The efficiency-difference between current power tools and traditional ones is quite incomparable! The world is slowly shifting to smaller, handier, and more portable power tools for basic DIY tasks.
If you have done any research on reciprocating saws, then you know that there are a number of other noteworthy reciprocating saws such as the ones from Bosch, DeWalt, and Milwaukee; So why focus on the Makita DJR186Z? What makes this reciprocating saw to stand out?
This could be the perfect tool for your requirements. Read through our review and get to learn more about this product.
Pros and Cons
- Newly implemented vertical crank structure that minimises vibration
- XPT technology for protection against moisture and dust
- Tool-less blades (meaning they are extremely easy to change)
- It has a variable speed trigger and minimal blade deflection
- Does not include batteries and charger
With a modern hand-gun design, this reciprocating saw has outdone most of its predecessors in quite a number of many ways. Unlike the Makita JR3050T, this new design is cordless and has lithium-powered batteries. Without wires, you can work without being tied to a location near a socket. Moreover, it has a thicker handle than the rest and an elastomer to provide comfort and better operation.
The Makita DJR186Z has a length of 486 mm and a 32 mm stroke length. It also has a simple speed button that regulates speed and intensity of the blade. With a net weight of 3.5-3.8 kg, the Makita DJR186Z is relatively heavier than other mains saws. Arguably, the extra weight could be attributed to the battery, but still, this may be a factor to consider for people where the weight of the tool is a consideration.
For simple DIY tasks, you need a tool that is straight-forward and easy to get used to. Think of this saw as a plug and play tool; instant results with precision. One of the things I like about this product is the speed of up to 2,800 strokes per minute and a 1 ¼ stroke length.
For more efficiency, you should first use a slow speed to make a pilot groove on the item you are cutting, then increase the cutting speed as the blade digs deeper. It is worth mentioning that whilst this tool is simple to use, still exercise caution when using any power tool. They are dangerous and powerful tools if you are complacent.
Prevent unintentional starting by ensuring that the lock switch is in the off position. Generally, its functionality has made it the go-to tool for customizing wood, metal, plastic, as well as performing other retrofits. Let’s take a look at the specifications of this bad boy:
This reciprocating saw has XPT technology (Extreme Protection Technology) that provides dust and water resistance. You should never have to worry about rusted blades and blocked airways with this tool.
Another unique feature is the ‘shoe’. Do you see the front most part of the saw that somehow acts as a shelter to the blade? That’s the shoe.
Basically, it can be adjusted in and out to reveal unused parts of the blade. This extends the lifespan of a blade and helps cut through tough surfaces easily. With the ability to insert the blade on either side, you can use the saw even in an upside down position.
This brings us to the second and probably the most relevant use of the shoe. You can use it as a fulcrum to prevent you from knocking the tip of the blade on something and bending it over. Other than that, it can help you push back against the force of the motor.
By alternating the blade to face either direction, you will be able to exploit the full potential of the shoe.
Most of the time, the efficiency of these electric handsaws is determined by the stroke length and stroke rate of the blade. Since they all vary according to the material being cut, the Makita DJR186Z has a maximum cutting capacity of 130 mm in pipes, 255 mm in wood, and an approximate 120 mm in steel. Even though there are no accurate values for the cutting capacity in PVC and other relevant materials, we can use the already established values to conclude that this tool will provide a decent cut in PVC too.
You do not want a tool that gives you pain from the amount of vibration generated. However, you have to be reasonable enough to accept the fact that such products need to have some fast motion, which in turn causes vibration. Depending on the way you use this saw, you will get different vibration levels.
Avoid removing the shoe or holding it away from the workspace, as this will cause rapid vibration and snapping of the blade. All in all, there is a standard rate for the vibration emitted by the Makita DJR186Z. When cutting wood, you should expect a vibration emission of 12.5 m/sec2. As for Chipboard, the vibration levels stand at 13.0 m/sec2. Otherwise, when not in action, the speed is 1.5 m/sec2. Whilst these figures might not mean a great deal on paper, you can get an idea of how the vibration increases or decreases depending on the material you are working with.
As much as possible, most of us want to avoid annoying the neighbours with noisy power tools. Is the Makita DJR186Z a noisemaker? The standard measurement for sound is decibels also known as dB(A). While 0 dB(A) is the softest sound level a person can hear, our reciprocating saw here has a noise sound pressure of 84 dB(A) and a sound power of 95dB(A).
To put that into some perspective the average car horn has 100 dB(A), so yes, it is pretty noisy, but shouldn’t break any records. However, it all depends on the proximity to other people and the material you are working on. Regardless of the noise omitted from any power tool, we would always recommend the use of ear defenders. It isn’t worth risking long-term hearing damage for the sake of a set of ear defenders. They along with my dust mask, gloves and goggles are something that I always have in my bag ready to go when doing any DIY.
Power Source and motor
Designed for portability, the Makita DJR186Z is powered by lithium-ion batteries. It is an 18V power tool with 450 Watts at your disposal. This provides ample power for the toughest of tasks. Time isn’t an issue either, it is designed to keep running until your battery gives up.
This saw has a two switch setup. The first one is the main switch that allows electric current flow through the tool. This trigger switch is pushed to regulate the intensity of the saw; quite easy to use.
The second one is the lock-on button. It prevents the blade from working when the main switch is pressed, and also lock on a specific speed when working. It is important to release this button before disconnecting the tool, in order to prevent any accidents.
Let’s see what you should be expecting to find in the box apart from the Makita DJR186Z itself. Here are some of the parts and their key features.
In the box, you will get two free blades; One intended for metal cutting, and the other for wood cutting. Generally, reciprocating blades are made using high-end steel and carbon to make them shatter-proof, flexible, and durable. Nevertheless, if you are working on sophisticated edges and surfaces, you need special types of blades. Here are a few examples:
Straight cutting blades
Even though all blades are capable of cutting in a straight line, there are blades designed for people who want to make repetitive straight cuts. This blade has a medium length, and constant parallel edges.
Curved cutting blades
If you are cutting or resizing places that are curved, the specific blade to use should have an extra thin blade at the end, and a large curve that connects to the shank.
Flush cutting blades
If you are only interested in quick and accurate flush cuts, there is a blade made just for you. It has the greatest length, which gives it enough flex in order to bend easily along surfaces.
Plunge cutting blades
Working with wood surfaces needs a plunge cutting blade. It would be very easy to confuse this kind of blade with the jigsaw. They have jigsaw-like teeth and are identifiable by their tapered backs.
After opening the box, ensure that the two provided blades are capable of meeting your needs. If not, you will have to buy suitable ones. Regardless, I would recommend buying an extra set of blades, then your saw is ready to cut any material in any way. An extra set (10 different blades) for the Makita DJR186Z will set you back less than £15.
One of the few limitations of this hand-saw is that no batteries are included in the purchase. Most manufacturers do this and offer “bare” power tools as firstly it keeps the cost low and secondly, if you buy into a brand the chances are you already have batteries in your tool-kit. The 18V Makita DJR186Z lithium-ion batteries differ because of the Ampere hour difference and charging time.
- 2.0 Ah – 25 minutes
- 4.0 Ah – 40 minutes
- 5.0 Ah – 45 minutes
- 6.0 Ah – 55 minutes
The best batteries in my opinion to buy would be the 4.0Ah or 6.0 Ah batteries with an average runtime of 90 Wattage hours. The 2Ah are fine and usually ship free with some products, but if you are planning on getting some work out of your power tools the 4Ah and above are best.
Why Lithium-Ion Batteries?
They are not only fast-charging but also have a unique feature known as the star protection system which is made up of contact terminals to maintain a consistent connection to the tool. In the event of battery overload, overheating, over-discharge and low voltage, this innovative protection technique cuts the power, also increasing battery life.
The Use of non-genuine or altered batteries could bring sub-standard results, bursting of the battery and even personal injuries. Therefore, whilst there is money to be saved with the cheaper non-genuine batteries, personally, I would always use the genuine ones!
To make things run smoothly, the battery cartridge can be easily installed and removed. Just align the tongue on the cartridge with the groove located in the housing and insert it all the way up; the appearance of a red light and a click sound and will tell you that it is firmly installed.
It also has an indicator lamp and a check button that helps you monitor the remaining battery capacity. Additionally, they come with shock absorbing inner liners and an impact-resistant outer cover for protection. The right set of blades and a couple of batteries and you are set to take on most challenges with your reciprocating saw.
Parts and Consumables
How serviceable is the Makita DJR186Z reciprocating saw? One of the things I like about Makita tools is they can be opened up and parts replaced. What I would say is that you always need to exercise extreme caution when opening anything electrical.
You need to ensure there is no power source, be it battery or mains before opening a device as well as ensuring that there is no residual power left inside held by any components. If you are sure this is the case, most of the components can be unscrewed and replaced. Whilst you may struggle to buy some of the parts directly from Makita or from tool suppliers, eBay is a great source of parts for your power tools. It is also pretty easy to pick up broken power tools to use for spare parts.
The only real consumables this product has are the blades and batteries. Both of which we have discussed above, over time the batteries do go beyond their working life and require replacement. Most manufacturers tend to suggest that a battery should support around 1,000 charge cycles. This is in optimum conditions though and is providing your battery has been cared for.
Who should buy this Product?
Makita tools are trade rated and for that reason not the cheapest power tools on the market. The Makita DJR186Z reciprocating saw is no exception. If you are someone who does the occasional bit of DIY around the house, hangs the odd shelf, etc. this is probably a little overkill and unnecessary.
If, however, you are into DIY and would make use of this reciprocating saw time and time again then it would prove a valuable asset. It is dependable, powerful and like all Makita power tools a great asset to have in your tool bag.
Compared with other reciprocating saws on the market, the Makita is a bit more expensive. After registering the product with Makita within 30 days of purchase, you are eligible for a 3-year warranty. So, although there is more expense you are also buying peace of mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much do the Makita batteries cost?
Genuine Makita batteries as stated above are in my opinion worth the extra spend, below you can see some pricing for genuine batteries from Makita in different Ah of capacity. Depending on what you are using the tool for will depend on how long you want to get out of a battery.
How do I charge the batteries?
Assuming you have the appropriate charger, start by reading and interpreting the symbols on the charger. There is a blinking red light to show that the battery is cooling, two still red lights to show whether the charge is below or above 80%, and a green one to show that the battery is at 100%. In addition, there is a symbol that shows whether the battery is faulty.
After plugging in the charger, a green blinking light should appear, signifying that the charger is ready. Take the battery cartridge, and with its back facing you, slide it into the charger until you hear a click. The blinking green light should then change to a solid red light, meaning that your battery is charging. Take out the battery when the light turns green, signifying the battery is fully charged.
The Bottom Line
As far as reciprocating saws go, the Makita DJR186Z is a very strong contender. The general performance is top-notch, it has a dependable battery system and unique features that work together to get the job done.