Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall Review
A reciprocating saw has long been a part of my tool kit, though a seldom used one. It would get dusted out of my forgotten tools drawer whenever I had some demolition work to do. Before trying the Milwaukee Fuel, I relegated reciprocating saws to hogging through through material when I wasn’t concerned with cut quality or being able to feel my hands the rest of the day.
Enter the Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless SAWZALL (sawzall is job site slang for any reciprocating saw, but it’s actually a Milkwaukee trademark). I had the opportunity to review Milwaukee’s latest M18 SAWZALL while I was working on an enclosed raised garden bed for my mother-in-law and was glad to have the SAWZALL at hand.
I do a lot of install long then flush cut to fit when I work and this garden was no exception. There were a lot of pieces in this build that needed to be flush cut and it seemed like a good time to get some real hands on with the Milwaukee M18 SAWZALL.
The first thing that I noticed when I pulled out the SAWZALL was it’s weight. It’s a heavy tool at 7.4lbs, but I think every ounce of it delivers power. I cut through tons of 2x2, 2x4, 5/4 x 6” deck boards, and seven 4x4 posts, all pressure treated. It never even started to bog down and powered right through every cut.. Several times I found myself easing off the trigger because the saw would cut through that wet pressure treated (which saws normally hate) faster than I could control for the accuracy I wanted. Validation of the claimed 30% increased cutting speed.
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.
Something I haven’t seen before on any reciprocating saw is the tool free adjustable shoe. That’s the metal bit at the front of the saw that the blade protrudes from that rides against whatever is being cut. The adjustable shoe does a few things. It provides a way to adjust the depth of cut to minimize how far past the material being cut the saw blade goes. It also extends the life of longer blades. If the blade is used a lot on thinner material, the shoe can be adjusted so the blade starts wearing farther down. That prevents 6” blades from being thrown away that still have 4” of good blade.. but too far from the shoe to be useful.
The feature I appreciated the most was the folding hang hook. In the stored position, it snapped snuggly in place over the body of the saw and was never in the way. In the open position, it had a positive stop that kept it from flopping down while I was trying to hang it somewhere. This simple addition saved me a lot of time looking for where I had last set it down, and kept me from ever laying it in the mud - where all the other tools I was using ended up.
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.