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I get a lot of hate from people I know for my consistent ambivalence toward Milwaukee. They’re made by TTI/Techtronic, the company that also manufactures the
garbage homeowner grade tools sold as Rigid and Ryobi. I don’t see a huge difference in quality between Rigid, Milwaukee, and Ryobi cordless power tools. These are brands I typically avoid when buying cordless tools, in favor of Makita and DeWalt. My experience with the Milwaukee M18 line lasted two weeks and ended with me plopping a dirty bag of Milwaukee tools down on the returns counter at Home Depot and finally saying “thank you” a dozen times to the employee who shocked me to my core by being both polite and efficient while returning these tools without any protest. The M18 tools are not good when compared to DeWalt and Makita. No, I don’t mean the drills and impact drivers–these are fine. Honestly, even Ryobi and Rigid both have some reasonably good pieces on the upper end for drills and drivers. Most of the reputable cordless brands have good drills and impact drivers at the top of their lines.
I don’t mean to be unfair here.
My starting point is that the bulk of my tools are Makita, some are DeWalt, and my compact tools are Milwaukee M12.
Which means I won’t be purchasing a common item, like a reciprocating saw, from Milwaukee. Which is a tool they’re known for. I also won’t be purchasing a drill. I’m not complaining about the standard, everyone-must-have-these tools that come in the higher grade starter kits. These are probably on par across all the major brands.
I’m talking about the ever so slightly more esoteric stuff.
I’m talking about, for example, their oscillating tool, their cordless sander, or their jobsite fan. These tools were absolute garbage. Bad vibration from the multi-tool, along with an overall poor build quality. The sander came apart in the middle of its first job. Then the replacement came apart. The fan felt like a cheap toy, and came with a wall adapter to match. I ended up replacing the oscillating tool with Makita, and the rest with DeWalt. The DeWalt sander is phenomenal. Brushless, little to no vibration–perfect. Their jobsite fan is, well, a jobsite fan. It’s tough, remarkably well made, can be plugged into the wall using any standard heavy duty extension cord, and uses very little battery. The Milwaukee fan is just a red plastic piece of garbage that takes a Milwaukee battery. (Again, to be fair, the Makita jobsite fans aren’t any better. They’re known to be complete garbage as well.) The Makita oscillating tool is very well made, and takes OIS blades/accessories–even if it does lack an LED light. I’m coming from a Bosch oscillating tool, so this universality was a necessity. The DeWalt oscillating tool is, hands down, the best. But I needed the tool that takes the hundreds of dollars worth of blades and accessories I already have.
My other problem with the M18 tools would be the batteries. And, yes, this is a very basic problem with Milwaukee’s build quality. These batteries both jiggle in the tools, and are difficult to remove. One would expect a loose, jiggly battery to be easy to pull off the tool. But no. In the case of the oscillating tool, you have this mildly annoying jiggle from the battery which also happens to sit at an angle so you can’t place the tool upright. The whole thing just leaves a bad taste. I had the same issue with the sander, though it was less of an “issue” as such. With the oscillating tool the jiggle is actually annoying, but with the sander it’s just something you notice.
Anyway, that sets up my opinion of Milwaukee. So know that I DID NOT receive these tools for free. I’ve never received any tools for free. If you look on Instagram or YouTube or whatever you’ll see what looks like a Milwaukee cult. I’m not part of that. Having said that, I will immediately abandon any and all of my principles if one of those attractive Milwaukee reps shows up at my door with a duffel bag filled with thousands of dollars worth of products and an MP-5 strapped to their shoulder as a silent warning to just take the tools. I don’t care. It might even get sexual. Whatever they want. I don’t even care if it’s a man or a woman. Really, I cannot stress to you enough just what I would be willing to do for “free” tools. (In quotes because my willingness in this area blurs the lines of what “free” means.) You have no idea how low my bar is set. You want to give me some free Surge or Fuel or whatever-the-hell-adjective tools for free? Watch the depths human dignity can sink. See how much I really care about battery jiggle.
I bought this kit. For $90 ($89?) Which includes: (Current prices at the time of posting)
• The 2475-20 M12 Inflator + Accessories ($89)
• One 2.0ah M12 compact battery ($59)
• The Portable Power Source ($59)
• And a Micro USB cable and wall plug with 2.1amp output ($19)
It was, I believe, $120 for black friday. And I considered it then. But ultimately decided against it. Then this morning someone told me they saw it down to $90, which is the price of just the bare inflator. I’m at a hardware store pretty much everyday, usually Home Depot, so I picked one up and asked for the price. Sure enough, $90. And I had a $20 off $200 coupon. So after a bit of shopping I ended up at the self checkout with exactly $201 worth of stuff, including this kit.
So, if I don’t like Milwaukee, why did I buy this? Because there are some good things about Milwaukee. I love their design language, for one. They look better than all the other tools. (I do find some of their marketing silly–but I’ll get to that at a later time.) The design language is probably the most plausible reason for the Cult of Milwaukee I keep feeling as I grasp around in the dark. Though I’m not certain there are no offer-you-can’t-refuse Milwaukee reps showing up at doors with duffel bags full of their best tools. I also love their hand tools. They make some of the best hand tools you can buy in any hardware store. But why did I buy cordless tools if I don’t like what they have to offer? Because I really like the M12 line. Sure, the quality isn’t as good as comparably sized tools from Makita or DeWalt. (Across the board it’s not, but some of the M12 Milwaukee tools are actually superior.) The design and ease of use across the M12 line is the best I’ve experienced out of all the compact tools. Except for maybe Bosch.
Ugh, anyway, enough rambling about sex with murderous Milwaukee reps. Here’s the unboxing:
This is just an unboxing. My review, for whatever it ends up being worth, will be posted in a few months. Until then, you can check out these reviews, like I did, if you want to know more about this tool — YouTube • Project Farm (Love this guy) — YouTube • Coptool — YouTube • WorkshopAddict
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