We’ve used more than a few reciprocating saws. In fact, we have a couple we own, and we’ve got a couple in the shop right now that we’re testing for Toolmonger. Worx, however, really caught our eye with their new Assault recip — the latest release in their Revolver line of moving-handle tools.
The assault arrives in a molded plastic form-fitting case that also includes a well-thought-out section for carrying blades. The “blade box” has a piece of foam in it that prevents the blades from rattling around when you carry it from job to job.
OK, seriously. Let’s just get this out of the way right now: When we first opened the case and saw the Assault, it looked more to us like an alien weapon than a normal powered hand tool. (Think of it as a Decepticon-green colored plasma rifle from Halo.) But when you pick it up it all starts to make sense. Let’s run down its features:
The Assault’s most noticeable feature is the Revolver handle — a system that allows you to rotate the grip up to 60-degrees to find the most comfortable form-factor then lock it down. This doesn’t sound like a big deal when you read about it, but believe us when we tell you that it is a big deal in person. When you’re working with your recip saw high above you or down near the ground — and who doesn’t? That is why they make a “demolition” blade, right? — a standard grip forces your arm, wrist, and elbow into funny angles. Besides just being uncofortable, Worx research suggests that these type of awkward postures also increase the incidence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
To position the handle, you simply unclamp the release mechanism, rotate the handle to the desired position and re-clamp it. The mechanism has a lot of teeth, so you don’t have to wiggle it or anything to get it to clamp back down. In the full “up” position, the handle approximates the shape that you’re used to on a standard recip saw. In the full “down” position, it’s much easier to use down low. Once clamped, there’s no vibration or “play” in the Revolver system; It’s as if the tool had been constructed the way you just set it.
The Assault also lets you adjust its “orbital action” to increase it for faster cuts in wood. There are four settings, dialed in via a locking switch on the side of the tool. According to Worx, the zero setting is best for metal while the one, two, and three settings are better for softer materials.
The blade is installed using a keyless clamp system that’s handy as hell. We’ve lost the “key” for more than one recip saw and ended up searching the hex-wrench set to find a match when we needed the saw in a hurry. On the Assault you just push the button next to the mount, insert the standard-format blade, and release the button.
The Assault’s front shoe is also adjustable with a button larger than but similar to the one on the blade clamp system. The shoe can extend to a number of different lengths to help stabilize and orient the tool while cutting, and can even be removed if necessary.
Two bright white LED lights hide in the nose of the Assault to provide lighting when you’re cutting in the dark. A rubberized switch in the top of the Assault turns them on and off, though they only operate while the saw is running.
The body of the tool features a rubber-coated die-cast aluminum gear case. The rubber coating makes the Assault easy to hold and control, and (ok, this is a bit miniscule, but) it also emits a crazy-good “new tool” smell when you open the box . The body’s shape also makes it easy to keep a good grasp on the tool.
The Assault’s 10 AMP motor is servicable, and removing a screw on the side of the motor’s bottom protrusion from the tool provides access to its replaceable brushes. Pulling the trigger actuates the Assault’s variable speed motor control system, varying from 500 to 2,700 no-load strokes per minute. A nearby button locks the trigger in the on position for long continuous use, and another squeeze of the trigger releases it.
Worx seems quite to be quite detail-oriented as the 10 ft. power cable comes with a velcro cable-tie.
The one drawback to the Assault: It’s a bit heavy, weighing in at nearly 10 lbs.
Here’s where the Assault really shines. We took the sample tool out to the shop and gave it a go on metal, wood and some other materials. We were surprised at how little vibration we felt in the handle compared to other corded recip saws we’ve used. The Revolver rotating handle does indeed simplify many cuts, and we found ourselves moving the handle around a little each time we picked up the tool to use it.
We tried the Assault out on some 11-gauge square tubing and it performed admirably, plowing right on through it like butter with the included metal blade. The Assault uses blades of standard type, so if you’ve already got a few blades around (like we do) you’ll be able to use them.
By setting the shoe out as far as possible for each cut we made we were also able to reduce vibration and kick even more. Combined with the rotary handle, this makes for a very comfortable-to-use tool.
We were very impressed with the Worx Assault, both in terms of the features it offers and its performance in common use. Worx clearly paid a lot of attention to detail in its design, incorprating lots of practical features such as the keyless blade clamp, adjustable shoe, and a serviceable motor. The Revolver rotary handle is much more useable in person than it appears on the page, and can help take the hurt out of a long cutting session. If you use a corded recip saw in demolition, take note. This could help make your hands stop hurting.
One caveat: For most people who work with a recip saw regularly, the extra weight won’t make much of a difference and is easily offset by the comfort of the rotary grip, rubber-coated casing, and smooth operation. But, if you’re small of frame and don’t lift much, you might want to seek a lighter model.
Street pricing starts around $130, and it’s available via home imrpovement and hardware stores as well as via a number of outlets online.