From the (virtual) mail bin: “Have you seen or used the one-handed reciprocating saw? Home Depot and Lowe’s both have one, and I was wondering how well they work.” Indeed we have. Read on for details.
Much like the PS20 first exposed the masses to the idea that bigger wasn’t necessarily better when it comes to drill drivers, Milwaukee’s compact Hackzall carried the compact theme through to the recip line. We first , and I later wrote about it for Popular Science as well. We’ve loved the thing. In fact, we liked it so much that we named it one of our . Since then, Bosch followed suit with their own take, and now we see a variety of models in various form factors.
In many ways, the compact versions are entirely different tools than the standard recip. Like the Hackzall, they almost all feature shortened stroke length, usually somewhere around 1/2 inch versus a standard recip’s 3/4 to 1-1/4 inch. Around the time of the Hackzall launch, Milwaukee engineers told us that the prime reason for this was to increase battery life, as compact cordless models like the Hackzall and Bosch’s PS60 rely on small 10.8-12v batteries that don’t pack a lot of juice. But there’s a side benefit to short stroke, too: it makes the thing a whole lot easier to control. We had no problem using the Hackzall single-handed in a lot of situations, which we wouldn’t imagine trying with a full-size saw.
They also all feature much different shapes and grip profiles than their larger brethren. The Hackzall and Bosch both take a pistol-grip approach, with the saw jutting out at a vertical angle. This looks pretty odd at first, but it makes perfect sense when you pick up the saw to use it. When you hold it like a pistol, the angle of the saw matches the angle of your arm, so you can comfortably hold the saw while attacking workpieces horizontally or vertically. And the motor placement makes a kick-ass spot to put your other hand to stabilize the saw when you need to hold it in place or add a little force.
Newer corded saws, like the ones our reader saw from Ridgid and Kobalt, as well as the Craftsman (and others, we suspect) mimic the shape of oscillating saws, like the Ridgid JobMax, for example. They feature a barrel-type grip, which results in a longer but narrower tool. These saws, by the way, seem to have popularized the “one-handed” label which caught our reader’s eye.
Bottom line: Though we haven’t tried out the Ridgid or Kobalt tools specifically, we can attest to the functionality of the smaller, differently-shaped, shorter-stroked recip. The concept is definitely sound. And though we love the pistol-grip form factor, you should choose the shape that’s most comfortable for you when performing the tasks you perform most often. (And we’ll look into trying out some of these newer models for TM as well.)
PS60 12v Max Pocket Recip Saw [Bosch]