Well 2017 marked the 10th year of Milwaukee Tool New Product Symposiums and the anticipation was very high. With tool competitors launching technologies with higher voltages, new cells and multiple batteries the expectation was that the red team might have something big to announce but alas no big news on the battery tech. When pressed why they have not gone to 20700 cells for their batteries the general consensus was the cells don’t offer enough performance gain over the 18650. Perhaps holding out for the new 2170 cells but that means at least another year before we might see something.
Tools we didn’t see: M18 track saws, M18 chainsaws, M18 table saws, M18 battery bank power stations or M18 (6”, 7”) grinders. Perhaps these are waiting on the new battery tech to catch up or maybe duel batteriers but certainly something has got to be in the works on these fronts. That being said we did see a ton of very exciting tools and accessories targeting many different trades and users.
Building on a plumbing background, we were probably most impressed by the handful of new M12 & M18 plumbing tools we saw, these were more than me too add-ons they really rethought how some of the existing plumbing tools worked and had some creative ideas on how to solve user issues with cordless solutions. The M12 AirSnake, M18 FUEL DrainSnake and the M18 FUEL Backpack Drum Machines all certainly could become daily used tools for the plumbing trades.
The other big area for innovation we felt this year was in lighting, we did actually see Milwaukee’s first two battery solution with the 9000 lumen M18 Radius Site Light, the unit can run full power off 1 battery, the 2nd simply extends the runtime. The unit can also use 110v corded power and actually charge the two batteries (also in series).
Lighting also stepped out with an all new battery platform with RedLithiumUSB a single cell lithium-ion system which will power 3 impressive lights headlamp, flood light and 600 lumen compact flashlight. Milwaukee also announced their first corded light as a High Bay LED designed for temp lighting on the job sites with the goal to replace all those Metal Halide cage lights. Very ambitious plans all around.
A revamp of the M12 FUEL drills and impact drivers are coming at year end, the general 2 models push for noticeably more compact design with power increases as well, 1300 in-lbs for new impact. The M12 ratchets will become M12 FUEL ratchets with slimmer head and more power (up to 60 ft-lbs) and really take aim at pneumatic air ratchets in performance and reliability. The M12 line up also fills a few other unique user needs with the M12 crown stapler for ⅜” T50 staples as well as an M12 soldering iron.
The flagship M18 lineup saw needed model updates and some new surprises. M18 FUEL Hackzall has been a long overdue addition, now you can get considerable power in a one handed recip saw. The M18 FUEL High Torque Impacts will get updated Q3 for more power (1400 ft-lbs) as well as more control from 4 speed settings. If Q4 ONE-KEY versions of these impacts will be available as well which will allow users to pretty accurately set their desired torque values for lugs, bolts and other applications.
Other new additions to the M18 family not to be forgotten included a new compact M18 FUEL 7-¼” Miter Saw with duel bevel as well as a M18 FUEL Mixer for morter/concrete and finally a M18 heat gun which can pump out 1000 degrees in 6 seconds.
Hand Tools were again a big part of this year’s expansion for Milwaukee, a revamp to their screwdriver lineup as well as a full new offering of combination wrenches. New Red Stick levels for concrete work, new lineup of data tools, bolt cutters, Hardliners fixed blade knives and pry bars all work to fill specific user needs.
Tool Storage was another big area of focus, while my person favorite may be the new soft side cooler bag we were very excited by the new modular storage PACKOUT launch which offers a handful of different size boxes and open care cases. Check out our full PACKOUT coverage HERE. The traditional modular system requires a full width bulky case which is not always convenient for smaller jobs. The PACKOUT system has storage in various heights, lengths and widths for true versatility. They also dropped significant weight on these as well as the Dewalt system, obviously the red ones held up much better than the black & yellow. Additionally Milwaukee will be launching two additional backpacks one smaller and one larger than the current model.
New Heat Gear for 2017 don’t have any heat… Normally we see new M12 powered clothing but this year the team focused on non-heated GridIron Work Wear that will work as an outer shell. The bibs are very heavy duty but lighter weight with better flexibility. Additionally there is a GridIron Hooded Jacket, new GridIron Jacket and “No Days Off” hooded sweatshirt which was extremely comfortable.
Dust Extraction is another hot topic, we saw some pretty exciting new products coming which will all be here well before the OSHA deadline of September 23rd. The system revolves around a new 8 Gallon Dust Extractor Vac 8960-20 which offers 3 level filtration and a main filter that can be changed without opening the canister. Hollow bits for SDS-Plus and SDS-Max as well as new shrouds will fill out the offering for dust collection solutions.
Even More… There are seriously many new items launched this one day it’s hard to mention them all, specific tools for linemen, 102×77 thermal camera, tool lanyards, safety gloves and many more which we will be getting to all of it over the next few weeks for more in-depth coverage. Check out our Instagram for more photos and videos, also keep an eye on our Youtube for more indepth videos to follow.