Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key Review
If Milwaukee One-Key technology makes sense to you from both a tool tracking and performance standpoint, then there's no reason to think twice about adding the One-Key Sawzall to your inventory.
Back in 1951, Milwaukee Tool invented the first electric hacksaw that would be able to saw through anything and hence named it the Sawzall. A lot has changed in the past 65 years, but the concept is still the same – use electrical power to move the blade back and forth quickly and replace the need to saw anything by hand. The latest revolution in reciprocating saw technology is the new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key.
The humble Sawzall may not seem the most likely candidate to receive One-Key technology from Milwaukee. However, Milwaukee had some compelling reasons to do so that we’re going to go into in just a minute. We initially saw the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key at Milwaukee’s New Product Symposium this past summer and were able to bring you some first impressions along with some practical application in a video that you can see here.
Since then, the One-Key Sawzall made its debut in Central Florida with Pro Tool Reviews in our cordless reciprocating saw shootout. We’ve had plenty of time to get to know it and now we’re ready to share our experience with you.
It’s no secret that Milwaukee builds a tough, durable tool and the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key is certainly no exception. It’s jobsite tough without compromise and lives up to the NBHD reputation Milwaukee thrives on.
The feature set is a curious mix, highlighted by One-Key. One-Key does more than just tool tracking for the M18 Fuel Sawzall – it brings it an entirely new identity. When it comes to woodcutting, there’s no real change. Pop your Milwaukee Ax blade in Mode 4 for high speed and cut away. Metal cutting is where the technology really comes into play.
Within the One-Key app, you can choose the blade you’re using with the material you’re cutting and the software will select the best settings for that application. Those settings include how fast the blade will move and whether or not to include a soft start.
What makes the feature set curious is that we get the top technology available but there’s no orbital action mode on the saw – a feature that’s nowhere near new.
Working around the saw, we find a host of standard features. The shoe is adjustable without the need for any tools, you have a standard lockout switch, and there’s a rafter hook.
The blade lock is down on the left side of the tool and is tool free, but is a slightly different design than the lever action found on most saws that use a similar mechanism. Milwaukee calls this their Quik-Lok system and it is more concealed than most. The mechanism is spring-loaded and snaps back into place when you let your finger off of. I found it to be a little tougher to use than a standard lever, yet extremely confident in its locking.
The first thing you notice about almost any tool when you pick it up is the weight. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key is fairly heavy, weighing in at just over 7.5 pounds bare. We tested it using Milwaukee’s 9.0 amp hour battery which boosted the weight up to almost 10 pounds. While that’s pretty heavy, both the DeWalt FlexVolt and Makita 18V X2 were even heavier with their batteries installed.
Handle ergonomics are decent, but not phenomenal. It’s actually tough to make the reciprocating saw that has what I would consider comfortable handle ergonomics. Both the D-handle and upper housing handle are fairly standard in shape for this class with some contour to the D-handle. The rubber overmold helps with grip and to dampen the vibration slightly.
Milwaukee doesn’t claim any specific vibration control with the One-Key Sawzall and it shows. Of the eight saws we tested, the Sawzall came in sixth place for the amount of perceived vibration felt during both wood and metal cutting. Reciprocating saws have come a long way in the past few years, so don’t let this ranking scare you away. While it didn’t finish near the top, it certainly didn’t numb our hands either.
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key came in third place in both our wood and metal cutting tests in our shootout. In our nail embedded wood test – 2 x 12 PT with five 16D galvanized nails – the Sawzall averaged 19.28 seconds per cut. That was nearly 7 seconds behind Makita and pushing 10 seconds behind the Ridgid Gen5X model. Introducing orbital action on the next model would help speed up woodcutting tremendously.
For metal cutting (three 1-inch and two 3/4-inch EMT pipes), the One-Key Sawzall was more competitive. It finished just 0.25 seconds behind DeWalt and 1.4 seconds behind Makita. Even though it was still in third-place, this is where we saw the greatest benefit with One-Key technology. Using the app, we let the software dial in the correct settings for the blade and the application. It employed soft start which helped the blade bite into the material more quickly and with more control. While this may have cost a little bit of time in overall speed, it also did less damage to the blade meaning we should spend less money in consumables. That’s always a benefit.
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key has most of the features we want on a Pro level reciprocating saw. The only thing really lacking is orbital action for woodcutting. One-Key technology is a major benefit when it comes to metal cutting along with the other benefits it brings like tool tracking.
Ergonomically, this Sawzall is on the heavy side, though you can mitigate that by going with a 5.0 amp hour battery instead of the 9.0 amp hour that we tested it with. Handle ergonomics and vibration under load are pretty average for this class of tool.
Cutting speed is among the top three in the industry. While it suffers from a lack of orbital action when cutting wood, it’s slightly slower speed in metal is not a negative. Letting the One-Key app handle your settings will result in better control and longer life in your blades.
You’ll pay a premium to have the added technology on top of one of the industries top saws. The bare tool will cost around $250 and the 9.0 amp hour kit will run you $549. That’s certainly not chump change, but going ahead with the higher capacity battery opens up other options for you like grabbing the M18 Fuel Miter Saw. If you want to split the difference, the 5.0 amp hour kit is available for $449.
There’s no doubt that the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key is a Pro level tool. The fact that there’s no orbital action is offset by the realization that no one else except for Ridgid has orbital action on their top cordless recip saws either. If Milwaukee One-Key technology makes sense to you from both a tool tracking and performance standpoint, then there’s no reason to think twice about adding the One-Key Sawzall to your inventory.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key Features
- Milwaukee One-Key Enabled
- 4 Customizable Cutting Modes
- Quik-Lok Concealed Tool-Free Blade Clamp
- Tool-Free Adjustable Shoe
- LED Work Light
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall with One-Key Specfications
- Model: Milwaukee 2721-20
- Voltage: 18V
- Power source: Milwaukee M18 RedLithium battery packs
- Stroke length: 1-1/8″
- No Load Speed: 0 – 3,000
- Orbital Action: No
- Vibration Control: No
- Weight (Bare): 7.54 pounds
- Weight (With 9.0 Ah Battery): 9.94 pounds
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $250 (bare) – $549 (multiple kit options)