Accessory Reviews

DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades


When we got together a bunch of cordless reciprocating saws to see who would come out as the top performer, we also had the opportunity to test several different reciprocating saw blades. In the mix were the new DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades for both wood and metal applications.

When DeWalt launched the FlexVolt line with more powerful cordless tools like their 12-inch miter saw, reciprocating saw, grinder, and more, they also launched a line of accessories engineered for higher performance in cordless tools.

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Improving performance specifically for cordless tools pretty much means that you want to increase the amount of work done on one battery charge. There are a couple of ways we can see that tangibly in results. One is by a thinner cutting accessory. If you need to remove less material, it won’t take as much energy to complete the cut. The second way is to improve the cutting speed. By optimizing blade teeth, you can cut through material faster which also requires less energy from your tool.

The ideal cordless tool accessory would take advantage of both. However, it’s not quite that cut and dry. A thinner blade could also lead to an increased chance of blade wobble and vibration. A faster cutting solution might be having to sacrifice durability to make a quicker cut.

So where do the DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades fit into this sector?

DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades

DeWalt FlexVolt Wood Reciprocating Saw Blades

DeWalt FlexVolt Wood Reciprocating Saw Blades are made from high speed steel. This is a move away from the carbide teeth that we saw on the new Milwaukee Ax blade and Diablo’s Demo Demon blades. As we’ve seen, carbide gives reciprocating saw blades the ability to cut through all kinds of material while maintaining a fast cutting speed.

DeWalt FlexVolt DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades Review Saw Blades 01

To optimize speed in wood cutting applications, including nail embedded wood, the teeth are arranged in a 4/6 variable tooth pattern. That’s a pretty aggressive configuration that in practice does cut very quickly. In fact, when tested it up against the carbide blades from Milwaukee and Diablo, DeWalt was absolutely right in the mix, cutting just a couple of hundredths of a second slower.

Where you might run into an issue is cutting nail embedded wood. The aggressive tooth pattern is wide enough in places for the shaft of the nail to fit in between teeth and could potentially sheer them off.

DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades Review

In addition to the tooth pattern, these DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades have a shorter height and a thinner kerf than the carbide models. While the taller, thicker blades were more stable, there wasn’t an undue amount of vibration transferred from the DeWalt blades.

So if the cutting speed is slower – even though it’s by a slim margin – and the lifespan of carbide is higher, why not just buy carbide blades?

The answer that lies in the price. Depending on the length of the blade you can spend anywhere from $10-$20 per blade for carbide teeth. On the other hand you can pick up a pack of five 6-inch DeWalt FlexVolt Wood Reciprocating Saw Blades for $15.99. It doesn’t take a math genius to see that a little over three dollars per blade is a lot easier on the wallet.

DeWalt FlexVolt Wood Reciprocating Saw Blades Key Features

  • Engineered to maximize runtime
  • 4/6 tooth pattern for fast cuts
  • High-speed steel teeth for long life and durability

DeWalt FlexVolt Wood Reciprocating Saw Blades Specifications

  • Models: DWAFV466, DWAFV496
  • Length Available: 6″, 9″
  • TPI: 4/6 Variable
  • Blade Type: Taper
  • Material Application: Wood
  • Pack Size: 5
  • Price: (DWAFV466) $15.99, (DWAFV496) $19.99

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DeWalt FlexVolt Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades

Like the wood cutting blades, the DeWalt FlexVolt Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades are made from high speed steel. They also feature a variable tooth pattern, this time in a 14/18 configuration.

DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades Review

A lot of people have been wowed by Diablo’s thick metal cutting blades with their relatively low tooth count and ability to cut through some crazy metal. What blades like that lack is the ability to cut through the thinner metals effectively like the EMT found all over jobsites. DeWalt’s 14/18 tooth configuration is much better suited for the kind of cutting.

DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades Review

Again, the use of high-speed steel for the teeth instead of carbide means that the blade won’t last as long as carbide blades. However, DeWalt is able to go with a thinner kerf and thinner overall blade than the carbide competition which helps the efficiency in cordless tools. Also helping with efficiency and lifespan of the blade is a tough coat finish that helps reduce heat buildup. As you cut through metal, this finish will start to wear away, but it does result in more cuts on the blade before you reach failure.

We ended up using these blades in our cordless recip saw shootout for the EMT test. Vibration is tough to judge in these fast tests, but they certainly cut well. Particularly if you use a soft start – whether it’s built into the tool or you feather the trigger – these blades will cut quickly once they dig in.

 

Pro Tip: Always feather the start of your cut with a reciprocating saw in metal or use a saw with a soft start. The cut will start faster, eliminate the jumping around, and you’ll extend the life of your blade.

Just like we saw with the wood blades, the DeWalt FlexVolt Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades are much less expensive than carbide. A five-pack will run you less than $15 for the 6-inch size and $18.39 for the 8-inch size. You can also pick up an 8-piece set that includes both wood and metal blades for $19.99

DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades Review

DeWalt FlexVolt Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades Key Features

  • Engineered to maximize runtime
  • 14/18 Tooth pattern for fast cuts
  • Tough coat finish helps to reduce heat build up for efficient cuts
  • High-speed steel teeth for long life and durability

DeWalt FlexVolt Metal Reciprocating Saw Blades Specifications

Models: DWAFV461418, DWAFV481418
Length Available: 6″, 8″
TPI: 14/18
Blade Type: Taper
Material Application: Metal
Pack Size: 5
Price: (DWAFV461418) $14.39, (DWAFV481418) $18.39

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The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, choosing DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades is all about managing trade-offs. The long life and ability to cut crazy materials you lose by not going with carbide are traded for thinner blades that still have fast cutting characteristics to extend your battery life on cordless reciprocating saws. And of course, they are much less expensive.

If demolition work with a reciprocating saw is relatively small part of your professional workday, then the DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw Blades are a solid, low cost option compared to carbide blades. However, if you do a lot of demo work with your reciprocating saw, I’d recommend you take a serious look at carbide because of its ability to cut through tougher materials and give you longer life.

 

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