Basic power saws for electricians
include reciprocating saws, metal-cutting circular saws and compact,
lightweight band saws. While the evolution of the lithium-ion batteries can be
credited for the striking changes in saws
and other handheld power tools, manufacturers have taken advantage of that
technology to improve tool performance
and ease of use.
Lithium-ion basically has replaced
nickel-cadmium (NiCad) platforms.
The power of today’s cordless tools often
matches or exceeds corded versions,
which are useful for work requiring
multiple cuts during the course of a
workday. Not all lithium-ion batteries
are the same; manufacturers aggressively promote the benefits their brands
of lithium-ion batteries provide.
“Performance, as well as durability
and ergonomics, remain driving forces in
the development of cordless saws,” said
Andrew Plowman, director of product
marketing for Milwaukee Tool, Brook-
field, Wis. “We now are able to design
compact cordless saws that provide not
only greater power, but they also are very
maneuverable and can withstand the
harsh conditions on the job.
“Along with advancements in motor
technology and electronics, lithium-ion
has allowed manufacturers to pack a
massive amount of power and performance into a compact structure. Saws
and other tools are getting smaller and
lighter and, at the same time, outperforming their predecessors. A 12V [volt]
band saw, which weighs 6. 75 pounds and
is 12 inches long, is ideal for one-hand
cutting applications,” he said.
Plowman described some of the cordless saws used by electricians.
Band saws are used for cutting elec-
trical metallic tubing (EMT), threaded
rod, conduit and Unistrut when install-
ing electrical systems. They are a good
choice for making cuts overhead, flush
to a wall, or in a vice.
Metal-cutting circular saws are suitable for a wide range of demanding
cutting applications, from sheet metal
to plate steel and everything in between.
This versatility makes circular saws useful on an array of job sites. Its ability to
make cold cuts means the user can work
with the material immediately after a cut
With reciprocating saws, it is easier
to make cuts in tight spaces in between
other materials. They are an option for
cutting EMT, threaded rod, nonmetallic
conduit, metal studs and Unistrut.
Plowman said new battery technology exceeds what is possible on
high-voltage or multibattery tools. It is
challenging conventional wisdom about
the types of products that can be viable
“Advancements in technology also
have allowed tools to become smarter,”
he said. “With our One-Key app and a
compatible Milwaukee 18V Fuel recip-
rocating saw, users can remotely adjust
settings on a smartphone, including
speed, engage an automatic brake, and
optimize settings for longer blade life.
This gives electricians ultimate control
to specifically set or adjust the speed
beyond the variable-speed trigger and
prevent blade chatter when starting cuts
in EMT and Unistrut.”
Plowman believes that, today, very
few corded tools are preferred over the
latest cordless versions.
Jim Stevens, product manager, Bosch,
Mount Prospect, Ill., said electricians use
saws either to cut materials or provide
access to systems.
Material cutting saws include 18V
metal-cutting circular saws, handheld
SAWS OFTEN ARE NEEDED FOR ELECTRICAL WORK, and the cordless saw
models available today are more powerful, smaller, lighter and easier to use compared with older models.
COOLTOOLS BY JEFF GRIFFIN
Milwaukee 18V lithium-ion
deep-cut band saw