Sawzall and Batt Operated tools questions?

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CedarWaxWing
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Sawzall and Batt Operated tools questions?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sat Sep 17, 2016 2:56 pm

I am looking a sawzalls, for both fencing work, cutting down sapling pines (Lots), trimming large low branches up to about 20 feet up from firs and cedars, and serious cutting back of very large woody scrubs (i.e. Laurels and others).

I have a LOT of trees and shrubs on my place and have been doing a lot of this by a hand tree cutting saw.. but I really need to get this project to speed up a lot so I can get onto rebuilding the fence... :)

Questions:

1. Any recs on a "best" reciprocating saw such as brands?

2. 12, 18, 20 volts?

Why are there so many... and is higher voltage for any particular reason?

i.e. Does higher volts tend in this tool type tend to result in more power/heavier duty, or higher amp batteries being available?

If one buys one voltage for the sawzall, would that battery usually fit any of the other same volts tools.. i.e. drill or driver... made by the same company.

3. Are the brush less batt operated power tools more or less durable/reliable than the old style?

Are they good enough... or are they still so new as to be likely to be getting a lot better in the next couple of years... i.e. much cheaper or much more durable as the comp increases?

All other comments and suggestions are welcome....

thanks,

M

Daedalus214
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by Daedalus214 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:34 pm

From my experience, battery operated tools are great for small projects and limited use. A battery operated drill uses less energy than a reciprocating saw and will last longer performing whatever duty you require it to do. I would suggest buying a used Sawzall with a cord and extension cords on Craigslist. However, you may be better off getting a used electric or gas-powered tree (branch) trimmer than a Sawmill. A Sawzall is really designed for home construction projects not tree trimming, as the tree sap can gum it up.

If the trees and shrubs are close to your house (~15-20 feet), then an electric unit would be fine. If the trees and shrubs are scattered throughout your property, then a gas-powered unit is the ticket. Also, look at renting or borrowing a chainsaw if the branches are too large for a trimmer.

Last item, gloves, hearing protection, and safety glasses are mandatory. If you use a chain saw you may wish to get some safety chaps to avoid an unintended leg amputation.

JerLon
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by JerLon » Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:55 pm

Is there a reason you are considering battery powered reciprocating saw over a pole pruner. For what you are describing, you'd be far better off with a gas powered (or battery) pole pruner like the Stihl HT line. Or, maybe better yet, would be the Stihl Kobmi System. This is a motor with interchangeable heads including pole saw, string trimmer, edger, etc...

If you're stuck with reciprocating saws (Sawzall is a Milwaukee model name), you need to consider how often you'll be using it outside of this project. If a lot, Milwaukee Fuel is your best bet. Yes, the batteries in a line of tools (ie: the Milwaukee M18 or M12, or the Dewalt 20V Max) will fit all of the tools in that line in general.

If I was only buying a tool for one project and if it had to be cordless (no access to power), I'd go more low end than Milwaukee. Hitachi cordless stuff is decent. I've had a set for five years that has held up well.

barnaclebob
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by barnaclebob » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:10 pm

I recommend the longest blade you can find. I broke down a 35' blue spruce tree with a sawsall and a long blade. A small chain saw would probably work better though.

Higher voltage is more power in general. The only battery powered tool I have is an 18v dewalt and im happy with it. The 20v is what they converted over to.

CedarWaxWing
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:32 pm

Daedalus214 wrote:From my experience, battery operated tools are great for small projects and limited use. A battery operated drill uses less energy than a reciprocating saw and will last longer performing whatever duty you require it to do. I would suggest buying a used Sawzall with a cord and extension cords on Craigslist. However, you may be better off getting a used electric or gas-powered tree (branch) trimmer than a Sawmill. A Sawzall is really designed for home construction projects not tree trimming, as the tree sap can gum it up.

If the trees and shrubs are close to your house (~15-20 feet), then an electric unit would be fine. If the trees and shrubs are scattered throughout your property, then a gas-powered unit is the ticket. Also, look at renting or borrowing a chainsaw if the branches are too large for a trimmer.

Last item, gloves, hearing protection, and safety glasses are mandatory. If you use a chain saw you may wish to get some safety chaps to avoid an unintended leg amputation.
1. Corded reciprocating saw... I considered that, but much of this may be done during a wet season... some 10 20 feet up fir trees, and yes, 100 or so feet from the house.... scattered about the 1 acre place... full of trees and shrubs.

2. My hesitancy to avoid a chain saw (which I can borrow from a friend) is that it takes two hands to hold and operate safely... since I much of this work, will in up a ladder in the trees.

3. Do the pruning blades for reciprocating saws not work well?

4. The biggest branches I see trimming for this job is 4-5 inches.

5. The small pine tree saplings need to be cut at the base, and the shrubs need to have some very large bases greatly thined... and a wide blade may not get into some of the tight spaces... to allow selective trimming.

Thanks for your thoughts...

M

CedarWaxWing
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:37 pm

JerLon wrote:Is there a reason you are considering battery powered reciprocating saw over a pole pruner. For what you are describing, you'd be far better off with a gas powered (or battery) pole pruner like the Stihl HT line. Or, maybe better yet, would be the Stihl Kobmi System. This is a motor with interchangeable heads including pole saw, string trimmer, edger, etc...

If you're stuck with reciprocating saws (Sawzall is a Milwaukee model name), you need to consider how often you'll be using it outside of this project. If a lot, Milwaukee Fuel is your best bet. Yes, the batteries in a line of tools (ie: the Milwaukee M18 or M12, or the Dewalt 20V Max) will fit all of the tools in that line in general.

If I was only buying a tool for one project and if it had to be cordless (no access to power), I'd go more low end than Milwaukee. Hitachi cordless stuff is decent. I've had a set for five years that has held up well.
Thanks... esp for the info on the cross tool uses of the battery in a given brand.


Pole pruner sounds good, and was considered... but I was hoping on the fence rebuild, and shrub (thick in some areas) pruning will be a more common use once the trees are limbed... and once I get them up to about 20 feet...I likely will not need to do that again ever...

Best,

M

tacster
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by tacster » Sat Sep 17, 2016 4:38 pm

I tried cutting up some tree limbs with my Sawzall and found that it didn't work very well. The short stroke of the sawzall just wasn't enough to quickly go through the limbs. A small chainsaw (small enough to easily hold and use with one hand) worked far better.
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renter
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by renter » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:02 pm

Be very careful with the long blade cutting branches. Depending on what you're cutting the blade can bend and seize up and injure you. I had a close scare once doing that. Use a quality chain saw on thicker branches.

btenny
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by btenny » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:12 pm

I think you need to buy a Pole mounted GAS chain saw like shown here. It works great for trimming trees from the ground so no need for a ladder. My yard guy uses this all the time on my trees. He also has a second small chain saw that can be operated with one hand for cutting limbs and other things on the ground or while standing on a ladder. No way will a sawzall do the cutting you describe plus if you do use a sawzall it also will require two hands while standing on that ladder. Those are mostly for construction work not trees. Plus if you want heavy duty cutting operations like you describe you will have to go with a cord version as a minimum.

https://www.stihlusa.com/products/pole-pruners/
https://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain ... wner-saws/

Good Luck

MathWizard
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by MathWizard » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:19 pm

For the branches, I would get a 7 inch electric pole saw. I use a plugin one which has plenty of power.

This way I'm on the ground, not on a ladder or on a branch cutting.

I also have sawzallls (again plugin) which I something use for brush, but mostly for demolition in carpentry projects.

You get a lot more power with a plug in model.

The only battery powered tools I have are a skill saw (20V lithium Ion) that I use for trim and thin plywood,
and dewalt drills. (18 V) .
Last edited by MathWizard on Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mingus
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by Mingus » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:35 pm

For hand saws, a bow saw is hard to beat for cutting branches up to 4 or 5" in diameter if not larger.

A good bow saw, like a Bahco one. About 10x faster than using even a corded sawzall.

BIGal
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by BIGal » Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:50 pm

You could use a Sawsall but why in the world would you want to?....Get the right tool for the job.. the link to the Stihl pole saw is worth checking out. Maybe you could rent something if you would rather not own it and you don't expect to have to do the trimming very often....Sawzalls are handy tools, I have a corded one but don't use it for tree work.

gmc4h232
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by gmc4h232 » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:05 pm

Trying to cut down a tree with a reciprocating saw using a horizontal cut is a pain due to the blade binding up, but for in tree light duty use like for pruning where you're cutting vertically, the battery powered ones can be handy. Find one that's light and doesn't have some POS safety on it that makes it difficult to operate with one hand (Ryobi). The brushless milwaukees are probably pretty nice. here's a good article about brushed vs brushless motors:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/re ... wer-tools/

For heavier duty cutting, I have a Stihl MS-261C and highly recommend it.

JerLon
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by JerLon » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:15 pm

mspadorchard wrote:
Pole pruner sounds good, and was considered... but I was hoping on the fence rebuild, and shrub (thick in some areas) pruning will be a more common use once the trees are limbed... and once I get them up to about 20 feet...I likely will not need to do that again ever...

Best,

M
I recently tried to trim some branches using a reciprocating saw. It worked but it nearly resulted in injury. These saws need two hands on them and the short strokes cause the blades to bend easily and bind up. The blades get stuck easily in larger branches, etc...

Home Depot or Sunbelt Rentals each rents an Echo pole pruner for $50 a day. Well worth the added safety of being closer to the ground while cutting and using the right tool for the job.

JerLon
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by JerLon » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:16 pm

These are the blades I have used. Far better at cutting roots in the ground than branches in the air.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FAPPAA/

Small Change
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by Small Change » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:30 pm

As for a source, you might consider factory reconditioned tools from http://cpooutlets.com. I bought a recon Sawzall and one other tool.

JoinToday
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by JoinToday » Sat Sep 17, 2016 6:57 pm

mspadorchard wrote: ......
2. My hesitancy to avoid a chain saw (which I can borrow from a friend) is that it takes two hands to hold and operate safely... since I much of this work, will in up a ladder in the trees.
......
M
Safe chain saw guidelines is to not cut above your head.

I remember reading about a doctor using a chain saw. I don't remember the details, but it was probably something like on a ladder, cutting above his head. Something went wrong, and the chainsaw cut his juggler vein. Worst possible outcome.

I remember using a chain saw while standing safely on a 6 foot ladder, cutting shoulder high. I slipped. The gyroscopic effect of the chain saw gave me a huge scare. I only use a chainsaw with both feet on the ground, cutting up branches, or cutting the trunk of the tree.

I have a healthy respect for those tools. For cutting more than 4 feet above the ground, I use a pole pruner (manual) or hire it out now.
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CedarWaxWing
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sat Sep 17, 2016 7:21 pm

Safe chain saw guidelines is to not cut above your head.

I remember reading about a doctor using a chain saw. I don't remember the details, but it was probably something like on a ladder, cutting above his head. Something went wrong, and the chainsaw cut his juggler vein. Worst possible outcome.

I remember using a chain saw while standing safely on a 6 foot ladder, cutting shoulder high. I slipped. The gyroscopic effect of the chain saw gave me a huge scare. I only use a chainsaw with both feet on the ground, cutting up branches, or cutting the trunk of the tree.

I have a healthy respect for those tools. For cutting more than 4 feet above the ground, I use a pole pruner (manual) or hire it out now.[/quote]

This is why I have been reluctant to use a chain saw on a ladder... and in fact have been mainly using a 3 foot bow saw to such tree branches. Slow going...but then again, I have enjoyed the exercise. No way will a manual pole pruner work... these branches are big, thick, and heavy. A lot of the branches are big enough that I do a bottom cut out a couple inches from the branch base.. then do another from the top closer in... so when the weight starts breaking the branch it breaks until it reaches the bottom cut, falls down, then I finish the upper cut on the branch "stub" so as to avoid the blade getting pinched/stuck, and also have a controlled fall/breakage for safety issues. More work, but it seems safer.

I actually think I can do the trees with all with a bow saw... but when I get up to about 15 -20 feet, I think I need to get a harness and rope so if the ladder falles, I can simply hang there and lower myself to the ground. :)

The bow saw does not work well in the tight spaces of some of the branches... and most of the very large woody shrubs (at their big branching bases) and that task in particular got me thinking about a sawzall for those tight spaces, and then of course I have that fence job coming up...may be handy for that also. :)

Thanks all for the opinions... :)

M

whomever
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by whomever » Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:47 pm

I have a 'Super Sawzall', and chainsaws (electric and gas). My experience is that sawzalls aren't very good at pruning. Sawzalls are good for framing, where having a narrow blade that will fit between the stud and pipe is a benefit, and where you need to cut metal. For cutting tree limbs, they aren't good. The jerky back and forth motion makes them a lot harder to use than a chainsaw. Especially up a ladder - and one handed, if I'm following. That doesn't sound good at all. Running one one handed standing on the ground is bad enough.

As others have said, one of the pole pruners would be best. Running saws when up on a ladder is dicey as heck, in my experience. For an acre, you could rent one for a day after clearing the lower stuff.

We have a little over an acre, too, and did the same kind of clearing. I used an electric chainsaw for anything I could reach, and a manual pole saw for the rest. That's just a sort of concave saw blade mounted on a long wooden pole. The sawzall stayed in the house.

mrc
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by mrc » Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:24 am

I have many (200+) deciduous and conifers on my lot. I have used hardware store pole pruners, several chain saws, and a Stihl HT pole pruner. The trees are getting bigger, and I’m getting older. I recently purchased two things that enable me to continue taking care of everything from routine limbing branches, felling dead trees, cleaning up storm damage.

1) a Stihl MS250 with no-tool adjust and easy start with 18” bar – which is the best chainsaw I have ever used.

2) a real arborist’s pole pruner (with six 6’ pole sections, and a saw and lopper head). This was several hundred $ but worth it.

I can reach crazy high with the pole pruner to limb high branches from the ground. The saw is very eager and quite easy to use (even for a 55+ year old without much upper body strength). I never use the heavy (and relatively short) Stihl pole saw any more.

I can’t imagine using a Sawzall for limbing.

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Blues
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by Blues » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:32 am

I have had excellent results using the Black & Decker 20v Max Reciprocating Saw for removing limbs and small (under 3") growth from our heavily wooded property. I have a number of the batteries from a variety of their tools using the same power source.

In the one instance where one of their tools started to go bad during the warranty period, (about a year and a half in), I had a replacement a week from the day I shipped them the defective one at no cost to me. That kind of customer service counts with me.

Here's a link to the product:

https://www.amazon.com/BLACK-DECKER-BDC ... B00IP27DFA

I would also highly recommend these blades from SKIL:

https://www.amazon.com/94100-05-Pruning ... op?ie=UTF8
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Calhoon
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by Calhoon » Sun Sep 18, 2016 7:50 am

Depends how big of the branches are.

I find myself using a 12 volt or 18 volt sawzall all the time for pruning and taking out branches just because it's so much more convenient then getting out a chainsaw and screwing around with it. Was surprised at what that little 12 volt thing could handle, but obviously a recip saw is going to be impractical on anything but light work.

If you do it you got to get recip pruning blades with a super aggressive tooth otherwise forget it.

You can use the batteries on other tools within the same platform but then you're pretty much commited to that platform. You probably wouldn't want multiple chargers and batteries to deal with.

pshonore
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by pshonore » Sun Sep 18, 2016 8:34 am

The important thing when cutting is the amount of "set" in the blade. A good handsaw has each alternating tooth slightly bent left or right. This creates clearance and allows the sawdust to clear the cut and reduce binding. A chainsaw by definition cuts a large groove so set is not as important as a properly sharpened chain. Bowsaws usually have no set and a thin flexible blade which makes cutting anything more than a 3" limb somewhat difficult. Sawzalls might be better for larger cuts depending on the length of the stroke. For a larger limbs, its always good practice to "undercut" the bottom of the branch to reduce binding and prevent tearing. Easy to do with chainsaw, much more difficult with a bow saw or sawzall.

whomever
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by whomever » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:08 am

a real arborist’s pole pruner (with six 6’ pole sections, and a saw and lopper head). This was several hundred $ but worth it
Could I ask what brand/model that is?

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Kosmo
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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by Kosmo » Sun Sep 18, 2016 9:11 am

btenny wrote:I think you need to buy a Pole mounted GAS chain saw
Bingo. You want a chain saw for this work. The pole mounted ones are small enough that you can detach it from the pole and use it with 1 hand.

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Re: Sawzall and Batt Opertated tools questions?

Post by btenny » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:10 pm

I am bothered here big time by your request. We suggested you to get a chains saw pole trimmer that works great for stuff up to about 12-14 feet. The pole trimmer will let you trim whole trees in minutes while you are cutting one limb with your bow saw. You said you want to trim trees and then said they were big. But then you say you can reach then from a ladder. The pole trimmer will keep you on the ground. And in my experience trimming anything above about 12-14 feet is just "special tree work" and should be done by a tree "climber or arborist" and not the homeowner. So if you really need stuff trimmed 20 feet high go hire a tree person. Please, before you fall and get hurt.

Tree professionals climb trees for a living and have lots of special harnesses and safety equipment to prevent falls. They are insured. These guys know how to climb and cut stuff and have their own tools. In this case they may charge you less than you will spend on tools. And if you have hardwood that can be salvaged they may pay you (or charge you very little) to let them trim the wood.

See here for pole trimmer videos.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb05QA0n1lE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apon-RoHlSY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILWQEgLyJm8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jb05QA0n1lE

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