The Skilsaw Buzzkill 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw follows the brand’s launch of a 13-amp version. That 13-amp saw introduced us to Buzzkill technology in a high-value package at just $99. The trade-off is that you don’t have many features to go along with it.
Skilsaw promised us a more powerful, more feature-rich saw to compete with the top 15-amp saws out there. I’ve been able to use it for a couple of months now, so let’s take a look at what you can expect if you’re in the market for a new reciprocating saw.
Editor’s note: this review originally published in August 2018. It has been updated to reflect the saw’s performance in our most recent head-to-head review.
- Top-ranked heavy-duty model
- Fastest cutting saw in all tested materials, corded or cordless
- Excellent vibration control
- Excellent value at $169
- Solid feature set
- Heavier and larger than other saws in it class
Standard Pro Features
- A Variable Speed Dial gives you better control when you need to govern your blade speed. The 5-speed dial is on the top right-hand side of the handle, making it easy to adjust with your thumb or forefinger.
- A Variable Speed Trigger lets you feather the cut on the fly to give you more control. Skilsaw’s two-finger trigger has a good balance of spring tension to help you feather when you need to but not so much that it causes finger fatigue.
- Orbital Action gives you aggressive cutting in wood that greatly improves cutting speeds. The single-action switch is on the left side of the motor.
- Tool-Free Blade Clamp: You should never have to find a tool to change the blade on a Pro-level reciprocating saw. The release is a standard twist lock on the shaft. The only issue is that it can recess back enough that you’ll need to feather it forward again to get your finger around the blade.
- An Adjustable Shoe lets you shift the portion of the blade cutting to extend its usable life. In a somewhat unusual move, you press a release below the housing. The shoe feels like it’s sticking, but it just needs to overcome its detent. Give it a little more pull and it slides out easily.
- Rafter Hook
- LED Light
Buzzkill technology is the main selling point for this saw. The Skilsaw Buzzkill 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw uses a full-frame counterbalance to reduce the amount of vibration that reaches your arms. Skilsaw likes to set up a demo that has beakers with colored liquid to show the difference between several popular saws and their own. But how effective is it in the real world?
It’s pretty much “son of a *****, why didn’t someone do this sooner?” kind of improvement. The difference is noticeable when you use the Buzzkill, but it might not be as dramatic as you expect the first time you make a cut. Where it really sets itself apart is when you use this model side-by-side with another one and put it through a variety of cuts. Having several reciprocating saws in the shop to test, that’s exactly what I did.
The difference is like getting off a dirt road onto newly paved asphalt – it’s that significant.
That said, our team judged Makita’s AVT system in its 15-amp model to be a notch better in vibration while cutting. Even though Buzzkill didn’t take home the top ranking, it’s still an incredibly effective advanced vibration control system.
There’s a trade-off for the vibration control you get, though. The Skilsaw Buzzkill 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw weighs in at a hefty 11.8 pounds without the cord on our scales. With most Pro-level saws coming in under 10 pounds, it’s a weight difference you’ll notice.
When you’re making vertical cuts from top to bottom, that weight can actually help you out and it’s not too much of a disadvantage on floor-level cuts. It’s when you need to cut overhead or horizontally at or above shoulder level that the weight really starts to fatigue your shoulders.
The overall footprint of the Skilsaw SPT44-10 is also larger than its competition. A lot of that comes from the need to house that large counterbalance. The overall length of the saw isn’t obscene, you’ll just notice extra width in front of the motor.
For grip, I don’t have any major complaints. The width of the main housing narrows down to give you a secure grip on the front, though I wouldn’t argue if Skilsaw narrowed the diameter down a little more. The main handle and trigger design are also agreeably comfortable, especially when you’re wearing gloves.
In our head-to-head review, Skilsaw topped the speed charts in every test against both corded and cordless reciprocating saws. In metal, wood, and mixed materials, it’s the fastest saw we’ve tested, period.
For our nail-embedded wood test (2 x 10 PT with 5 framing nails), the SPT44-10 needed an average of 5.99 seconds to make the cut. Its closest two competitors were Milwaukee’s top corded and cordless Super Sawzalls, wrapping up an elite group that broke the 7-second mark.
We took our nail-embedded wood and added a layer of plywood, flashing, and shingles to the mix. Again, Skilsaw blasted through with the fastest average, slowing to 9.25 seconds. Only Milwaukee’s 15-amp Super Sawzall joined it with an average under 10 seconds.
Moving to metal cutting, the Skilsaw Buzzkill melted through 2-inch EMT in just 3.45 seconds. Its leading speed had more competition from Milwaukee on the corded side along with Metabo HPT’s MutilVolt and Hilti’s 36V in the cordless arena.
With #5 rebar, it was another fast finish for Skilsaw. This time is needed 5.27 seconds to make the cut. Kobalt’s 13-amp model wasn’t too far behind at 5.81 seconds and Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Super Sawzall (5.89 seconds) also made it under the 6-second mark.
The results speak for themselves – if you’re looking for the fastest cutting reciprocating saw in any material, Skilsaw is what you want in your hands.
Price and Value
At $169, the Skilsaw Buzzkill 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw matches the premium saws out there from Makita and Milwaukee. Bosch and DeWalt are less but have smaller motors. Skilsaw’s cutting speed definitely hits the premium mark and it beats all the competition in vibration control. If those are your priorities, the Skilsaw SPT44-10 is a big win.
What you’ll need to balance is the fact that it is a larger, heavier saw.
The Bottom Line
The Skilsaw Buzzkill 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw dominates the competition in cutting speed, though there’s a weight increase that comes with it. Its price drop to $169 combined with the top cutting performance and advanced vibration control makes it one of the best values out there for a heavy-duty reciprocating saw.Get it on Amazon Get it at Acme Tools
Skilsaw Buzzkill 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw Features
- Tough 15 Amp motor provides power for all applications
- Patented Buzzkill technology delivers best in class in-line vibration suppression
- Variable speed trigger controls tool speed for cutting specialized materials
- Secure tool-less blade clamp holds up to hard job-site demands
- Oversize trigger provides flexibility to cut in multiple positions
- 1-1/4″ stroke length provides maximum cutting speed
Skilsaw Buzzkill 15-Amp Reciprocating Saw Specifications
- Model: Skilsaw SPT44-10
- Motor: 15 Amp
- Voltage: 120V
- Wattage: 1,600 W
- Weight: 11.3 lbs.
- Length: 21.7″
- Warranty: 1 year limited
- Price: $169