DeWalt FlexVolt 60V MAX Reciprocating Saw
If you're already on DeWalt's FlexVolt line, this is a purchase you can go ahead and make. However, it's not the kind of tool that is going to compel you to jump into the FlexVolt battery platform on its own.
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Next up in our look at DeWalt’s FlexVolt line of tools is the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw. The reciprocating saw dates back to 1951 and has certainly come a long way since its original designers first envisioned a powered hacksaw. Blade technology has reached the point where the reciprocating saw is now considered a dedicated demolition tool thanks to the versatility of being able to cut through both wood and metal among other materials.
The DeWalt FlexVolt Reciprocating Saw runs at 60V Max (54V nominal) and has a quite a few people talking about what it may be able to do that other cordless reciprocating saws won’t be able to reach at their lower voltages. Having just wrapped up our cordless reciprocating saw shootout, we’ve had plenty of time to work with the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw. So what should you expect?
Let’s find out.
Features Worth Noting
When it comes to the actual features, the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw has a pretty basic set when you consider it against heavy-duty corded models. However, some of the features that seem to be lacking – like orbital action – are missing on the majority of cordless reciprocating saws.
There are several things the FlexVolt reciprocating saw does have going for it. Obviously, it’s running at a much higher voltage than other cordless saws currently on the market. Now we know voltage isn’t everything (remember, volts x amps = power in watts), but if tools like the FlexVolt Miter Saw have anything to say about it, then we should expect additional power over the 20V Max line.
The current battery is on par with other batteries in terms of watt hours at 108. However, that’s getting boosted by 50% when the new FlexVolt battery arrives with 162 watt hours in early 2017. That will mainly affect the run time, but should give a slight power boost as well.
DeWalt runs a pretty standard and efficient 3000 strokes per minute and 1-1/8 inch stroke length. While it’s running, there is an LED light to eliminate any dark areas and a variable speed trigger will help you keep your cut under control.
Blade changes are simple using the blade clamp lever on the outside of the upper housing.
One feature that seems to be missing is the ability to adjust the length of the shoe. It still pivots, but you won’t be able to lengthen or shorten it to get more use out of your blade length. Another feature missing that’s certainly not standard, but it’s always nice to have, is a rafter hook.
Ergonomically, there are some challenges to overcome with the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw. The biggest one is the weight. As a bare tool, the saw weighs in at 7.76 pounds and jumps up to 10.08 pounds with the current FlexVolt battery. That’s the heaviest of the saws we just tested, but very close to what Makita and Milwaukee weigh.
After the weight issue, things start to look up. The back handle features DeWalt’s contoured design and rubber overmold, making for a comfortable grip. The upper housing is also fairly natural to hold with your support hand.
In our testing, the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw fared pretty well for cutting speed. When cutting through pressure treated 2 x 12 with five 16D nails embedded in it, the saw made it through in 19.44 seconds which was good enough fourth-place, less than 2/10 of a second behind Milwaukee. This is where having an orbital cutting action would have really helped the FlexVolt stand out.
In metal cutting, the FlexVolt began to rise up the ranks. It was in second place overall, cutting through three pieces of 1 inch EMT and two pieces of 3/4 inch EMT pipe in just 10.65 seconds.
Under load, the ergonomics were a little shaky. The weight of the saw was the biggest factor, combining with vibration to fatigue our arms more quickly than the other saws we tested. There’s no built in vibration reduction technology mentioned by DeWalt, so there was more felt vibration reaching our arms than most of the other saws.
The Bottom Line
DeWalt has left themselves room for improvement with the FlexVolt reciprocating saw. Adding orbital action should immediately put it at or near the top of cutting performance in wood applications. It’s already near the top when cutting through metal, so this addition would make it one of the highest performing cordless reciprocating saws available.
If your tool performs like a beast, you can forgive beast-like weight. I think that will be the case with the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw once they get the performance where it needs to be. However, what would really send this saw over the top would be to develop some anti-vibration technology to help counter the fatigue that comes from using a recip saw.
And yes, I’d like to have a rafter hook.
While the voltage is the highest of the cordless saws we tested, the overall battery capacity is still fairly average. It’s only a matter of weeks until the higher capacity FlexVolt battery becomes available and boosts it by 50%.
So where does that leave us – is the DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw a stud or dud?
Well, neither. Solid cutting performance helps to overcome the ergonomic limitations and it still earns my recommendation for professional users. It’s certainly a far cry from the reciprocating saws we were using just a few years ago, particularly in the cordless sector. If you’re already on DeWalt’s FlexVolt line, this is a purchase you can go ahead and make. However, it’s not the kind of tool that is going to compel you to jump into the FlexVolt battery platform on its own.
DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw Key Features
- Power of corded with the freedom of cordless
- 0 – 3,000 SPM and a 1-1/8″ stroke length for fast and efficient cutting
- LED light helps to illuminate dark jobsite work areas
- Rubber overmold grip for comfort
- Keyless lever-action blade clamp for quick and easy blade changes
- Variable speed trigger allows user to instantly control speed
- Pivoting shoe provides leverage for different applications
DeWalt FlexVolt 60V Max Reciprocating Saw Specifications
- Model: DeWalt DCS388
- Power Tool Type: Cordless
- System: 60V
- Stroke Length: 1-1/8″
- Stroke Per Minute: 0-3000 SPM
- Variable-Speed Trigger: Yes
- Anti-Slip Comfort Grip: Yes
- Adjustable Shoe: Pivoting
- For Metal Cutting: Yes
- For Wood Cutting: Yes
- Keyless Blade Clamp: Yes
- Tool Height: 9.2″
- Tool Length: 17.725″
- Tool Weight: 10.1 lbs.
- Warranty: 3 years limited, 1-year free service, 90-day money back guarantee
- Other models: DCS388B (Bare), DCS388T2 (Kit)
- Kit Includes: DCS388B, (2) Batteries, Fast Charger, Blade, Contractor Bag
- Price: DCS388B (Bare) $179.00, DCS388T2 (Kit) $379.00