Which One is the Right Tool for the Job: Hackzall vs Sawzall

Have you ever heard about Hackzall and Sawzall and imagined they were the same thing? While the words do sound strikingly similar, they refer to two very different tools, so you might be wondering which one is the right tool for the job at hand.

Hackzall vs Sawzall

In today’s article, we’re going to take a side-by-side look to determine what each tool looks like, what it’s good for, and why they are so different from one another.

What Is a Hackzall?

Rather than an extended, two-handed form factor, these customized reciprocating saws are designed specifically for one-handed usage. As such, they adopt the form factor of a conventional power drill. This features a balanced weight in spite of the pistol-like grip that facilitates usage without the need for additional support.

The Hackzall series of devices include an anti-vibration mechanism that is intended to improve control and precision when used with a single hand. This technology is included as standard on all models included in the line.

Pros and Cons of Using a Hackzall

As with all power tools, the Hackzall comes with a series of advantages and drawbacks, so let’s look at them:

  • Pro: It is a small and lightweight tool, which makes it suitable for reaching small spots and cutting in areas where the Sawzall would be too big and bulky.
  • Con: It has a short cutting stroke length, which also makes it more difficult and time-consuming to cut through metal stocks.
  • Pro: You only need to use one hand to operate it, which means you have one free hand for holding the piece you’re looking to cut.
  • Con: They are a little more expensive compared to Sawzalls because they are better at making finer cuts.
  • Pro: It works really well for smaller around-the-house projects because it acts as a general-purpose saw.

What Is a Sawzall?

The term “Sawzall” refers to the first reciprocating saw made by Milwaukee Tools. That initial saw was so successful that the term “reciprocating saw” became associated with it in the building business.

When people look at the Sawzall, they see an average reciprocating saw, but it is actually a trademark for the D-handle reciprocating saws. Additionally, they have a forward-facing support point on their elongated bodies, which allows the complete unit to be handled like a rifle.

While corded Sawzalls are available, the majority of customers choose battery-operated versions. Recently, the company began offering models equipped with One-Key. This enables the device to communicate wirelessly with a smartphone app in order to track battery life and performance.

Pros and Cons of Using a Sawzall

Because of its different design and characteristics, the Sawzall has a different set of advantages and drawbacks, so here is what you should consider before buying it:

  • Pro: Good for cutting thicker, more versatile materials. That includes PVC, wood, and metal. The Sawzall is designed to be more of a heavy-duty power tool.
  • Con: It’s not as portable. Because it’s more powerful and designed to be used with two hands, the Sawzall is bulkier and weighs more, which makes it less portable.
  • Pro: More powerful. In translation, it’s better if you want to make faster cuts.
  • Con: You need both hands to use it. Because of that, you won’t have a free hand to hold your workpieces, which could be a disadvantage in some cases.
  • Pro: It’s great for heavy-duty projects. The combination of double-handed operation (which means more stability) and the higher power (which makes faster and thicker cuts), make this a more powerful tool overall.

How Do You Use a Hackzall?

How Do You Use a Hackzall

The Hackzall was purpose-built for single-handed usage. To accomplish this, the Hackzall’s form factor is more compact and balanced. Indeed, the shape of a Hackzall comes closer to that of a power drill, unlike that of the Sawzall

The Hackzall is intended for one-handed operation. But, yes, there is no secure or useful location on the gadget for your other hand. This not only puts your hand in a position where you could get injured, but also disturbs the Hackzall’s balance.

How Do You Use a Sawzall?

How Do You Use a Sawzall

The Sawzall is shaped and styled similarly to a standard reciprocating saw. As such, they are two-handed power tools, with one hand placed on the forward end support and the other one, on the rear trigger support.

To maintain stability while you’re using a Sawzall, make sure one of your hands is placed on the trigger and the other on the guard above the blade. The distinctions are comparable to those between a handgun and a rifle, considering their distinct characteristics and similar general applications.

While certain reciprocating saws may be used with one hand, they are not adequately balanced for single-handed operation. The Sawzall is a two-handed cutting instrument which, unlike the Hacksaw that resembles a power drill in terms of how you hold it, is similar to a chainsaw in that specific aspect.

Hackzall Vs Sawzall Comparison Chart

If you’re still unsure about the differences between these two tools, let’s take a side-by-side look at the main characteristics and uses for each.

Tool NameKey Features & Uses
Hackzall● Design makes it more versatile.

● Good for precision projects.

● A little more expensive than the Sawzall.

● Designed for one-handed operation.

● Looks more like a power drill than a saw.
Sawzall● Good for large cuts.

● Lacks precision.

● More affordably priced.

● Looks like a reciprocating saw.

● Is a two-handed power tool.

What Projects Do You Need a Hackzall For?

Being a smaller size and the one-handed operation of the Hackzall makes it more suitable for projects that require detailed cuts and finesse. The smaller and more compact form of this saw also makes it more suitable for projects that require cuts in places that would be hard to reach with a larger saw.

Because of its smaller size, the Hackzall is more suitable for thinner pieces of material. It also doesn’t have that much power, at least not when you compare it to a Sawzall, so you might want to keep that in mind as you’re attempting to determine which tool is the best one for the job at hand.

What Projects Do You Need a Sawzall For?

In comparison to the Hackzall, the Sawzall is often more powerful and intended to work with thicker material. The Sawzall’s reciprocating action enables it to cut through wood, PVC, and metal with ease, owing in large part to the device’s power.

In this sense, the great majority of craftspeople and woodworkers will profit from purchasing a Sawzall. While it functions similarly to some of the other reciprocating saws out there, this product’s power and dependability make it a significant asset.

This product is superior for individuals performing outdoor trimming or large-scale demolition projects.

Best Hackzall Recommendation

Understanding the differences between Hackzall and Sawzall, let’s take a look at some of the tools we’d totally recommend from each category.

MILWAUKEE’S Electric Tools 2719-21 M18 Fuel Hackzall Kit

MILWAUKEE'S Electric Tools 2719-21 M18 Fuel Hackzall Kit

The Milwaukee 2719-21 M18 hacksaw is the most powerful and quickest cutting one-handed reciprocating saw available. M18 promises to deliver cuts that are 50 percent quicker than competitors because of its combination between the 7/8-inch stroke length and the brushless motor.

  • Weight: ‎9.87 pounds
  • Battery: M18 red lithium XC5.0 battery
  • Price range: $250 – $300

A small, one-handed design gives greater control and the flexibility to make cuts in difficult to reach areas. Twin gear counterbalance system delivers up to four times the vibration reduction of typical reciprocating saws, resulting in quicker cut starts in metal and decreased user fatigue.


  • Holes protected by rubber heal
  • Produces less vibration
  • Makes fast cuts


  • Pretty heavy for a Hackzall

Best Sawzall Recommendation

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kit

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Reciprocating Saw Kit

If you want a reciprocating saw that still sports a lightweight and compact design (at least compared to other Sawzalls out there), then you have to check out this tool by DEWALT. It measures a total of 14.5 inches in length, making it suitable for cuts in smaller spaces.

  • Weight: 8 pounds
  • Battery: 2.0 Ah DCB203 XR Li-Ion
  • Price range: $200 – $250

The fast-cutting speed is delivered by the 1-1/8″ of stroke length. A blade clamp with four positions makes it easier for you to switch the blades without putting in too much effort. If you ever have to work in spots without too much light, there is a bright LED incorporated in the design.

This tool also features a variable speed trigger for more cut versatility, which is also backed up by the pivoting shoes.


  • LED integration
  • Quick blade changing
  • Variable speed trigger


  • Short battery runtime


What is the difference between a Hackzall and Sawzall?

With plenty of differences between these two tools, the most common one is the fact that the Hacksaw offers a pistol-like grip and can be operated with one hand, while the Sawzall is a D-shaped handle and needs to be operated with both hands.

Can Hackzall use Sawzall blades?

In spite of the difference in blades, the saw blades for these instruments are interchangeable.

Can Hackzall cut wood?

Yes, it can cut through different types of wood, but also through PVC and metal, as long as you stick to the one-inch recommended material thickness.

The Final Verdict

The Hackzall and Sawzall are two very different tools, the former being more suitable for precision cuts and thinner pieces of material, and the latter being better for thicker, more powerful cuts that require greater operation speed.

If you found this article useful, we have more tool comparisons that might help you in your future projects. Like our guide to mitre saws vs circular saws!