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Milwaukee fuel circular saw and Sawzall. They are awesome

 
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I have purchased some Milwaukee cordless tools. Two of them are from the Milwaukee fuel line.

The circular saw and reciprocating saw are both awesome.
.........
Most of the text in this thread will be made up from text messages that I sent my brother and others, about these tools, so some of it might be redundant.
........
   Message to my brother...
My new Milwaukee Fuel circular saw, cuts just as well as a plug-in model. Overall speed is greater, with a lighter tool. It's made for left-handed use. I was at Home Depot, about to buy the 60 volt Dewalt circular  saw and reciprocating saw which were on sale. I encountered the Milwaukee representative and he made an offer I couldn't refuse. I got two, 9 amp hour batteries which retail for $279 each,  for free. I then bought a grinder for $149, which came with a free  battery and charger set that normally sells for $169. My total was about $750 for the circular saw, reciprocating saw and grinder. A little less than the cost of the inferior tools. Every review, puts Milwaukee ahead. On footage of cut between battery changes, they are 40% and 60% ahead of the two closest competitors which are Makita and DeWalt. Then, a day later, an impact driver came on Used Victoria. Bought it for $75, including a $150 battery. I have four tools and four batteries.

 I may never fuck with a generator again, other than when cutting stucco or jackhammering.
20170413_145326.jpg
Milwaukee circular saw
Milwaukee circular saw
20170423_172122.jpg
Milwaukee reciprocating saw
Milwaukee reciprocating saw
20170411_110339.jpg
Milwaukee grinder
Milwaukee grinder
 
Dale Hodgins
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 The Milwaukee Fuel Sawzall, is more productive than a top-of-the-line plug-in model. I've done a lot of cutting , in removing the pony walls from a house that was lifted. Battery life is not going to be an issue. These tools couldn't work with dummies operating them, but I expect them to become the standard for carpenters, plumbers and others that look after their equipment. Generators are now obsolete for me, except when I'm using a jackhammer or cutting stucco. My machine has plenty of power to cut stucco, but I wouldn't want to destroy it with grit.

I used the grinder to sharpen the first inch of Sawzall blades that usually get dull before the rest. A very handy tool that fits perfectly into my hand. I've also sharpened my hedge cutter. It took 15 minutes. The sharpening shop wanted $90.
20170421_155345.jpg
Milwaukee Fuel Sawzall
Milwaukee Fuel Sawzall
 
Dale Hodgins
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I cut each joist twice, so that it could fall freely , without pushing on the standing portion. It takes about 3 seconds per cut. Overall it was about one-third faster than using my 15 amp Milwaukee plug-in saw. Didn't even consume the first bar on the battery. I've also cut that section of roof on the side porch. Roofing, OSB and heavy old fir 1 by 4. It went into overload twice, but this required only a five-second wait. When plugged into the house , I often flip the breaker and have to go to the basement.

This saw would be faster for both tasks, even if we had power available on this job.
20170413_144342.jpg
cut joists
cut joists
 
pollinator
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Milwaukee tools are awesome no doubt, but I recently switched to all Ridgid tools.  If you buy them from Home Depot, they have a free lifetime warranty on everything, including the batteries and chargers.  That's a deal I can't pass up.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, Ridgid Tools have price and warranty on their side.

None of their tools can do the sort of work I'm doing, at a pace necessary to be considered professional. I am looking to compete directly with top of the line plug-in tools. The ones I'm using are more productive. I have the 36 volt Makita saw that also takes a 7 1/4 inch blade. It's a decent saw, perfectly fine for home use, but not half as productive as the Milwaukee circular saw. I've tried cutting through roofing material which includes asphalt,  metal flanges and wood. It reaches overload too quickly, and comes to a complete halt. Various reviews say that it is about half as productive. I have found that it just won't do certain jobs.
 
Todd Parr
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Granted.  Even the new line of Ridgid can't compete with Milwaukee for professional tools.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Milwaukee distributors sometimes put on special events that only contractors on their list are invited to. Price reductions are so great, that you end up paying about 60% of what it would cost to buy it off the shelf at Home Depot. This makes them cost-competitive even with the lowly Ryobi junk.
 
pollinator
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Dale,

Welcome back and thanks for these continuing reviews of the cordless equipment.  I'm just finally on the verge of retiring...both myself and my hobby tools, the latter of which are older generation non-Lithium battery units.  So these reviews will be invaluable in the coming months.  As the body itself is feeling the days of autumn, I was wondering if you had an opinion about "ladders for geezers".  For most of the past decades, a 20 year-old aluminum extension ladder got me up to the second story outside of the house for repairs, gutter cleaning, antenna installations, etc.....and the wobble in the ladder (not a pricey unit) was all a part of feeling at one with the high winds of the Great Plains.

Looking for something a bit sturdier, but need to keep it light as neither my wife nor I will be able to hoss around anything too heavy.  Also have noted some of the roof-contacting stabilizer bars that can be added to any ladder.  Do you have an opinion on aluminum versus fiberglass (or some other material) and what brand might serve our purpose?  I'm pretty sure our current ladder is either a 16 or 20 foot extension ladder, so we would have to maintain that length.  If you wish, you can just PM me the information.....and if there is another thread for this topic, please let me know.  Thanks!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Unfortunately, with aluminum ladders it seems that every ounce of stability is matched by another ounce or pound of weight. Fire departments and tactical squads sometimes have carbon fiber ladders. I haven't tried one and don't know what they cost. I think that part of the appeal is a reduced chance of electrical shock. I know this is the case with fiberglass ladders which are commonly used by electricians.
.........
At some point in most people's lives, there comes at time when they would be well advised to give up ladder use altogether. Think of what happens to a teenager who takes a fall, and compare that to what happens to someone 75. Some elderly people pay very dearly, when they try to do the things that they no longer can accomplish safely. There are lots of young people available to do this type of work. When I reach that age, I will hire them and I will work at more skilled things that happen closer to the ground.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Here's another copy of a text sent to my brother, who should buy these tools, but is resisting.
........
  I used the cordless Milwaukee circular saw to cut up enough heavy old fir firewood to fill a pickup truck. I went through about 45% of available battery power. That's more cutting than I've ever done in a day of building. When doing this with a corded saw, it is very easy to accidentally cut that cord.

The saw is tilted on a 45 degree angle, so that gravity helps push it along.

I used a $7.50  24 tooth Diablo framing blade. Although I hit a few nails, it still cuts. A chainsaw would have been slower and would have resulted in at least $50 worth of chain damage.

Extension cords are obsolete.
20170502_200009.jpg
lots of wood
lots of wood
 
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I’ve used both the Sawzall and the circular - both really nice.
 I will say, though, that I own the Ryobi versions, and while the batteries do need charging a bit more often, I have done quite a lot of work with them to good effect. Nit as junky as I would have expected.
I got my father the Milwaukee tools in EBay used. M18 battery versions for under 100 each.
 
gardener
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I have to agree with Todd here.  


Milwaukee tools are really amazing, but the price puts them out of reach for me.

I too am in the Ridgid line and I think their tools are great without breaking the bank.

I do have the new Octane hammer drill and it is amazing.

Eric
 
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Somehow I missed this thread back when it first stated.


The Milwaukee fuel line is the best on the market from my humble perspective.  Battery life is just amazing and brushless is the way to go.

I own the recipriocating saw (sawzall) and it's a monster.  It's become my go-to tool for pruning and trimming trees.  It'll got through a 6" tree limb like nothing.  I can be up on an extension ladder in a big tree, reach out with one hand, and zzzzooom, it cuts right through big limbs like a hot knife through butter.  It's made the job so much safer.

Yes, they know they've got a great product so they've priced it accordingly.  But the hassle it saves you when you've got power all day --- that's worth something in my book.  My my existing cordless drill dies (Dewalt), I'll replace it with the Milwaukee fuel.
 
Dale Hodgins
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It gets even better. They've come up with a more powerful Sawzall that uses a 12 amp hour battery.

I made a lot of cuts on this tree using the Sawzall and a Diablo carbide tooth pruning blade. Considerably faster than the other ones that I was already happy with.

Dammit, I erased those pictures. But I made a threat about that type of Blade so I will look for it now. Evidently my phone thinks I'm talking about Blade the movie and thus it capitalizes.
20190305_123038.jpg
tree cut with Sawzall and Diablo carbide tooth pruning blade
tree cut with Sawzall and Diablo carbide tooth pruning blade
 
Dale Hodgins
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Here it is. I have made hundreds of threads and I had to do a bit of digging. Even had to reply to someone who wants to buy one of the things pictured.

https://permies.com/t/107177/Reciprocating-carbide-Diablo-pruning-blade

I use Milwaukee Tools every time I go to work, unless I'm cutting trees and hedges, but then I'm using Stihl and EGO. Even when I'm done work at night , I use Milwaukee lights and soon I will be using a Milwaukee phone charger that clicks on to the batteries.
 
Eric Hanson
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Dale,

I am slightly jealous of your Milwaukee tool!  But I have a question about their batteries.  When Milwaukee made the switch to Lithium ion batteries, did the old ni-cads still work?  Also, I swear I remember seeing Milwaukee Tools coming with magnesium batteries for a short time.  Theoretically, magnesium batteries would have about twice the charge of s lithium battery as magnesium has 2 electrons to give up to lithium’s one.  Did you ever see these or am I imagining things?

I got into the Ridgid line back in 2006.  I got a pretty straight-forward 4-tool kit.  I got them because I was getting ready to build a deck on the back of our house.  Those tools really served me well, but when I first got them I had instant buyers remorse.  The tools were fine, but they came in a canvas bag.  For comparison purposes, I was considering a Dewalt set as well.  The Dewalt was a trivial $10 more, but they did come in a plastic blow-molded case.  Immediately I wished I had the case.

But in the long run, the Ridgid tools proved themselves.  When Ridgid went to lithium batteries they were designed such that the still fit the old contact points.  Eventually the old batteries failed and I replaced them with new lithium batteries.  The new lithium batteries fit perfectly fine.  The Dewalt batteries had an entirely different battery geometry when they changed over to lithium batteries.  I am curious if Milwaukee also went through a geometric change as well.

In the end, my Ridgid tools have held up well.  I did smoke a hammer drill, but this old model had no overload protection.  I was drilling a 6” hole saw with the speed setting set to high.  It bound up a couple of times and finally died.  I replaced it with a gen 4 series I bought on EBay for $40 and it still works great, but that didn’t stop me from buying a new Octane hammer drill.  I bought the Octane drill mostly because I wanted a brushless model and I personally love the chuck lights (though opinions are divided on this).  I love how the chuck light never leaves your drill point in a shadow.

So here I am going on and on about Ridgid.  I really do love the Milwaukee Tools.  They are just quality tools and you can feel that quality just by picking the tool up.  If I were to do all my tools over again and money did not matter, I might well go with Milwaukee.  But as money does matter, I likely would stick with my Ridgid tools.  But your Milwaukee tools are great!

Eric
 
Dale Hodgins
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I didn't own any of the Milwaukee stuff before the current battery platform, so can't comment on that. I have seen the 12-volt stuff but that's smaller tools meant for the occasional user homeowner and for very small things like a Dremel or whatever

I think for people who don't need tools to perform at a very high level, commercially, the Ridgid stuff is good. I would certainly put it above DeWalt. Ridgid offers many kits at a reasonable price and it includes battery and charger.

For my purposes, there are things that they just won't do. For instance, I often need to make a cut that goes through shingles, metal flanges, flake board and the original fir boards beneath that, when I make a roof cut. This happens when I need to cut  a house in half  for transport , or when I need to cut off a protruding room .  The road likes rectangles  but people don't always build their houses rectangular.  It's my job to make them that shape . Most saws will stop dead, and make no progress. My two battery Makita circular saw is in this category. It's a good quality tool that would be fine for a carpenter, cutting brand new wood, but it just can't do this really tough cut. Even with the Milwaukee, I have to listen to The Machine and do it at the speed that is acceptable. A big 15 amp plug-in saw would be more appropriate, but not always available to me due to lack of electricity on the sites. And sometimes I only have to cut 10 ft. I can grab my Milwaukee saw and be up there in a minute. Then maybe the cut takes twice as long as if I went with a very powerful plug in. But I didn't have to drag out the extension cord and then find out if there's power in that particular spot, and then go to the basement and flick the breaker when it shuts off.

When pruning trees, using the Sawzall and the Diablo carbide hook blade that I show in the link, it's competitive with a small chainsaw, but with much neater cuts. I've used it pruning large rhododendrons and azaleas. It's possible to reach the tip into places where a chainsaw could not go.
 
Dale Hodgins
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There is problem with the Milwaukee Sawzall. It seems to be common with all battery powered reciprocating saws. The constant shaking loosens the battery attachment. Both the battery and main unit have plastic rails which wear out. Mine has been used in many dirty environments, where grit can get between the two pieces of plastic and the shaking wears them away. This can cause a poor electrical connection between battery and tool. I've dealt with it by putting a couple layers of electrical tape along the rails of the tool, so that the battery shakes less. If this is not done, it can bugger up the electronics.

The unit belonging to the house moving company had gotten extremely loose and the guys all just continued using it. So now there's is really bad, and I fixed it, but I have no faith that someone will replace the tape when it eventually bounces off. I took theirs in for repair to the blade holding mechanism and my smaller and older unit is on loan to them. They've been abusing mine as well.
 
Eric Hanson
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Dale,

I get that you and I have different tool needs.  For my purposes I mostly compare features, overall quality and price.  In your case you compare purchase price with productivity.  Work not done is an expense measurable in dollars for you whereas for me work not done means a longer project/something I am doing mostly for fun or personal satisfaction.  It comes down to two different “equations”.

Like I said earlier, if money did not matter then I would consider Milwaukee.  For you, your time is money.  Milwaukee makes sense.

Eric
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, I think that pretty much sums it up.

When I first bought the Sawzall, I had been offered all of the heavy floor joists in a house that was being torn down with an excavator. The saw was about $300 and that wood was over $1,000. I did it all on 3 batteries.  There was very little time to make this happen. My friend Sahoshi, is still fiddling with 10 year old Ryobi equipment. When a similar opportunity came his way, he had to call me to do the cutting, while he did the sledge-hammering and pry bar work. We split the money fifty-fifty. He is 61 years old and will probably never invest in decent tools. It is downright comical sometimes. When building a deck , he drove in dozens of screws as far as his Ryobi would go, and then he borrowed my Milwaukee nut driver to drive them home.😂
 
Eric Hanson
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Dale,

Trying not to make this a tool slamming post, but I think you are about right on the Ryobi tools.  Milwaukee, Ridgid and Ryobi are all made by the same parent company—TTI.  I would classify them as Ryobi being the homeowner brand (and the least expensive), Ridgid as the prosumer or advanced enthusiast (Me) brand and Milwaukee as the dedication professional brand—and priced as such.

About 2 years ago we had a fireplace put in our basement and the guy that came out was talking about Ridgid tools so I was asking how he liked them.  He loved them and had just bought a gen5x 5-tool set.  I can believe that Ridgid could be a good match for someone just getting into the trades and trying hard not to break the bank.  On the other hand, as one gets busier, time and money become the same thing so a faster tool gets more jobs done and more money in one’s pocket.

Incidentally, I would love to have seen you cut a house in half with a Sawzall!!  That sounds awesome!!

Eric
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have cut four houses completely in half with cordless tools and lopped off probably 150 pieces of houses. The circular saw is used whenever possible, because it gives a nice neat cut and is easier to keep straight. Then, where a really deep cut is required, as happens with roof rafters beneath the sheathing, a long Sawzall blade is inserted in the same cut so that the framing members can be cut. The circular saw uses less battery for the same amount of cut.

The cuts aren't always as pretty as in this picture.
20160510_193716.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20160510_193716.jpg]
 
Eric Hanson
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Dale,

I gotta say that the thought of actually being paid to intentionally cut a house in two strangely sounds incredibly fascinating.

Eric
 
Dale Hodgins
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This is the latest in cordless tool technology. Tesla has come out with a pickup truck that sells for $40,000 American. This is quite competitive with other trucks and it's cheaper when you consider the long-term fuel and maintenance issues.

It has a range of 250 miles which is 3 times more than I need. I am currently almost two miles from the job and that's the furthest I've been in a few days. An electric work truck needs to have a big inverter so you can run a jackhammer or diamond saw. Then most other things could simply be battery powered. If only 10% of the battery pack were available to run tools, the company that does that first could take over the cordless tool market.

The most powerful chainsaw I've ever seen, was an electric one at a lumber mill. With virtually unlimited power available, even big falling saws could go cordless.

There's a big golf course in Victoria that now has battery powered mowers that are quite large and powerful. I was talking to a grounds maintenance guy and he said that the payback on those machines is somewhere around 7 years and they are extremely durable and will last much longer than that.
Screenshot_2019-11-24-09-23-59-1.png
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_2019-11-24-09-23-59-1.png]
Screenshot_2019-11-24-09-23-39-1.png
[Thumbnail for Screenshot_2019-11-24-09-23-39-1.png]
 
pollinator
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Dale Hodgins wrote:This is the latest in cordless tool technology. Tesla has come out with a pickup truck that sells for $40,000 American. This is quite competitive with other trucks and it's cheaper when you consider the long-term fuel and maintenance issues.

It has a range of 250 miles which is 3 times more than I need. I am currently almost two miles from the job and that's the furthest I've been in a few days. An electric work truck needs to have a big inverter so you can run a jackhammer or diamond saw. Then most other things could simply be battery powered. If only 10% of the battery pack were available to run tools, the company that does that first could take over the cordless tool market.

The most powerful chainsaw I've ever seen, was an electric one at a lumber mill. With virtually unlimited power available, even big falling saws could go cordless.

There's a big golf course in Victoria that now has battery powered mowers that are quite large and powerful. I was talking to a grounds maintenance guy and he said that the payback on those machines is somewhere around 7 years and they are extremely durable and will last much longer than that.



All the truck will need, is enough inverter for battery charging.

Better yet, if someone would get on with standardizing a higher voltage DC accessory system, so tool makers could sell DC to DC chargers for some standard vehicle voltage.

Why no huge inverter? Milwaukee has announced a heavier duty line of battery tools, Fuel MX. They are calling them light construction equipment.

The battery for this system is BIG. And expensive as hell. The small one is a 20 cell. So probably, this is a 72V system. They are not mentioning that, but no good reason to have more than one series string in your smallest battery..

But, there is a jackhammer. And a 14" concrete saw. And a 27,000 lumen light tower.

Only 2 sad things. One is that I will never be able to justify buying this gear. And the other is there is an 1800w mobile power source for this line, which makes me think they may not release one in the M18 line.. I was really hoping they would.

https://toolguyd.com/milwaukee-mx-fuel-cordless-tool-construction-equipment/
 
D Nikolls
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PS: Is that new fuel Super Sawzall a *lot* better than the previous fuel one? I was still trying to talk myself into the last one, when they launched the new even more expensive one!

I see it has a bit longer stroke.. which is probably a big help on thick materials...
 
Dale Hodgins
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I'm hoping someone here, has used the newest model. I know that I will buy it eventually and that it will pay for itself on one good salvage job where there is limited time before everything goes to the dump. When I get this sort of job, I work until I simply can't continue, due to fatigue. Any tool that postpones that moment pays for itself. Tool purchases are my only extravagance. My $600 car has been working for 3 years, and I don't pay to live anywhere, but instead live in the spots where I use those tools. Since most can be paid for on one good job, it's easy to justify. And I need so few. Some jobs require a wide variety. I need circular saw, Sawzall, drill and nut driver and a light. At least 95% of my power tool time, is with those four items and sometimes the light. Not all jobs are like that. So it only makes sense for me to be holding the very best ones.

I have to see when they are having the tool show at Andrew Sheret Plumbing. This plumbing company hosts a Milwaukee event every year. They carry a really good selection of stuff, specific to plumbers, but once a year they have a whole lot more. Good for them because every contractor in town gets to know that this is a good spot to buy plumbing supplies and good for the rest of us, because prices are slashed. Events like this are also really good for tool companies, because instead of a whole bunch of floor space entertaining looky-loos, everybody who shows up is serious about buying multiple units that night. So we're not paying to keep the lights on and pay employees at Home Depot, who are trained to push Ryobi and other house  brands. They don't experience the theft and all the other shelf space costs. It's more efficient than online sales.
 
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