Reciprocating saws, commonly known as Sawzalls in the trade, are not typically the go-to tool for professionals. They’re aggressive and rough, making them tiring to use if you’re not accustomed to them. But the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall, a compact and powerful reciprocating saw, is here to change that. This tool is a godsend for plumbers, electricians, HVAC professionals, and anyone who does light demo work. Let’s dive into why this saw is a game-changer.
Advantages of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall
- Excellent cutting speed
- Best-in-class vibration control
- The best 18V one-handed reciprocating saw we’ve tested
Shortcoming of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall
- Lack of adjustable length shoes
If you’re familiar with the M18 or M12 Fuel Hackzall models, the basic shape remains the same. However, the M18 Fuel Hackzall takes Sawzall’s inline design and angles the motor, resulting in a shorter and lighter tool. This design allows for comfortable two-handed use and effective one-handed operation in tight spaces.
Of course, the “fuel” name is a hot topic. Milwaukee’s PowerState brushless motor powers this saw, and the performance it delivers is impressive. In fact, our expert, Clint DeBoer, preferred the M12 Fuel Hackzall over the M18 Hackzall due to the brushless motor’s excellent performance in the 12V model. Now, with the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall in our hands, we wonder if the M12 Fuel will be the next tool he gives away.
In terms of additional features, there isn’t much to discuss. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall offers a simple twist blade lock, an LED light under the shoe for better illumination, rubber overmolding for a comfortable grip and added protection, and a swivel shoe that keeps the saw engaged with the material throughout the cut without requiring length adjustments.
Ergonomics: Lightweight and Comfortable
Aside from being lighter than full-size cordless reciprocating saws, one-handed reciprocating saws also boast better handle ergonomics. The M18 Fuel Hackzall, in particular, features a standard drill/impact driver handle and trigger, providing a natural and comfortable grip. While it falls in the middle in terms of weight among 18V compact class options, its locking switch is conveniently positioned within easy reach of your thumb and forefinger, enabling one-handed operation. Blade replacement, however, still requires the use of two hands.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall Performance
Naturally, we were curious if brushless motors offer enough performance improvement to justify an upgrade. Although these types of saws are typically used for lighter applications, we tested the M18 Fuel Hackzall on EMT, 2×4, and 2×6 materials to compare its performance to another new model in its class.
The M18 Fuel Hackzall boasts a 7/8″ stroke length and a 3000 SPM rate, providing an 1/8″ longer stroke length than the M18 Hackzall and 1/4″ longer than the M12 Fuel. While the Metabo 18V Compact Reciprocating Saw offers a 100 SPM advantage, it falls behind with a half-inch shorter stroke length. On the other hand, Bosch’s 18V model matches the 7/8″ stroke length and offers an extra 50 SPM.
In terms of theoretical cutting speeds, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall nearly claims the top spot, with Bosch having a slight edge. However, professionals know that cut speed and quality depend on other factors too, such as vibration control, swivel shoes, and orbital action (which none of these one-handed reciprocating saws include).
Real-World Cutting Experience
For clean wood and PVC, the cutting action of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall is incredibly smooth. Additionally, with a soft start applied to EMT, cutting through metal becomes just as smooth as desired. Once the saw teeth engage, the saw and blade effortlessly melt through the material. The experience is surprisingly comfortable compared to other saws on the market. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall has excellent cutting speeds and maintains control, making it faster than most of its counterparts.
The Bottom Line: A Strong Contender
With fast cuts, excellent vibration control, and comfortable ergonomics, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall is a true standout in the compact reciprocating saw category. While it doesn’t come with a plethora of bells and whistles, its performance outweighs any disappointment. Admittedly, an adjustable length shoe would have been a welcomed feature. Nonetheless, the benefits of upgrading to a brushless motor justify the slightly higher price tag when compared to brushed motor designs from Bosch and Metabo.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hackzall at a Glance
- Model: Milwaukee 2719
- Power supply: M18 red lithium battery
- Stroke frequency: 7/8″
- Stroke speed: 0 – 3000 SPM
- Length: 14″
- Height: 7″
- Width: 14″
- Weight: 4 lbs, 1 oz (bare), 5 lbs, 0 oz (with 2.0Ah battery), 5 lbs, 11 oz (with 5.0Ah battery)
- Warranty: 5 years
- Price: $159 (bare), $269 (kit with 5.0Ah battery)