I guess I’m an old school kind of guy, but I’m not opposed to new developments. I have a sort of crescent shaped ice-cream scoop that’s nothing like the old fashioned dipper with the thumb trigger and the sweep. It’s much better and it solves a problem with the old tool. I also have a reciprocating saw that’s been part of my kit for many years. In fact, it’s the first power tool I ever bought when I started in construction – doing a lot of demo. It still works as well as ever.
With all that as given, I was a little skeptical when DualTools introduced their answer to the reciprocating saw, the DualSaw RS1200. On the other hand, there are good things to be said about their signature product, the DualSaw CS450, so I cut with an open mind.
The saw has two blades next to each other that cut on opposite strokes. The idea is to reduce vibration and kickback and increase stability and control. It also has a 180-degree rotating handle that locks in the vertical or in either horizontal orientation. This way you can hold the handle straight, but cut sideways – again to increase control and comfort.
The saw is as powerful as my old one, but it is longer and heavier. It’s also balanced with most of the weight toward the blade end. I presume this was done on purpose to let gravity help you make vertical cuts. If that’s the particular cut you’re making, it works, but I found it awkward to wield and even walk around with.
Maybe because I already know how to use a reciprocating saw I didn’t find the rotating handle useful. In all these years, I’ve never wished the handle rotated on my old one. I quickly abandoned this feature. Maybe someone who’s never used this type of tool before would find it a helpful shortcut, but I don’t think so. Also, that rotating handle is exactly where this thing is going to break.
The quality of the actual cutting depended on the situation. It broke down a wood pallet as well as my old saw, but not better. The balance was an issue. Maybe the double blades cut faster, but the greater size and weight and the awkward center of gravity made it slower to use overall.
Secured to a bench, it cut metal and PVC pipe as well as the original, but I used it when I repaired a busted sprinkler, were conditions weren’t as controlled.
It made the cut, but the double blades separated as they buzzed, so I ended up with PVC rings.
First of all a reciprocating saw isn’t typically a DIYer’s tool. These are for rough work, doing demo, cutting holes in roofs and walls, etc. In fact, now that I’m sitting at this desk, even though I do a lot of DIY, from plumbing repairs to furniture building, I hardly ever use mine. I’m not sure who the RS1200 is for. You’ll never see one on a job site, and your average DIYer doesn’t need one.
Why won’t you see one on a job site? Above all the drawbacks I’ve already given, the saw uses proprietary blades. In my experience, no power saw goes through blades faster than a reciprocating saw. When you’re doing a lot of demo, you buy them by the pack and if you use them up it’s a quick run to the store for more. But with the DualSaw, you’ve got to order them. Even if none of the other problems existed, this would be enough to make me shy away from this tool.
The old school tool I have isn’t perfect. Like the old ice cream scoop there’s room for improvement. In particular, it’s not a good tool for a DIYer. I wish DualTools had sought to solve that problem, rather than invent solutions for problems that don’t exist. Other manufactures are addressing this with a whole new class of cordless and corded mini-reciprocating saws, which are much more DIY friendly – they are, however, not as good as the original, sacrificing power for size. Imagine if DualTools applied their double blade technology to one of these minis. It could be the best one out there.