Milwaukee M18 FUEL Sawzall – Longevity Review

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Sawzall Gen 1 and Gen 2.  One Year Look Back

Specifications M18 FUEL™ SAWZALL Reciprocating Saw (2821-22) – replacing 2720

  • 3000 SPM
  • 1-1/4” stroke length
  • Adjustable Shoe
  • Anti-Corrosion Blade Clamp
  • Rafter Hook
  • LED light
  • Weight: 8.4 lbs (6.8 lbs bare tool)
  • 5-year warranty Pricing
  • 2821-20 ($199)
  • 2821-21 ($319)
  • 2821-22 ($419)

Looking Back

The Gen 1 we’ve been running for 4-5 years and recently the blade guard lever broke and about 2 years in the blade clamp started sticking – requiring frequent lubrication.

Recip saws are one of the most widely used power tools in the construction industry would be the reciprocating saw.

Well, we all know that Milwaukee invented the Sawzall in 1951 and now it’s a common name for all reciprocating saw brands.

Next to the drill, I challenge you to find a power tool that touches so many different trades. The Milwaukee Sawzall has had such an impact on the industry that it is now considered an eponym,.  Similar to Motrin, Xerox, and Google it.

We all had our FAVS over the years – early on my favorite corded reciprocating saw was the Porter-Cable Tiger-Saw – what a beast! My second FAV was the Gen 1 cordless Sawzall – Having a cordless recip was amazing.

Do you remember your first cordless recip saw?

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Sawzall Gen 2 Look Back

I just transitioned to the Gen 2 recip saw for all the reasons why they upgraded it.

  • Lighter
  • Increased Stoke length
  • Improved Longevity
  • Anti-Corrosion Blade Clamp

Ok let’s discuss those four in more detail:


Milwaukee shaved a ½ pound off the tool [6.9 lbs. bare tool] but still beefed up common wear areas, while reducing weight in other areas.

Its ½ lb lighter, and has more rubber over-mold on the saw which helps with vibration dampening, and a more comfortable, long-term grip.

Increased Stroke Length

The Gen 2 Sawzall still has a brushless motor that provides the same 3,000 SPM but Milwaukee increased the stroke length1-1/4 inch. While 1/8-inch doesn’t seem like much this saw does cuts nail embedded wood, black pipe, and conduit faster.

Improved Longevity

Internally they improved the longevity of the tool by improving the slider-crank mechanism better protecting it from water and dust ingress. This improvement was a result of direct feedback from users complaining that when cutting water-filled pipes their saw clamp and crank mechanism would get wet and the mechanism would eventually rust or seize.

Water ingress and corrosion are common to the reciprocating saw landscape including all major competitors. The improvements Milwaukee made in this area can be viewed as an upgrade over existing reciprocating saws regardless of brand.

The battery connection also has been reinforced battery with metal for improved durability and battery retention over the life of the tool. The Extendable shoe got a HUGE upgrade and is both easier to actuate and more durable. One change you may or may not immediately notice is that the extendable shoe actuator button is recessed and covered by think rubber over-mold – protecting it from damage.

Anti-Corrosion Blade Clamp

I can attest that on my older Sawzall the blade clamp sticks and is difficult to actuate, and the blade guard lever has broken off. Milwaukee replaced key parts of the blade clamp with stainless steel, for better wear and corrosion resistance.

So……did we get it right? I think so we didn’t predict the rust issues but we were able to run our Gen 1 saw for 4-5 years – so I’m calling this a win. The Gen 2 – we’ll that sure seems like a win to me as well! Click here for our Gen2 Sawzall Video Review

Milwaukee M18 Sawzall Final Thoughts

Overall Impression 69 years ago Milwaukee released the first SAWZALL and a legend was born – today, this saw still dominates the job site. Some things get better with age.

This Sawzall sells for $399 as a kit or for $ 199 as a bare tool, at Ohio Power Tools.

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob Robillard

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve had the sawzall for a long time and it’s helped me for many a year. Very versatile with the amount of different blades that it can use. I don’t know what I would have done without this Milwaukee sawzall I’m so glad I got it! I’ve heard a lot of complaints about other brands I can’t find one con about this one no BS

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