Overview of DeWalt DCS381 Reciprocating Saw

DeWalt DCS381 Reciprocating Saw product image

Editor Rating: 4.5/5


DeWalt DCS381 Reciprocating Saw Review

Reviewed by: Timothy Henderson

Last modified: Jul 11, 2022 @ 5:52 am

  • Design
  • Functionality
  • Price

DeWalt DCS381 Review Summary:

When it comes to cordless power tools, those manufactured and sold by DeWalt are undoubtedly among the best out there. The black & yellow devices of this brand are praised by professionals and amateurs alike and for a good reason – the overall quality.

The company’s DCS381 reciprocating saw, available since 2012, has earned the status of one of the best devices of its type on the market. It’s a sturdy, well-made, and easy-to-use machine that delivers fast cutting speed and provides the user with an increased blade control. Just like all other DeWalt power tools, it also sports an over-molded grip that makes using this device exceptionally comfortable and easy.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll analyze the main features of this reciprocating saw and try to find out its value for the money. Is this power tool the right addition to your workshop? Read on and find out!

DCS381 Specifications:

  • Weight – 3.5 pounds
  • Dimensions – 16″ x 6″ x 6″
  • Power Source – Battery (Li-Ion)
  • Speed – 0-3000 SPM
  • Voltage – 20V

DeWalt DCS381 – The Basics

The DCS381 could very well become your go-to tool for demolition and remodeling. It’s a 20V reciprocating saw with a 4-position blade clamp that increases positional versatility and makes it very easy to change the blades. Furthermore, the model’s 1 1/8″ stroke length provides a very fast cutting speed, while the integrated variable speed trigger (0-3000 SPM) gives the user more control over the unit.

Another thing worth mentioning here is the pivoting adjustable shoe, allowing the depth of cut control and extending the blade life. Just like most other DeWalt power tools, the DCS381 also sports a rubber-molded grip for the optimal comfort. Due to the fact that this is a cordless tool, and it has an ergonomic design and the low weight of just 3.5 pounds, working with it is exceptionally enjoyable.

The DeWalt DCS381 Features


As it has a 4-position blade clamp, flush cutting is entirely possible with this reciprocating saw. The multi-position clamp also makes it very easy to change the blades, which will surely be appreciated by professionals who switch their blades often throughout the workday. The built-in variable speed trigger, on the other hand, is there to provide greater control over the speed of cutting – one is able to choose between 0 and 3000 SPM (Strokes per Minute), and, in that way, complete his task in the most efficient way possible.

The saw also has an adjustable pivoting shoe, whose job is to give the user the necessary control over the depth of each cut.


As we already mentioned, the DCS381 possesses DeWalt’s signature ergonomic design, as well as the traditional black and yellow color combination. Due to its low weight and excellent balance, handling this saw is an easy task, no matter how difficult the project in front of you is.

The model also sports a double oil-sealed shaft, which increases the overall durability and provides contamination resistance. The DCS381 should withstand even the harshest job site conditions, as it was built to last – just like most other tools manufactured by this company.


Due to the fact that it sports a 0-2,500 RPM variable speed reversing trigger, this model provides consistency and allows one to perform the drilling operations with more precision. The 100% ball-bearing build of the drill guarantees durability while you’re on the job site.


The battery that this saw uses has to be bought separately, or through purchasing one of DeWalt’s combo kits. However, it is worth noting that this tool works with several of the company’s 20-Volt batteries and chargers, so there’s a good chance that you already have all that you need in your workshop.


The DCS381 reciprocating saw comes with a 1-year free service contract and 3-year limited warranty, which is pretty generous and inspires confidence in the durability of the tool.

DeWalt DCS381 side view

DeWalt DCS381 side viewPros:


Ergonomic design


4-position blade clamp


Variable speed trigger


3-year manufacturer warranty



Comes without the battery


Doesn’t come in the original box


Things we liked about it

Both the look and the design of this reciprocating saw are very impressive. The fact that this unit was built for comfortable handling is apparent right from the start – it has an excellent shape and holding it with both hands causes no fatigue, no matter the position. This is, in our opinion, a good indicator of a well-balanced reciprocating saw, and DCS381 is definitely such a model.

The overall power and efficiency of this tool are as equally impressive, despite its affordable price. Its 1 1/8″ stroke length delivers a satisfying cutting speed and its variable trigger allows one to control this speed in a user-friendly way. Moreover, the presence of a 4-position blade clamp helps with tackling all kinds of cutting tasks, as well as with changing the blades in the fastest and easiest way possible. DeWalt’s 3-year warranty only confirms that DCS381 is a tool that should serve you for the years to come.


Things we didn’t like

Our only major complaint about this saw is that it’s sold as a bare tool. This means that it comes without the manufacturer’s signature contractor bag and batteries, although there’s a good chance that you already have some at home (the unit works with DCB201 and DCB200 cells).

General Impressions Of The DeWalt DCS381

Users seem to like this reciprocating saw because of its great design and high efficiency. Those who bought it as a replacement for their old saw are especially pleased, claiming that it’s the best tool of this type they have used so far.

Most of the users agree that it’s great that DCS381 is compatible with several other DeWalt chargers and battery packs – they’re glad that they don’t have to throw their old power tool accessories away.


All in all, the DCS381 reciprocating saw is an excellent example of how DeWalt is among the power tool manufacturers with fewest user complaints. Built to last and having enough power and versatility for even the most challenging cutting operations, this model is a bestseller for a reason. The DCS381 is an especially great choice for professional contractors, who will know how to appreciate its sheer power and ergonomic design.

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