Best Cordless Reciprocating Saw Shootout!
While much of the discussion about ergonomics is subjective since we all have different size hands, slightly different techniques, and varying arm strength, weight is clear-cut. With batteries installed, Ryobi comes in the lightest at 6.84 pounds followed by Bosch at 7.74 pounds and Hitachi 7.92 pounds. Milwaukee (9.94 pounds), Makita (9.96 pounds), and DeWalt (10.08 pounds) top the heavyweight ticket.
There’s no one-size-fits-all handle design for any tool. People with smaller hands will prefer one handle type while people with larger hands will prefer another. We took into consideration how natural a grip we could get on each of the reciprocating saws and how comfortable each handle was while trying to keep in mind that everyone’s hand size will be a little different.
Bosch takes the top spot with a front handle that pushes your hand forward into a very natural and stable grip while the back handle was reasonably comfortable. Hitachi comes in second also placing your front hand in a natural and stable grip. The front handle was slightly less natural than Bosch, but it had a more contoured trigger handle. Rounding out the podium was DeWalt edging out Metabo.
The rest of the group pretty much finished up together. One worth noting is Makita, who typically has outstanding ergonomics. The front handle left me challenged to try and find a natural grip. Much of that is due to the size of my hands and a couple of the other guys mentioned it fit their large hands nicely.
The amount of vibration you feel when using a reciprocating saw often comes down to your technique. Some materials allow you to press the shoe against it and really stabilize the cut while other material, like round steel pipe, takes a bit more work. We looked at the amount of vibration we felt in our hands and arms in each of the materials we tested.
Hitachi separated itself as the winner in vibration. It’s lower cutting speed may have contributed to that, but it was noticeably better than the others. Makita came in second followed by our German friends, Bosch and Metabo. From there Milwaukee, DeWalt, and then Ryobi rounded out the list.
Rigid was a bit of a paradox when it comes to vibration. In non-orbital mode, it had nearly as little vibration as Hitachi when cutting through wood, but the most vibration of all the saws in orbital mode. In the end, it finishes in the middle of the pack when averaging out the two perceived vibration rates.