Milwaukee M12 Hackzall Review


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Milwaukee M12 Hackzall

If your not familiar with the Milwaukee M12, you should be.  This is a Lithium 12V line Milwaukee introduced for professionals as well as home owners.  The HackZall is a reciprocating saw.  This is a little different than a traditional reciprocating saw in that this is only 11″ in length.  This means it is perfect for getting in tight spaces and can be used for a variety of applications such as electrical, HVAC, plumbing and more.

Over all this is a very light tool weighing only 2.6 lbs. and with the Lithium Ion battery only 3.2 lbs.  The stroke length is 1/2″ and has a SPM of 0-3,000.  This saw also has a built in LED light to light up your work in dark places.  On the side of the saw there is a power meter to show you battery strength.

There is a lot more to this HackZall, but lets get into the review and we can cover more.

The Review

One item you will first notice is the design of this saw.  It doesn’t have the traditional D-Handle grip that large reciprocating saws have.  Instead this saw has a nice long plastic grip.  So if you do need to get into tight spots, you have more leverage.  Another great feature we like is the chuck.  They use the same system to hold a blade in place that their famous larger Sawzall uses.  This means that all the blades are interchangeable from one to another.

As you can see by the video below, we ran it to show you the tool in action.  We cut through a metal stake, oak wood and PVC pipe.  We will get more into this in a bit.  We also loaned this to a plumber we know and a spray foam insulator.  Both of these guys loved this HackZall.  For the spray foam, it is very easy to cut through, but he loved that this would get into tight spots that normally they would have to cut by hand.  The plumber, Brian, couldn’t say enough great things about this tool.  He is so used to using his 18V for everything, he felt like the 12V was easy to maneuver and was very light.

So after hearing about how these two guys loved the Hackzall, we wanted to test it out for ourselves.  Last week we went out to a job to help our friend.  We put in a new mens bathroom and converted the old bathroom to a womans bathroom.  Well Brian was right, this saw is a very handy tool to have around.  We cut everything from Greenboard, Wonderboard, Plywood, PVC pipe and more.  Overall the battery life is exceptional.  Not that it matters that much because it only takes 30 minutes to charge the battery.

One item I noticed when cutting the Greenboard, there didn’t seem to be as much dust as normal which is a plus.  On the outside of the bathroom we had to make a rough cut into plywood which was 1/2″.  The saw ran through this with ease and didn’t bog down.  We knew we would be writing this review, so we wanted to test it on 3/4″ plywood.  Not that we needed to cut 3/4″ plywood for anything, but just wanted to see.  Again it ran through the 3/4″ with no problems.  Also we cut through the cement board with no problems.  We could go on and on about all the different uses, but we will leave that up to your imagination.

For our video, we wanted to put something together so you could see this power tool in action.  We cut through some PVC, a metal stake and some Oak wood.  As you can see it cut through the PVC with no problems.  It didn’t leave the most clean finish as compared to traditional ways of cutting PVC, but it was very easy to clean the edges.  The metal we cut, it went through without bogging down.  However the finish cut on the stake was very nice and clean, no small metal shavings that would cut your finger.  Obviously with the Oak wood and a wood blade, it cut through that also.  I wish we would have ran the video a little longer so you could see the finish cut, but it is very similar to the final product cut of the Sawzall.

Final Thought

Overall the Milwaukee HackZall is an extremely versatile reciprocating saw.  Great power for a 12V, far more than we would have thought and the perfect tool to get into tight spots.  Even if you don’t need to get in tight spots, this tool will do the trick.  If you are a home owner, professional or even just a hobbyist, take a look at the Hackzall.  Again, you can buy this saw separate or part of the kit 2490-24.

See our overview of the Milwaukee M12 cordless kit – 2490-24


  1. I bought this kit about two months ago. I bought it for around the home and love it. Everything is very light and easy to work with. The battery life is great. I sold the copper cutter on eBay as I had no use for it, but kept everything thing else. The reciprocating saw is great. I actually get more use out of it than expected. Your right, not even bad to cut down small tree limbs in the yard.

  2. Brand new, this saw has very sloppy blade control, loose bushings and almost 1/8″ sideways slop in the plunger. rotational (blade twist) slop is just shy of 10 degrees. compare this to any other recip. saw on the market and you’ll see what I mean. This is why it makes inaccurate cuts with the longer blades. You will have to use the tiny blades to avoid saw wander and whip. I’m sorry I bought it and wish they would have paid as much attention to this saw as they did with my 18v Sawzall. For shame, Milwaukee! This thing is only suitable for demo or gardening. I have half a mind to void the warranty and install tighter plunger bushings myself….

  3. Big guy dave up there has no idea what hes talking about. blade control is amazing with this hackzall. longer blades work great even thru inch and a half galvanized steel emt. and no sideways slop in the plunger. mine is tighter then a 20 year old virgin pussy.

  4. Hi guys, I was doing some tree trimming today and was using my Dewalt 18v sawzall for delimbing the larger branches for easier disposal. It got kinda heavy after a few hours. Would the m12 work for cutting 1-1/2″ limbs? I like the one handed pistol grip idea.


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