One-hand reciprocating saws are making their way deeper into the 18V market. Milwaukee’s had their M18 Hackzall model out for quite a while and recently brought out a brushless version. Bosch has a compact model that’s been around for more than a year as well. Now it’s Metabo’s turn as they expand their cordless construction tool lineup. So where does the Metabo 18V compact reciprocating saw fit in?
- Smallest one-hand design we’ve tested
- Very lightweight
- Slow cutting speed
- Price is a bit high for the performance you get
Metabo’s 18V compact reciprocating saw is the lightest and smallest we tested, making it a great option for hard to reach areas. It’s a slow cutting saw, though, so save it for PVC, conduit, and copper pipe jobs.
Buy it if you’re an electrician or plumber in need of a small reciprocating saw to supplement your go-to workhorse. Pass if you’re looking for top-tier cutting speed and vibration control.
The overall design is the same that you see from Milwaukee and Bosch, but it has a little smaller footprint. While it’s nearly the same length (though a little shorter), you can really see the difference with a narrower side profile.
That smaller profile offers some weight reduction. Our scale reads the bare tool dead on 3 pounds, more than a full pound less than Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel Hackzall. With a compact battery, it’s still under the 4-pound mark at 3 pounds, 14 ounces.
Rubber overmold runs from the front grip, over the top, to the main handle. This offers a comfortable gripping surface and provides some additional drop protection. The main handle is a little larger in diameter than I prefer, but Pros with larger hands will find it’s a natural fit.
- Twist Blade Lock: standard no-frills twist lock for the blade
- LED Light: oriented above the blade, it’s as effective as a bottom-oriented light
- Rubber Overmold: runs from the front, across the top, to the main handle and provides a comfortable grip and some drop protection
- Adjustable, Non-Pivoting Shoe: a simple thumb button on the right side gives the shoe some length adjustment but it does not pivot during the cut
Like its competition, the Metabo 18V compact reciprocating saw isn’t long on features. I like the fact that the shoe length easily adjusts without the need for tools. With a spring-loaded thumb button, it’s the best design I’ve seen. I wish all my reciprocating saw were as easy. However, it seems like Metabo missed an opportunity by not allowing the shoe to pivot.
From a feature standpoint, the only other natural progression left is to add a brushless motor somewhere down the line.
When you’re looking at a reciprocating saw’s specifications, the stroke length and speed tell you a lot about theoretical cutting speed. The faster and longer the stroke, the more linear inches the blade covers each minute. looking at several popular models in the compact class, we can see that Metabo is on the lower side.
Theoretical Cutting Speeds
- Metabo 18V Compact Reciprocating Saw: 1/2″ x 3100 SPM = 1550 in/min
- Milwaukee M12 Fuel Hackzall: 5/8″ x 3000 SPM = 1875 in/min
- Milwaukee M18 Hackzall: 3/4″ x 3000 SPM = 2250 in/min
- Bosch 18V Compact Reciprocating Saw: 7/8″ x 3050 SPM = 2669 in/min
- Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall: 7/8″ x 3000 SPM = 2656 in/min
Specifications may be valuable on paper, but there’s a reason you still play the game. I made cuts in 2x4s, PVC, and EMT – materials that plumbers and electricians are likely to come by and are well-suited to the lower-powered compact class.
It seems the specifications are a pretty good indication this time around. The cutting speed is noticeably slower than Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel on the high end. It’s not inadequate, though. For those shorter cuts in tight spaces, it does a nice job.
The other end of performance for any reciprocating saw is vibration. The aggressive nature of the cut can beat you up and leave your arms fatigued. These compact models aren’t as powerful and by nature tend to have less vibration. While there a significant decrease over a full-size cordless recip saw, there’s still some here. However, it’s on par with most of the other models I’ve used. Again, the M18 Fuel stands out ahead of the group.
Tim Johnson at Outdoor Power Equipment Reviews took a look at the Metabo 18V compact reciprocating saw from an irrigation point of view. Check out his review here.
The Bottom Line
The Metabo 18V compact reciprocating saw enters the fray with cutting speeds that are a little slower and vibration that’s on par with the rest of the 18V group. Where it sets itself apart is in weight – more than a pound lighter than its competition. That’s a big deal for plumbers, electricians, HVAC Pros, and other users that turn to a compact model in tight spaces and overhead cuts. And you can get a bit more out of the saw by going with one of Metabo’s LiHD battery packs.
When it comes to price, Metabo settles into the middle of the 18V pack at $129 as a bare tool. That’s on the upper end for brushed models, but still underneath brushless. There aren’t any kit options at the moment. That’s not terribly surprising given the type of tool it is. If you’re already on the platform, it’s a nice addition for Pros that need a light-duty reciprocating saw.
Metabo 18V Compact Reciprocating Saw Specifications
- Model: Metabo 602266890
- Power Source: Metabo 18V battery
- Stroke Length: 1/2″
- Stroke Speed: 3100 SPM
- Weight: 3lb bare, 3 lb 14 oz with 2.0 aH battery
- Warranty: 3 years
- Price: $132.42