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Why Milwaukee? Why Not?

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In a similar vein to the DeWalt thread, I figured I'd ask the same questions here.  What drove you to decide for or against Milwaukee when making that initial tool purchase?

 

I only spent a little over a year forgoing Milwaukee deals after deciding that the Yellow "20v" tools were what I'd replace my obsolete cordless system with.  To be honest, I'd already been partially brainwashed by the regular content on here and other sites.  I knew that I couldn't really afford multiple systems, before becoming a Drill Sergeant left me with no hobby other than looking for deals on my rare time off (and with more disposable income than I normally had due to the long work hours and lack of social activities).  With my willpower weakened, and after wanting a rotary hammer for months (passing up a corded Yellow model for 50% off a month or two earlier), I waltzed into my local HD and saw a clearance table.  On it lay a 2713-20 Fuel rotary hammer for 75% off, with a 5.0Ah starter kit for 50% off next to it.  I passed it, went back, walked away, and went back again, buying both for around $130 plus tax.  That was all it took, and though I've (mostly) refrained from buying multiples of tools in different brands, I now own more than a few Red tools that clash nicely against all the Yellow.

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Milwaukee was the first brand I bought into because Fuel was so dominant compared to what others offered. Now it represents probably 40% of what I have for tools between M12 and M18. It’s mostly good stuff but you have to pay attention and not buy into the hype of the impressive Milwaukee marketing machine. 

 

After thinking about this more posting in your Dewalt thread I thought I’d expand on this more:

 

I initially found Milwaukee’s rapid pace of bringing things to market extremely appealing. Their system was growing as my tool collection and needs were. They were putting out tons of cool stuff. It wasn’t until their 10” slide mitre was a dud and the Gen 1 blower got replaced in a year that I really saw the cracks in “disruptive innovation”. Now I stick to what they’re good at; hackzall/Sawzall, a bunch of automotive goodies like ratchets and impact wrenches, lights, a fuel hammer drill (love that thing for its power:size ratio; I have some big Dewalts for real punishing work but I’d certainly get the new 2804 for a daily driver that has beast power in a compact form). I also like their oddball tools; stapler, inflater, etc. The Fuel cutout tool and drywall gun are awesome, I bought them and much prefer them to the 20v Max versions we use at work. The rubber overmold on their batteries is a great feature. No one does 12v better than red. 

 

When you look at other classes of tools; OPE I’d say Makita has them beat. Most saws Dewalt has them beat. Grinders are something everyone does well these days. I think for automotive/shop stuff Milwaukee is the clear winner. HVAC/ plumbing/ electrical Milwaukee is the clear winner (though others are encroaching on their territory). Their recent push at NPS into more saws looks promising;

 

7.25 circ saw looks like it has gobs of power if you want to stay with blade left.

 

Table saw is a great value compared to my FlexVolt version; preorder kit gets you 2x 12.0 compared to the 1x6.0 flex kit, while the saw has two mitre slots, accepts a dado stack and can be locked out. I’ve wondered how much I could sell my saw for but I might wait to see if yellow makes a 10” 120v Max. 

 

Chainsaw looks like an improvement to the FlexVolt just based on the fact that it has metal bucking spikes. The flex also likes to go through bar oil at a ridiculous pace from what I’ve seen.

 

If you make sure you’re getting a deal with free bare tool or bonus battery Milwaukee is great value. Even their little 7.25 mitre has piqued my interest. I was cold on red for quite some time but I’m coming back around for sure.

 

Bonus info; when I first looked into drills before I had any clue about good power tools the first video, and deciding video, between “do I want Makita or Milwaukee?” was a video Eric and Dan did with the Fuel 2604 vs a Makita and the Makita getting smoked lol. 

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My dad's company had been dewalt back in the 18v xrp days and they were pretty good.  We seemed to have a lot of little trigger issues over the years though so when we started switching over to 20v and had a trigger go in a 20v grinder we decided to jump ship.  This was at a time when m18 fuel was new and as Bremon said they were pretty impressive.  In the meantime we've continued to grow both the m18 and 20v lines.  While I do like the milwaukee tools better as I feel they cater to my work a little better we really haven't had many issues with the 20v tools.  I also think dewalt has stepped up their game in the last couple years and until nps2018 I had actually been more intrigued by dewalt recently.  One thing I have found after running a couple tool platforms is that they're all going to have some issues.

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I had some bad experiences with a number of NiCd powered drills over the years.  Heck, who hasn't.  Anyway, when my XRP finally bit the dust (clutch collar got stuck about half way and wouldn't spin to drill mode anymore) I got fed up and decided I needed something better.  I was tired of having my tools not work when I needed them and I bit the bullet and started shopping for big boy tools instead of home owner grade stuff.

 

The one thing that pushed me to Milwaukee was the 5 year warranty.  I've used the eWarranty service a number of times and it is, hands down, the best repair experience of any company (tools or otherwise) that I've ever had.

 

Now, I'm branching out for specialty tools that Milwaukee just doesn't want to come out with in a timely fashion, but the bulk of my cordless power tools are red.

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I had a mish-mash of tool brands and was regularly helping a friend build fences. I decided it was time to go all cordless and try to stay all in one brand to only have 1 battery platform. I chose Milwaukee, although I’ve invested in 12 and 18v, so I do still have 2 different batteries, but being that they share a charger makes that not such a big deal. I chose Milwaukee for a few reasons (some of them much more petty than others):

1) none of my friends had it and I like being different.

2) good friend I trust was highly recommending them and was also looking in to the line, but was so heavily invested in DeWalt I don’t think he’s ever switched.

3) i like red

4) in-laws are from Wisconsin

5) watch TONS of videos and read TONS of on-line reviews and Milwaukee consistently was one of the top rated in whatever category.

6) Milwaukee commitment to sticking with 12v and 18v and not abandoning those lines for higher voltage etc.

7) the innovative ideas; not always first to market, but best in market when they arrive.

8. I can find the deals at Home Depot, but then tell Home Depot, no I’m going to buy them online. I really hate Home Depot and look for any opportunity to try and anger them. 

9) now I just feel like I need to get to 10 reasons

10) warranty and customer service had great reputation (and have proven said reputation to me on several occasions)

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6 is semantics, 7 is objectively false, and 10 really depends on your location but overall some agreeable points there lol. 

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Growing up my dad was a plumber, so I was raised with Milwaukee right angle drills and sawzalls. So when I began buying tools it was mostly brand recognition as it was what I was most familiar with.  My cordless stuff is all Milwaukee except for a Fein OMT, chops saws are dewalt, table saw is Jet and then I have some festool. Routers are mainly porter cable and one ridgid.  I basically have a health mix of brands.

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I got into m12 mainly for the stapler. It was a tool that impressed me at nps17. I felt for a battery stapler it was quite compact and seemed like it would be very handy. It may have some flaws but overall it is a good tool. Also at $150 for the kit, I felt it was a great deal unlike m18 which along with Makita seems to have a premium price vs some other pro brands. I also was gifted an m12 coat which is good. I picked it over my primary battery platform (DeWALT) because I felt like the m12 battery would be slightly more comfortable than the 20v packs, it had pocket warmers which are what I primarily use, and at the time of purchase it had a free battery deal. If I were to decide to get more 12v stuff I would probably stick with m12. I don't have plans to get into the line any further but I have toyed with the idea. I don't mind multiple battery platforms but I would like to keep it to a minimum. 

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My brother lives by Milwaukee Tools. I have had problems with M18 tools in the past on several occasions. Their warranty is fantastic though. After much hmmmming and hawwwwing I bought the transfer pump, the m18 miter two 9.0s and a an impact wrench. Special tools for specific reasons.

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My experience with Milwaukee so far has been positive.  The only issue I had was with my 2763 Fuel impact wrench.  The trigger started acting up shortly after I bought it, making a fizzing sound (is if something was shorting out) whenever I tried staging the trigger, with the tool giving an error code.  I contacted the warranty department, printed the return label, and promptly put the impact in my truck...where it sat for three months before I sent it back.  In about a week I had my repaired impact back, which has worked fine since.  

 

14 minutes ago, ChrisK said:

Special tools for specific reasons.

 

I think in kind of the same way.  Until my last couple of purchases, all of my cordless Milwaukee tools were higher demand Fuel models (except for lights) which filled holes I had in the Yellow line.  A rotary hammer, circular saw, Sawzall, and impact wrenches were it, until boredom got the best of me and I picked up a bare tool One Key impact driver.  A couple of weeks ago I picked up two of the non-Fuel brushless compact drills for $54 each, primarily for the compact batteries, though they also allow me to have a dedicated Milwaukee tool box with basic cutting and driving tools.  Until the recent acquisition of the 2.0Ah batteries, all I had were five 5.0Ah and two 9.0Ah batteries.

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The 18g nailer is the only Milwaukee tool that wasn't very good (that I've had, obviously). The m18 gen2 Fuel hammer drill's chuck sucks but I HATE Dewalt's three speed transmission, it gets stuck and you have to blip the trigger to free it to change gears. Probably less annoying than the chuck issue but it effects more drills.

 

The m18 gen 1 jigsaw doesn't have the bells and whistles but it is plenty powerful. IMO, the lighting alone is worth getting into Milwaukee's platform. They're industry leading in impact wrenches, I'm not sure why Dewalt hasn't done a Flexvolt impact wrench line to compete...if they released that last year, Milwaukee would have fallen behind and they'd get in more shops than Gas Monkey (Obviously a paid deal starting last season).

 

I've sold a few Milwaukee tools but I always use the money to buy more. The only real hole in their lineup is ultra compact, they're trying to remedy that but I'd be happy with REALLY small drill/driver and screwdriver with the power of the brushed M12 or even a little less but with two speeds(and at least as fast as the m12 brushed).

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I have been buying Milwaukee tools for roughly five years, however, I am also not naïve enough to think that they make the best in every tool category. I think they make solid tools overall, but there are still improvements that need to be made, in my opinion. Depending on trade, I would encourage someone to really look at what they are going to be using the tools for. If you are a woodbutcher, I would probably do with DeWalt. MEP, probably Milwaukee.  

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Growing up just 10 min from Black and deckers headquarters and service center everybody had their tools. As I got older and started to get into the DeWalt line but after years of watching others release new tools and DeWalt lagging behind I made the switch to Milwaukee and have never looked back. I still have some DeWalt tools but for the most part Milwaukee is my go to line.

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When buying into cordless and looking outside Dewalt for the first time, Milwaukee was naturally very high on the list of alternatives to consider. Two things threw me off compared to Makita, who I eventually went with: ambivalence about where their 18V platform is heading and not as many tools for my specific needs. The concern about 18V is probably not that big a deal but I wasn’t as sure of that a year ago. The matter of tools offered though is just what it is. What I do happens to revolve around precision woodwork and Makita happens to have more.

 

I actually am more likely than not to pick up a couple m12 items. The soldering iron in particular, and if I’m doing that I may as well get Milwaukee’s “shameless Dremel knockoff” along the way. Both look pretty good and literally the only thing that has stopped me from getting them is HD’s online site not allowing me to order both at the same time. It seems really unlikely Makita will release such items since they appear to be largely abandoning their pod-style 12V tools.

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1 hour ago, ToolBane said:

When buying into cordless and looking outside Dewalt for the first time, Milwaukee was naturally very high on the list of alternatives to consider. Two things threw me off compared to Makita, who I eventually went with: ambivalence about where their 18V platform is heading and not as many tools for my specific needs. The concern about 18V is probably not that big a deal but I wasn’t as sure of that a year ago. The matter of tools offered though is just what it is. What I do happens to revolve around precision woodwork and Makita happens to have more.

 

I actually am more likely than not to pick up a couple m12 items. The soldering iron in particular, and if I’m doing that I may as well get Milwaukee’s “shameless Dremel knockoff” along the way. Both look pretty good and literally the only thing that has stopped me from getting them is HD’s online site not allowing me to order both at the same time. It seems really unlikely Makita will release such items since they appear to be largely abandoning their pod-style 12V tools.

Concur. Most of my woodworking tools are all Makita or DeWalt. I see that Milwaukee is getting more involved in this trade, but I probably will wait until second generations come out. In terms of 12V... I don't think that there is a real comparison on the market right now. Milwaukee, in my opinion, is head and shoulders above the competition. However, with Makita's 18V subcompact line, you could just stick to one lineup and have various sizes, etc.

 

FB82

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