I bought one of the HF reciprocating saws last year for about $20. When I
brought it home, I plugged it in to test it, and observed that it moved very
slowly and stalled out when trying to cut a 2x4.
I decided that it must have been defective, and put it back in the box.
As I was finishing up closing the box, I noticed that it said, on the box,
that it was a variable speed unit. At that time, I re-opened the box,
plugged it back in, and found, when I turned the speed control up from the
lowest setting, that it worked just as it was supposed to. The problem was
that I excluded the possibility of variable speed on a $20 reciprocating
I have the cheapest multi-tool from Harbor Freight and the Dremel
version as well. My wife bought me the Dremel and didn't realize that
I already had the HF version but that was OK, one is at the hangar the
other at home. I have used both extensively and the HF unit has
performed great for almost two years without a problem. I have worn
out the saw blade a couple of times and the Velcro attachment for the
sander wore out and had to be replaced but overall I would say that I
am 100% satisfied with the HF unit. The only advantage that the
Dremel offers is being a bit lighter. I would return it for another
if it were me.
Jeff, if the variable speed control is set to run at some speed and the saw
is dead, I'd return it to HF and exchange it. This is a real long shot, but
you do realize that the running tool has so little motion at the blade that
it gives the impression of doing nothing. DOA would mean no sound or
vibration at all, where running normally would be no big apparent motion at
the blade. Try it against a piece of wood to verify that it's not running
and that you've advanced the speed control fully.
The HF saws like you bought are darned good and reliable for most users and
by paying more for the "better" brands, you really don't gain
proportionately more reliability, power or convenience. If the HF store is
really distant, consider giving them a call to ask what they recommend.
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