Monday, May 4, 2009

Tool Review: Dewalt DW304PK Reciprocating Saw

Occasionally I will write a review of a tool I have used. In no way do I pretend to be a professional, as this blog should show, but I also have found some of the most helpful reviews to be by "average joes" like me. All the tools I will review should be within the budget for most homeowners and weekend warriors.

Reciprocating saws, sometimes called sawzalls (a trademark of the Milwaulkee brand), saws alls, recipro saws and sabre saws, are great tools for construction and demolition.

Since the saw can change blades, reciprocating saws can be outfitted to cut through just about any material, including wood and steel. This makes them very handy in demolition work where wood planks with nails or screw must be quickly cut.
Priced right around $100, the DW304PK is DeWalt's entry level saw. It comes with a nice carrying case and an instruction manual. I have to admit that I toss most tool cases into storage because I find them to be, for the most part, junk, but I really do like this case. It is large enough inside to fit the saw with a long blade installed and the cord without trying to figure out how they managed to get it all to fit from the factory.

The DeWalt DW304PK is, for the most part, a fairly basic saw, but it does have some nice features:
  • 10 Amp motor
  • 4-position blade clamp
  • Tool less blade change
  • Variable speed trigger
  • 7 lb. weight
The DeWalt's 10 Amp motor is powerful enough to cut through everything I have used it on so far. There have only been two times the saw has struggled, once when I was using the saw to quickly "disassemble" an old couch that I did not want to carry down a dangerous flight of stairs and once while cutting through a thick trunk of a shrub. The reason the saw struggled on the couch was because some of the fabric got caught in the blade clamp and started to clog the saw. The saw struggled on the trunk because the trunk was just too thick for the blade. Neither of those examples were the fault of the saw, but were my fault in the use of the saw.

Two of the features I really like about this saw regard how the saw uses blades. The first is its keyless blade clamp. Changing the blade is extremely easy and fast. The second blade feature is the 4-position blade clamp. This clamp allows you to install a blade with the serrations (cutting edge) down, up, to the left, or to the right. I have made use of this feature many times; often when working with the reciprocating saw, I would find one position in which I had the most control of the saw, but that position would not always be optimum for cutting if it were not for this clever feature. Now, I can hold the saw in the most comfortable position without sacrificing cutting efficiency.

Ergonomics and Saw Control
Being the entry level, "lite" saw offering, the DeWalt DW304PK weighs in at a respectable 7 lbs. I would not call it light or heavy, but manageable. It is light enough to be used over the head for short periods of time without leading to arm fatigue but heavy enough to let you know it is well built and not flimsy.

The variable speed trigger is useful, but I usually end up squeezing the trigger all the way down as I am using the saw. It takes a little practice to get good at accurately controlling the speed, but I have not found it to detract from the overall usefulness of the saw.

What I Like
  1. Rugged and durable build quality
  2. Keyless / Tool less blade change
  3. 4-position blade clamp

What I Dislike
  1. Probably not powerful enough for professional use

I think this is the perfect saw for any homeowner or DIYer who needs a reciprocating saw for those occasional demolition or construction tasks. It is moderately inexpensive, has a sturdy build quality, and is ver simple and straight forward to use.

This Model's Rating
This is a good saw for any non professional. Professionals who use a reciprocating saw all day will obviously want a bigger and better saw, but for the DIYers out there, this is the perfect reciprocating saw.

This Power Tool's Rating
When I had a small portion of a wall to remove when remodeling our kitchen, I tried using a variety of tools and methods to quickly and accurately complete the job. I soon threw in the towel and went to our local hardware store where I found this saw. Using a reciprocating saw made the demolition so easy I fininshed the job in less than half the time it would have taken me otherwise. I soon found other uses for the saw around the house, making it a money-wise decision to purchase it.


Zyrex said...

If you want to achieve flawlessly good cuts then you should consider DEWALT DW304PK 10 Amp Reciprocating Saw. Check this out: Dewalt Power Saws

Anonymous said...

Great information here thanks for sharing!
Take Care

Reciprocating Saw