18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head

Milwaukee M18 Cordless Lithium-Ion 4-Piece [Circular Saw Purchase Separately] Combo Kit

Model # 2696-24 – $429 Added Circular Saw Model 2630-20 – $119

5 Year Limited Warranty (Tool), 3 Year Limited Warranty (Battery)

Milwaukee Tool Company is well known for producing some of the best cordless tools on the market. Generally they’ve catered to the electrician and plumbing trades but they make some excellent tools for carpentry as well. Milwaukee has made a big impact with their premiere brushless FUEL line, but their brushed M18 line is a shining example of professional grade tools and compared to the cost of the other premium options out there, the M18 line is great choice for almost all trades.

18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head to Head_01

Milwaukee’s M18 line tools we tested included 4-piece Combo Kit, drill/driver, impact driver, recip, and flashlight, with the addition, of the circular saw.

  • 2607-20 Compact ½” Hammer Drill – 1/2 in. metal single sleeve ratcheting chuck locking mechanism, LED light, 500 in-lbs of torque, mode selector which allows quick transition between driving, drilling or hammer modes without changing the clutch setting.
  • 2656-20 ¼” Hex Impact Driver – 1,500 in-lbs of torque, LED light, ¼” hex quick-connect chuck.
  • 2620-20 Sawzall Recip Saw – Patented gear-protecting clutch, Lever Action Quick-Lok blade clamp, variable speed trigger.
  • 2735-20 LED work light – Sealed aluminum head: designed for impact- and weather- resistant durability, 135 degree, rotating head, provides flexible, focused illumination, integrated hook for hands free use.
  • 2630-20 M18 Circular Saw – Heavy-duty magnesium guards, electronic brake, aircraft aluminum shoe, 50 degree maximum bevel capacity.

The circular saw performed well but, compared with the other tools in the kit it doesn’t quite have the power and runtime of the other tools. This makes it fine for plumbers and electricians for cutting some blocking or notching some framing, but might leave a carpenter, or framer frustrated. However, because the circular saw is a separate bare tool, you can upgrade it. For about eighty bucks more than you’d pay for the saw we’ve included in the kit you can get yourself a Fuel circular saw. Or depending on the trade a metal cutting circular saw (2682-20) or a band saw (2629-20) might be a better fit. If you do a lot of wood cutting and want a cordless saw with excellent performance the Fuel is a worthy upgrade. And in any case you can opt for a full kit with one or two more batteries, charger, and case or bag for the tool.

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The kit bag is good sized but only barely large enough to hold the 4-tool kit it comes with adding the circular saw makes the bag a little cramped for the tools. It’s a decent bag as far as those that come with kits go. But if you’re going to add to your cordless kit or want to carry a lot of accessories you’re going to need additional storage. With all 5 tools batteries and charger in the bag the whole kit weighs in at 29 lbs making it pretty manageable to carry to and from the jobsite.

The batteries that come with this kit are 3.0 amp hour which means a shorter run time. However it also means a shorter charge time. A couple of kits we tested come with 4.0 amp hour batteries (Milwaukee FUEL, and Ridgid) which is definitely something to consider when buying a cordless kit.

Our expectation was a solid all around cordless tool kit with good performance and that was exactly what we got. Overall we give this 3.75 out of 5 stars. While the kit is slightly more suitable for plumbers and electricians due to the setup of the Sawzall and the circular saw isn’t up to the new standard set by the Fuel circular saw the kit is easily tuned with the purchase of a Fuel saw to be a great kit for the carpenter. The tools in this kit may not be premium tools but they still get the job done better than most of what’s out there and for less money than the top-of-the-line tools.

About the author

Philip Benevides

Phil is a 28-year old Air Force Veteran who decided to transform his passion for construction and home improvement into a career. Inspired by his Grandfather who built his home from the ground up with his bare hands in Portugal, he received his formal training in Carpentry at the North Bennett Street School in Boston, MA. Phil continues to grow his skills as a lead carpenter, managing job sites in and around Boston, and a Captain in the Air National Guard bettering himself as a leader. He loves exploring new building products and construction methods to solve job-site problems and reviewing tools for the pro-contractor and serious DIYer.

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10 Comments

  1. Bryndin

    Sorry but I disagree with the ridgid even with the warranty it’s brutal batteries suck and either are stuck in tool or won’t click in and if you take it back chances are the warranty is life time but they will hold on for ever in getting it fixed and back to you if it breaks just go but something else really.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Bryndin – I’ll have to disagree with your assessment. I use Ridgid cordless tools all the time, and my crew does as well, and they have performed very well. We’ve never had trouble with batteries getting stuck or not clicking into place. If you properly fill out the warranty there really isn’t an issue at all getting them replaced.

      1. Bret T

        I agree, although I own Milwaukee M-12 and M-18 lines, I’ve been purchasing Ridgid tools for my individual crew members who don’t take care of their tools . . . i.e. misplace and or trash them rapidly . . . I clean and where possible service my tools weekly, most of my men do not. That being said, I’ve used and watched Ridgid tools being used and abused. Rigid is a quality product and the value is truly outstanding. Are the Ridgid products as good as the M-12 and M-18 line???? Certainly they are not as extensive, not quite as powerful but they feel solid in ones hands, they do the job asked of them, albeit not quite as powerfully as the M18’s. If the Ridgid line were as extensive as the Milwaukee, if it updated and offered new selections of tools more frequently, there is no way I could justify buying M-18 line because of the $$ premium one has to pay for the Milwaukee line. The truth is, from my experience . . . Rigid, Milwaukee, Dewalt, Makita, and Bosch all offer tools that I could only dream of 20 years ago . . . . heck , , I’m not even sure I could dream of these tools 20 years ago they are all so good. For me, the most important determinant of tool line is “one battery for all tools” and extensive tool line. If I were starting from scratch . . . and I will be doing just that in a few months . . . It would be a very difficult decision on which line to build a foundation on.

        1. Todd Fratzel

          Bret – Couldn’t agree more. Ridgid is a hidden gem in our industry. Not many people realize, but Ridgid is owned by the same parent company that owns Milwaukee (TTI).

  2. Michael Frontera

    Great review guys! I know this was a tremendous amount of work. I am an electrician and have always been a DeWalt guy But Milwaukee as of late has really been killing it. I already have some M12 tools but I just can’t do another battery platform. I have already invested in about 9 or 10 DeWalt 20v max batteries. Thanks Guys!

  3. […] Milwaukee M18 Sawzall. It is replacing the previous model, the 2620, which we covered during the 18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head2Head article. The FUEL line and brushless tools in general get plenty of electronic ink around the tool world […]

  4. […] Milwaukee M18 Sawzall. It is replacing the previous model, the 2620, which we covered during the 18 Volt Cordless Combo Kit Head2Head article. The FUEL line and brushless tools in general get plenty of electronic ink around the tool world […]

  5. Aaron

    I’ve used rigid cordless tools for the last 11 years. My first set, including the hammer drill, impact and sawzall worked great and lasted 8 years. Since then I’ve been replacing tools one after another. If I could I would replace them all with the originals. Despite their weight and size they were by far the best I’ve ever owned. The new ones weigh less are more compact and break far too easy. Now I have to decide weather I go with the Milwaukee m18 fuel or the dewalt.

  6. Steve

    Just a comment about battery voltages. ALL the tools have 18-volt batteries. Some claim 20 volt, but that’s misleading. Li-Ion cells are all 3.6 volts. All the tools have 5 cells. 3.6 x 5 = 18 volts. Sure, after a full charge you might be about to read 20 volts with a meter, but that would be the case with any of the manufacturer’s batteries.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      You are correct Steve. Marketing mumbo jumbo!

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