Pros: metal case, heavy but well-balanced, dial speed adjustment
Cons: cost...only the pros make this worth it
I tend to associate certain tool makers with certain tools. That is, some immediately come to mind when I'm thinking "drill", others when I'm thinking "router". When I'm thinking reciprocating saw I immediately think "Milwaukee". While I've been less than impressed with some of Milwaukee's attempts at other tools (I find their drill to be about the worse I've had the honor to utilize), I have yet to find something that can work as well as my Sawzall.
You'll find reciprocating saws in two forms: corded and uncorded. I'm so very unimpressed with uncorded reciprocating saws that I'd be hard pressed to heartily recommend any. For the type of work you'll do with this tool and the consistency in use, battery drainage is a big problem. So if you're looking for a reciprocating saw - Milwaukee or some other brand - do yourself a favor and buy a corded version.
Once you enter the corded tool saw arena you'll find a pretty wide price spectrum. For a typical purchase made by a serious woodworker or one in the construction field, you'll find a price range that can go from about $170 - $270. That's a pretty big range amongst standard brands. (For this range and purpose I toss out tools made by companies like Craftsman and Black & Decker, which may be fine for weekend projects but generally can't survive the daily grind of a jobsite.) Often I find my pick somewhere in the midst of a price spectrum. Where reciprocating saws are concerned I'm at the high end. In fact, usually the highest end. You won't find your Sawzall in the bargain basement.
Stats applied to usage
With a weight of under 10 pounds but still in the 9 pound area, the Sawzall 6521 is again toward the end of the continuum. Granted, it doesn't win the weight contest for I know that at the very least the Porter Cable Tiger version (another good saw) weighs a bit more. Do you care? Well, many carpenters and framers do care when they are using their saw over and over. With a grip/handle at the rear and your other hand placed firmly around the middle, this is the reason weight training is often not needed for those working in this field. And, so, the heavier the saw the greater the fatigue.
That said, there is remarkably little fatigue here. Why? Balance, my friend...it's all about the balance. Weight is rather evenly distributed and the housing and handle make for good gripping and a feel that is comfortable in the hand(s). Furthermore, it is my contention that a good rip/cut/action has an awful lot to do with how weight affects a user.
Heavy weight also means less vibration. A light tool may initially seem the way to go, but with a reciprocating saw that usually calls for higher vibration. Over time it's easier to deal with a heavy tool that is smooth, cuts quickly, and vibrates minimally.
Note, also that the name of this saw includes the term "orbital". Not only does this saw provide straight cuts, but it also gives an orbital cut as well. Great feature for heavy-on-the-drywall jobs.
A case is a case? The case for a case
Normally I do not dwell much on tool cases in my reviews. While they're important, very seldom are they worth mentioning thanks to a general level of mediocrity. Yet here's something interesting you'll receive with your Sawzall: a metal case. Remember metal? It went out as plastic came in. But Milwaukee never forgot about metal and they provide a great case with their tool. Complete with metal latches and a box big enough to allow storage with blade in place.
Bade the Wrench Blade Change Bye-Bye
Another great feature here is in the form of the tool-less blade change. I'm not sure I'd go with a tool that requires an allen wrench, regardless, but this one proves to be a defining moment in that regard. Blade changes are easy involving a twist of the collar, pull back, insert, collar back into place. Very easy and still retaining security. The blade does not wobble after being put into place even after countless blade changes.
Depth control & other worth-mentionings
There are six depth control settings.
A speed dial controls speed as opposed to a trigger. I like this feature though it takes some getting used to if you are accustomed to controlling speed with your trigger finger. I find it means a smoother rate of speed.
Well, I'm afraid I have nothing bad to share. I haven't experienced a downside to this tool. And I almost hate doing this since I usually feel as though I must find at least something wrong with every tool I use. Yet I can honestly say that I wouldn't know what to suggest to Milwaukee if they came asking me for suggestions on improving this particular model. From case to tool, I'm pleased with it all. This tool certainly makes its own arguments for "you get what you pay for". I sincerely recommend that anyone regularly using a sawzall or doing a big remodel job consider a higher end reciprocating saw when making the purchase. Your arms and your drywall will thank you.