Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool

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Milwaukee M18 and M12 FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool Review

Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Power source: 18 Volt X2
Motor size: Brushless
Weight: M12 3.2 lbs and M18 4.2 lbs
Toolboxbuzz was the first website to get their hands on the new Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool both their M12 and M18 versions.  Here’s what we think of it:

The Oscillating Multi-Tool [OMT] has changed the carpentry industry with it’s the ability to quickly and accurately make cuts that in the past required tedious and meticulous use of utility knives and chisels.

Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool

The multi-tool is often the perfect choice for tight spaces, awkward angles, and generally tough cuts. It’s become a problem solver for us in remodeling.

Milwaukee tool recently updated their M12 and M18 multitool line and are releasing a line of Milwaukee oscillating blades. When you see the word FUEL that means brushless motor.

So What’s Been Updated?

M12 FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool 2526-21XC:

  • Model: M12: 2526-21XC (2526-20 for bare tool)
  • Oscillation Angle: 3.9 Degrees
  • OPM Highest Setting: 20,000 OPM
  • OPM Lowest Setting: 10,000 OPM
  • Length: 11.2” (tool-only)
  • Weight: 3.2 lbs with battery
  • Features: LED Light, Tool-Free Blade Change

M18 FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool 2836-21:

  • Model: 2836-21 (2836-20 for bare tool)
  • Oscillation Angle: 4.2 Degrees
  • OPM Highest Setting: 20,000 OPM
  • OPM Lowest Setting: 10,000 OPM
  • Length: 12.2” (tool-only)
  • Weight: 4.2 lbs with battery
  • Features: 180 Degree LED Light, Auto-Load Feature, Tool-Free Blade Change

Brushless Motor

The Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool brushless motor makes this new tool more powerful and cut up faster It definitely faster than my older M18 multitool.

The tool has a 4.2 Degree Oscillation Angle, which Milwaukee found offers a sweet spot between aggressive cutting and less vibration.

Auto Control Start

Having a variable speed lets you “set and forget,” the speed so you can turn on the tool, and focus on making that precise cut.

This new multi-tool has a 10-speed dial, ranging from 10,000- 20,0000 strokes per minute. There is an “A” on the dial which is an “Auto-Controlled Start” feature.

If you adjust the variable speed dial all the way to “A,” it does the following:

  • No-load SPM drops to help reduce vibration and line up your cut.
  • When the saw is pushed into the material, the saw automatically senses it and turns the OPM up to full throttle.

This setting allows the saw to start slowly at 10,000 SPM and ramps up 20,000 SPM once the blade is in the material. It really helps with precision cuts.

New Housing Look with 180 LED Coverage

The newer M18 FUEL is slimmer in the handle but larger in the working end of the tool. It’s power switch lower and more recessed on the tool. I’m assuming this was done to keep the grip area of the tool more comfortable [added rubber over-mold] the old location irritates the hand over long use.

SMARTER rubber over-mold placement

The blade release lever has been recessed on the new FUEL and still has that fast and easy tool-free blade change.

The new FUEL OMT has a new look in the front end. Milwaukee changed the LED from one light to a 3- LED light with 180-degree coverage.

WAY Less Vibration

Next to the power and increase in the speed of cut, Milwaukee significantly reduced the tool vibration. One way they accomplished was to add foam blocks to the motor to separate the housing from the motor.  This vibration dampening system was designed to reduce vibration over the entire tool, not just the handle

The reduced vibrations are immediately noticeable in the feel of the tool. Especially when you use the new Fuel and the older M18 side-by-side.

Using the Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool

We used both the M12 and M18 Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool for several weeks, on multiple projects.  Some of the applications involved cutting back old plank and oak flooring to fit a marble bathroom threshold. We later used the M12 OMT to cut back trim and extension jambs on a tongue and groove beadboard project. Lastly, we used the Milwaukee M18 FUEL MultiTool to finish cuts in floor joists and clean up nails ain preparation for flush beam installation.

the Auto Start feature was impressive and truly allowed me to start the cut and then power through.

Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool – Overall Impression

The new Milwaukee FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool has WAY more power, is faster cutting, and does it all with less vibration. That’s a win in my book!


Milwaukee M18 and M12 FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool Video Review

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob Robillard

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  1. matt

    I’m currently torn between getting the new M12 Fuel or the old M18 – any thoughts on which is the better buy? I have heard the old 12 was a bit underpowered, especially in comparison to the 18 – but not sure if the improvements now make it a contender. My main usage is in remodeling – flush cutting wood, nails, and using a drywall blade for some precision cuts as well.

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Matt – I think it comes down to how often you use one, if you use it daily, i’d go M18, if it’s occasional then M12. Good luck

    2. Dave Mills

      I used the new M12 fuel side by side today with a non fuel m18 to install some windows today. The fuel tool even in m12 is a beast, I can only imagine how awesome the M18 version is going to be. I’ll have both once the M18 becomes available. I use these a lot. The M12 fuel model was purchased to replace an M18 unit that had been stolen. I figured I would try the M12 as I have a whack of both sizes of batteries and needed to replace the stolen tool right away and it was $30 more than the non Fuel M18 model and I was super curious about the low vibration, which is really nice. It used 1/2 a M12 6.0 battery during a couple hours of pretty intense use. I would without question choose the M12 Fuel over the M18 non-fuel in a heartbeat. If for no other reasons than the vibration dampening, the brushless motor and the fact that the head of the tool doesn’t get nearly as hot on the Fuel unit.

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