Recommend this product?
A reciprocating saw makes a versatile hand-tool, with about as much cutting power as a circulating saw, but the flexibility of being able to point and move the blade in any direction. This comes at the expense of precision, and the cleaniness of cuts. If you want something to look pretty, a reciprocating saw is probably not the tool of choice. On the other hand, if you need to cut something down, demolish, cut some branches, cut 2x4's or 4x4's to length for construction projects, or cut a hole in your wall or roof for an installation of some kind where the actual cut will not be visible- that's when the recip comes in handy.
Price and Positioning of the DeWalt DW304PK Reciprocating Saw
The Dewalt is powered by 110V plug-in, and is 10 Amps. That's quite a bit of power. At a price point of around $100, it could be considered mid-tier. More powerful than the smaller models, but not as sophisticated and rugged as the 'big guys', like a 15-Amp Milwaukee, for instance.
The DeWalt 304OPK puts out 2800 strokes per minute. At a weight of 7 pounds, this is no small power tool. The weight of the saw itself is often times enough to make the cut, but it is also tiring on the arms when working on longer projects.
Speaking of competition, these days more and more battery-powered models are available. Given the fact that power cords and cutting tools make bad combinations at times, a battery powered saw seems like something to think about, but on the other hand the plug-in models are superior in power.
When I bought my Dewalt 10 Amp reciprocating saw at Home Depot, it came with blades for wood, all-purpose, and metal. The blades can be exchanged by means of a small locking mechanism. Also, there are two different angles at which the blades can be mounted, off-set by 90 degrees. That's a cool feature, but I personally have not figured out a good use for any angle that's different from straight-down.
The locking mechanism can be jammed sometimes. Especially when you break off a blade and it's somewhat bent out of shape, the remaining piece can get stuck in the clamp locking mechanism. It takes a pair of pliers and some patience to get things in order again when that happens.
The variable speed control for the motor ir operated via the trigger. It works both with right and left hand.
When the weight of the machine itself is not enough to make the cut, you can grab the front with the other hand (the one not at the trigger) and push down. The shape of the Dewalt is well designed for this purpose. You can see the black rubbery-plastic grip in front.
To cut a 4x4 redwood beam takes about 10 seconds. To cut a 10-inch oakwood log takes about a minute.
In continuous use, the motor gets quite hot, you can smell it. When cutting several logs of firewood, I found myself giving the machine a break to avoid overheating. Admittedly, this is not unwelcome, as the machine puts out pretty strong vibrations. When working for an hour with this saw, my arms start shaking, and I need to switch sides every 10 minutes or so. After a couple of hours of work, expect your hands to be shaking pretty good!
Durability, Overall Quality
This model has been on the market for a number of years. I've used mine for about 3 years, mainly to cut firewood, cut off branches from trees, build a treehouse, and some other medium-duty projects around the house. The saw looks a bit beaten up by now, but still works well. I think if I avoid over-heating it by taking a break every 30 min or so when working on longer projects, then it will last for a long time. I can't see what could break.
I consider this a good reciprocating saw, and a versatile tool that is helpful to have around the house. Keep in mind that blades are somewhat expensive - around 20 bucks for a set- and they do need to be replaced frequently.