Milwaukee M18 14″ Chop Saw Review

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Milwaukee M18 FUEL 14″ Abrasive Chop Saw (Model 2990-20)

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 14" Abrasive Chop Saw

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Model number: 2990-20
Power source: Cordless Li-On
Motor size: 18V
Weight: 42.5 lbs
I’ve used a lot of abrasive chop saws in the steel fabrication industry. From cutting smaller sections on angle iron to cutting rebar and threaded rod, abrasive cutoff saws are essential tools when a horizontal bandsaw may not be required. So when I recently got my hands on the Milwaukee M18 14″ Chop Saw (Model 2990-20), I was excited to see if Milwaukee’s cordless chop saw was able to truly deliver corded-like power. Especially since abrasive metal cutting requires a lot of sustained power and torque. Milwaukee’s saw excelled in most areas. So let’s get into the specifics.!

Features & Specifications


  • Motor: 18V Brushless (M18)
  • Weight: 42.5 lbs
  • Arbor: 1 inch
  • Cut capacity: 5 inches
  • Max RPMs: 4,000
  • Max Miter: 45 degrees
  • Size (HxWxL): 16.5 x 11.5 x 20.2 inches
  • Cuts per Charge:  Up To 200 Steel Studs


  • RAPID STOP Brake: < 3 seconds of trigger release
  • REDLINK PLUS Intelligence
  • Tool-Free Blade Change & Fence Adjustment
  • Overload Indicator Light

Overall Power & Performance | Milwaukee 2990-20

Milwaukee’s 2990-20 Chop Saw had overall excellent power and performance. It truly delivered corded equivalent power and performance. I was worried that one of two limitations would happen, either 1) the battery would overload and the chop saw would auto-shutoff mid-cut or 2) the battery would run down too quickly making the cordless saw less effective (and less useful) than its corded cousin. Thankfully, neither limitation occurred. The 2990-20 chop saw cut and kept cutting as advertised and required.

The Battery life was a strength and not a limitation at all. While the saw doesn’t come with a battery out of the box, Milwaukee recommends using an M18 HD12.0 battery for peak performance. As is standard with most newer chip-enabled power tools, the HD battery line-up enables peak saw performance by optimizing cutting operations between the saw and battery. The first day I cut 2 x 2 x 1/8″ angle iron and 1 1/4″ Schedule 40 pipe intermittently for about 2 hours while doing trailer repair and handrail fabrication jobs. At the end of cutting I still had 2 bars left on the battery. The battery life was also optimized in part by not overloading the saw via the REDLINK PLUS overlight light.

So what is the REDLINK PLUS Intelligence & overload indicator light? Simply explained it’s an integrated light in the handle of the saw that lets you know when the voltage draw from the battery is exceeding the recommended max draw and could potentially be adverse for the brushless motor. Even more basic, cut as hard as you want until the red light turns on and then back off a bit. It was easy to use and gave peace of mind that I wasn’t overtaxing the motor. Because what PRO wants to invest in a new job-site tool only to burn it out sooner than expected? This is a great and simple feature to optimize the 2990-20’s cutting performance!

Ergonomics and Design Features

So the Milwaukee 2990-20 Chop Saw cuts well. But is it well designed from a user standpoint? Yes. Two features made it very user-friendly; The well-placed top-mounted carry handle and the overall tool-free adjustability. The carry handle is well placed and balanced. This may seem like an easy takeaway but not all handles are equal. Because the base is flat on both sides parallel to the saw handle, there was no instance of knee-knocking into the motor or blade assembly. The saw side comfortably rested against my upper leg regardless of carrying left or right-handed (yes I tested out both). The weight was also well balanced when carrying without the battery mounted. With the battery on it, the chop saw was a little back heavy but I prefer to carry tools without the battery loaded to and from the job site.

The Milwaukee 2990-20 Chop Saw was also easily adjustable without tools which is essential for job site performance. There are a number of standard features: an integrated blade change locking button (to the right of the handle), quick release flip-up threading, and a tool-free adjustment to the miter angle. Even moving the backstop either forward or backward can be done tool-free, although there is an integrated Allen wrench for really tightening the locking bolt 100%. The only adjustment that requires a tool/feature not integrated into the 2990-20Chop Saw is the depth stop bolt. It requires a wrench to adjust. Overall adjusting the 2990-20 Chop Saw is a breeze and offers sturdy settings once locked in place.


I was also a big fan of the placement of the battery mostly due to the easy-to-use battery indicator status light. Sometimes the battery indicator light is awkwardly located on the backside of a tool. THis is not the case with the Milwaukee 2990-20 Chop Saw though. It was extremely easy to check the battery in the middle of cutting!

Safety Features

So the Milwaukee 2990-20 Chop Saw cuts well as is easy to adjust. But is it safe to use? Also, yes! The true test on job site performance is safety and we at Tool Box Buzz have always placed an emphasis on safety first and doing things right even when no one is watching. With those standards in mind, the Milwaukee 2990-20 Chop Saw again stood out. It has 3 safety features that make it safe and reliable to operate:

  • RAPID STOP Brake
  • Blade guard
  • Spark guard

These 3 features mean that the blade stops when you want it to, and while it’s running it offers safe cover and control of both the blade and the sparks it produces. The last thing you want is to have accidental cutting or contact with a blade that’s still turning after letting go of the trigger. The RAPID STOP brake excelled mostly because it actually rapidly stopped the blade. The blade guard worked well and was of a pretty standard design. It was easy enough to pull back when changing the blade and protected the blade well from upright to fully lowered blade positions. And the spark guard did a great job of redirecting almost all the sparks downward toward the ground allowing for great mitigation of fire starting risk. Overall these safety features worked well.

Final Thoughts | Milwaukee 2990-20

There is really nothing but positive things to say about Milwaukee’s M18 FUEL Chop Saw (Model 2990-20). It performed exceptionally, was easy to adjust on the job site, and offered well-performing standard safety features. It’s a great addition to the M18 family of tools and a no-brainer for any PRO already using the M18 lineup. And if you haven’t committed to a cordless brand yet and are in the market for a 14″ abrasive chop saw, then the 2990-20 Chop Saw is likely the saw that will get you hooked on the Milwaukee M18 lineup. At $400 this tool is an investment but certainly, a smart one you won’t regret!

About the author

Ben Fecteau

Benjamin is a former project manager, CNC-designer, and AWS-certified welder with experience running a commercial and industrial steel design and fabrication company. Before making the jump to commercial construction, he spent years renovating houses and building furniture where he became skilled in the art of home wiring, flooring, siding, and custom tool modifications. Benjamin has a Masters Degree in Education and is passionate about sharing his love of design with his sons and through community-based outreach. He resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and enjoys spending time with his family, in his workshop, and serving as an Air Force Officer.

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