In this article, we are going to discuss the comparison between DeWalt DCS380B vs DCS381, two reciprocating saws that come from the same brand and are available in a similar price range. They do share many similarities, including the variable trigger and the maximum speed. However, there are also several important differences that set them apart.
So, continue reading below if you want to find out more about:
– The design and build quality of each model
– The special feature on the blade clamp of DeWalt DCS380B
– The stroke length of each model
– What accessories that are included with each model
– The performance of DeWalt DCS380B vs DCS381
– Which reciprocating saw model that is more recommended
At first, DeWalt DCS380B and DeWalt DCS381 may look similar to each other. They both are colored in black and yellow. The housing is solid and durable. Despite their compact appearance, you can feel the excellent build quality of these reciprocating saws.
On the rear end of the unit, there is an ergonomic handlebar with a rubber grip surface and a trigger which controls the cutting speed of the unit variably. The curved handlebar fits well in your grip, so that your hand will not get sore or tired too quickly.
DeWalt DCS380B and DeWalt DCS381 are cordless models which operate on batteries. They work with the DeWalt 20V MAX batteries, so if you already have one, you can use it on these saws as well. The compatibility of the batteries across various DeWalt cordless tools is one of the reasons why DeWalt cordless tools are incredibly popular and loved by many.
In terms of dimensions, these two models are almost similar. DeWalt DCS38B is a little bit larger and heavier than DeWalt DCS381, but the differences are not very significant. Both models are quite portable and very easy to handle. Even people who are not used to working with power tools can easily handle these reciprocating saws. This is why DeWalt DCS380B and DeWalt DCS381 are popular among DIY workers who don’t want to use a chainsaw.
You can insert the blade easily into the slot on the front. Each model here has a small tab which you need to lift in order to attach the blade. The mechanism is solid and secure. The blade is held by the unit firmly, hence ensuring the user’s safety. That said, the movement of the blade when operating is smooth and precise, and the power is surprisingly very reliable.
Both DeWalt DCS380B and DeWalt DCS381 here also have an adjustable shoe. You can adjust the shoe’s position in order to decrease or increase the saw’s stroke or cut depth. This is very useful for tasks that require some precision. So, you will not need to spend any extra money to get dedicated blades for such tasks. The shoe slides easily and locks in its position.
One of the biggest differences between DeWalt DCS380B vs DCS381 is the design of the blade clamp. DeWalt DCS380B is really awesome because it has a four-position blade clamp, whereas DeWalt DCS381 only has a standard blade clamp.
DeWalt DCS380B comes with a four-position blade clamp which allows you to adjust the direction of your blade teeth. Combined with the adjustable shoe which has three selectable positions, this feature makes DeWalt DCS380B very flexible and versatile. You can adjust the blade direction and the shoe position to achieve a closer cut. So, it will be very handy for a wide range of tasks.
DeWalt DCS381, on the other hand, is actually a rebuilt model from a combo kit. Hence, it only comes with basic features, just like when it was in the combo kit. It only has a standard blade clamp.
It will not allow you to adjust the direction of the blade teeth. Well, this is not a big problem if you only need to use the unit for cutting tree branches and maintaining your garden. But this is a problem if you need to face more complicated tasks, such as cutting an existing pipeline.
The next big difference between DeWalt DCS380B vs DCS381 is the stroke length. If you are a beginner, you are probably wondering what that means. Well, the stroke length is how far the blade will move forward before it moves back. In general, the longer the stroke, the faster it cuts.
However, not all projects require long stroke length. Depending on the cutting angle, a longer stroke may cause the blade to protrude deeper or further into your material. Sometimes, this is not desired. Hence, you can adjust the shoe position to control the stroke length to some degree.
DeWalt DCS380B is once again better. It has a longer stroke length, which is 1-1/8 inches. As the effect, this reciprocating saw can cut deeper, further, and faster. The stroke length makes it suitable for handling various tasks, including heavy-duty demolition.
DeWalt DCS381, on the other hand, is not as good. It only has a stroke length of 1 inch. So, its capabilities are slightly more limited. It will take a longer time when cutting a thick object, such as a fat tree branch. Still, you can use it for various tasks, including some demolition-related tasks.
Both DeWalt DCS380B vs DeWalt DCS381 are cordless models which operate with the DeWalt 20V MAX batteries. The power of a cordless saw depends on the voltage of the battery. The higher the battery’s voltage, the stronger it will cut. Both DeWalt DCS380B and DeWalt DCS381 are just powerful enough for various heavy-duty tasks, such as cutting tree branches or metal sheets.
Both models here have a maximum speed of 3000 SPM (strokes per minute). This is quite high and powerful enough for dealing with fat tree branches. They each have a variable speed trigger, so you can adjust the speed simply by decreasing or increasing your press on the trigger. You need to use a lower speed when cutting a metallic sheet.
However, the difference in their performance becomes noticeable if we compare how quickly they can cut the same items with their maximum stroke lengths. DeWalt DCS380B is able to finish the job more quickly than DeWalt DCS381 because of the longer stroke movement.
Unfortunately, neither of these models comes with a battery. You need to buy the battery separately. Well, on the positive side, you only need one DeWalt 20V MAX battery; you will be able to use it on various DeWalt cordless tools including the reciprocating saw. That said, swapping a battery from tool to tool all the time is probably a bit inconvenient. Hence, you may want to buy multiple batteries for backup.
There are several options available with different amperage levels. The higher the amperage, the longer the battery will be able to operate continuously. DeWalt offers 1.5AH, 2.0AH, 3.0AH, 4.0AH, 5.0AH, 6.0AH batteries.
Let’s give you some idea about the battery life. Usually, a 1.5AH battery can provide enough juice for about 4 – 5 cuts of 2×12 boards. If you use it for cutting a 16-inch tree branch, you probably will only get 1 cut before you need to recharge or swap the battery.
So, the 1.5AH battery is only suitable for small cuts. You should consider at least a 4.0AH battery for the heavier tasks. Or, just get a 6.0AH battery and you don’t need to worry about the battery life.
These reciprocating saws are backed by an excellent warranty & money-back policy. There is a 90-day period of money-back guarantee after you buy either DeWalt DCS380B or DeWalt DCS381. You also get a 1-year period of free service contract. And the tool itself has a 3-year limited warranty which covers all defects in the materials and workmanship.
While still within 90 days from the date of purchase, if you are not satisfied with the quality or performance of the tool, you can return the product and get a full refund. Without any question asked. Just make sure that you also provide the receipt as a proof of purchase. The money-back guarantee is great because it ensures that you will not waste your money on something that you don’t like.
Clearly, all these features show the professional manner of the company as well as their confidence in the quality and durability of their products. The 1-year free service contract is awesome because you can get your tool repaired or maintained without having to spend more money. Meanwhile, the coverage of the 3-year limited warranty is more than just long enough to ensure that you are not getting a faulty product, so it can give you a total peace of mind.
DeWalt DCS380B vs DCS381
So, the key differences between these two saws are the blade clamp and the stroke length. DeWalt DCS380B is much more recommended for you because this model comes with a four-position blade clamp and a longer stroke length. It will be able to adapt its blade direction for various tasks, and the longer stroke length will allow you to tackle various tasks more quickly.