Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw RS582901

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw RS582901 EMT Cutting

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw Features Lightweight, Compact Design for Homeowners

We brought in the Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw as part of our comprehensive head-to-head reciprocating saw testing. As a member of the 18V Compact class, we took a look at cutting speeds, vibration, features, size, value, and more!


  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Excellent price ($79.99 bare, $89.99 kit)
  • 5-year warranty is better than many Pro models


  • No orbital mode
  • Not as feature-rich as Pro-level compact models

How Fast Does the Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw Cut?

One of the benchmark tests we run for every reciprocating saw is how fast it cuts in nail-embedded wood. In 2 x 10 pressure-treated pine with five 16D galvanized nails set in it, the saw needs an average of 21.66 seconds to make it through.

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw RS582901 Wood Cutting

That’s about 5 seconds slower than DeWalt and Makita in the same category. However, it’s still significantly faster than the 18V one-handed and 12V saws we tested.

We also tested how fast it cuts through 3/4″ EMT—a common thin wall material electricians come across. It was still slower than the others in the class, needing 3.66 seconds on average to make the cut.

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw RS582901 EMT Cutting

There are a couple of good takeaways here. First, keep the results in perspective of the much lower price you’re paying. The cutting speeds we saw are not obnoxiously slower than the Pro models. For a saw that’s targeting DIYers, it’s actually a very encouraging result.

One question to ask of any reciprocating saw is “what materials can I cut?” With a 3,000 SPM stroke rate and 1″ stroke length, this model is in a solid middle-ground for wood, metal, and PVC cutting. With a pruning blade, it can be a big help around the yard, too.

This Skil reciprocating saw can handle each of those effectively, though its wood cutting would be faster if it had orbital action.

How Much Vibration Does it Have?

The more you drop down in size (and price for that matter), the less you expect to see in terms of vibration control. With only 3 saws competing in this class, Skil isn’t so bad, though. We took the average from three separate testers (Clint DeBoer, Tom Gaige, and me). It finished with a vibration control score of 79 points—29 points higher than DeWalt!

As long as you keep the shoe engaged, the saw is pretty manageable.

How Big is it?

The Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw fits in the compact class, but it’s actually designed more like standard saws than the “squashed” styles of the others in this class. However, it’s much lighter and shorter than full-size 18V models.

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw RS582901 Size Comparison

As a bare tool, it weighs 3.7 pounds and 4.6 pounds with a 2.0Ah battery. That’s nearly 2 full pounds lighter than other compact saws in the class and as much as 5 pounds lighter than the full-size saws we tested!

On the length side, it’s 16.1″. That’s a few inches longer than DeWalt and Makita, but 1″ – 2″ less than most of the full-size models.

The Pro compact models help you get into tight spots better, but you need to drop into the 12V class to get consistently lighter saws than this one.

How Much Does it Cost?

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw RS582901

If you already have Skil PWRCore 20V batteries, you can snag the bare tool for $79.99. However, at the time I’m writing this, the kit with a charger and 2.0Ah battery is $89.99. $10 for a battery and charger? Yes, please! As a kit, the price is well under half of what you pay for Pro models.

Skil backs this reciprocating saw with a 5-year warranty.

Anything Else I Should Know?

The shoe has an adjustable length, but you need to use a hex wrench to loosen it first. The wrench stores on the saw, so at least it’s close by when you need it.

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw Shoe Adjustment

Other Design Notes

  • Tool-free twist lock on the shaft
  • Lockout switch above the trigger
  • Variable speed trigger, no variable speed dial
  • LED light
  • No rafter hook
  • No spring blade eject
  • Brushed motor

The Bottom Line

The Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw gives up some of the performance and features you see on Pro-level models in the same compact class, but let’s keep its target user in mind. As a DIY-focused model, it’s very lightweight and easy to use with cutting performance that’s pleasantly surprising to find on a reciprocating saw at this price point.

Buy it if you’re looking for a lightweight, affordable reciprocating saw that still has good cutting speed and vibration control in all materials. Pass if you’re looking for one that has performance competing directly with professional models.

Skil 20V Compact Reciprocating Saw Specifications

  • Model: Skil RS582901
  • Power Source: Skil PWRCore 20V battery
  • No-Load Speed: 3,000 SPM
  • Stroke Length: 1″
  • Price: $79.99 bare, $89.99 with 2.0Ah battery
  • Warranty: 5 years

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