Metabo 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Review SSE 18 LTX BL Cordless Saw Reviews

Cordless Reciprocating Saws

Pro Rating
Final Thoughts

The Metabo SSE 18 LTX BL brushless reciprocating saw is a big step forward from the previous model. It’s a good all-rounder, excelling in wood cutting and certainly capable in metal. Metabo’s promotional video even demonstrates it cutting concrete. There are still a few features Metabo might consider adding in the next generation and that battery release is something you should look at. Even so, this is a quality saw that Metabo has done a nice job upgrading.

Overall Score 4 Pro Review

Metabo 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Review SSE 18 LTX BL


Metabo 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Ups Metabo’s LiHD Cordless Game

Admittedly, Metabo’s cordless reciprocating saw game has been fairly weak compared to other brands’ advancements. That’s all changing and we got our hands on the updated Metabo 18V brushless reciprocating saw for some hands-on trigger time to see if it’s ready to demo with the big boys.

Pros

  • Fastest tested speed in nail-embedded wood in its class
  • Lever action blade release on the front handle
  • Lock-on button makes longer cuts easier
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Slower thin metal cutting
  • No orbital action, variable speed dial, or rafter hook
  • Battery can come loose if you bump the release on the back

Recommendation

The Metabo SSE 18 LTX BL brushless reciprocating saw is a big step forward from the previous model. It’s a good all-rounder, excelling in woodcutting and certainly capable in metal. Metabo’s promotional video even demonstrates it cutting concrete.

There are still a few features Metabo might consider adding in the next generation and that battery release is something you should look at. Even so, this is a quality saw that Metabo has done a nice job upgrading.

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Metabo 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Testing Results

Where it Fits

We have four main classes for 18V cordless reciprocating saws: one-hand, compact, standard, and Super Saw.

The Metabo SSE 18 LTX BL fits in the standard class. It’s not as large as the Super Saws and while Metabo does share the class’ advanced battery and electronics, its physical and motor size is more appropriate in the standard class.

Cutting Speed

We charged up a 5.5Ah Metabo LiHD battery and got ready to run the saw through our standard benchmark tests. The saw has a slower 2700 SPM top speed to go along with a longer 1 1/4-inch stroke length. We were anxious to see how the motor would translate that into cutting performance. It all started with nail embedded wood.

Nail-Embedded Wood

With our 2 x 10 PT pine loaded with 5 framing nails, we set a 5-pound weight on the saw and pulled the trigger. After averaging out the cut speeds, the Metabo 18V brushless reciprocating saw landed with an 8.06-second average—taking over first place in its class by more than a full second!

Metabo 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Review SSE 18 LTX BL

Three of the Super Saws (Metabo HPT MultiVolt, Milwaukee M18 Fuel Super Sawzall, and DeWalt FlexVolt Gen 2) are the only cordless models we tested with faster speeds in this test.

That leaves us wondering how much more speed it might have picked up with a selectable orbital action.

Thin Metal

To test thin metal cutting, we brought in some standard 2-inch EMT and switched over to an 18 TPI blade. In this test, the saw averaged 6.40 seconds to make the cut. While it wasn’t the slowest of the group, it was near the bottom and well off the pace of Milwaukee’s 3.75-second leading average (2721 One-Key model).

Thick Metal

For thick metal cutting, we turned to #5 rebar and a Lenox Lazer CT carbide thick metal cutting blade.

In this test, Metabo picked up some ground. Its 10.53-second average finished in the middle of the pack but didn’t threaten Kobalt’s 7.59-second average at the front.

Vibration

Metabo is one of only a few brands to publicize vibration measurements on their reciprocating saws. Cutting in particle board, it rates 20.3 m/s² and drops to 19.4 m/s² when sawing beams.

Subjectively compared to its peers, it does a decent job. It doesn’t rattle your teeth out like some models, but it’s not as smooth as Bosch’s GSA18V-125, either.

The overmold Metabo uses helps out, especially around the front handle where you feel vibration directly between the motor and the blade.

One Thing to Watch For…

Metabo’s battery release button is on the back of the tool and that can pose a problem for some users. If you tend to cut with the back of the saw close to you or even set it against your hip as you fatigue, you can bump the release and disconnect the battery.

Not all of our testing team experienced this, so it’s really just about how you hold the saw in relation to your body as you’re cutting.

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Feature Set

If you’re familiar with Metabo’s cordless line, you already know their addition of a brushless motor is a big deal for this saw. There are plenty of other features worth pointing out as well as a few they’ve chosen to leave off.

Additional Features

  • Adjustable pivoting shoe: the release on the left makes adjusting the shoe length easy, even when you’re wearing gloves
  • Lever action blade release: the simple lever action release on the right side is much easier than twist locks on the shaft
  • LED light: positioned above the blade
  • Lock-on button

The lock-on button is not something we see a lot on cordless reciprocating saws. The decision to add it to the Metabo 18V brushless reciprocating saw is a welcome one, though. When you’re having to make long cuts and have to adjust your grip along the way, it’s really helpful.

Missing Features

Ergonomics

Metabo does a nice job managing the size of this saw while still giving you the advantages of its advanced LiHD batteries. Bare, it’s an incredibly light 5.4 pounds and bumps up to just 7.6 pounds with a 5.5Ah LiHD battery pack. When you’re cutting overhead, pop a 4.0Ah LiHD battery in to shave even more weight off.

Metabo 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Review SSE 18 LTX BL

For the length, it’s 17.9 inches, putting it in the middle of the pack.

Metabo strays from the traditional D-handle with this model, pivoting it forward. It took us some time to get used to it, but it really is in a more natural ergonomic position when you’re cutting at heights around your torso.

Things change if you’re having to cut above your head and the grip begins to lose that comfortable feel. To combat that, hit the lock-on button and shift your grip without worrying about keeping the trigger pressed.

Pricing

At the time we’re writing this, the Metabo 18V brushless reciprocating saw is set to retail for $179.99 as a bare tool. We don’t have kit pricing, but we do expect there to be one available, so you should be able to save over buying a battery and charger separately if this is your first Metabo 18V tool.

The Bottom Line

The Metabo SSE 18 LTX BL brushless reciprocating saw is a big step forward from the previous model. It’s a good all-rounder, excelling in woodcutting and certainly capable in metal. Metabo’s promotional video even demonstrates it cutting concrete.

There are still a few features Metabo might consider adding in the next generation and that battery release is something you should look at. Even so, this is a quality saw that Metabo has done a nice job upgrading.

Metabo 18V Brushless Reciprocating Saw Specifications

  • Model: Metabo SSE 18 LTX BL
  • Power Source: Metabo 18V battery
  • Stroke Rate: 0 – 2700
  • Stroke Length: 1 1/4-inch
  • Weight: 6.4 pounds bare, 7.6 pounds with 5.5.Ah LiHD battery
  • Length: 17.9 inches
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Price: $179.99 bare
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