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Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
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:,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.

Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 264
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.

A malfunction at the junction
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,288
Likes: 4
Milwaukee band saw, sawsalls, and corded drills never had any issues when I ran my business.

I favored Bosch hammer drills (Bulldog)and Black & Decker 'Macho' for years.

A few of the contractors have the 'new' cordless tools; crimpers, cable cutters, impact drills and they seem happy.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
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.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 917
Likes: 1
I have the 18V bandsaw, & very happy w/ it, that saw has been my "go to" saw leaving the corded deep cut saw to collect dust in it's case.

At this time not looking to add to the tool collection.:) But I do call Milwaukee Electric Tool, Beijing Electric.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
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.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
I keep hearing "M18." What is this? Battery envy?

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.

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
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.

Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 101
I like the M 12 tools . Although I also have the M18 . The M12 are convenient for everyday drilling & driving screws.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Cat Servant
Now, about the 'mid-size' cordless bandsaws ....

Now that I'm all set for running strut, guess what happens? Why, I get a customer who wants the trapezes made from aluminum angles.

This is a touchy area. Milwaukee, Makita, and DeWalt all make 'compact' bandsaws. The joker is that they each have wildly different dimensions, and blades are not interchangeable.

I'd love to be able to compare them to each other - someone else has the DeWalt on site - but their blade broke and he still has not found a replacement.

So, I've been using the Milwaukee 2629, which has a 3" cutting capacity and uses 18V LiIon batteries. It's been a real blessing, though it eats batteries like a kid eats Halloween candy.

Why not get a full-size model? I'm typically using the cordless one from a lift, with the tool held overhead. Weight and access MATTERS. I also don't miss the old Sawzall shake & struggle fight.

Naturally, I have all the wrong blades. At least I can get blades with larger teeth, that won't gum up so fast with aluminum dust.

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