December 1, 2022

Woody Woodworking

and its tools

Milwaukee Sawzall Tool Review Look-back

3 min read

Look back video on the Milwaukee Gen 1 and Gen 2 Recip Saws

Do you remember your first cordless reciprocating saw?

We’ve all had our FAVS over the years – early on my favorite corded reciprocating saw
was the Porter-Cable Tiger-Saw – what a beast!

My FAV cordless saw was the Gen 1 cordless sawzall – until Gen 2 came along!!!

The Gen 1 has been running on our job sites for 4-5 years and was a workhorse and money maker for a long, long tie.

About 2 years into using the Gen 1 the blade clamp started sticking – requiring frequent lubrication and 4 years into this tool, the blade guard lever broke…

A year ago, I transitioned to the Gen 2 recip saw for all the reasons why they upgraded it.

• Lighter
• Increased Stoke length
• Improved Longevity
• Anti-Corrosion Blade Clamp

Ok let’s discuss those four in more detail:

Lighter
————-
Milwaukee shaved a ½ pound off the tool [6.9 lbs. bare tool] but still beefed up common wear areas, while reducing weight in other areas.
Its ½ lb lighter, and has more rubber over-mold on the saw which helps with vibration dampening, and a more comfortable, long-term grip.

Increased Stroke Length
————————————
The Gen 2 Sawzall still has a brushless motor that provides the same 3,000 SPM but Milwaukee increased the stroke length to 1-1/4 inches.

While a 1/8-inch stroke increase doesn’t seem like much this saw does cuts nail embedded wood, black pipe, and conduit faster.

Improved Longevity
———————
Internally they improved the longevity of the tool by improving the slider-crank mechanism better protecting it from water and dust ingress.

This improvement was a result of direct feedback from users complaining that when cutting water-filled pipes their saw clamp and crank mechanism would get wet and the mechanism would eventually rust or seize.

Water ingress and corrosion is common to the reciprocating saw landscape

The battery connection also has been reinforced with metal for improved durability and battery retention over the life of the tool. This improvement eliminated battery slop and connection issues.

The Extendable shoe got a HUGE upgrade and is both easier to actuate and more durable.

One change you may or may not immediately notice is that the extendable shoe actuator button is recessed and covered by think rubber over-mold – protecting it from damage.

Anti-Corrosion Blade Clamp
——————————————
On my Gen 1 saw –
I can attest that on my older Sawzall the blade clamp sticks and
is difficult to actuate, and the blade guard lever has broken off.

Milwaukee replaced key parts of the blade clamp with stainless steel, for better wear and corrosion resistance.

So……did we get it right?

On the Gen 1 – I think so. We didn’t predict the rust issues but we were able to run our Gen 1 saw for 4-5 years, so I’m calling this a win.

The Gen 2 – well that sure seems like a win to me as well! We’re into it now for about a year and it’s going strong.

69 years ago Milwaukee released the first SAWZALL and a legend was born today, this saw still dominates the job site, I guess some things get better with age!

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Woodworking News Source: A Concord Carpenter / ToolBoxBuzz

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