October 20, 2021

Professional Tool Reviews for Pros

DeWalt DCS380 20V Max Reciprocating Saw Review

The DeWalt DCS380L1 20V MAX Lithium-Ion Reciprocating Saw takes the best of the old 18V tool and combines it with new electronics, a more powerful motor and updated battery technology. With an industry leading 1-1/8″ stroke, an adjustable depth of cut shoe and a unique four-position blade clamp, many professional contractors and tradesmen have come to depend on the tried and true DeWalt cordless reciprocating saw. This new saw builds on this reputation and adds a longer run time and a more comfortable grip thanks to the new 20V MAX battery technology.

DeWalt DCS380 20V Max Reciprocating Saw
PTR Review
  • Cutting Speed 7.9
  • Vibration 5.0
  • Feature Set 5.0
  • Size 10.0
  • Value 7.6

The DeWalt DCS380 can stand a few upgrades in the form of vibration control, a brushless motor, and orbital action if it wants to compete at the top of the 18V/20V Max class. However, it's still a saw that can get the job done.

Overall Score 6.5 (out of 10)

The DeWalt DCS380 20V Max Reciprocating Saw took the best of the old 18V tool and combined it with better electronics, a more powerful motor, and an updated battery technology.

This DeWalt cordless reciprocating saw added longer run time and more power thanks to its move to 20V Max lithium-ion battery technology. However, that was way back in 2011 and competitors haven’t been standing still. Arguably, neither has DeWalt. They’ve added one-hand, compact, and FlexVolt models, all with brushless motors. They just haven’t upgraded the standard 20V Max model yet.

Editor’s note: this review originally published in Jun 2011. It has been updated to reflect its performance in our head-to-head review.


  • Very good thick metal cutting speed
  • Lever action blade release
  • 4-position blade lock
  • Pivoting, tool-free adjustable shoe
  • Most compact and lightest in its class


  • Poor vibration control
  • Brushed motor
  • No orbital action

Cutting Performance

For many demolition and construction projects, contractors and tradesmen know that having a good reciprocating saw is an indispensable tool. Many times, it is the only type of saw that will work for the situation.

The DeWalt DCS380 has the features and functionality that we would have expected for a professional-grade cordless model at its launch, but newer saws are pushing performance further.

The saw’s 1-1/8″ stroke length and 3000 strokes per minute still make for relevant cutting speeds, though. Thanks to its lack of an orbital action, wood cutting is on the slower side, though it’s not obnoxiously slow.

The DeWalt 20V Max Reciprocating Saw competes better in metal cutting. It’s less than 2 seconds behind the leaders when cutting 2-inch EMT and in the top 3 when we’re cutting rebar.

DeWalt DCS380 20V Max Reciprocating Saw

We were skeptical about DeWalt’s ability to keep up with newer models considering its age. However, it’s a capable saw, especially if you’re cutting a lot of PVC, copper pipe, EMT, or even rebar.

Vibration Control

As part of the first generation of lithium-ion reciprocating saws, it’s understandable that vibration control wasn’t the primary design focus on this model. That shows in our testing as DeWalt easily had the most vibration of the saws we tested, scoring just 50 points for vibration control.

DeWalt DCS380 20V Max Reciprocating Saw Features

One of the handiest features of this saw is the four-way multi-positional blade clamp that offers more versatility since it allows for easier flush cutting and reaching tight spaces. It’s something we see on other models from DeWalt, but other brands haven’t jumped on board yet.

DeWalt 20V Max Reciprocating Saw Side Lock

A pivoting adjustable shoe allows depth of cut control and can help to extend blade life. Adjusting the shoe is easy and is done by simply pressing the round yellow button up near the blade end of the saw.

Shaft locks are effective and mercifully tool-free when you need to remove or insert a blade. DeWalt’s lever on the outside of the front handle is a lot easier, though.

DeWalt 20V Max Reciprocating Saw Blade Release

The grip on this saw is slimmed down and has extra black rubber overmold which goes a long way in helping to make this tool more ergonomic.

The entire front portion of the saw is covered with a thick rubber shield that not only gives a good place to grip the barrel of the way but also helps to offer some vibration control and also protects the all-metal gear case that is inside.

Missing Features

Size and Weight

The DeWalt 20V Max Reciprocating Saw is the most compact and lightest in its class. It’s the only model to drop below 17 inches long, measuring just 16.6 inches.

As a bare tool, it’s 5.2 pounds and the 5.0Ah battery brings it up to 6.6 pounds. Considering the average weight for this group was 8.4 pounds and the heavyweight was 9.7 pounds (Hilti SR 6-A22), it’s a good choice for overhead work.

DeWalt DCS380 20V Max Reciprocating Saw


The DeWalt DCS380 20V Max Reciprocating Saw comes in a tough hard case that also includes one 5.0Ah battery and a charger that’s is compatible with all the 12V and 20V MAX series of batteries. It’s backed by a three-year limited warranty, one-year free service contract, and a 90-day money-back guarantee. The kit (DCS380P1) runs $259 (we saw it for $169 recently on Amazon) or you can snag the bare tool for $99.

If you want a performance boost while sticking with DeWalt, check out the 60V Max FlexVolt version. It runs $179 for the bare tools, $299 for a single-battery kit, and $379 for a two-battery kit.

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The DeWalt DCS380 can stand a few upgrades in the form of vibration control, a brushless motor, and orbital action if it wants to compete at the top of the 18V/20V Max class. However, it’s still a saw that can get the job done.

Buy it if you’re already using DeWalt 20V Max or FlexVolt batteries—$99 is a pretty easy price to swallow. Pass if vibration control is a high priority or you want top-end cutting speed.

Buy it on Amazon Buy it at Acme Tools

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