February 9, 2009

Hitachi CR10DL 10.8 Volt Lithium Ion Micro Reciprocating Saw - Review

hitachi_recip_in_case.jpgIn early January, we announced that Hitachi was expanding their 10.8-volt line with a new flashlight, a right-angle impact driver, and a micro-reciprocating saw. Of these, the micro-recip saw and the Right-Angle Impact Driver interested us the most. We were happy to get our hands on the tools and have been testing them out for a couple of weeks. Here, we're going to give you our impressions of the micro-recip saw and in the very near future, we'll go on about the right angle driver.

First, a bit about the batteries. Hitachi has decided to call their micro line of tools "10.8-volt." Obviously, you're thinking, they are less powerful than the Bosch 12-volt Max or the Milwaukee 12-volt line. Wrongo. By saying, "10.8-volt," Hitachi is referring to the nominal, or operating, voltage of the tool. Milwaukee and Bosch, on the other hand, are using the maximum voltage (the tools spike when first kicked on). So don't be fooled into thinking that the 12-volt tools are 1.2-volts more powerful than the 10.8 because they're not. It's just marketing spin.

hitachi_recip_in_hands.jpgSo back to the tool. The Micro-Recip Saw is a pretty basic affair. It's got the body/handle, an LED, and the chuck that can accept all standard recip saw blades. Hitachi's 10.8-volt batteries are shaped like traditional 18 or 14-volt batteries, as opposed to the little cylinders that the other companies use. This makes a difference with their drill/driver (it's the only 10.8-volt driver you can stand up), but here, the difference plays no role.

Picking the tool up out of the case, we were immediately impressed with the ergonomics of it. In the past, we've been critical of the Hitachi redesign, thinking that it makes their tools look too much like weaponry designed by Todd McFarlane, but in this case, the bizarre molding works to perfection. Each bump and bulge in the handle somehow ends up right where you want it for a secure and comfortable grip. And it doesn't matter if you're holding it with one hand, two hands, or above your head or below it. The tool just fits in your hands like you designed it yourself.

Because functionally, the Hitachi is most like the Milwaukee Hackzall, that's what we tested it against. We set up a 2x4 and had each tool make a cut. The results were nearly identical with the Mikwaukee being three seconds faster at a 24 seconds. With that established we took a look at ease of cut.

Hackzall_v_Hitachi_1.jpg

Because the nose of the Hitachi is kicked down, it's a little easier to maneuver when you're cutting something at waist level or below. Likewise, the Hackzall has the opposite going for it, making it a bit easier when working over your head. As we mentioned before, the Hitachi also lends itself better to a two-handed grip, due to its cylindrical shape. But at the same time, the compact size of the Hackzall is a benefit in tight places, like between joist bays. All in all, these differences are academic. Basically the Venn diagram of these two tools looks almost like a perfect circle, and that your choice between them is likely to come down to brand loyalty or which 10.8-volt system you're going to buy into (if you are indeed buying into one).

hitachi_recip_nose.jpgAs far as longevity goes, we don't have too much experience with Hitachi battery tools, but if they're anything like their nailers, then they should be pretty durable over the long haul.

The Micro-Recip Saw comes with a case, a charger, two batteries, and a couple of blades. It costs about $175, which puts it in the same range as the Hackzall (yet another similarity). The Hitachi is also available as part of a combo kit bundles with Hitachi's flashlight and their Micro-Drill/Driver. That kit runs about $225.

At ToolBarn
Combo Kit at Tyler Tool

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at February 9, 2009 4:37 AM

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