Also known as a “recip saw,” a “saber saw,” and a “Sawzall,” the hand-held reciprocating saw is the tool of choice for demolition work. Reciprocating saws cut through a variety of materials, including wood and metal, making them useful for slicing through plumbing pipes during a remodel and cutting away nail-ridden plywood without first having to pull the nails out.
The best reciprocating saw for you will depend on the type of material you need to cut, whether you’ll be using the saw on a limited basis for a DIY project or operating it daily on a construction site, and, most importantly, the quality of the product you choose. Read on to find out what to look for when shopping for a reciprocating saw and to find out why the following milwaukee sawzall models are top choices for a variety of demolition purposes.
Why Milwaukee Tool
Milwaukee Tools have proven to make some of the most innovative, reliable and highest performing 18v cordless tools, combo kits, batteries and charging systems available their tools with a 5 year trade warranty on tools and a 2 year warranty on batteries and chargers.
The 18v range is one of the largest 18v cordless tool platforms in the world with over 200 tools in the range. The key focus trades and end user categories include plumbing, utility, carpentry and electrical.
The range of tools includes speciality products such as cable strippers, cable crimpers, cable cutters, copper and plastic pipe crimpers, sewer cleaning equipment, transfer pumps, pipe threader, magnetic drill, switch tank back pack water and chemicals sprayers, a unique lighting systems, and the 12v range of tools include digital torque wrenches, soldering irons, rivet guns, thermal images and an air snake that are not found in the range of competing brands.
The 18v batteries range from 2.0Ah, 5.0Ah, 6.0Ah, 8.0Ah and 12.0Ah and it is expected Milwaukee will go further and produce 18v batteries with even higher amperage for longer run times. The high output batteries 6.0ah, 8.0ah and 12.0ah batteries include 21700 series cells that are specifically designed to stay cooler in high torque applications and deliver better performance.
Meanwhile the 12v batteries range from 2.0Ah, 3.0Ah, 4.0Ah and 6.0Ah and it is expected higher amperage 12v batteries will be introduced to the range in the near future.
Packout Storage System
Milwaukee Tools Packout is a job site storage modular system that is widely regarded as the most innovative, robust and intelligent job site storage system in the world. The Packout range includes soft storage bag and hard storage plastic cases that interlock using modular system for easy maneuverability and transportation in the toughest of work environments. The Packout trolley cart includes 9” all terrain wheels, a reinforced extendable handle, and a maximum load capacity of 113kg.
What to Consider When Buying a Reciprocating Saw
In addition to considering the type of material you’ll be cutting, a comfortable grip, blade movement, and maximum speed are some of the more important features to consider when buying a reciprocating saw.
Demolition is the main use for a reciprocating saw, which just means it’s used in the process of removing material rather than installing it. A recip saw is the saw of choice for cutting away sheathing in order to install windows and doors, and for cutting through old pipes and metal conduit. This type of saw isn’t designed to make precision cuts, which are better left to circular saws, table saws, and chop saws.
Reciprocating saws are rated by their maximum number of strokes per minute (SPM), and the average saw tops out around 2,700 to 3,000 SPM. A handful of recip saws come with a speed adjustment dial that allows the user to operate the saw at different set speeds, but most of the time saw speeds are controlled by trigger pressure.
This means the harder you pull the saw’s trigger, the faster the blade moves. A variable speed trigger is usually preferable to other types of speed adjustment because there’s no need to stop and start cutting just to change speeds. Seasoned construction workers often use very light pressure on the trigger when they start cutting (the slower the blade is moving, the less risk of kickback) and then increase pressure when the saw has already cut through a portion of the material.
Some reciprocating saws feature orbital action, meaning the blade, in addition to moving in a push-pull motion, also moves in a slight elliptical pattern. Orbital action increases the cutting speed of the saw but it reduces accuracy. A recip saw without orbital action will cut a straighter, cleaner line but it will take longer to cut. Orbital action can be turned on when speed is desired, such as when the user is cutting through subflooring, and then turned off when a cleaner cut is desired, such as when trimming away small branches from a tree.
While reciprocating saws are mainly used for demolition purposes, construction materials vary, so you’ll find a variety of saw blades available. Most recip blades feature a universal shank, meaning no matter what type of blade you choose, it will fit your saw, no matter the brand. In addition, blades come in a variety of lengths, from 4 inches to 12 inches, with 6 inches being the most common length. Match the following types of blades to the material you’ll be cutting.
Battery-operated reciprocating saws feature rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that will power the saw for 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the size of the battery and the density of the material being cut. Rechargeable batteries range from 18-volt to 24-volt, with a few running as high as 60-volt. The general rule is that the more powerful the battery, the longer the saw will run and the faster the blade speed will be, but battery life and power depend on more than just a voltage number.
They also depend on the quality of the saw’s motor and how old the battery is—lithium-ion batteries tend to lose power after a few years and may need to be replaced. Purchasing an extra battery or two will extend runtime if you choose a cordless recip saw.
Our Top Picks:
The following milwaukee sawzall feature a variety of the above key considerations, and each is a standout in its class for power, speed, and durability. The best reciprocating saw for you may well be on this list.
1. Milwaukee 2720-21 M18 Fuel Sawzall Reciprocating Saw Kit
If you’re looking to purchase a reciprocating tool that’s durable and long-lasting, we recommend the Milwaukee Super Sawzall Kit. With the name that has become synonymous with all reciprocating saws on the job site, the Sawzall lives up to the hype as a reliable and strong cutting machine. This kit features a 12-Ah battery, a battery rapid charger, a contractor carrying bag, and an M18 Fuel Super Sawzall.
The Super Sawzall uses an included 18-volt lithium-ion battery that carries 150 cuts per charge and delivers the power of a 15-amp corded saw. This saw is compatible with all M18 Milwaukee batteries and features a 5-year tool and 3-year battery warranty. This Sawzall includes an easy on-off orbital action and a 1-1/4 -inch stroke length. The saw only weighs 8.8 pounds, and it includes a variable speed trigger with 5-speed options.
You can easily change the Quik-Lok blades to switch between materials on a complex job. This Milwaukee kit is the best overall reciprocating saw for home renovation projects or virtually anything else because it’s tough, convenient, and versatile.
2. Milwaukee M12 12-Volt Hackzall Reciprocating Saw
Sometimes big jobs require small saws. The Milwaukee Hackzall is the little brother of the better known Sawzall and the perfect option for effective cutting in small spaces. This compact tool uses a 12-volt battery to power the 3,000-strokes-per-minute motor to slice through PVC, drywall, wood and more.
The Hackzall has a small stroke length at ½ an inch, but it has plenty of features like Quik-Lock toolless blade changing, an LED light and a battery gauge. This tool can use any M12 battery and uses either Hackzall or Sawzall blades. At only 11 inches in length and 2.6 pounds, this compact tool is easy to store in any work bag, toolbox or truck cab.
3. Milwaukee M18 Fuel Super Sawzall 2722
With the “Fuel” designation, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Super Sawzall gets a brushless motor. It’s not just a standard Fuel motor anymore though. Milwaukee moves into a more intentional large frame and small frame design thought process. Power-hungry animals like this get a bigger motor to back up the claims of being able to outperform 15-amp corded models while tools like impact drivers can stay compact.
The motor is only part of the story – it’s Milwaukee’s new High Output 12.0 Ah battery that completes the power circuit. 21700 cells combine with heat dissipation and efficient power delivery to put out more watts than Milwaukee’s standard M18 batteries.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Super Sawzall checks off just about every box you can hope for in this class of tool. However, a couple of things detract slightly from its otherwise excellent feature set.
It’s all about the blade clamp here. The M18 Fuel Sawzall clamp release uses a lever on the outside of the front housing. It works well no matter what position the shaft and shoe are in. Milwaukee moves away from this on the Super Sawzall to give you just a standard shaft release. It’s still tool-free, but I find that I have to feather the trigger to make sure that it’s high enough to get my fingers around.
4. Milwaukee 2520-20 M12 Hackzall Bare Tool
Trimming and pruning small branches (up to 2 inches in diameter) requires a small, lightweight saw that can be used overhead, and the Milwaukee M12 Hackzall Reciprocating Saw is just the ticket. Weighing in at 3.2 pounds and measuring 10.65 inches long, this little powerhouse makes quick work of trimming small branches. It features a variable speed trigger and a maximum SPM of 2,800.
When paired with a pruning blade, the saw will leave a clean cut on branches—a necessity for helping the tree resist diseases. It features an ergonomic grip that makes it easier to use overhead, and it comes with two wood blades included. You will, however, need to purchase the 12-volt REDLITHIUM battery and charger separately.
5. Milwaukee 2821 M18 Fuel Sawzall
Just by appearances, you can tell that the new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall (2821) is different from its predecessor (2720). But, most of the upgrades and improvements won’t be very obvious by appearances alone.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel SAWZALL is loaded with several features that make it useful. First up, as part of the Fuel line up, it features a brushless motor. Which means more power and less energy consumption from a smaller/lighter motor that doesn’t have brushes which wear out of time, reducing maintenance and prolonging life. That’s how the Milwaukee M18 Fuel SAWZALL get 30% faster cut time, 2x run time, and 5x tool life.
While I used to shy away from using my reciprocating saw (I’ve been known to pull out a chainsaw instead of dragging a cord around), I won’t anymore! The Milwaukee M18 Fuel SAWZALL is still a tool for rough work, but given it’s speed, power, and smoothness – I think I’m going to start pushing the limits of when a reciprocating saw should be used.
What Is The Difference Between Milwaukee M12 And M12 Fuel?
The Milwaukee M12 and M12 fuel share many similarities, like having the same voltage and sharing batteries. The M12 vs. M12 fuel discussion’s main difference is that M12 fuel tools are more powerful as they use brushless motors compared to the brushed in the M12.
Is Milwaukee Fuel Better Than Brushless?
The Milwaukee fuel version uses a brushless motor, though if it has the ‘Fuel’ tag, you will realize that the tool is more compact and has a high-quality performance. In short, Milwaukee fuel is better than brushless.
Are Milwaukee Tools Better Than DeWalt?
Like Milwaukee Tools, DeWalt is an American company majoring in the production of power and hand tools, targeting the construction industry. When looking at the best, there are several factors to put into account. The two companies seem to tie when looking at their respective catalogs, as both have a wider collection of construction tools.
They also tie when it comes to customer service, something that makes them top brands in the tool’s market. Milwaukee gets the upper hand in product quality, with the saving factor being its high-quality batteries. DeWalt has good products, but it comes short in the battle with Milwaukee Tools as the latter company invested in exceptional batteries.
Does a Sawzall cut metal?
Best Reciprocating Saw Blades for Your Project. Reciprocating saws can churn through metal, masonry, wood, plaster, fiberglass, stucco, composite materials, drywall and more. The key to a successful cut is using the right type of blade for the material you are cutting.