Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless Reciprocating Saw Blends Solid Performance with Budget-Friendly Pricing
Skil’s PWRCore 20 compact reciprocating saw hits the DIY market well. It’s compact, lightweight, and well under $100 for the kit. On the other hand, the Skil PWRCore 20 brushless reciprocating saw performs on a completely different level with a design that’s much closer to professional models.
- Excellent cutting speed in wood
- Orbital action switch
- Excellent vibration control
- Handle doubles as a rafter hook
- Very good value rating
- Hex wrench required for shoe adjustment
How Fast Does the Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless Reciprocating Saw Cut?
We didn’t invite many DIY brands to our reciprocating saw shootout, but Skil held its own very well against Ryobi. In fact, it even out cut some of our Pro brands along the way.
In our nail-embedded wood cutting test, we ended up with a range of averages from 9.09 seconds to 16.16 seconds. The Skil PWRCore 20 brushless reciprocating saw was on the fast side of the scale, needing just 10.71 seconds to make the cut. It’s an impressive result that shows off why having orbital action is such a huge benefit when you’re cutting wood.
While the results weren’t as high in our metal cutting tests, Skil kept up with relevant speed in both thin and thick metals.
In out 2″ EMT speed test, Skil needed just 5.40 seconds on average. It’s on the lower side of the results, but the group had a tight range of 3.75 seconds (Milwaukee) to 5.81 seconds (Metabo HPT) with Ryobi as an outlier at 7.00.
Skil’s ranking improved a bit when we switched to #5 rebar in our thick metal test. Its average cutting speed was under 10 seconds (9.97) in a group that was as fast as 7.59 seconds (Kobalt) and as slow as 14.18 (Hilti).
Even when you’re comparing to the top professional brands, the takeaway is that Skil has excellent wood-cutting speeds and handles metal-cutting tasks on par with what we expect from anything we’d consider professional. As a Prosumer/DIY tool, its cutting speed is as good as it gets.
How Much Vibration Does it Have?
Skil doesn’t use the full-frame counterbalance system we see there, but it’s clear the design team has learned some things. Scoring 93 points for vibration control, the Skil 20V brushless reciprocating saw sits even with Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel One-Key Sawzall and only Bosch’s GSA18V-125 earns a better score in this class.
When you’re cutting, the vibration controls give you more forgiveness than most saws on the market. As a brand that focuses on the Prosumer/DIY market, it’s an important characteristic for a reciprocating saw. When you’re teaching the next generation of tool enthusiasts or maybe still honing your own technique, having some built-in grace is something your arms will thank you for.
Pro Tip: When you’re cutting, keep the shoe engaged against the material to reduce the vibration.
How Big is It?
The Skil PWRCore 20 brushless reciprocating saw looks and feels much more like a Pro model than a reduced size and performance version for DIYers. Its performance already proved it means business.
The saw measures 17.3″ from tip to tail, putting it among the more compact models in this class. Bosch (19.5″) and Hilti (18.6″) are the larger ones while the rest of the group settles in between 16.6″ (DeWalt) and 17.5″ (Ryobi).
Its weight is a very reasonable 6.3 pounds bare and 7.9 pounds with a 5.0Ah battery. With batteries, DeWalt’s DCS380 is the lightweight at 6.6 pounds, and Hilti tips the scales at 9.7 pounds.
What Other Features Does it Have?
Skil doesn’t pack a ton of extra features on this saw, but they hit the most important ones. A brushless motor and orbital action are the big ones that affect performance.
The saw doesn’t have a rafter hook in the traditional sense, but the handle is designed to work as one. Anything rigid enough to support the saw’s weight the thickness of 2x material (1-1/2″) or smaller is fair game.
In an ideal world, I’d like to have the show adjustment be tool-free. Realistically, I can live without it, especially if the performance is there. Skil has the performance and I don’t think its more basic feature set should discount it from your consideration.
- Pivoting, adjustable shoe (hex wrench required, stored onboard)
- Twist lock blade release on the shaft
- LED light
- Variable speed dial
- Rafter hook
- Spring blade ejection
- Smart controls (only found with Milwaukee One-Key)
How Much Does It Cost?
As a kit with a 4.0Ah battery and upgraded PWRJump charger, this model runs $189.99, but we’ve seen it at $149.00 recently. There’s no bare tool option at the moment.
As a kit, it’s the least expensive option in this class, though there are definitely some differences in the number and capacity of the batteries that come with others.
Overall, Skil still earns the highest value score in this class, with Ridgid and Makita also competing as good value buys.
The Bottom Line
The Skil PWRCore 20 brushless reciprocating saw’s performance and design make it a great option as an entry-level professional tool. If you’re looking for something for serious DIY/Prosumer use without the professional price tag, it’s the best we’ve tested.
Buy it as a budget-friendly option for professional use or as a primary saw for serious DIYers. Pass if you’re looking for something on the DIY side that’s lighter weight and more compact than Pro models.
Skil PWRCore 20 Brushless Reciprocating Saw Specs
- Model Number: Skil RS5884-1A
- Power Source: Skil PWRCore 20 battery
- Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
- Weight: 6.3 pounds bare, 7.9 pounds with 5.0Ah battery
- Length: 17.3″
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $189.99