Hilti's WSR1250-PE is the only tool in the test that includes a safety trigger.
Credit: Photo: David Sharpe
From my test the clear winner is the Makita. Its design combines all the best features. The stroke speed is adjustable, and the stroke motion has multiple adjustments. The tool has a built-in anti-vibration technology that clearly worked. I liked the way the locking collar on the blade shaft stayed locked open when there wasn't a blade in the tool and clicked shut when the blade was inserted. And the tool consistently cut better and faster with the least amount of wear and tear on the most important part of the test–me.
Another very strong tool and my second choice is the Milwaukee. Consistently at the top of its game in this category, this is a great tool. It also combines all my favorite features and worked well. I liked the 360-degree handle and the flexibility that it allowed when operating in odd spots. Third is Hitachi followed by Hilti, Bosch, Porter-Cable, and Worx, all of which worked dependably and are fine choices.
The no-frills tools in this test were the Ridgid and the DeWalt. They're both down-and-dirty, basic tools that performed well. Plus they have something I like that the others don't offer: They cost less than a hundred dollars. If I knew laborers were going to beat my tools up then these are the saws I'd probably buy because I'd expect to toss them rather than repair them.
Finally came the Craftsman.
–Steve Veroneau owns Transformations LLC in Falls Church, Va., and is a contributing editor for Tools of the Trade.
Thanks to Lenox for providing blades for this test.
Sources of Supply
WSR 1250-PE: $269
Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp.