Metabo 12V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Review
Metabo 12V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Embraces New Title: Fastest-Cutting 12V
We were excited to see what Metabo came up with when they announced their new brushless reciprocating saws. The 18V model was definitely a step up. However, the Metabo 12V brushless reciprocating saw just displaced some big names in cutting speed. All of them, in fact.
- Fastest-cutting saw in the 12V class
- Only model in the 12V class to include an adjustable shoe length
- Brushless motor
- Comfortable handle design
- Belt hook install points (belt hook not included)
- More vibration than some models
RecommendationWith as fast as the Metabo 12V brushless reciprocating saw cuts, it’s a lightweight, compact go-to model for a variety of situations. It’s a great fit for electricians and plumbers as well as MRO and other jobs that require cutting in tight spaces from time to time.
Metabo 12V Brushless Reciprocating Saw
The Metabo 12V brushless reciprocating saw absolutely crushed it in our cutting speed tests, making it the new leader.
We use two main tests to determine cutting speed for 12V reciprocating saws. The first is cutting through 3/4-inch EMT. The current leader in this class is Hilti with a 3.17-second average, followed by Milwaukee’s M12 Fuel Hackzall at 3.85 seconds.
Metabo needed 3.33 seconds, putting it just behind Hilti.
Next, we made multiple cuts through 3-inch PVC pipe. That cut takes a little more time even though the material is softer than conduit. Hilti (10.67 seconds) held a slight advantage over Milwaukee (10.90 seconds).
This time, Metabo left them both in the dust, averaging just 8.64 seconds.
We also run a baseline test for all reciprocating saws in nail-embedded 2 x 10 PT. We don’t use it in the scoring for 12V saws because it’s simply not a cut we’d make using one. Still, the results are compelling.
Metabo’s saw managed to make the cut in an average of 29.89 seconds—more than 20 seconds faster than its closest competitor.
Without a doubt, the Metabo 12V brushless reciprocating saw is the fastest cutting 12V model we’ve tested.
While the saw cuts fast, it does have some room to improve in vibration control. You’ll want to pay careful attention to keeping the shoe engaged on your material. Since it doesn’t pivot, you’ll have to work a little harder to keep it tight on round materials.
Compared to the rest of the group, Metabo is in the bottom half. However, models from DeWalt, Makita, and Bosch all had more felt vibration. Still, it’s a 12V tool and has much less vibration than more powerful 18V models.
Like all of the 12V saws we tested, Metabo uses a familiar one-hand design. It stretches out to 12.4 inches, putting it right in the middle between Bosch’s 10-inch pocket model and Makita’s unique RJ03.
The saw earns a mid-range score for weight as well. Bare, it weighs 3.0 pounds and the 4.0Ah LiHD battery we tested with bring it to 3.7 pounds. While that’s on the heavier side of the class, it’s still an awfully easy saw to pick and use.
We really like the main handle design. It contours well to fit most hands and is comfortable to grip.
We still don’t care for Metabo’s battery release button. However, it’s out of the way on this tool, so you’re not likely to accidentally bump it loose.
Metabo has the most complete feature set in this 12V class by adding a couple of convenience features.
Metabo’s unique blade capture design allows you to use both reciprocating saw blades and jigsaw blades. It’s a feature that comes in handy when you’re in the tightest spaces or need to cut really tight turns.
We already mentioned that the shoe doesn’t pivot. However, it’s also the only model we’ve tested to include an adjustable length shoe. Just press the button on the left side and slide it to the length you want.
As the name indicates, Metabo uses a brushless motor for this saw. It’s part of why we’re seeing such excellent cutting performance while improving runtime and overall motor life.
While our saw didn’t come with one, there are screw points to add a belt hook to either side. That’s something we suggest adding in the box since it’s light enough to hang from your belt and free up a hand.
The blade release is the ever-popular shaft lock. We prefer a lever release on the outside of the tool, but Metabo’s design at least keeps the release accessible through the entire stroke length.
The feature set wraps up with an LED light mounted above the blade.
- Orbital action*
- Variable speed dial*
- Pivoting shoe
- Spring blade ejection
*Orbital action and variable speed dials are not currently found on any 12V model we’ve tested.
As the Metabo 12V brushless reciprocating saw makes its way to retailers, expect to pay $149 for the bare tool. We don’t have any kit pricing information at this time, so plan on adding the cost of a battery and charger if you don’t already have one. While the tool can run on standard Metabo 12V batteries, we recommend pairing it with a LiHD pack.
The Bottom Line
With as fast as the Metabo 12V brushless reciprocating saw cuts, it’s a lightweight, compact go-to model for a variety of situations. It’s a great fit for electricians and plumbers as well as MRO and other jobs that require cutting in tight spaces from time to time.
Metabo 12V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Specifications
- Model: Metabo PowerMaxx SSE 12 BL
- Voltage: 12V
- No-Load Strokes: 0 – 3000 spm
- Stroke Length: 0.629 in.
- Length: 12.4 in.
- Weight: 3.5 lbs w/ battery
- Warranty: 3-year
- Price: $149 (bare tool)