In response to an overwhelming demand — we are now going to be featuring our top picks for specific brands. First up…..the Milwaukee M18 cordless lineup.
Over the course of the last few years, we have tested out and used almost all of the current tools in the M18 line. Specifically, anything and everything that is on the market.
The M18 line covers a wide range of trades — general contractors, electricians, plumbers, HVAC, automotive repair, concrete, drywall, and many more.
Unlike some brands that may have the same voltage (i.e. — 18v/20v), but dont have the ability to utilize compact batteries in all of their tools — the M18 line does. Since all of the M18 tools are cross-compatible with the battery packs (compact or high capacity), there is no need for multiple battery sizes.
As for which ones we like the best — they aren’t the “latest & greatest” — the results will surprise you….
Why not the M18 FUEL? Simply put…..it is too heavy. The compact brushless unit is over 1lb lighter, and still has a ton of power. For a compact 18v unit, this one is really impressive.
Since it is not a hammer drill, it is not very effective at concrete/brick/stone, but for wood & metal it excels. The all-metal keyless ratcheting chuck locks onto bits, and we have had no problems with it backing off or loosening up during use.
For heavy-duty applications, a larger drill would definitely be a better choice….but, this one will get the job done 95% of the time. The weight/power combination is the biggest advantage — and coming in under 4lbs, extended use wont make you nearly as tired as the full size counterparts.
Radios & chargers — two things every job-site or garage needs….so why not just combine them? That is exactly what Milwaukee did with this unit, and they eliminated the shortfalls that we see in many of the other radios on the market.
The main complaint with radios near chargers is static & interference. You can have perfect sound one minute & as soon as you pop a battery in the charger, the static appears. This radio doesn’t have that issue with the built-in charger. When you are charging a battery on the back of the unit, there is zero interference (however, another charger near this WILL still cause static — so keep that in mind).
Overall, the sound levels and quality are excellent. One high-capacity pack can last you all day long, and if you need more run-time — just plug it in (continuing the music & also charging the pack on the rear). We use it with our phones, and stream Pandora via Bluetooth.
The famous M18 FUEL Impact Wrench — one of the most powerful on the market. Many of you have already bought this due to some of the previous reviews that we completed about it. For extreme torque applications & general automotive repair, it is an ideal solution.
The impact has two distinct speed/power modes. Mode 1 is a very low torque mode, and it really only good for very small fasteners or running down a nut/bolt (aka snugging it up). Mode 2 is the very high torque mode, and is how most people will exclusively use it.
Before the days of Skidmore tests to prove torque, we ran it on two different Honda crank bolts (95% of impacts cannot budge them) — the M18 FUEL removed them with ease. For seasoned mechanics, that one clip was enough to prove just how powerful they really are.
Cutting metal? Grab a Portaband!
Unlike a grinder that throws showers of sparks (big time fire hazard), or a reciprocating saw that burns through expensive blades — the Portaband cuts quickly, cleanly, and the blade lasts a very long time.
Because it using the standard size blades (44-7/8″), you can use any brand with this saw. Personally, we like the MK Morse 811 blades — and unless your material is not secure (causing vibrations as you cut….breaking off teeth), they will slice through a tremendous amount of metal before you need to replace one.
Two features that are found on this unit, which are not found on many other Portabands would be the “rafter hook” & tool-free adjustable shoe. It is easy to make clean cuts through large pieces of metal (up to 5″x5″ capacity) & does not throw a shower of sparks all over you or your shop.
Drum roll…..and the winner is….the LED Lantern!
I literally use this almost every single day. I have done so since the day it showed up, and have run hundreds of battery packs through it without issues.
The light quality & coverage is excellent. You have the option for 180° – 360° light with the turn of a collar — coupled with three light modes (low/med/high), you get extreme run-times with a high capacity pack. Since this is a TRUEVIEW light, the color quality also has little/no distortion over what you will see in natural daylight.
Drops, spills, falls…..nothing has hurt it. The lens now has some battle scars, but it is still chugging along with no problems. We use it when recording videos to eliminate shadows (among other things) & it is by far our favorite tool in the entire M18 lineup!
As Milwaukee continues to expand the M18 lineup….stay tuned & we will continue to update you on the tools that stand out!