In-Depth Review: Dremel SM20-02 120-Volt Saw-Max Tool Kit

Summary

92.5 %
Review

The Saw-Max is a small but versatile and efficient tool for cutting thin materials. It does what it is supposed to do very well while remaining lightweight, compact, and easy to use. We consider it a must-have for any power tool-loving builder, aspiring remodeler, or contractor.

Our goal for writing this review is to familiarize you with the features, the hits, and the misses of the Saw-Max. Hopefully, this will help you in deciding which compact saw to go for.

Effectiveness

Features

Ease of Use

Price

We Like

  • The Saw-Max can be used comfortably during one-handed cutting operations.
  • The saw is powerful enough to make tough cuts in tight areas.
  • The kit contains the basics.

We Don't Like

  • Replacement cutting wheels are expensive.

Introduction

Before we started doing big renovation projects that involved a lot of cutting, we thought our existing full-length saws already covered all of our cutting needs. We could cut through wood, metal, plastic, and other materials of different thicknesses.

That system of ours worked for a while then we realized we had begun wasting a lot of time thinking of ways to improvise when we had to make cuts that our saws could not handle. These involved cuts on thinner materials at odd locations or tight spaces, among others.

We felt tempted to give the Saw-Max a try the instant we heard about it. Sure, it is by no means perfect but it serves its own purpose well.

Who Is It For?

The Saw-Max is for anyone looking for a compact saw designed for making precise cuts on various materials at angles or locations that full-length saws can’t reach.

Having a powerful motor, an adjustable cutting depth, and a good line of sight, the Saw-Max enables you to make clean and accurate cuts. The tool kit contains different blades designed to cut through a diverse set of materials such as wood, metals, and tiles.

Since the Saw-Max is so lightweight, you can take and use it anywhere. You can also cut even in narrow spaces because it is small and fits in the hand comfortably.

Buyer's Guide

  • RPM

The revolutions per minute (RPM) is basically your saw’s cutting speed. The higher the RPM, the more control you have over your cut and the faster you get your work done. However, a high RPM can also cause unnecessary tears and burn marks on some materials. Also, if you are cutting through a thick and hard surface at a high RPM, your saw may overheat.

  • Attachments

The attachments are the accessories that come with the power saw. Common attachments include an adapter, a cutting guide, cutting wheels, a couple of wrenches, and a hard case. Try to find a saw tool kit that has various cutting wheels that can cut into the kind of material you frequently work with.

  • Cutting Wheel

There are cutting wheels that have teeth and those that do not have teeth but are coated in abrasive grit that helps them cut. Your choice of blade should depend on the kind of material you are cutting. Even the size of the cutting wheel should be considered. Smaller wheels allow you to cut in smaller spaces and cuts, which circular saws and full-length saws can’t do.

  • Power Source

When choosing a power saw, you can either select a corded (AC power source) or a cordless (battery-operated) one. The type of power source directly affects two things: maneuverability and power.

A corded saw has a more stable source of power so you can use it during extended periods of doing heavy-duty cutting work. Unfortunately, the cord can limit your reach and flexibility. You may find it difficult to cut in odd corners or angles with a pesky cord in the way.

On the other hand, a cordless saw is highly portable and can be used anywhere provided you have a spare battery. You can cut any way you like but may notice slightly less power compared to corded saws. This is why cordless saws are not recommended for use in heavy cutting jobs.

Aside from the fact that they inherently have less power than corded saws, cordless saws can stall in the middle of your cut and cause frustration. Because of this limitation, cordless saws appear to only be good for light and quick cuts.

Product Details

Description

The SM20-02 Saw-Max tool kit by Dremel further reinforces the versatility of the Saw-Max by adding attachments that expand the handheld saw’s capabilities. The Saw-Max is powered by a 6-amp motor that cuts at a speed of 17,000 rpm. This is all contained in a lightweight body that weighs a mere 6.4 lbs.

The Saw-Max itself does its job by providing a good line of sight, adjustable depth settings, and two cutting wheel positions, allowing for precision and flexibility in making straight, plunge, and flush cuts. There is a worm-drive gearing system that maximizes power and control while extending tool life.

Finally, the Saw-Max aims to improve user comfort and cutting experience by designing an optimized grip diameter and switch placement and placing a shaft lock button for cutting wheel changes.

The kit includes the Saw-Max, four cutting wheels, a cutting guide, a dust port adapter, a storage case, and an owner’s manual.

Product Information

  • Dimensions: 17.5 x 4.2 x 9.2 in
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs
  • Speed: 17,000 rpm
  • Cutting Depth: Up to ¾ in
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Power Source: Battery (Cordless)

Features & Benefits

  • Versatility

The Saw-Max has an adjustable cutting depth that lets you match the thickness of the material you are cutting. In addition, the various cutting wheels that are included in the tool kit let you cut through different kinds of materials including wood, laminates, plastic, tile, and metal.

It also has two positions for the cutting wheel, letting you make straight cuts, plunge cuts, and flush cuts without a hitch.

  • Portability

The Saw-Max is cordless, lightweight, and compact. Furthermore, the entire kit is in a plastic storage case with well-arranged slots for the saw and its attachments plus other small accessories like allen wrenches. Also, you can use it even in the tightest of spaces without the hindrance of a cord or the fatigue caused by holding a hefty tool for prolonged periods.

  • Comfort and Convenience

An optimized grip design and switch placement, coupled with a shaft lock for cutting wheel changes make for an easy, convenient, and frustration-free cutting experience.

  • Safety

In addition to the main power trigger, the Saw-Max has an additional safety switch you have to hold for the tool to work. This is to prevent the saw from getting accidentally activated. Lastly, there is a trigger lock-on button located on the handle where it cannot be pressed unintentionally.

Pros

  • The Saw-Max can be used comfortably during one-handed cutting operations.
  • The saw is powerful enough to make tough cuts in tight areas.
  • The kit contains the basics.

Cons

  • Replacement cutting wheels are expensive.

Social Proof

We went ahead and took a look at the reviews for the Dremel SM20-02 Saw-Max tool kit. Most of the comments are so good, you may end up buying a kit for yourself too.

A lot of buyers have commented on the saw’s ease of use and powerful performance in cutting a wide range of materials.

So far, the most prominent negative feedback we saw had something to do with the expensive replacement cutting wheels. That is not surprising, since cutting wheels like those used by the Saw-Max generally do cost more than toothed blades. While it is expected, we still count it as a valid negative feedback.

All in all, we would still recommend the Saw-Max tool kit especially for those who do a lot of light to moderate cutting work on a daily basis.

Alternative Choices

1. PORTER-CABLE PCE381K 5.5 Amp 4-1/2" Compact Circular Saw Kit

This compact saw from Porter Cable runs on a 5.5-amp motor with a speed of 3,500 RPM, making it perfect for heavy-duty cutting operations that require a lot of power. It cuts 1-11/16 in deep and has a dust port with a vacuum adapter that makes post-cutting cleanup a little easier.

The kit contains the saw, a 24-tooth carbide-tipped blade, a rip fence, a vacuum adaptor, and a bag.

2. Rockwell RK3440K VersaCut Circular Saw with VersaCut 3-piece Circular Saw Blade Set

Rockwell’s compact saw offers a lot of versatility for day-to-day cutting of materials like tile, sheet metal, wood, plastic, and more. The VersaCut has a built-in laser indicator that improves visibility and accuracy. It also has a pivoting metal guard that proves very useful when making surface cuts.

There is a slim-grip handle which provides maximum comfort even during the heaviest-duty cutting work. This handle design also improves your grip and control, making one-handed cutting easier.

Along with the saw comes a blade kit containing three varieties: a diamond blade, an HSS blade, and a carbide-tipped blade.

3. Rotorazer Saw with 3 Quick Change Blade and Dust Extraction System

The Rotorazer is a popular compact saw favorite due to its versatility, ease of use, and light body. You can consider it a 7-in-1 handheld that runs on a 400w motor housed in an ultra-light case. This saw can function as a jigsaw, a tile saw, a band saw, a hacksaw, a miter saw, a hand saw, and a circular saw.

Due to its many applications, it can be used to cut nearly any type of material, including PVC, drywall, marble, metal, and more. The kit includes three quick-change cutting blades and a dust extraction system.

4. Rockwell 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw, 5 amps, 3500 rpm, with Dust Port and Starter Kit– RK3441K

This handheld saw from Rockwell is small but comes with a 5-amp electric motor that cuts at a speed of 3,500 rpm. At that rate and with that kind of power, this product is a close second, if not equal, to full-size saws in terms of performance.

It enhances visibility using a left-handed blade design and boasts an ergonomically designed slim, inline grip construction. This feature ensures maximum control and comfort even when making overhead cuts. It can cut up to 1-11/16 in deep.

5. VonHaus Ultra-Compact Circular Saw

What makes this product from VonHaus unique is the triple-gear drive that optimizes power and performance. In addition, it runs on a 5.8-amp motor and cuts at an amazing speed of 4,500 rpm, enabling it to slice through metals, flooring, tile, and more.

There is a laser cutting guide that can help you during setup and cutting especially for jobs that require extra precision. It can cut up to 1 ⅛ in deep but you can easily adjust that to match the thickness of the material you are cutting.

This kit includes the compact saw, a laser indicator, a three-blade kit, a power cable, an extraction hose, an edge guide, and a carry case.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Alternative Choices

Our Rating

Price

PORTER-CABLE PCE381K

Rockwell RK3440K VersaCut

Rotorazer Saw

Rockwell 4-1/2” Compact Circular Saw

VonHaus Ultra-Compact Circular Saw Kit

The Final Cut

Different saws have different functions. In the case of Dremel’s Saw-Max, it is making quick and precise cuts where full-length saws can’t do the job.

The Saw-Max tool kit further enhances the tool’s capability, packing with it blades and other accessories that expand the functions of the saw. There are four cutting wheels that can cut into a wide variety of materials. In addition, the body of the saw has provisions that allow for more flexibility in cutting.

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