So if you want to start that new project that you have been putting off for months then you may be in the market for a new reciprocating saw and have seen both the Hackzall or Sawzall advertised as they are two incredible tools that will both do the job that you need. But which is better?
The two tools are very similar but do have some differences between them.
Many consider the Hackzall to be just a spin off of the Sawzall both have their history of use as a demolition tool and are classified as reciprocating saws.
The major difference between the two is that you can use a Hackzall single handedly due to it being a compact tool. Unlike the Hackzall, the Sawzall needs two hands to operate and be used safely.
If you have a task that requires more maneuverability and finesse then the Hackzall is ideal for them.
In this article we will look at all the details, the similarities of the two and the list of differences in great amounts of detail to help you decide which tool is the perfect reciprocating saw for you.
What Is A Sawzall
Sawzall is a name that derives from a traditional two handed reciprocating saw.
The name draws from the highly popular Milwaukee ‘Sawzall’ reciprocating saw originally designed way back in the 1950s.
A Sawzall can be designed to be either cordless or corded although the cordless model is much more popular than the corders variant with the former seeing a big boost in popularity through the 2010s.
The design of the tool features a D shaped rear pistol grip trigger as well as a forward grip that increases the control with the tool.
It’s meant to be used with two hands and can weigh from 5 to 7 pounds, this makes it incredibly difficult to use effectively with only one hand for a long period of time.
They are designed for rough use and use the strong blade to rip through woods, PVC and even metal with next to no effort.
By no means are they precise so should be solely reserved for use in demolition or remodeling, pruning trees, cutting nails, cutting metal and finally screw embedded wood.
What Is A Hackzall
Now let’s discuss Hackzall; they are a modernized take on the more traditional style of reciprocating saw.
They have a compact one handed design that will be able to be maneuvered to anywhere you wish it to.
If you have ever used a reciprocating saw for a long period of time then you will be aware of how bulky and hefty the tool is.
It is perfect for some heavy tasks such as removing old doors or windows, pruning trees, however, it is difficult to cut something overhead or underneath something like a counter.
Hackzall was made exactly for these types of situations, it is balanced perfectly and is totally suited to being used with only one hand making those awkward jobs that could be considered impossible with any other tool become a thing of the past.
This saw utilized some advanced anti vibration technology. This allows for some extended use without tiring out the users hands allowing them to continue work for much longer than they could using any other tool.
The Hackzalls design utilizes a pistol grip trigger similar to many cordless drills. Due to the weight being balanced for one hand use it makes it far easier to use just one hand than two.
Hackzalls are only cordless and place the focus on the maneuverability rather than pure power that you would get from corded tools (Check out Husky Vs Craftsman, Which Is Better?).
So if you prefer cordless then Hackzall is perfect for you and if you prefer power then Sawzall is for you but lets get directly into the comparison.
So now we have been introduced to the two tools that are vying to be added to your collection.
Let’s go into more detail about the specific things you want in a reciprocating saw and which of the two is better under each category.
Both tools use a reciprocating blade that extends back and forth.
Much like a hand saw but with a much faster speed that can reach thousands of strokes per minute. Despite both saws using this balde they are not the same.
The difference comes from the length of the strokes. Sawzall strokes are much longer than the Hackzalls allowing for much more reach and better cutting performance, its counterpart tends to have a stroke length that reaches from ¾ of an inches up to 7/8 of an inch this compared to a range of 1 ⅛ inches for the Sawzall allows for you to utilize more the better cutting ability of the Sawzall to best use.
Sawzall got the first round but what about in the power department.
Overall Sawzalls are more powerful than Hackzalls, this is due to the design for the Sawzalls being made for use with two hands allowing them to have more raw power due to the increased size and weight.
If you just want the most power then a corded Sawzall will not be beaten, they offer as much power as you want on demand immediately and due to being corded you will never have to worry about charging or replacing any batteries.
It has been two for two so far for the Sawzall so is it all over. We now move on to portability and this is the main advantage of the Hackzall.
The saw weighs from 4 to 5 pounds without the battery attached; this is much less than the Sawzall which weighs from 7 to 8 pounds.
It weighs less is not the only advantage that the Hackzall has, with its lighter weight comes a more compact frame to the tool which allows you to easily get into those tighter spaces and be able to cut through.
These spaces can be anything from an area under your sink, to the underside of a car and the many many more.
The list of benefits that come with the Hackzall in terms of maneuverability make it the perfect tool for electricians and plumbers alike.
All tradesmen who work in tight spaces and need a tool that can reach anywhere will agree that the Hackzall is an incredible tool to just pick up and go and the portability is the best part of the reciprocating saw.
In terms of reach the two handed aspect that comes with the Sawzall is perfectly designed to give you the maximum reach.
This means that the Sawzall is better in this capacity than the Hackzall.
Reach is an important aspect when deciding which of the two tools to go for.
The Sawzall will be able to reach those high branches that need pruning or any other job that requires for you to be reaching overhead.
The reaching range of the Sawzall does require for it to be awkward to be able to use one handed.
Finally and most importantly for some we come to the price.
There is no clear stand out in terms of the two with the Sawzall having the edge in stroke speed, power and reach but also suffering a big drawback to being built to have these advantages.
Whereas the Hackzall is built to reach anywhere and also does not fall far behind in the remaining three comparisons.
So could the price be the determining factor?
Due to the Hackzall being a newer tool on the market they tend to cost more than the slightly older Sawzall.
However the price difference is not that large and you can find several ranges of Hackzalls at the same or a cheaper price than your regular Sawzall.
So is there a clear answer to the question we all want to answer?
Unfortunately, no there is no clear better tool. Both have their advantages over the other and both have similar prices so the only way to determine which is better is making that decision yourself.
Either tool would be a fine addition to your collection of tools and if you want a clear answer figure out what you would like to use the tool for and make your decision that way regardless of which one you choose you wont be dissapointed.