HITACH BRUSHLESS CORDLESS 18V BANDSAW Review

HITACHI BRUSHLESS 18V COMPACT BANDSAW Review Model CB18DBLP4

As a carpenter working in the residential sector, I’m more than acquainted with all the various types of saws used for cutting wood and wood substitutes. Cutting metals on the other hand is a secondary thought, which up to this point I’ve settled for cutting with a hacksaw, a mini grinder, or a reciprocating saw.

A SOLUTION FROM THE INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

Hitachi has just released their first ever cordless brushless 18v 3 1/4” bandsaw model number CB18DBLP4 which is sold as a bare tool. The bandsaw is aimed at plumbers, electricians, mechanical trades, and commercial applications where the use of metals is an every day thing.Hitachi 18V Compact Bandsaw -4

CUTTING SPEED SPECS AND CAPACITY

The 18v bandsaw has a variable speed dial and auto function which will adjust blade speed accordingly based on the material being cut. The automatic blade speed function set the 18v bandsaw achieves a speed of 395 to 640 SPFM, this achieves reduced noise and prolonged run times.

The bandsaw features a tool less blade change which uses a tension lever. The maximum cut capacity of the bandsaw is 3-1/4” pipe both round or square. The bandsaw utilizes a 35-7/16” x 1/2” metal cutting bandsaw blade.

Hitachi has included overload protection on both the battery and the tool which prevents overheating. The motor is equipped with a soft start feature.Hitachi 18V Compact Bandsaw -3

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Hitachi 18v brushless bandsaw is very light in the hand based on the size of it.  At 6.45 lbs the housing is almost entirely high impact plastic which contributes to its reduced weight.

Hitachi 18V Compact Bandsaw -8Whats unique on the bandsaw is how the battery is up on top of the handle and the motor itself towards the bottom. The battery location is more commonly found towards the bottom of the handle on most tools.

The blade guide assembly is angled off of the handle frame at about 135 degrees. This design benefits a right handed user. The removable auxiliary handle is located at the front of the upper blade guide wheel housing.

We tested the bandsaw using the Hitachi BSL 1680 18v 6 amp battery. This battery is very comparable in size to other companies 5 and 6 amp batteries. It does however lack a fuel gauge.

The UC 18YSL3 quick charger has a fan cooling system to counter the battery warming up while charging. The really nice feature on it is the very large, easily spotted led light that glows blue while charging and turns solid green when a battery is charged.

PERFORMANCE AND TESTING

Several of us tried out the Hitachi Brushless 18v bandsaw on site. We used it for cutting 1 1/2” galvanized steel conduit, heavy duty chrome closet rods. It was also used to cut the header track on Johnson pocket door kits which is a combination of 1x pine and aluminum channel. There was also a stainless steel barn door track which had to be cut, the blade itself could not cut the stainless though.

Note on Cutting Stainless: That isn’t a fault of the tool though, the ability to cut stainless is blade dependent. Since the tool is so new, there isn’t a blade available yet for stainless.

Hitachi 18V Compact Bandsaw -5We all found that the bandsaw cuts extremely smooth, cutting through the various materials like butter. Because of the reduced noise none of us required hearing protection which is needed when using a reciprocating saw or mini grinder to cut metals.

RUNTIME / TORTURE TESTING

We wanted to see just how many cuts the 3 ¼” 18v cordless bandsaw could make on the 6 amp battery. Utilizing scraps of  both 1-1/4” heavy duty chrome closet rod and 1/2” copper pipe, the bandsaw easily completed 76 cuts in the chrome rod and 85 cuts in the copper pipe. At that point we ran out of metal materials and the on tool fuel gauge was reading 1 of 2 bars remaining. 161 cuts were made in total.

WHAT WE LIKE

The 18v bandsaw performed extremely well. The tool is easily used with a single hand and feels very comfortable used in the right hand; the smooth cutting action leaves for little room for concern of kick back or damaging finish grade materials.

Tool-less blade changing is a huge bonus and the guide wheel housings are also tool-less, utilizing a snap lock type design.

WHAT CAN BE IMPROVED

The angled handle in relation to the cutting head makes it very difficult to see what your cutting for left handed users, switching the orientation of the handle to a straight on would make the bandsaw ambidextrous.

Having the fuel gauge on the tool is a great feature, however its only 2 bars. We find this to be too vague when determining how much run time is left on the battery. Increasing the fuel gauge to 3 if not 4 bars will give a user better indication of remaining battery life.Hitachi 18V Compact Bandsaw -2

FINAL THOUGHTS

All in all the Hitachi CB18DBLP4 18v brushless bandsaw operates extremely well. It will fit in perfectly in the truck or van of those specializing in commercial construction. Currently the 18v bandsaw is only available as a bare tool for $249.99 US. At this time its not available in Canada. The 6 amp battery model 338890 sells for $107.99 US.

BRUSHLESS 18V COMPACT BANDSAW
$249.00

 

About the author

Jeff Kirk

Journeyman Carpenter/ Renovations/ Finish carpentry . graduating from the Nova Scotia Intitute of Technology's Carpentry diploma program in 2005, from there became indentured in the apprenticeship program and then completed the Interprovincial Exam receiving his Red seal in 2008. Focusing mainly in residential high end renovation and custom new homes in Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada . He brings his knowledge of better building practices and understanding of how to get the most out of power tools to the team.

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