Milwaukee introduced their next-generation M18 Hackzall at NPS17 – check our other new tool coverage here. While maintaining the same weight as their old brushed Hackzall, this new M18 Fuel Hackzall – sporting a brushless motor – cuts faster, vibrates less, and makes more cuts per charge.
Milwaukee redesigned the M18 Fuel Hackzall to better handle bigger cutting tasks, such as cutting large diameter PVC, 2x dimensional lumber, and EMT conduit — tasks where you’d typically put down the brushed motor Hackzall and pick up a Sawzall.
Controlled by a variable speed trigger, the brushless motor can drive the blade up to 3000 strokes per minute. Milwaukee also increased the stroke length from 3/4″ to 7/8″, to remove more material with each stroke.
They lowered the vibration by using a redesigned dual gear counterbalance mechanism, and a pivoting shoe that provides more contact with the work piece. Less vibration means better control, reduced blade chatter, smoother cuts, and of course minimizes user fatigue.
Here’s a cutaway where you can see the 2 gears of the counterbalance mechanism as they fit in the tool.
With the more efficient brushless motor and redesigned mechanism, Milwaukee claims that the M18 Fuel Hackzall can make up to 180 cuts in 2×4 SPF and over 220 cuts in 3/4″ EMT when paired with a 5.0 Ah battery.
This new M18 Fuel Hackzall is also more durable than their previous model. The brushless motor has no brushes to wear, which also means lower maintenance over time. They also better protect the tool from water and dust, with improved seals and potted electronics.
Finally, the bare tool is 16.3″ long and weighs slightly over 4 pounds. There’s an LED in the front that illuminates your cut and a trigger lockout so it’s doesn’t accidentally start up when rolling around in the back of your truck or carried in a tool bag.
You can buy the bare tool for $149 or the kit with a M12/M18 charger, 5.0 Ah battery, “general purpose” Sawzall blade, and bag for $249.
I didn’t think much of the M18 Hackzall when I first saw it at NPS17, but that’s because I really didn’t understand the product category. My only experience with the Hackzall was using a M12 Hackzall. While it’s a handy little tool, I really didn’t see the reason for a larger version. I mean, that’s what the Sawzall reciprocating saw is for, right?
Then a few months later, Milwuakee shipped me the new M18 Fuel Hackzall, and after using it for a couple of cutting tasks I can honestly say that I’m wondering if I really need a Sawzall anymore. It has tackled cutting PVC, some pruning work, and small demolition tasks. Since I started using it, I haven’t come across a task that it couldn’t handle. Plus it’s one handed!
I’m sure a full-sized Sawzall would make quicker work of some of the tasks I mentioned, and that there are some larger tasks like heavy demo work that more power and a longer stroke length would accomplish quicker, but if you only have enough funds to buy one tool, I think the M18 Fuel Hackzall would take you far.
Here’s a closer look at the reciprocating mechanism.
Finally, a shot of the tool-free blade change mechanism.