My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.
This killer combo kit includes the 20V Max LI Circular Saw and the 20V Max LI Reciprocating saw packed in one of Dewalt’s Tough System boxes. At $199, this set is a fantastic value for most diy/home improvement cutting needs.
Let’s start with the Tough System Box:
I personally love these boxes. Using tools outside around the farm, the fact that these are waterproof is a huge plus. I can toss them in the back of my truck without worrying about water damage, and the name doesn’t lie, these boxes are TOUGH. Not only are these boxes waterproof, the hinges, clasps and hardware is all metal, as opposed to the flimsy plastic on other systems. The only thing I wish Dewalt would change on this system is the plastic latches that latch multiple boxes together. It seems a tad silly for the rest of the hardware to be metal, and then to use plastic there. The handle on top of the box, however, has a comfortable grip and is built to last.
Now let’s talk about the circular saw:
The guard on this saw works really well, it slides out of the way easily with the cut, which is a big bonus because it reduces the temptation to pin it back and out of the way. I am a big fan of safety features like this one that work the way they should and don’t encumber use. The width of the shoe is great for a saw this size, and the bevel detents on the bevel scale make it really easy to set the shoe to the bevel you need. This saw is also a really nice weight, especially being a battery operated saw. It’s compact and lightweight, easy to use above your head on a ladder and to tote around the jobsite all day.
And onto the reciprocating saw:
This is a great saw for plumbers and electricians, but not great for demolition. It has a really short stroke length, meaning it’s not aggressive, which is really nice when you’re cutting metal and plastic pipes because it doesn’t tear things apart. But, because of that short stroke length, it’s not going to be a great saw for pruning blades or demo blades that really thrive on an aggressive cut. A longer stroke simply isn’t really attainable on a tool this size, but there are benefits to it’s stubbiness- it is lightweight, easy to use for long lengths of time, and it fits in small spaces much easier than some of it’s far larger counterparts. There’s very little vibration, which is another huge plus. As is the case with all the 20v Max tools I’ve tested, it’s obvious Dewalt spent a lot of time creating ergonomic, safe, comfortable to use tools for this line. My final favorite feature on this reciprocating saw is the blade lock. It’s a quick release, with seamless blade changes and no extra tools needed.
Battery life on both of these tools with the 2.0 A/H slim packs is pretty remarkable. It did strike me as a little odd that a two-tool set would only come with one battery, and, that said, I do wish Dewalt had included the fast charger with the battery pack, but I do appreciate the fact that they did well to keep this set under the $200 price tag. All in all, this is a fantastic set for the money, but as with everything, I’d want to know what kind of use I hoped to get out of the tools before purchasing. As light duty tools which will be real workhorses around the house and the jobsite, this is a perfect set. If you’re looking to do a ton of demo or pruning however, I might look at a recip saw with a longer stroke, and purchase the circular saw separately.
What about blades?
Diablo 6 ½” 24 tooth demo demon saw blade: $16.97
This blade has a low rake angle, so when you cut through nails, screws, or electrical, it doesn’t catch or bind badly, and the occasional contact with metal in wood doesn’t tear the carbide off. I really appreciate whatever magical methods Diablo uses to secure their carbides onto their blades because they seem to “stick” a lot longer than their competitors’. I’ve had several Diablo tablesaw blades get stopped in the sawstop cartridges at the community woodshop I used to manage and the blades were easily salvaged almost every time. This blade can get sharpened several times before it needs to get replaced, and at $16.97, that’s a fantastic value in my book. As far as length of wear, this blade will keep cutting until you’ve run it through a good number of nails or hit a piece of metal that’s too big to get through it. On the jobsite, that is often a full day of continuous use for demo, on my farm, that’s a few weeks (or months depending on what I’m doing). This blade is marketed as a demolition blade and it is just that. It cuts quickly and stays sharp for a long time, but you don’t want to use it for finish work. The red coating Diablo uses on their blades keeps them cool in use and greatly reduces friction when cutting.
As a quick aside here, to get the most out of your blades, you need to pair your blades with the right tool. For review purposes, I was asked to use this blade in the Dewalt 20v Max circular saw. Of course the blade works fine in that saw, but that saw doesn’t have the power needed to do the demo work this blade was built for and get the most out of this blade. On the jobsite, I’d want to put this blade into a worm-drive or 60v tool.
Diablo 6 ½” 60 tooth Finish blade: $21.97
This is a fantastic blade, and very well suited to the 20 V Max circular saw. It has a 60 tooth profile with a very low rake so you get a really clean cut on prefinished materials like prefinished plywood, painted materials, etc. As is the case with most of Diablo’s blades, blade life is excellent. The carbides are well attached, the red coating keeps the blade cool in the cut, they can be sharpened multiple times, hands down, Diablo blades are great for the money.