Each year Milwaukee Tool brings in a large group of media folks from various magazines and tool focused blog sites. They really gear their following 9 months of product launches around this annual event so they invest the time and energy into making the event a big deal. This year was again bigger than ever before and the Red team really showed us some impressive leaps forward in cordless tools as well as expanding their trade focus for hand tools and accessories.
For our “predictions” post we missed the mark completely still no M18 FUEL Hackzall or M18 10’ Mitersaw or Remote Controlled Cooler… at least not for the rest of 2015. Great news is our hope for events several years from now cometh early with the launch of the 9.0Ah High Demand battery. We thought that might be 2017 or 2018 before we would see cordless tools with demands of higher outputs and run-times. The 9.0Ah battery makes possible the first ever cordless 1-9/16” SDS-Max Rotary Hammer Drill which can chip non-stop for 20 minutes on a single battery. This thing uses the same front end as their corded model and hits just as hard, incredibly impressive!
On M18 FUEL 7-1/4″ circluar saw or M18 FUEL Sawzall this battery will go all day long. Charge time with the new M12/M18 RAPIDCHARGE charger can fill these huge fuel tanks in about 90-100 minutes which is certainly reasonable.
With the 9.0Ah battery Milwaukee has managed to crack the code in getting a very high power output but more importantly the ability to keep the battery pack cool enough to provide full power in heavy non-stop use for the full extended runtime of the battery. Other brands that have launch the 6.0Ah did so by compromising output to manage heat issue. We’d bet there’s probably no group more interested to get their hands on this new 9.0Ah Milwaukee battery than their competition.
Not to be overlooked as a huge launch the Second Generation M18 FUEL Drills, Hammer Drills and Impacts again look to become the leaders in terms of power and features. The new drills will put out 1,200 in. lbs. torque to leap frog to the front of the pack again. The impacts will also be more powerful but additional will offer 4 power settings to really give the most control to the user. Of course all the models will additionally become smaller and lighter for optimal user comfort.
The M18 FUEL Mag Drill which we announced a couple weeks ago we found out is just the first in the family of new Milwaukee Mag Drills including new corded models that include many of the same advances in usability as the cordless models but in line with an more entry level price point. The corded models will have an option for either the permanent manual magnet base or the electric-magnet base common to all other mag drills.
The same features on the M18 FUEL mag drills will carry over to the corded models. This includes the AUTOSTOP safety along with the quick change system that allows users to go from ¾” Weldon to a ½” chuck in seconds flat without needing any extra tools.
Another M18 monster which we shoulda saw coming was the M18 FUEL Super Hawg. This was the obvious next step with the success of the M18 HoleHawg last year that really allowed the electrician to do all his roughing work with a cordless tool. They were not going to leave the plumbers out and this new unit can do up to a 6″ hole. The corded Milwaukee units are definitely standard issue tool for all plumbers and we fully expect the cordless M18 Super Hawg to become that next staple tool. From what we saw and heard it’s a very similar tool waist down to thew M18 HoleHawg with the big changes in the head/gearing and electronics to tie it all together which is almost identical to the corded SuperHawg.
On the cordless hydraulic tools for plumbing applications we saw a monster of a tool, an M18 expansion tool for 3” PEX that will start to become common place in many commercial applications. These connections actually become stronger over time and with the global demand for metal continuously increasing we would definitely expect to see a large migration to the commercial PEX products over the next 5-10 years. Getting the early adopters in the next year or two on the other hand could be a little tougher but that’s what we love about Milwaukee Tool a long range outlook that allows them to build products to really change the future, not just prop up next quarter’s shareholder reports.
For the regular contractors and home owners the new M-Spector video inspection tool really will be a game changer. Bluetooth video monitor can be detached, the 12mm head with extra powerful light can see more than any other tool of it’s size but the PivotHead feature allows the tip to see in almost any direction to really open up these cameras to much more functionality.
Hand Tools were another big area of focus for Milwaukee this year. A lot of focus specifically on tools for the plumbers and electrician as well as some cool new FastBack knives that should have broad appeal to just about any tool user. The biggest launch in the category was the pipe wrenches, it’ll be pretty hard to move folks off the standard Ridgid Pipe Wrenches they’ve always used, especially without being USA made (Ridgid are still USA made).
The Cheater Pipe Wrench would be the exception this was a pretty cool innovation in pipe wrenches. Not a totally new concept but it basically making a cheater bar an OSHA approved item. The basic unit is a beefy 10” pipe wrench and allows you to extend the handle to use it like an 18” or 24” wrench for most applications. Since the unit uses standard pipe sizes and thread size for the extensions we’d imagine users will even make longer handles, although the month won’t open wider than 2.5” pipe fittings.
Of course we saw some amazing new advances in M12 Heated Gear, Cordless lighting, storage, accessories and many other areas as well which we will be covering in-depth in the near future. Overall we were very impressed the volume of innovation and how far out there the red teams appears to be in cordless technology. See more images in this Facebook Album and/or visit our YouTube Channel as we will be adding more videos. At this point they have truly cut the cord and the only unfortunate part is it’ll be nearly impossible to surprise anyone moving forward. Pretty much any 110V tool is on the table as an M18 FUEL cordless tool for 2016, 2017 and beyond. Cordless table saw sure, 7/9” grinders & polishers (just a HoleHawg with a different bonnet), full size HEPA shop vac, all now seem like child’s play.
What we really hope to see for 2016 or to come out with the 9.0Ah batteries is an 110v inverter with at least 600w output to charge laptops, camera batteries, maybe power a small TV or margarita blender. We know you can do it Milwaukee!