Okay. Y’all recall that recently Big Brother sent me a cordless reciprocating saw…

Same brand as that drill/driver I’ve been so happy with for over a year, same voltage, same everything.

I particularly wanted this saw because it’s firewood-cutting season, and for the past few years I’ve gotten the bulk of my wood from cutting up pallets. A Sawzall is the bee’s knees for cutting up pallets, or at least cutting them apart.

Round One of woodcutting was on all that loose lumber I rounded up in May, so the B&D saw didn’t see much use. But now we’re down to the pallets…

Since I like new toys, it was with something like pleasure that I attacked that pile’o’pallets immediately after chicken chores.

Alas, all was not well. Before I got all the way through my first pallet, the saw stopped wanting to play.

Okay, all is not lost – maybe the battery wasn’t fully charged. I hiked back to the Lair, popped the battery out of the drill and brought it back to Ian’s, where the pallets are stacked.

Only a few minutes later I was done with that one, too.

This not good.

Granted, neither battery was certified 100% topped off. But neither should have been flat, either. That saw pulls a lot of juice. In the drill I can go months between chargings. With the saw, this is how much lumber I shook loose from the pallets…


About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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17 Responses to Hm.

  1. Diogenes says:

    No worries Joel, all of my reciprocating type saws pull massive juice outta the batteries. Typical. I can use my circular saw 4 times longer and the drill at least triple that, all from the same size battery.the jigsaw tends to be somewhat better than the sawzall, but not by any reasonable margin.

  2. Joel says:

    Oh, I get that there’s probably nothing wrong with the saw, Dio. Under the circumstances in which I hoped to primarily use the saw, that’s not really good news.

  3. MamaLiberty says:

    That’s been my experience with anything “battery” that actually pulls much weight. I had several plug in rechargeable hand vacuums, for instance, and they didn’t last long. The batteries just wouldn’t hold a charge long enough to do a weekly cleaning of the edges and small spaces where the floor vac wouldn’t reach. Within a short time, they wouldn’t hold a charge at all and the replacement batteries were more expensive than the vac! Just like printers and ink cartridges.

    Finally bought a normal corded “Dirt Devil” thing and was good to go for many long years. Should have lasted a lot longer, but some internal part was plastic and it broke. Dirt Devil no longer makes that item and it was not repairable. So much for that. Have one called a “Shark” now, but don’t remember who makes it.

    Maybe you can fix the old one as someone here suggested. Hope so. 🙂

  4. hightecrebel says:

    What type of battery is it? My sawzall eats up the normal battery quick, but the li-ion lasts for a good 30-45 minutes of cutting

  5. Joel says:

    Brand-new lithium ion.

  6. jed says:

    From an Amazon review:

    The newer LBXR20 is a 1.5 Ah battery. The LBXR2020 is a 2.0 Ah battery, and the LB2X4020-OPE is a 4.0 Ah battery (basically a piggy-backed LBXR2020). The first B&D 20v Lithium batteries (LB20 before 2012?) were, as far as I can tell, generally something less than 1.5 Ah with disappointing run time.

    My e-cig batteries are 2.5AH. I’m not surprised at a short run time.

  7. Joel says:

    Yeah. Work great in a drill, though.

    It’ll be useful here and there, but I’ll need to go back to the old Milwaukee saw for these pallets. Damn.

  8. Mike says:

    Same here on battery life. I’ve got the 18 volt DeWalt set with the circular saw, drill, and sawzall. The drill goes weeks between charges but the two saws use batteries fast and the batteries get really hot as they discharge. The circular saw isn’t too bad on plywood but anything else is bad news for the battery. The sawzall is hard on batteries no matter what I’m cutting. Part of the game I suppose. A small chain saw using traditional premix is the ticket for rough cutting in wood.

  9. HP says:

    I run a Milwaukee corded sawzall from a eu2000 type generator, and at 12amps it comes close to bringing that to its knees ,under load. I’m guessing even a high end battery is not going to do so well, or at least not for very long. What about a very small gas driven chain saw like a reconditioned 16″ 38cc Homelite?

  10. Joel says:

    I’ve got a good chainsaw but never go near salvaged lumber with it, all full of nails. If I ruin a Sawzall blade I’m hardly out anything and can replace it at the local hardware. If I ruin a saw chain…

  11. hightecrebel says:

    Never mind my question, the picture wasn’t loading on my phone earlier

  12. sevesteen says:

    I’ve accumulated a bunch of Ryobi tools and batteries. With the standard sized battery the Sawzall and circular saw are nearly useless for anything more than thin plywood–virtually no battery life and get bogged down very easily, then the saw shuts off for a few minutes. With the oversized batteries they work OK, I can cut thicker stuff, and the bigger batteries last much more than twice as long in the saw.

  13. Flatbilly says:

    Batteries went to crap in my Makita 12v cordless drill. Batteries were more than a new drill. Now it is a 12v corded drill with a much bigger battery. Not as convenient for little jobs, but a 750cca Motorcraft battery laughs at putting in 3″ deck screws all day in the woods. Bet that sawzall would catch fire if wired in to 24v, though.

  14. abnormalist says:

    So, I don’t know the black and decker line, but if they make a high capacity battery, its probably worth the a bleg for it.

    I use the Ryobi system, and when I buy batteries they usually run a deal on their 4 amp hour battery (normal battery size is 1.3-1.5AH same as the B&D system) where you get two for the price of 1. So for $99 a year I get two of those batteries, after a few years, I have a significant number of them.

    I can usually tear down 4-5 full pallets with my Ryobi recip saw before I drain one of those. I cut the nails themselves as I use pallets for wood working projects. After 4-5 batteries, the saw itself is nearly ready to melt from the heat built up of heavy heavy use.

    One of those big batteries gets me about 3x the juice of the smaller batteries. TOTALLY worth it for the portability of it. If the B&D system doesnt offer a high cap option (3-5AH range) then the recip saw is going to be limited by its power source.

    The big batteries really come into their own on the high power drain devices. I have an awesome 3000+ lumen spot light that uses them, a week wacker, a leaf blower, the circular saw, sawzall, impact wrench, etc. All show the benefit of the big batteries.

    I do have a pile of the smaller ones as well, when a light weight option is the requirement. IE drill, impact driver, flaslight etc.

  15. Ruth says:

    I’ve got an 18v Dewalt recip saw. Works great, but yup, battery life isn’t all that great. Batteries last forever in the drill, but clearly the saw pulls way more juice.

  16. abnormalist says:

    looks like they do have a 4 amp hour. Pretty dang good price if its compatible

  17. Joel says:

    Abbie, I’ve bookmarked that battery for later attention. It appears to be a partial solution to the problem. Next time I’ve got $45 laying around…

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