27 New Tools from Milwaukee

The LED Light Stand is one of the cooler new products unveiled at the media event. It’s a compact folding stand with a powerful LED light powered by an M18 battery. The legs open to form a tripod and the light can be extended to 7’ on a telescoping mast. It’s light, compact, and far more convenient than using a light with a cord. The Light Stand has multiple settings and can produce up to 2,000 lumens. It will be interesting to see what this light costs; the only thing I’ve ever seen like it is an expensive model from Pelican—and its battery is built into the unit. Having used every sort of horrible work light there is, it’s hard for me not to want one of these things. It will be interesting to see what Milwaukee decides to charge for it. Click here for video. Available: September 2015.

An adjustable wrench is a simple tool that either works or does not, and these new wrenches from Milwaukee work very well. The machining is crisp, there is zero slop in the mechanism, and the thumb wheel and jaw move very smoothly. Milwaukee’s wrenches will likely displace the Crescents that have lived in my toolbox for 25 years—I like them that much. Click here for video. Available: February 2016.

This is big! A 9.0 Ah High Demand Battery Pack. You heard right, a 9.0 amp-hour 18-volt pack. Milwaukee achieved this by using 15 cells instead of the usual 10 found in high capacity packs. The pack has the same footprint as before but is taller and a half-pound heavier. It is said by its maker to do more than twice as much work per charge than the company’s current top-of-the line 5.0 Ah packs. How can that be? As it was explained to me, the cells in the pack have low electrical resistance so they can put out more power per unit of time. And there are more of them so the load is spread over a greater number of cells. The result? The tool is able to do more work in a shorter period of time without overheating the battery—and work is the true measure of runtime. Milwaukee now has three sizes of 18-volt packs. Compact packs are intended for small tools like compact drill drivers. Extended Capacity (XC) packs are designed for longer runtime in small tools and larger tools such as recip saws, circ saws, and big impact drivers. The new 9.0 Ah pack will fit nearly every M18 model but is best suited to tools such as the Super Hawg, Magnetic Drill, and SDS Max Rotary Hammer (tools that consume a lot of power and where the added weight will not be noticed). Milwaukee’s current top-of-the-line pack 5.0 Ah XC model will soon be surpassed by a 6.0 Ah XC pack. Both new batteries will be available in January 2016.

EDC Knives. For a company that has been in the hand tool business for only a few years, Milwaukee sure makes a lot of knives. Until now, all have been oriented towards the jobsite but at the request of customers the company will be offering three every day carry (EDC) pocket knives (these are prototypes). The blades lock and are available 2 1/2”, 3”, and 3 1/2” long. The 4-position belt hook can be removed and reinstalled facing either direction on either side, so the knife can be carried in your preferred orientation. Unlike the company’s utility models, these knives are black with only a hint of Milwaukee red. Click here for video. Available: March 2016.

M18 Fuel Super Hawg. One of the hits from last year’s media event was the M18 Fuel Hole Hawg, a brushless cordless right-angle drill aimed at electricians. This year Milwaukee introduced a larger more powerful version aimed at plumbing and mechanical contractors. According to its maker, the M18 Fuel Super Hawg is the most powerful cordless drill in the world by a factor of three. And I believe it, having witnessed the tool power 4 5/8-inch self-feeding bits and 6-inch hole saws through 2-by lumber. This is a ground breaking tool because it allows the plumbing and HVAC trades to do rough-in work on battery power alone. Features include an electronics package that shuts the motor down in stall situations and a mechanical clutch to protect the tool and operator when bits bind in low gear. There will be two models, one with a Quick-Lok chuck (2711) and another with a traditional three-jaw chuck (2709). Speeds: 0-350; 0-900 rpm. Weight w. battery: 13.5 pounds (2711); 14 pounds (2709). COO: China. Versions: sold in a 2-battery kit or bare. Click here for video. Available: October 2015.

UltraView LED Levels. Last year Milwaukee acquired Empire Level, which is located just 20 miles away from Milwaukee HQ. The most interesting new product from Empire is their UltraView LED Level, a box level with an LED at either end of the vial. Other brands of levels are available with illuminated vials; according to Empire theirs is different because the light is even and produces not glare—so it’s easier to read in the low-light conditions found on jobsites. The level is powered by easily replaced AA batteries. The LEDs are activated by a push-button switch: press once for level vial, again for plumb, and hold for three seconds to turn the lights off. The unit automatically powers down after two minutes and will flash upon activation if the batteries are low. Click here for video. Available: April 2016.

Heated Ripstop Vest. It’s nice to see Milwaukee do a heated vest because sleeves can be restrictive when you are working. The ripstop material is thin and pliable but strong and less prone than canvas or duck to tear when snagged. Features include a heavy duty Talon zipper, a zipped inside pocket, and outer pockets with riveted corners and a rubber-like coating over the seams. Available: August 2015.

Milwaukee is about to introduce the next generation of Shockwave Impact Duty Driver Bits. The gizmo in this photo was used to demonstrate their qualities versus those of the competition. Bits were placed in the device and twisted to failure with a socket wrench. The dial indicates how much torque it took. Most competing brands broke at the tips rather instead of the thinned out area that’s supposed to flex (what on Milwaukee bits is called the Shockzone). It took much more torque to break the Shockwave bit and when it did break it broke at the Shockzone. How did Milwaukee manage this? They redesigned the alloy and used a longer more involved heat-treating process than in the past. The new bits are available with Phillips, square, Torx, slotted, hex, and ECZ tips. Click here for video. Available: September 2015

Heated 2 in 1 Ripstop Jacket. The jacket itself isn’t heated and is intended to be worn over an included heated hoody. Flexible but strong, the ripstop material is resistant to water and won’t tear like canvas or duck if it snags on a nail. Features include a heavy duty Talon zipper, a zipped inside pocket, and outer pockets with riveted corners and a rubber-like coating over the seams. Available: August 2015.

The Cheater Pipe Wrench. Pipe wrenches haven’t changed in decades so it was quite a surprise to see the tool completely reimagined. The Cheater is about the size of a 10-inch wrench and has a hollow handle that accepts a pair of included extensions. The extensions thread in to the hollow handle and allow you to use it short for standard tasks and long for ones where you’d otherwise need to slip a cheater bar over the handle to create enough force. Milwaukee does not recommend it, but the extensions are sized and threaded like 3/4” pipe so it’s possible to go longer. Take it apart and it’s small enough to easily fit in a bucket or bag. The jaw thickness matches that of a 14” wrench (works in tight quarters) but the jaw opening is that of an 18” wrench (up to 2 1/2”). I’m not a plumber or pipefitter but I love this tool! Price: about $100. Click here for video. Available: Q1 2016.

M18 Cordless Fan ( 0886-20) was announced in May but this was the first time I’d seen one in person—and felt it too since it was warm in Milwaukee and they had a bunch of them out to cool the lunch tent. It’s surprisingly compact and effective. The tool has three speeds, moves 284 cfm on high, and circulates air up to 40 feet away. The head adjusts 120 degrees with 9 stopping points. The fan can be run on the included AC adaptor or for up to 17 hours on low with a 5.0 Ah pack. Price: $79. COO: China. Available: June 2015

M18 Fuel Magnetic Drill ( 2787) is not the first tool of its kind (Metabo offers a 25.2-volt model) but it is the first to be powered but the same 18-volt packs used in common tools such as drill/drivers and impact wrenches. This is not a tool you will see at the home center or on every jobsite, but it makes sense for metal fabricators, steel erectors, and maintenance repair and operations (MRO) folk who need to drill holes in steel in locations where electricity is not available or where the use of cords (or generators) would be a problem. According to its maker the drill can make up to 40 13/16” holes in 1/4-inch steel per charge (w 5.0 Ah pack). The base contains permanent magnets that provide 2,000 pounds of holding force and won’t let go when the battery is depleted or removed from the tool. Features include a 2-speed gearbox, 3/4” Weldon quick-change chuck (includes adapter to 1/2” 3-jaw chuck), and Auto-Stop lift off protection to shut the tool down if the base starts to move. Capacity: up to 1 1/2” annular cutter or 1/2” twist bit. Speed: 460/690 rpm. Stroke: 5 3/4”. Weight: 29.5 pounds with battery. A slightly different version of the tool (2788) will be available for use by electrical linemen (with lifting loop and other additional features). COO: China. Available: July 2015.

Basin wrenches are not very pleasant to use; you're on your back in a cabinet trying to grasp a rusted nut you can't see and then twisting like crazy to get it off. This tool makes it easier. It has the usual sliding handle and the not-so-usual adjustable length shaft. What’s different is the bottom end, which is screwdriver and ratchet “ready”. You can increase force by putting a screwdriver through a pair of holes in the side and twisting. Or you can increase force and speed by inserting a ratchet into a square hole on the bottom.   Click here for video. Available: November 2015.

M18 Fuel SDS Max Rotary Hammer. Plenty of companies make cordless SDS plus rotary hammers but this is the first SDS Max model. According to Milwaukee it has the same performance and durability as the company’s corded models. In a “concrete drilling race” between this cordless tool and a comparable corded model the cordless tool won. It is said to be able to chip for 20 minutes on a 9.0 Ah battery. In Europe this would be considered a 5kg rotary hammer; here it’s a 1 9/16” rotary hammer. COO: China. Click here for video. Available: January 2016.

What’s this? It’s from a test (which I saw performed) designed to illustrate the relative drilling efficiency of three brands of SDS Plus bits. Each color represents a 3/16” bit that was chucked into a cordless rotary hammer connected to a computer via a recording device and then used to drill 4 holes in concrete. The vertical scale represents amp draw and the horizontal elapsed drilling time. Red is for the Milwaukee bit which required somewhere between 17.5 and 20 seconds of drilling time to complete 4 holes. Blue and yellow are you know who—as you can see, they took longer.

Second Generation Fuel Hammer Drill/Driver. As good as the original Fuel HDD was, this new model ( 2704) is smaller, lighter, and more powerful. These improvements were achieved by using stronger rare earth magnets in the rotor, winding the stator differently, and shrinking the electronics and moving them to the handle—where they and much of the wiring are potted (encased in resin for protection). Rated at 1,200 inch-pounds of torque it is said to be the most powerful cordless tool in of its kind. Front to back it is 7.75” long—versus 8.1” for the previous Fuel model. Click here for video. Available: August 2015.

New Fastback knives (prototypes). The Fastback II Flip Utility Knife holds one blade and has room to store a single spare. No thicker than its predecessor, the Fastback III shown here holds one blade and has room for four spares. The redesigned grip has smoother rounder edges and there is the option to lock the blade at the usual 90 degrees or 45 degrees—for better ergonomics during certain types of cuts. The Fastback Compact is a smaller utility knife that takes a standard blade but is small enough to fit in a pocket. Note: the new models shown here are prototypes so the color is off and they look kind of rough. Click here for video. Available: Spring 2016.

Milwaukee Jobsite Organizer. These modular boxes were announced a couple of months back but this was the first time I saw them in person. I already knew they were well-designed—with more storage space than the DeWalt boxes I currently own and a top-mounted clip that allows lids to be opened without removing the box above. Click here for video.

Second Generation Fuel Impact Driver. This new 1/4” hex impact driver ( 2753) has a more durable anvil mechanism (more on that in the next slide) and many of the upgrades found in the new hammer drill/driver: stronger magnets in the rotor, improved stator winding, and redesigned electronics. But its real claim to fame are the preprogramed settings or modes that allow performance to be matched to several common tasks. Mode 1 (200 inch-lbs; 0-850 rpm) is for delicate work. Mode 2 (700 inch-lbs; 0-2,100 rpm) is to prevent stripping, breaking, and overdriving of fasteners. Mode 3 (1,800 inch-pounds; 0-3,000 rpm) is the performance setting most of us refer to as “going all out”. Mode 4 is for driving self-tapping screws. It goes from a controlled start (ramps up from 0 to 3,000 rpm), to driving (3,000 rpm), and to slows at the end (750 rpm) to avoid stripping. Available: August 2015.

Milwaukee’s original tapes were aimed at specialty contractors; their new line (which came out earlier this year) is aimed at general contractors. The new models have the same proprietary blade coating as the originals and the same 5-point frame but a wider bottom to prevent them from tipping. The cost of the tapes was lowered by printing on only one side of the blade and omitting the finger stop and magnetic end—items I as a carpenter don’t really care about. The 16’ and 25’ models are already out; 30’ and 35’ models will be available in September 2015. A 6’ keychain model will come out in November 2015.

M18 3 1/4-Inch Planer. A decade ago Milwaukee decided to focus on its core customers in the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical trades so the company stopped developing new carpentry/woodworking tools—such as corded miter saws, routers, and sanders. This cordless planer is the first new tool in that category in a very long time. Could this signal a return by Milwaukee to woodworking tools? I asked and was told they will not introduce new corded tools in that category but that NOTHING is off the table for cordless. As for this planer, it has a two-blade cutter head, a 1/2” rabbeting lip, and can remove up to 5/64th of an inch per pass. Weight: 6.15 pounds w/o battery. The planer ( 2623) will be sold bare and in a one-battery kit with charger, bag, and edge guide. Click here for video. Available: Summer 2015

Second Generation Fuel Compact Impact Wrench. Smaller and lighter than first generation models, the new 1/2” impact wrench ( model 2755; 220 ft-lbs) and 3/8” wrench ( model 2754; 210 ft-lbs) are also more powerful. As with the second gen impact driver, the impact wrenches have multiple preprogramed settings. Mode 1 (30 ft-lbs; 0-900 rpm) is for “delicate” work. Mode 2 (75 ft-lbs; 0-1,600 rpm) is for tougher tasks. Mode 3 is all-out (max torque; 0-2,500 rpm). In mode 4 (auto shutoff) the tool automatically runs in 1-second bursts, making it easier to evenly tighten items such as the pipe couplers on commercial fire sprinkler systems. Available September 2015

Empire Magnetic Levels. Available in box and I-beam configurations, these new levels have rare earth magnets that are said to hold particularly well (a plus when installing steel studs and metal jambs). Feature include: reinforced frames, high contrast vial surrounds, tool-free removable end caps, ergonomic grip zones, and a locking vial system accurate to within .0005”.

M18 Fuel Grinder. Milwaukee’s previous brushless grinder came in second in our cordless grinder test so it will be interesting to try this new model ( 2783) when it comes out. The main improvement over the earlier model is the addition of brake that will stop the disk in less than 2 seconds—which makes it far less likely something bad will happen when you turn it off and put it down. Features include a clutch, a dual-activation non-locking paddle switch, and tool-free adjustment of the guard. Speed: 8,500 rpm. Disks: 4 1/2” and 5”. Available: July 2015.

New Markers. Milwaukee is adding to its Inkzall marker line—silver and gold standard tip models (for fine lines) and a larger marker containing quick drying white paint (for labelling and the like). Who uses these types of markers? Welders and metal fabricators, because the marks they leave are visible on metal. Available: February 2016.

M18 High Performance (HP) Flood Light. This cordless work light is intended to replace the 500-watt halogens that so many tradesmen use. Features include a protective outer housing, a head that rotates 270 degrees, and hanging holes on the bottom. It has high, medium, and low settings and is said to have 8 hours of runtime on low with a 5.0 Ah battery. There is a port on back for use with a provided AC adaptor. Lumens: 3,000. Lux: 25,000 (vs 13,800 for a 500-watt halogen). Available: November 2015.

No, Milwaukee doesn’t make rotary hammer bits quite so large as this. The item on the left is a plastic mockup of the tip of a 4-flute bit that is said to last particularly long when drilling concrete that contains rebar.

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