So when the M18 Hackzall 2625-21 ($199, Ohio Power Tool) was first mentioned the stats looked fairly similar to the M12 Hackzall with a slightly larger stroke ½” vs ¾” with M18. Even when comparing them side by side (see pictures here) they looked similar in size, not counting the larger M18 battery. When it came time to test them out however the Milwaukee M18 Hackzall was clearly a different animal than its M12 little brother.
Out of The Box
The Hackzall has a very low price point; with the “Tool Only” version 2625-20 at only $109 it is far less expensive than the M18 Sawzall $199 price. The tool is very light and well balanced in the hand as well as claims the lowest vibration levels “in its class”. The 2625-21 kit also has a pretty low price but only includes (1) M18 XC battery and a work bag instead of a plastic case, some people prefer. These units will also work with the compact M18 batteries for ultra light weight although personally I would recommend using the larger XC batteries as any saw is going limit your battery life.
Making the Cut
To test the M18 Hackzall it seemed more appropriate to compare it to another 18 volt Recip Saw rather than the M12 Hackzall, in this case the Bosch 18v. Not exactly fair because the Bosch has a more aggressive 1-1/8” stroke but it’s just more fun to have a Bosch vs Milwaukee showdown. In the picture you can see a very rough comparison of shear speed, Bosch full size recip on Right and Milwaukee Hackzall on Left. The cuts below were done on a 5 second count and did the test a few times with similar results. I would say this is a fairly accurate in terms of speed as the Milwaukee was slower although much more maneuverable when holding and cutting pallets.
If given the option between the Bosch or Milwaukee cordless I would grab the Hackzall on a jobsite every time even though in the test it was slightly slower. Why? It is just way easier to cut when you can hold the wood, drywall, pvc, metal, etc with one hand and cut with the other hand. If you take the time to get out your JawHorse, my guess is you are going to be doing a lot of cutting and should be using a corded Sawzall anyway. For a cordless cutting tool the M18 Hackzall could easily be the go to cutting tool. This tool was provided for the test but we like to think that hasn’t affected our opinion. Checkout the Youtube video below for more details: