Long-time readers will know that I am no fan of Milwaukee Tools. Simply put, I had a very bad experience with their customer service one time. Still, I have to give credit where credit is due.
Somebody at Milwaukee took a 'smart pill.' They're both developing promising new tools - and re-inventing some classics hand tools.
For the past month, I have been using this little dream od a bandsaw: http://www.cpomilwaukee.com/milwaukee-2429-21xc-m12-12v-cordless-lithium-ion-sub-compact-band-saw-kit/miln2429-21xc,default,pd.html?start=10&cgid=milwaukee-cordless-saws I find this saw as useful as my cordless impact driver, especially when working off of a lift. The one-hand operation and small size lets you cut pipe (or threaded rod) in place.
Don't let the little 12-V battery scare you. I've never needed more than two batteries for my impact driver, and the saw runs all day on one charge.
Another promising new tool is a hole punch driver ... but with prices starting at $1,400, I'd think long and hard before buying it.
They have a number of cordless rotohammers - NOT hammer-drills - that sure add major convenience to placing a couple anchors, or punching that one hole in the wall. $250 for a tool that uses my existing batteries isn't too painful.
Looking at their line of hand tools, they've polished up some of our basic tools. For example, they offer nut drivers that let a long piece of threaded rod pass completely through the handle- that can be handy when hanging trapeze from a sloped ceiling. (Level the strut, then trim the excess using that baby bandsaw).
Their tape measure can be had with both magnets on the tip, AND markings on the back of the blade. With so much of our work overhead, blade markings on the back of the blade are a real plus.
I have used several of Milwaukee's tools over the past few years. The chucks on their M18 drills are terrible. The chuck loosens off and eventually the driver or drill bit falls out. I have used several of these drills and they all had the same issue with the chuck.
On the other hand, the M18 bandsaw and hammer drill are worth their weight in gold.
It's not my intent to make this a 'bash Milwaukee' thread ...
Look at it this way: Your car has a big windshield for looking forward, and a tiny mirror for looking back. That's the only way to get where you want to be!
If you like the 18V bandsaw, the little 12V one will knock your socks off. One-hand operation is a HUGE advantage!
I'm intrigued by the idea of a cordless rotohammer. That sure would make life easier; typically, you only need it for one hole or a couple anchors.
Otherwise, I am delighted when someone actually tries something new. I'm weary of companies who come out with the same thing as everyone else, then a advertise "Buy mine because it's a different color!"
When I entered the trade, required tool lists included folding rules and hammers - which I've never seen anyone use. Lately, it seems I'm the only one on site who even owns a hacksaw- let alone uses one! That's how much the trade has changed.
If you drill big holes in wood, I should point out that Milwaukee (and, now, Makita) offers an impact driver that takes those self-feed bits. No more risking your wrists wrestling a Holehawg.
I used Stout bandsaws for years. Besides the cordless drill it was the most used tool on the truck. Had problems with short battery lifespan but they honored the warranty on the one's that failed within a year. Best part was they would make a really nice square cut on Unistrut. Much better than the monster corded Milwaukee version. I ended up going with the M18 Milwaukee and am very happy with the batteries. Only problem is the blades walk off the wheels. Thinking I need to replace the rubber wheel boots. The Stout bandsaws were balanced perfectly with the handle on top instead of at the end which was nice. I sent a letter to Milwaukee asking them to consider copying that design and they did come out with a top handle design but it had a smaller cutting width of 1-5/8" which was disappointing. Currently eying the M18 Milwuakee multi-tool as it looks like it could be handy to have on the truck.
I disagree .... bigger is NOT better. I've been using a variety of tools with little "mini" 12V batteries, and they've been doing great. Gone are the days of the limited Ni-Cd.
I ask you to reconsider your choices. It's really nice to carry a driver up a ladder - when it fits in your pocket.
As for the little bandsaw - just how often do you need to cut something larger than 1-5/8"? I'd hazard a guess that the little saw covers 90% of your work.
As for the entire "where is it made" discussion ... I'd like to know where were those clever Yankees all these years? No, we had to wait for 'backwards' foreign factories to invent / improve our tools. The tools I opened the thread with have no direct competition, of any source.
You need some serious battery power for the bandsaw. Once you own one tool it makes sense to buy other tools that match the batteries so they are interchangeable. Smaller drills are definitely convenient if they stand up to the task. Having a battery die mid cut is always a disappointment so I lean toward BIG batteries. I run tons of 2" pipe and the 1-5/8 bandsaw won't accomodate it.