Tool review: Makita 12V MAX Cordless Recipro Saw

April 5, 2013
Lightweight unit allows tech to access tight areas and cut smaller pieces of metal.

Makita offers the 12V Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Recipro Saw, No. RJ01W, featuring a variable speed motor with a 1/2" length stroke for faster cutting. The saw performed faster than the leading competitor when cutting 1-1/2" PVC pipe and 1" EMT, according to the manufacturer. The "tool-less" blade change system allows for faster blade installation and removal for increased productivity. The dual-position on/off switch allows for either paddle switch or trigger switch operation for increased versatility. The compact size (14" long, 2.6 lbs) is engineered for convenient one-handed operation. 

The review

Tom Karagianis, owner and lead technician at Tarkus Automotive in Milwaukee, WI, reviewed the Makita Recipro Saw. 

"I picked it up and used it the day I got it. I've been using it ever since," said Karagianis.

Of the features Karagianis liked, he listed the quick change, the unit's light weight and the ease of use to get into tighter areas than a larger saw. 

When discussing the dual-position on/off switch, he said the paddle and trigger switch operation gave him better ease-of-use for undercar jobs in hard-to-reach areas. 

He also appreciated the long-lasting battery life and quick charging of the lithium-ion batteries.

"Any lithium-ion (batteries), they work wonderfully," said Kargianis. "They're so much better than the old batteries. They last longer than the other chargeable batteries."

Karagianis used the tool on a number of smaller jobs, including cutting small parts.

"It's great for making small parts, when you're welding or making a bracket or cutting something apart when you don't want to use a cut-off tool."

Karagianis went on to explain other uses he found for the tool. 

"It's great for getting into corners and cutting bolts off, where you can't get to with a torch or when you're near wiring. All kinds of odd jobs around the shop."

Karagianis said the metal blade has lasted through multiple uses. "The blade seems to last a very long time, as long as you keep it oiled."

He discussed not yet trying the wood blade out, but planned to try out the unit for some household jobs after he was done testing the saw in the shop.

Karagianis also mentioned that he had used other blades with the unit, for more heavy-duty jobs. "I've used it with another namebrand saw to cut pipe and exhaust."

When asked if Karagianis had any improvements for the tool, he said, "No."

He went on to explain, "I like it because it's short. It's easy to handle. It's lightweight. I absolutely love it. "

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Editorial Director | Commercial Vehicle Group

Erica Schueller is the Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

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