This review was created as part of a paid affiliate program with the Home Depot.
My first order of business with this and every product review is a disclaimer: I am not a professional contractor. I am a farmer and a fine furniture maker. When it comes to construction and renovation projects, I’m a DIYer and weekend warrior. That said, I doubt many professional contractors will be reading my tool reviews. My goal in reviewing tools and products is to provide honest feedback based on my own use and experience with these tools to other regular folks like me- wanting to get their hands dirty, try new things, and get the best value for their hard earned dollars.
So let’s talk about what’s new from Milwaukee this quarter!
First off, the Milwaukee 25’ STUD Tape Measure:
This tape measure looks tough because it is tough. It’s built well, and brags the longest lasting blade in it’s class. The blade is rip and wear resistant, the tool can survive an 80 foot drop, and it’s covered by a limited lifetime warranty, so if you somehow DO manage to destroy this beast, Milwaukee’s got your back. At $25, this tape is a good value for a jobsite where it’s going to get really abused. It’s durable, accurate, has quick springback, and the blade isn’t as sharp as some of Milwaukee’s competitors’. In my experience, there are two types of carpenters, those who “break” their tape right out of the box to make the blade supple and malleable, and those who want a super rigid tape, and will go to great lengths to keep their tapes that way. Milwaukee tapes don’t need to be “broken,” the blades are flexible right out of the box. So if you are “that” kind of builder, you won’t find a better tape. I personally prefer an extremely rigid tape, and for that reason, this wouldn’t be the first tape I’d reach for out of my tool bag, but I debated my bestie April long and hard about flexible tapes while we were building the Tiny House, and she remains a huge fan of flexible tapes, and it truly is a matter of personal preference.
Now let’s talk about the 142 Pice Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Duty Driver Set
This seems like a pretty ridiculous thing to be excited about, especially considering the awesome variety of stuff that comes inside them, but in all honesty, this bit set is worth the $30 price tag even just for the cases. These are by far my favorite bit cases on the market, and I even put my other branded bits in the Milwaukee cases just because they are so durable, so functional, they keep the bits organized and well protected.
The other things that stuck out to me with this set are the hexagonal shank drill bits, which perform really well. Not only is it great that they can be mounted in impact drivers, they also have a long life on the jobsite, they run cool, come sharp, and last well. My biggest frustration with this set is the way the bits come organized, which is an easy fix out of the box, but frustrating nonetheless- the way these come, you have a lot of variety within each bit type, but very little bit type variation within each box, necessitating bringing the entire set wherever different bits are needed, which takes up valuable space in the toolbag unnecessarily. Milwaukee sells a lot of smaller kits which have a good variety in each box, and I prefer those to this wider variety in multiple boxes simply for the ease of just grabbing one box and going right to work. That said, there is a huge variety within this set, and especially seeing as the former owner of our house loved to be extremely creative with his fastener choices, having the right tool for the job is really important.
And Finally, the M18 FUEL Super Sawzall Recip Saw Kit:
This tool delivers the same power of a 15 amp corded reciprocating saw. It includes a 12 AH M18 battery pack, rapid charger, blade and contractor bag.
This is a monster tool, and, with the 12 AH battery, is fairly heavy, but what you get with a tool this size is a nice long stroke length, making it great for demo and construction, and heavy duty work around the farm like pruning and other quick cuts. The first “improvement” I made to the tool, however, was switching out the 12 AH battery for a 5 AH battery. Because I’ve got so many Milwaukee tools on the M18 platform, the 12 AH battery was actually a fantastic “plus” in this kit, because I put it right in my lantern and doubled my battery life there, and the 5 AH battery in the Sawzall lightened it up and made it significantly more mobile and thus more versatile. I’ve used it a TON to cut our 16” firewood down to 12” lengths I can use in my Tiny Stove in the shop. This tool offers the power and durability to make tasks like that a total breeze. With a long stroke though, it’s not going to be great for metal work, fine cuts, or cutting plastic tubing because it will shake, shatter, and chatter like nothing else on those finer materials because its cut is simply too aggressive.
If you need an “all around saw, I’d definitely look at something smaller, more mobile, less expensive,, easier to use above your head for long periods of time, and with a shorter stroke length. For demo or pruning though, you really cannot go wrong with this saw. I’m toting it around and using it in place of a chainsaw quite often around the farm, it’s done 90% of the demo in the blacksmithing building I’m renovating right now, it’s powerful, ruggedly built, and able to withstand the Seattle rain quite well (it’s already gotten soaked multiple times and hasn’t missed a beat), and with the extras that come with it in the kit, is still a great value, and one worth investing in if you, like me, are already on the M18 battery platform.