Tools & Materials
Attention Pros: Here’s What’s New from Milwaukee Tools
Milwaukee Tools intends to release 200 new tools in 2016, and we got a chance to check out some of the latest additions at Milwaukee’s 2016 New Product Symposium. They showed us how their tools held up to the leading competition by running preposterously long endurance tests. They also crashed, stretched, smashed, and dragged their products through the mud, all to prove how well they will hold up under real jobsite conditions. All of these tools will be available by October 2016.
Two Days of Tool Heaven
We’re the biggest tool geeks you’ll ever meet. In fact, we could have easily spent an additional two days talking and testing tools. And after all the demonstrations, one thing was perfectly clear: Milwaukee is not throwing products on the market just to turn the inside of our toolboxes red (although they wouldn’t mind). They want their products to last and to impress. We know we were impressed! We can’t cover all the tools they showed us, but here are a few that stood out to us.
Note: this story is from 2017. For the newest tools from Milwaukee in 2018 click here.
Bright Jobsite Light
Cordless LED work lights are great because they don’t consume a lot of energy; they stay cool, and they’re more rugged than other options. But LED work lights traditionally have not been as bright as halogen, and many give off a weird blue-gray light. But those shortcomings may be a thing of the past with the new M18 Radius™ LED Compact Site Light. This baby throws out up to 4,400 lumens of a crisp light in a full 360-degree radius and can either rest on the ground or hang from the ceiling. It will run for two hours at full power or eight hours if dialed down to 1,000 lumens. It can also be run on AC and can be strung together with a bunch of others to light up huge workspaces.
Tough Tape Measure
What’s a good way to see how a tape measure holds up? How about blasting it into a concrete wall with a giant slingshot? This was one of the more entertaining stations on the tour. We got to see several Milwaukee tape measures withstand the crushing impact with a few competitors not faring so well. But one of the coolest features that we appreciated most was the fact that the tape on a 25-foot tape measure would actually pull out 25 feet—imagine that! Most other tape measures stopped a foot or two short and take some serious tugging to fully extend. Milwaukee makes magnetic and nonmagnetic tape measures that are available in several lengths, including metric.
Long Lasting Recip Blade
The new Ax blades are equipped with carbide teeth, which last and last and last, up to 30 times longer than standard bi-metal blades. We watched a couple of guys with red shirts make an incredible number of cuts using the same blade. They cut enough wood to fill the back of a pickup truck, and then some. The Ax blades are also equipped with a new Fang Tip that reduces the bounce and skate that’s common when plunge-cutting. And as a bonus, they’re made right here in the US—nice!
A Cordless Saw Worth Considering
We’ve worked on a lot of job sites where we had to run a generator all day just to power up our miter saws. Unfortunately, functioning cordless miter saws weren’t available back when we were still in the trenches, but the times have changed. This new dual bevel, cordless compound miter saw cuts as well as our corded model. Milwaukee says it will make up to 400 cuts on one full battery easily a day’s worth of cutting.
No-Prime Portable Water Pump
Hey plumbers: you’re going to love this! It’s a cordless pump, perfect for draining water heaters, toilet tanks, and clogged sinks full of water. It’s self-priming and can pump up to 450 gallons of water in an hour. Sure, you’ll make less money because your service calls won’t take as long, but your customers will be so impressed that they’ll pass your name on to all their friends.
Ultimate Theft Deterrent
Currently Milwaukee’s ONE-KEY system allows you to use your smart phone to control torque and RPMs and to inventory compatible tools in a given area. But the new security feature will allow users to lock and unlock their tools, making them unusable (and therefore worthless) to any would-be criminals. And if some knucklehead does steal your tool, there will be a chip imbedded into the tool itself that can be tracked. Hopefully all tool manufacturers will follow suit, and we can make tool theft a thing of the past.
Comfortable Cut-Out Tool
Slow, long, and chunky were our main complaints about cordless cut-out tools we’ve used. But Milwaukee’s new one has addressed those issues. It cuts as fast as many corded tools, it’s the shortest cordless version available, and it has the most narrow handgrip, which reduces hand and wrist fatigue.
The M18 FUEL Blower
Here’s what Milwaukee says about their new M18 FUEL™ Blower: It provides the best combination of power and efficiency through an axial fan design and has the longest max CFM run-time of all cordless blowers on the market. Here’s what we know about Milwaukee’s blower: it blew the tennis ball all the way to the top of the test gauge, something which no other brand blower did—we’re sold.