Little Home Wrecker

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Reciprocating saws are the thugs of the demolition world, with powerful motors and strong blades that slice through wood, PVC and metal. But they’re unwieldy brutes, requiring two hands and lots of space to cut safely. Milwaukee’s scrappy little Hackzall, however, is easy to command with a single hand and maneuver in tight spaces. Its 12-volt motor drives the blade at 3,000 strokes per minute—nearly as fast as a full-size saw, so it can do about as much damage.

To make the Hackzall’s compact and comfortable profile, engineers put a dogleg between the handle and the blade to hold the motor (most recips place the motor in-line). A lightweight gearset carries the motor’s spinning motion around the bend to the blade, which traces the same oval-shaped cutting motion as a full-size recip.

Although the Hackzall can use standard reciprocating-saw blades, Milwaukee sells special four-inch blades, which are thinner and make a finer cut. That helps reduce strain on the motor, so a single charge gives you plenty of wanton destruction.