As you probably already know, Dewalt recently rolled out their new 20V Max cordless power tool lineup. Last month reader mnoswad1, let’s call him M1, left a comment in an August 20V Max giveaway post, telling us that something looked strange about the reciprocating and circular saws he saw at a Lowe’s store in Ohio.
More specifically, M1 said that he found a Dewalt 20V Max combo kit on the clearance shelf, and that the circular saw had a stamped baseplate instead of cast magnesium, and the reciprocating saw lacked an adjustable foot.
Having handled pre-production models over at a Dewalt product launch and with demo units on our review test bench, I thought that something was amiss. Looking at photos and the tool samples, the circular saw definitely has a magnesium shoe, and the reciprocating saw an adjustable foot. But then M1 went back to the store and sent us photos…
The photos M1 sent us showed that he was absolutely right. Looking deeper into things, we discovered that the saws included in Dewalt’s 20V Max 4-tool (DCK490L2 and DCK491L2) and 5-tool (DCK590L2) combo kits ARE different than those in standalone tool kits. From what we can tell, the drill/drivers have the same model numbers and are completely unchanged.
Dewalt 20V Max Circular Saw Differences
As you can see, the combo kit edition of the 20V Max saw has a stamped shoe. I don’t know how much of a difference this makes in durability and performance, but the cast magnesium shoe will be more rigid and possibly lighter and more durable as well.
Dewalt 20V Max Reciprocating Saw Differences
The differences here are a bit more subtle. First, the combo-kit version does not have an adjustable/extendable shoe. Second, it has a one-directional blade clamp whereas the standalone saw has a 4-direction blade clamp.
Stroke length for the standalone saw is 1-1/8″, and according to the product description for the combo kit reciprocating saw on Home Depot’s website, that version has a 1″ stroke length.
At this point, we’re not really sure what to recommend. We have been testing the standalone kit versions of these saws, and have a lot of good things to say about them. But to get these fully-featured versions, it looks like you have no choice but to purchase the individual saw kits separately. It is worth noting that the better reciprocating saw is available as part of a 2-tool combo (DCK292L2) as well. At the moment bare-tool versions are not available.
The 4-tool and 5-tool combo kits are priced at about $500 and $550 respectively (check prices via Amazon). In my opinion, it would have been better if Dewalt included the fully-featured saws in the combo kits and instead maintained the pricepoints by bundling them with one 1.5Ah and one 3.0Ah battery instead of two 3.0Ah batteries. If that wasn’t enough to control the prices, then perhaps they could have done away with the LED flashlights instead.
At the very least, if it is absolutely necessary for Dewalt to bundle the larger combo kits with lower-featured saws, they should at least have labeled the standalone fully-featured models as premium so as to better differentiate between the individual and combo kit models.
Despite this disappointing news, we still feel that Dewalt’s new 20V cordless tools are definitely great tools that are worth recommending. But if you are strongly considering one of the 4-tool or 5-tool combo kits, just be sure that you know what you’re getting.
A huge thank you to mnoswad1 for helping bring all this to our attention!