Compact DeWalt Reciprocating Saw Fits Right In

DeWalt DCS367P1 Credit: DeWaltIf your property has trees, the need to chop branches into little pieces is frequent. For many such tasks, a chainsaw is more than you need—but with a bow saw, you’ll grunt through every stroke. In between is the sweet spot of the reciprocating saw, and these versatile tools are as handy indoors for studs, drywall, PVC and sheet metal as they are against tree limbs. The cordless DeWalt DCS367P1 20V Max XR Brushless Compact Reciprocating Saw, $250, has another plus: the four-position blade clamp DeWalt has been adding to its line.

Whether you call this tool a reciprocating or recip saw, a saber saw or a Sawzall (oops, that’s competitor Milwaukee Tools’ trademark), it’s the same beast, and the blade’s teeth usually face downward. You raise the keyless clamp, insert the blade’s shank and clamp back down. Then you’re set to go. But with the DeWalt DCS367P1, the vertical slot accepts a blade with teeth facing up or down. An adjacent horizontal slot, which forms the top of a letter T-shape, takes a left- (shown below) or right-facing blade. Why is this useful? Outdoors, you might never need the feature. Once you’re scrunched into a tight corner with scant room to work, a choice of blade orientation suddenly matters.

That versatility is part of the attraction, and the DeWalt’s compact size—just 13 inches from handle to shoe—helps in those awkward settings. The DCS367P1 is also fairly lightweight: just 6½ pounds counting its 20-volt, 5-Ah, lithium-ion battery.

Having a trim profile wouldn’t mean much if a saw couldn’t deliver. But from specs alone, the DeWalt seemed up to the task. Both its 1-1/8-inch stroke length and no-load 2,900 stroke-per-minute speed are above average for reciprocating saws, and the brushless motor is an improvement over older models that should mean more cuts per charge and longer product life.

Included with the saw is one DCB205 XR battery, a DCB115 charger and a kit bag.

Putting the DeWalt to work
We used the saw to slice through lumber, tree limbs and roots, PVC and sheet metal using wood- and metal-cutting blades from 5 to 8 inches. (You can use blades as short as 3½-inch.) As with any recip saw, the closest to pretty cuts you can get result when you can rest the pivoting shoe against what you’re cutting—a luxury you don’t necessarily have. Whatever the material, the DeWalt DCS367P1 made short work of it. A bright LED shines on your cut and stays lit for 20 seconds after you release the variable-speed trigger.

DeWalt DCS367P1 with blade Credit: DeWaltRun time isn’t especially relevant when the typical job for such saws requires just a handful of cuts at a time. So rather than measure the length of a charge in minutes, we made successive rough cuts of an untreated pine 4×4. The saw made it through 61 full cuts before fading out. The three-LED “fuel gauge” grants some idea of time remaining: When you’re down to one LED, you’re below 50 percent. Recharge when the last one goes out to avoid running the lithium-ion battery down too low—which would shorten its overall ability to take a charge.

With one particular job, removing a tree root that had worked its way out from beneath a wooden retaining wall, the choice of blade orientation came in handy. By installing the blade facing rightward, we were able to slice the root flush with the wall.

One knock against the saw is little vibration control. The main handle’s grip is anti-slip, but if you’ll be doing a lot of cutting with a hand on the rubberized handle, do yourself a favor and put on a pair of work gloves. (You should already be wearing goggles.) That rubber otherwise could cause blistering.

Should you need the saw for a lot of cutting at a time, the approximately 15-minute recharge time is very welcome. Want an extra battery all the same? A two-pack from Amazon, at the time of this posting, cost $149—a bargain compared to the $129 you’d pay for a single one at Home Depot.

The verdict
From its sheer power in a low-maintenance product, any reciprocating saw can quickly become your favorite tool. And whether you’re a contractor who needs a saw for tight places or a homeowner who wants muscle in a lightweight, compact product, the DeWalt DCS367P1 won’t disappoint you. The choices in cut direction, quick charging and breakneck speed are just part of this standout saw, and the brushless motor should help keep it among your arsenal for a long time.

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Smart Worx Drill Speeds DIY Jobs

Worx Ai Drill / Credit: WorxDrills for DIYers have been much more convenient since they all went cordless. But for the casual user who pulls out the drill only a few times a year, loading a drill or driver bit straight and remembering which clutch setting is which can add time to a task. This user would most benefit from the Worx Ai Drill, a $99 drill/driver that automates these tasks, though more experienced users could enjoy it as well.

The Ai Drill Model WX178L, one of several products the brand announced last week at the GIE+Expo trade show, has what Worx calls “advanced intelligence” (hence the “Ai”) in the tool’s imitation of human behavior. The first such display is with a feature called BitLock, a motorized 3/8-inch chuck that centers a bit you’ve loaded—no more wobbly bits—and tightens it with more torque than you’d give it by hand. To engage it, you turn a collar that Worx calls the switch ring; to remove the bit, you turn the ring the other way.

Most drill/drivers come with at least two clutch settings. The Worx Ai Drill has no settings because the internal smarts detect the material into which you’ll be putting holes or screws. This helps it with one particular drilling mode, SafeDrive, which you activate through a button on top of the drill. With SafeDrive enabled, the drill provides enough torque for what a screw must pass through and then stops by itself once the screw head is flush.

No stripping allowed
Another mode, PulseAssist, will drive a bit slowly in a pulsing way, just as an experienced user might feather the trigger to avoid stripping a screw while inserting or removing it. As with SafeDrive, it stops when the screw is flush—though you can override the setting should you need to countersink screws.

The Worx Ai Drill weighs 3.1 pounds with its 20-volt battery, which is included with a charger and a double-ended screw bit. An LED on the drill glows when the battery charge is low, but you might want an extra since a recharge takes five hours. Interested? The drill should be available in mid-December, selling through worx.com and at Amazon, Lowe’s and Menards. The product will also be sold eventually without its battery and charger, for those who own another 20-volt Worx tool that came with these, for about $60.

Worx Pegasus Worktable / Credit: WorxShould you need a workbench, a saw horse or both, another of a handful of Worx announcements at GIE+Expo was the Worx Pegasus Worktable, Model WX051. This $120 product weighs 30 pounds and switches easily between a 31×25-inch worktable and a sawhorse. It includes notches to hold in 2x4s for elevating, say, plywood for cross-cutting without digging into the table’s surface. The surface supports up to 300 pounds (1,000 when used as a sawhorse), and you can lock multiple tables together. Numerous clamps and dogs are included.

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