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June 14, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros


DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Review DCS368

DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Review
PTR Review
  • Overall Rating 8.4

FlexVolt, Power Detect, or FlexVolt Advantage? The three saws line up so closely with one another that there's virtually no wrong answer if you're committed to DeWalt's extensive cordless platform. We'd go with either the Power Detect because you can use any 20V Max battery and you get a boost starting with the 8.0Ah pack rather than needing a FlexVolt battery to get there. DeWalt still has some areas to improve, but of their current cordless options, we like Power Detect the best.

Overall Score 8.4 (out of 10)

DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Boosts Power Without Leaving the 20V Max Battery System

The DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Reciprocating Saw is the answer for DeWalt fans that want a power boost similar to the way FlexVolt Advantage works but without needing a FlexVolt battery. With FlexVolt Advantage and second-generation FlexVolt models also available, we were curious how the three models compare.


Pros

  • Easy blade changes
  • Excellent handle ergonomics
  • Power boost without leaving the 20V Max platform
  • Comfortable handle design

Cons

  • No orbital action
  • No rafter hook
  • No variable speed dial
  • Vibration control can use some help

DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Performance

The really big deal about this reciprocating saw’s performance is the power increase you get from using an 8.0Ah battery. The saw works well with any 20V max pack, including a 2.0Ah if you want the lightest weight. However, there’s a noticeable change when you get to the 8.0Ah.

DeWalt Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Performance

That extra power was evident when we used a FlexVolt pack as well. Presumably, the 10Ah and 15Ah batteries would also provide the benefit. We haven’t tested those packs and the additional weight will add some fatigue if you want to go that big.

Cutting with a 5.0Ah battery, the performance is pretty close to what we expect from DeWalt’s standard 20V Max brushless reciprocating saw. Switching out for the 8Ah battery, you can feel the additional power when you’re pushing through a tough cut.

What’s interesting is that we actually saw faster cast iron cuts with the 5.0Ah battery. That’s not a complete surprise, though. Hard metal such as cast iron and stainless often cut faster when you slow down some. That’s one of the reasons we prefer to have a speed control dial, which DeWalt does not include. You can still feather the trigger, of course, but that’s one more thing to manage while you’re trying to control the saw.

DeWalt Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Metal Cutting

Vibration control continues to be an area DeWalt can improve on. This model is better than some of their early cordless designs, but it’s still pretty far from competitors that have developed more advanced mechanisms.

DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Design Notes

Ergonomics

The three saws we’re focusing on in this review are all pretty close in weight. At 7.6 pounds bare, the Power Detect model is the lightweight of the group by an ounce or so. However, that gap grows once you start adding in batteries to match the performance potential. The 8.0Ah pack brings this model’s total weight up to 9.8 pounds whereas FlexVolt batteries bump the other models up higher.

DeWalt Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Ergonomics

DeWalt’s main handle contours nicely to your hand while overmold offers a more secure and comfortable grip. The forward housing offers a generous amount of overmold to help guide your cuts from a variety of angles.

DeWalt Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Ergonomics 2

Fast Blade Changes

DeWalt sticks with their blade release design as a lever on the front grip. It’s much easier to use that shaft-mounted styles that force you to make sure the release is far enough forward to grip.

DeWalt Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Blade Changes

Additional Features

  • Brushless motor
  • LED light

The other part of the story is that what we’re missing several features. An adjustable shoe and rafter hook are the minor commissions. It’s the lack of a selectable orbital action, speed dial, and advanced vibration control that we’d really like to see in an upcoming model.

DeWalt 20V Max Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Price

The Power Detect reciprocating saw is only sold as a kit with an 8.0Ah battery for $279. The rationale is pretty straightforward—they want you to get the best possible experience out of the box by providing the best performing battery with your purchase. If you want to go with a less expensive bare tool, take a look at the FlexVolt Advantage for $199. Just keep in mind you need a FlexVolt battery for the best performance.

DeWalt Cordless Reciprocating Saw Quick Comparison

Power DetectFlexVolt AdvantageFlexVolt Gen 2
Stroke Rate0 – 3000 SPM0 – 3000 SPM0 – 3000 SPM
Stroke Length1 1/8 in1 1/8 in1 1/8 in
Bare Weight7.63 lbs7.70 lbs7.56 lbs
Bare PriceNA$199$199
Kit Price #1$279 (1 x 8.0Ah)NA$299 (1 x 9.0Ah)
Kit Price #2NANA$449 (2 x 9.0Ah)

The Bottom Line

FlexVolt, Power Detect, or FlexVolt Advantage? The three saws line up so closely with one another that there’s virtually no wrong answer if you’re committed to DeWalt’s extensive cordless platform. We’d go with either the Power Detect because you can use any 20V Max battery and you get a boost starting with the 8.0Ah pack rather than needing a FlexVolt battery to get there. DeWalt still has some areas to improve, but of their current cordless options, we like Power Detect the best.


DeWalt Power Detect Reciprocating Saw Specifications

  • Model: DeWalt DCS368W1
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Strokes Per Minute: 0-3,000 SPM
  • Stroke Length: 1-1/8 in.
  • Variable Speed: Yes
  • Keyless Blade Clamp: Yes
  • Weight: 7.63 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Kit Price: $279

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Big Richard

Now that DeWalt offers two 20v options that nearly match their 60v FlexVolt option – and that the gen II FlexVolt still falls short of other competitor’s super saws – I think it is time for a gen III FlexVolt with some pumped up specs and orbital mode.

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