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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Brushless motor
- Orbital action
- Active blade ejection
- Rafter hook
- LED light
- Smart controls (only available with Milwaukee’s One-Key Sawzall)
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.
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.
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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