Sawzall Vs Reciprocating Saw – Are They the Same?

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Back in 1951, Milwaukee Electric Tool Company launches a brand-new tool to the world—the Sawzall. Since then, there’s been some confusion when comparing Sawzall vs reciprocating saw, specifically whether they are the same thing.


The short answer is yes, they are the same—a Sawzall is a reciprocating saw.

Sawzall Vs Reciprocating Saw – What’s in a Name?

The Sawzall is simply Milwaukee’s proprietary name for its line of corded and cordless reciprocating saws. Because they were the first to bring one to market, people began to call that type of tool a Sawzall.

Of course, no tool manufacturer worth their salt is going to sit by while such a game-changing tool takes over the industry. Similar to the way many people call all tissues Kleenex or all self-adhering bandages Bandaids, many people call all reciprocating saws Sawzalls, no matter what brand it is. Today, nearly every power tool manufacturer makes at least one reciprocating saw, and most make several models covering corded and cordless power sources, different power levels, and even distinctive styles, such as compact and one-hand.


It’s not like bourbon and whiskey, where all bourbon is whiskey but only some whiskey is bourbon because of objective differences in the fundamental formula. All Sawzalls are reciprocating saws. For that matter, even Milwaukee Hackzalls are reciprocating saws.

It’s correct to say that not all reciprocating saws are Sawzalls, though. Only Milwaukee reciprocating saws can be Sawzalls, but there’s no difference in the fundamental design of the tool. Every single one uses electric power to move a blade back and forth to make cutting much more efficient than if you were using a hand saw. Whether you call it a Sawzall or a reciprocating saw, it’s the same type of tool.

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