Are Hackzall and Sawzall Blades Interchangeable?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Hackzall and Sawzall blades have the same universal shank design allowing interchangeable use.
  • Longer Sawzall blades may be challenging to use on a compact Hackzall.
  • Blade selection depends on the cutting application, material, and tool size.
  • High quality blades optimize cutting performance for both tools.
  • Proper blade care extends lifespan for continued interchangeability.


Power saws like the Hackzall and Sawzall are essential tools for demolition, construction, HVAC, plumbing, and DIY projects. Their unique reciprocating action allows you to make fast cuts in a wide variety of materials. But the blades do most of the hard work when it comes to slicing and sawing. So an important question arises – can you use Hackzall and Sawzall blades interchangeably between the tools?

This comprehensive article will analyze the compatibility and interchangeability of Hackzall and Sawzall blades. We’ll evaluate the design of the blades, pros and cons of swapping blades, recommended blade types, and factors to consider for optimal performance. You’ll learn the nuances that allow the universal shank blades to be shared between tools. Understanding blade interchangeability enables you to equip both tools for enhanced cutting versatility.

Interchangeable Hackzall and Sawzall blades give you flexibility and value for your power cutting needs. With the ability to swap blades, you can tackle more materials and applications with a well-equipped reciprocating saw arsenal. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about mixing and matching Hackzall and Sawzall blades!

Are the Shank Designs the Same?

The universal shank design is the key feature that allows Hackzall and Sawzall blades to be interchangeable. This standardized blade mounting system enables blades to attach to reciprocating saws from any brand.

Most reciprocating saw blades have a tang on the end that is inserted into the tool’s clamp. The tang has a trapezoidal profile that locks into place while allowing the blade to slide back and forth for reciprocating action. This tapered tang design is universal across brands including Milwaukee, DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, and others.

So both Hackzall and Sawzall blades have the same universal shank system that makes them interchangeable between Milwaukee tools or any reciprocating saws. The advantage is that you don’t have to stick to blades from the same brand as your tool. Any reciprocating saw blade will fit into the blade clamp of your Hackzall or Sawzall.

Are There Issues Using Long Sawzall Blades on a Hackzall?

The main consideration when interchanging Hackzall and Sawzall blades is the size of the blades. Hackzalls are compact one-handed reciprocating saws designed for tight spaces and overhead cutting. Sawzalls are larger two-handed saws built for extended reach and powerful cutting.

This means Sawzall blades are available in longer lengths from 6 inches up to 12 inches. Hackzall blades typically max out around 6 inches. The short length allows better control and visibility when using the Hackzall in tight quarters.

You can physically connect longer Sawzall blades on a Hackzall. But anything over 6 inches may be challenging to manage on the more compact tool. Longer blades increase vibration and decrease control. If attempting to use a long Sawzall blade on a Hackzall, be prepared for more difficult handling, especially for overhead cuts.

For best performance, match the blade length to the size of the tool. Use shorter Hackzall blades on that tool and save longer Sawzall blades for the larger Sawzall model. But you always have the option to experiment to find the ideal blade length depending on your specific cutting application.

What Blade Types Work for Both Tools?

Hackzall and Sawzall blades come in a variety of types optimized for different materials and cutting tasks:

  • Wood blades – Ideal for cutting wood, particularly thick dense wood. Carbide grit teeth provide fast cutting with a smooth finish. Use on both tools for wood demolition or construction.
  • Metal blades – Designed for cutting metal including thick steel. Cobalt teeth prevent wear and withstand high heat. Excellent for automotive, HVAC, and plumbing work.
  • Multi-material blades – General purpose blades for all-around cutting. The wavy set tooth pattern cuts wood, metal, PVC, etc. Use them for mixed materials.
  • Pruning blades – Shaped teeth cut wood smoothly like a saw. No tearing makes them perfect for detailed pruning cuts. Useful on both tools when finesse is needed.

Hackzall and Sawzall versions of each blade type all share the universal shank for interchangeability. Match the specialty blade to the cutting job, rather than the tool. For example, use a metal cutting blade when cutting metal ductwork or pipes, whether using a Hackzall or Sawzall.

What Factors Should I Consider for Optimal Performance?

While Hackzall and Sawzall blades are interchangeable, you’ll get the best cutting performance when you match the blade to:

  • Tool size – Compact Hackzall handles shorter blades better, while larger Sawzall has the power for full-length blades.
  • Cutting application – Select blade types designed for the specific material you need to cut. Don’t use a wood blade on metal.
  • Blade quality – Invest in high quality Milwaukee Shockwave blades. Don’t use cheap knock-off versions which wear out faster.
  • Stroke length – Hackzall has 1 inch stroke best for controlled cuts. Sawzall stroke is 1-1/4 inches for faster, more aggressive cuts. Adjust cutting pressure accordingly.
  • Speed setting – Adjust tool speed to optimize cutting speed based on material and blade length. Slower for compact Hackzall with long blades.

Considering these factors will help you choose the right interchangeable Hackzall or Sawzall blade for each job. And proper blade selection means you’ll get cleaner cuts and longer blade life regardless of which tool you use.

Are There Any Downsides to Swapping Blades?

The universal shank design makes swapping Hackzall and Sawzall blades quick and easy. Simply press the blade release and slide a different blade in. So there are no significant downsides as long as you use the right blade for the material and tool size.

Potential issues include:

  • Long Sawzall blades may vibrate excessively or lack control on compact Hackzall.
  • Small Hackzall blades limit reach and cutting speed on large Sawzall.
  • Forcing a wood cutting blade through thick metal increases wear. Select metal cutting blades for optimal metal cutting.
  • Pruning blades lack aggression needed for demolition tasks. Use coarse teeth like carbide grit for demolition.

With experience and proper blade selection for the task, interchangeable blades give you more versatility from your reciprocating saw toolbox. Both Hackzall and Sawzall benefit from sharing blades.

How Should I Maintain Blades for Continued Interchangeability?

Proper maintenance and storage of your reciprocating saw blades ensures they last longer and remain interchangeable. Follow these tips:

  • Clean blades after each use to remove gunk, sap, and material buildup which can impede smooth reciprocating motion.
  • Avoid exposing blades to moisture which can cause corrosion. Dry off blades if exposed to water.
  • Oil blade teeth periodically to prevent rusting. This prolongs the life of the carbide or cobalt cutting edges.
  • Store blades in a dry, temperate area away from debris to prevent damage. Hang vertical or keep in a blade case.
  • Inspect blades prior to each use and discard if any teeth are missing or the shank is deformed. Damaged blades reciprocate poorly.
  • Replace overly worn blades where teeth are ground down to nubs. They lack cutting power.

Proper blade maintenance preserves the integrity of the universal shank allowing continued interchangeability between your Hackzall and Sawzall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Sawzall blades on my Hackzall tool?

Yes, you can use Sawzall blades on a Hackzall since they share the same universal shank design. Any reciprocating saw blade fits any brand. Just be mindful of long blades which may be unwieldy on the compact Hackzall.

Are shorter Hackzall blades ok to use on my full size Sawzall tool?

Hackzall blades 4-6 inches long will physically fit and work on a Sawzall tool. However, the short length limits the Sawzall’s reach. For best cutting, use longer 8-12 inch Sawzall blades to take advantage of the Sawzall’s power. But in a pinch, shorter Hackzall blades will work.

Can I use wood cutting reciprocating blades when cutting metal?

No, you should swap the blade and use a dedicated metal cutting blade when cutting thicker metal like steel studs, ductwork, or pipes. The carbide grit on wood blades will wear out quickly. Metal cutting blades have cobalt teeth designed to withstand high heat and resist wearing out.

How many teeth should my demolition reciprocating blade have?

Look for between 10-18 teeth per inch on premium demolition blades. The ideal amount is 14-16 teeth/inch. This provides a good balance of speed, cutting power, and blade longevity. Too few teeth decrease cutting ability. Too many teeth slow down cutting.

Is it ok to use pruning blades for general demolition tasks?

While possible, it’s not ideal. Pruning blades have fine raker teeth designed for clean, smooth wood cutting. They lack the aggression needed for fast demolition in wood or other materials. For demolition, use a more rugged all-purpose or wood/metal blade instead. Save pruning blades for detailed trim work.


The interchangeable design of Hackzall and Sawzall blades gives you expanded cutting versatility from your reciprocating saw collection. While they share the same universal shank system, consider tool size, blade types, materials, and maintenance for optimal performance. Match the right blade to the saw and task for enhanced speed, precision, safety, and blade longevity. With the proper techniques, swap Hackzall and Sawzall blades freely to increase your cutting capabilities!

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