. Unfortunately, unlike most manufacturers; Ryobi doesn’t sell this saw in a kit. Unless you are already invested in their system, you will need to pay extra to get this one going out of the box.

The Ryobi P514 comes with a hex key for the shoe, two blades, and operators manual. If you need a battery and charger to get you started, this combo pack is a wise idea, or you can opt for third-party alternatives or dual packs like the P122.

Features

  • Adjustable pivoting shoe
  • Anti-Vibe handle
  • 7/8” stroke length
  • Electric brake

Pros

3,100 strokes per minute

Variable speed trigger

Tool-less blade clamp

Massive tool system

Nice price point

Cons

Lack of features

Not brushless

No battery or charger included


08

Porter-Cable Orbital Reciprocating Saw PC85TRSOK

Porter-Cable Orbital Reciprocating Saw PC85TRSOK

Porter-Cable has seen better days as a company considering they are now owned by Stanley Black & Decker. While their newer tools aren’t something we recommend for professionals, homeowners have a wealth of affordable options at the ready including the Porter-Cable PC85TRSOK Reciprocating Saw.

The Tigersaw is our budget-friendly sawzall, and one we feel is the best option for homeowners or DIY enthusiasts that need something dependable and comfortable to use. The PC85TRSOK has an 8.5-amp brushed motor with a top speed of 3,200 SPM. It has enough oomph to get through a wide variety of materials and has orbital action when you need to get aggressive with a cut.

Consumers were happy with the power the Tigersaw provides and felt it was extremely easy to use as well. It has a twist-lock blade change system and a tool-free adjustable shoe depth – another perk for this class. The variable speed trigger allows you to dial the motor up or down to suit your needs while a switch up top lets you switch from a straight to an orbital cut.

The handle is covered in a comfy rubbery material while the boot is soft and smooth on the palms. Vibration is about what you would expect from a saw weighing 7.3 pounds, and the same can be said for the build quality. It’s obviously not top of the line in that regard although we don’t foresee any issue unless you’re the type that tends to pick up tools by their cords. We’ve all been there, and while it’s easy, it’s not advised.

As for the cord, this saw has a sturdy 6-foot cord that’s coated in rubber. That’s usually the first thing to go with these types of tools, so a good cord is always a bonus. If you do have issues with the PC85TRSOK, you have an excellent warranty to fall back on with the company’s 3-year warranty which has a 90-day money back guarantee and a year of free service.

It may not be the fanciest reciprocating saw to make the cut… but the Tigersaw is one to consider when price is important and you don’t need something for heavy-duty work. It comes with a user manual, wood blade, and a nice hard plastic case which handles the saw and plenty of extra blades.

Features

  • 1-1/8” stroke length
  • 3,200 SPM
  • 8.5-amp motor
  • Pivoting shoe
  • Wide variable speed trigger

Pros

Budget-friendly price tag

Tool-free blade change

Easy to use

Orbital action

Nice kit box

Cons

It’s a bit basic

Homeowner-grade quality


Always Keep Safety In Mind

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No matter what you plan to cut with your new tool, you need to be safe. There are two things you should always have on hand when operating a sawzall. Well, three if you count blades, but we’re talking about a good pair of gloves and safety glasses. The latter is something we always recommend when using any type of tool, and while gloves may seem like common sense, they are overlooked with reciprocating saws.

You already know how important it is to keep shrapnel out of your eyes, and an excellent set of safety glasses can handle that. If you don’t already have a pair, look for something comfortable with some flex and anti-fog protection. If you can’t see your line, you don’t need to pull the trigger.

There are millions of styles of gloves, but you’ll want something with some extra cushion in the palm in this case. This will alleviate some of the issues brought on by strong vibrations from your tool while also improving your grip. As mentioned, these blades will get hot as well, so a glove can keep your fingers from being blistered as well. If you’re more concerned about cuts than vibration, check out a pair of cut-resistant gloves.

A few simple tips include keeping the shoe close to your stock to help minimize vibration when you cut. Never try to force the blade into a cut, and if it becomes jammed, don’t try and yank it out. Need to pull some debris from around the shoe? Just unplug it or pull the battery first and maintenance will never be an issue. Common sense goes a long way with sawzalls or any cutting tool.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve seen our top picks and understand what you should look for, you should have no problem finding the perfect reciprocating saw to suit your needs. The best sawzall can make short work of almost any job and is the only way to go if you work demolition or just want a capable saw that can tear through almost any material on earth.

Leaders comparison
The winners

Best products from range

Best of the best

Makita 15 Amp AVT Recipro Saw JR3070CT

The Makita JR3070CT stood out in our eyes due to its overall power and top-tier features like anti-vibration technology and electronic speed control. We felt it was the best corded sawzall we’ve come across in quite some time, and countless consumers feel the same way.

Best for the money

SKILSAW SPT44A-00 Reciprocating Saw with Buzzkill Tech

This sawzall has enough power to take on tasks at the job site but also provides an excellent value for homeowners. Buzzkill tech helps keep the vibrations to a minimum while a variable speed trigger lets you set the speed to suit the job at hand.

Runner-up

FAQ
Faq

Frequently asked questions

Q:

Will any sawzall blade work with my saw or do I need to stick with the brand?

Most modern reciprocating saws have a universal shank, so go nuts and choose any blade you’d like!

Q:

Can I really cut a tree down with a sawzall?

As long as you have the right blade and you’re not trying to tackle an oak, it shouldn’t be a problem. Just remember our tips with blade size, and don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Q:

Won’t a jigsaw give me the same kind of cuts?

Not really. While the tools are comparable in some regards, jigsaws are ideal for detail work and fine control whereas a sawzall is built for destruction. It will handle some finer cuts, but the difference is night and day.

Q:

My blade wobbles when I use my saw on high, what does that mean?

It can mean a few things. If the blade has “play” and moves side to side once it’s in the chuck, it’s not uncommon although and some models are snugger than others. It could also come down to length; if you’re blade extends too far past your stock, you’ll definitely get some wobble.


The team
The team

We made this review

Fletcher Adams
Writer Fletcher Adams
Tiffany Mueller
Editorial Director Tiffany Mueller
Valeria Garcia
Graphic Editor Valeria Garcia
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