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Hackzall vs. Sawzall – Complete Guide 2024

The key differences are finally explained!
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Reciprocating saws are the most important tools whether you are remodeling or demolishing a structure. In this regard, Milwaukee has come up with the two best power drill reciprocating saw models. While there are many similarities when it comes to m18 Hackzall vs. Sawzall, yet some differences set them apart. 

Many people often seem confused about which of these two best reciprocating saws to choose. It is because both the products offer almost the same functionalities but in different ways. In this article, I will explain the key differences between Hackzall vs Sawzall to help you make an intelligent purchase.

What is a Reciprocating Saw?

Reciprocating Saw

Before going into the details of which product suits you the best, it would be best to know the basics of reciprocating power saws.

The term reciprocating refers to the back and forth motion of the saw. Both Hackzall and Sawzall have a saw that moves in forward and backward directions to precisely cut through even hard materials like steel and wood. This motion enables you to operate in places where most hole Hawg drills fail. Moreover, a reciprocating saw can easily replace your small circular saws because of the wide range of applications.

You can use a reciprocating drill to:

  • Accurately cut holes in pipes without damaging the pipe itself. On the contrary, other power tools often lead to grating some extra pieces from the sides.
  • It can cut through all kinds of materials, including steel, wood, aluminum, and plastic.
  • You can cut the framework by making straight or curved cuts without disturbing the rest of the structure.
  • You can even use it in remodeling at home, including plaster structures.

What is a Milwaukee Hackzall?

Milwaukee Hackzall

The main difference in Milwaukee Hackzall vs. Sawzall is the same as rifle vs. pistol. While both the pistol and rifle serve similar purposes, the difference is in the mode of operation. Likewise, the Hackzall is more of a pistol in this regard. For instance, it has a smaller saw blade, and you can use it single-handedly without any problems. The Hackzall power saw is specialized in cutting on limited space with minimum vibration.

The shape and size of the Hackzall are optimized to provide maximum precision without the need for any additional support. This is achieved by the innovative grip design of these products. Furthermore, the Hackzall reciprocating saws are all cordless and meant to be used as portable power tools.

What is a Milwaukee Sawzall?

Milwaukee Sawzall

The Sawzall power saws are meant to be used as a rifle in the field. They are more powerful, much more accurate, and highly robust in their operation. The best way to use the Sawzall is to use it two-handedly. This metal cutting hole saw is optimized for making accurate vertical cuts.

The Sawzall saws are so well-known that almost every reciprocating saw out there is called a Sawzall. However, in reality, only Milwaukee makes the genuine Sawzall power tools. The special D-grip is designed to utilize your supporting arm in making precise vertical cuts without moving from the path.

The support of the Sawzall is at the rear, along with the trigger. The elongated heavy-duty saw blade provides the counterweight to balance out the weight. As a result, you don’t require any extra force to handle the device. Therefore, when making precise vertical cuts on a larger scale, it would be best to use the Sawzall saw. 

Furthermore, like the Hackzall, it is also a cordless battery power drill saw. The powerful saw can cut through most materials, including metals, wood, plastic, plaster, and sometimes even soft concrete, without becoming dull.

Now that you know what you are dealing with, it’s time to move on to the differences between the two legendary reciprocating saws.

Comparison between Milwaukee Hackzall vs. Sawzall

At first glance, both the products seem like typical reciprocating saws. However, you only get to feel the difference once you use these saws. For instance, Sawzall is optimized for a two-handed operation to make precise vertical cuts on a large scale. On the contrary, the Hackzall saws are user-friendly and can make straight or curved cuts on a smaller scale.

GripRifle Pistol
Stroke lengthLong up to 3” thicknessShort up to ½” – 1” thickness
MaterialsSteel, wood, plasticSteel, wood, plastic
UsageLight work, homeHeavy-duty, demolition 


Both the Sawzall and Hackzall reciprocating drills are specialized with mobility in mind. However, these saws have different uses when it comes to the construction site. Therefore, the size of the drill determines how efficiently you can get the job done without disturbing any other structure.

The Sawzall products are mainly used for demolishing and remodeling on a larger scale. Therefore, the elongated size factor allows you to make larger and straighter cuts in pipes and other elements. Though you can use the Hackzall for the same purpose, it would cost you more time and energy. 

Hackzall saws are more focused on home users and portability. During construction, there are some areas where all other power tools fail due to a lack of accessibility. For example, when cutting sewerage pipes, it is not possible to use Sawzall or even circular saws. This is when the Hackzall saws are more efficient than any of its competitors.


The number game in terms of applications is definitely won by the Hackzall products. Being compact in size, it allows you to reach places where all other power tools fail. Moreover, the lightweight and single-handed operation will enable you to even make over-the-head cuts accurately without straining your arms. Furthermore, you can also use it as a wood cutting hole saw in DIY projects at home.

On the other hand, the Sawzall cuts short your time by almost half. It is because the longer span of the saw blade allows you to cover more area in one turn. Therefore, the Sawzall saws are advantageous in demolishing jobs as it increases your efficiency.


In terms of power, Sawzall dominates all the grounds. It provides you the force required to precisely cut through thick and hard materials like butter. The powerful blades can vertically slice through stainless steel, aluminum, timber, plastic, and some concrete structures. Furthermore, the balanced weight of the device helps ease your supporting arm and focus only on guiding the blade.

On the other hand, Hackzall is more of a small cordless reciprocating saw. It can cut through thin materials vertically, horizontally, or even curved cutting. Overall, Sawzall is specialized as a demolishing tool, while Hackzall is suitable for remodeling, DIY, and smaller operations.

Similarities in Milwaukee Hackzall vs. Sawzall

As you have probably noticed, both are very similar products with different specialties. Therefore, knowing the similarities will help you understand that you won’t be losing much by choosing any one of these great products. Here is what the Hackzall and Sawzall saws have in common:


Hackzall and Sawzall are similar power saws and have the same reciprocating motors. Therefore, you can use the same 4 to 5 blades on both devices. The only difference is the stroke length and the power with which it will cut through the material. Apart from that, you can carry the same set of blades for both devices. 

This feature enables you to carry both Hackzall and Sawzall with only one accessory bag. Moreover, it means that you won’t be missing out on the cutting action by choosing any one of these products.


The biggest reason why people choose reciprocating saws is portability. There is a possibility that the site doesn’t have a sufficient amount of outlets to provide power in every corner of the site. Therefore, you need a reciprocating saw that is cordless and battery-powered for a seamless operation throughout the field.

Both Hackzall and Sawzall are cordless reciprocating saws with a long-lasting battery. Moreover, the portability allows you to work anywhere without having to worry about the availability of a power outlet nearby.


The most prominent thing to consider when choosing reciprocating saws is the features. These features prove advantageous in different conditions of the field. For instance, the LED light helps you cut even in darker places with little to no lights, such as sewers and basements. In such situations, it is not possible to use flashlights or lamps without the need for an extra worker. Therefore, both Hackzall and Sawzall have an LED that illuminates the object for precise cutting.

Similarly, in some cases, you need to make angled cuts. It is not suitable to use your supporting arm for angling as it causes strain and even fatigue on the arm and wrist. Therefore, you need an adjustable shoe to change the cutting angle according to your needs. This is mainly useful for Hackzall saws as you use them for making all sorts of cuts. However, both Hackzall and Sawzall have an adjustable shoe that you can customize up to 45 degrees angle.

Chief Differences B/W DeWalt and Milwaukee

If you are related to the technical industry, you should be aware of both DeWalt and Milwaukee. Both are the manufacturers of some of the best power tools in the world. Their rivalry is very similar to Apple vs. Microsoft. You are supposed to prefer one or the other. However, it is best to use tools from both manufacturers. There are some power tools from Milwaukee superior and vice versa. 

All-in-all, Milwaukee power tools such as the M18 Hackzall target portability, DIY projects, and small-scale cutting. However, these tools have a wide range of applications due to their compact size and ergonomic operation. Moreover, it can be used for making all sorts of cuts with equal ease. Finally, the Milwaukee reciprocating saws have a longer-lasting battery than any other competitor.

On the other hand, DeWalt 20V Sawzall saws are the tools of destruction. Their products focus on power and efficiency. You can use the Sawzall to cut through thick and stiffer materials in half the time as Hackzall saws. Moreover, the Sawzall blades are also more robust than the rest. You can use them to precisely demolish thicker and wider pipes quickly. However, with great power comes even greater responsibility. For instance, the powerful motor of Sawzall consumes more energy and thus has a relatively lower battery timing. 

Which is Better – Sawzall vs. Hackzall?

The final decision rests in your hands as only you know which product can better fulfill your cutting requirements. Both Hackzall and Sawzall have their own sets of pros and cons that make each of them efficient in different conditions. However, to help you make a decision here are the main advantages of both the products:

Advantages of Hackzall
  • Compact form factor 
  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic 
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Cuts: Vertical, horizontal, and curved.
  • Suitable for home and DIY users
  • Portable and useable in low-access areas.
  • Over-the-head operation
  • Pistol grip
  • Short stroke with 1” thickness
Advantages of Sawzall
  • Heavy-duty
  • Two-handed operation
  • Longer stroke with 3” thickness
  • Demolishing tool
  • Suitable for professionals
  • Rifle D-grip
  • Cuts vertically
  • Counter-balanced weight for precision
  • Long-stroke with 3” thickness
  • Cordless and lasting battery


Both Hackzall and Sawzall are reciprocating saws with many similarities and some differences. These products are specialized for different situations that you encounter during the project. Therefore, it would be beneficial to know your needs before choosing any of these products.

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