Milwaukee Tools 2011 Media Event

Milwaukee Tools

Last week I was in the great city of Milwaukee attending their 2011 Media/Publishers day. It was a long day filled with hands on demonstrations of all the exciting new tools for this year including some sneak peaks at tools that will likely hit the shelves early next year. I love these events because I can get my hands on the tools, pick the brains of the product managers and engineers, and better understand where their focus is. These events are truly tool nirvana!

Before pointing out some of the exciting new tools that you’ll be seeing on the shelves right now or very soon I want to mention some things to keep an eye out for later this year and early next year. Without divulging details that I’ve sworn to secrecy I can give you some hints.

First off Milwaukee will be introducing an expanded lineup of hand tools. From what I saw and tested some of these hand tools will make a huge splash in one of the industries. I can also tell you that early next year one of the cordless lines will have a game changing tool that will continue to drive competition within the industry. Lastly I got to test a testing tool that will absolutely rock the building maintenance industry!

New Cordless Tools

Milwaukee has an impressive line of cordless tools backed up by their Red Lithium battery platform. At the event we tested several really cool cordless tools that continue to focus on lighter weight, more power and longer run time. I think you’ll agree that some of these tools are just over the top and extremely impressive.

M18 Cordless 7/8″ SDS Plus Rotary Hammer – Pictured above is the all new M18 Cordless 7/8″ SDS Plus Rotary Hammer. Milwaukee is claiming a run time that is twice that of their competitors. I didn’t get a chance to test run time but I did blast some holes in concrete and I was blown away at how light this hammer is and how powerful it is. If you haven’t used a cordless rotary hammer before you need to try this thing! It will totally change your idea about going cordless while drilling concrete!

M12 Cordless Jigsaw – Milwaukee is introducing a really nice cordless jigsaw on their M12 platform. This jigsaw proved to be an interesting concept and one that performed above my expectations. The design of this drill seems to morph both a barrel grip design and the more traditional handle design. For a 12 volt cordless tool it really did a great job cutting and felt as if I was using one of my corded jigsaws. I’m sure this tool will be a real hit!

M12 Thermal Inspection Camera – Probably one of the tools that really excited me the most was the new Thermal Imager. Milwaukee has jumped into a specialty line that is quite expensive but surely becoming more and more popular each day. Thermal Imaging Cameras are showing up on almost every job site that I work on. They are great for trouble shooting HVAC equipment, radiant heat systems, electrical troubles and even energy audits.

One of the features that I really like about this camera is the ability to take both a thermal image and a standard digital photo at the same time. This allows you to match up the thermal image with the regular image side by side in reports. Priced at $2,499 it’s extremely competitive with other similar camera’s.

M12 Heated Jacket in Realtree AP Camouflage – Last year I reviewed the M12 Heated Jacket and it really impressed me. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they sell more camo jackets than some of their tools next year. The heated jacket works amazingly well, it’s made from really good materials and it’s just a cool idea.

Now throw in the most popular name brand in camo clothing, Realtree, and you have a home run. If you’re a hunter you know that the difference between enjoying a day of hunting and feeling miserable is usually how warm and dry you are or how cold and wet. If you want one of these new jackets you better order them soon and don’t wait until the last minute!!

Corded Tools

The cordless line was really exciting and continues to grow every day. However, their are applications that still need a corded tool and we got to see several really nice new corded tools.

Small Angle Grinders – First up was a new line of small angle grinders with a totally new motor technology. These new angle grinders are being touted to deliver up to 3X more durability and up to 50% more power than similar competitors. These new small angle grinders are incorporating built in electronics to protect the motor from overload, maintain speed under load and also soft start-ups. Until now these type of features were typically only found in larger angle grinders. The new line also includes an exciting tool free design. You don’t need any tools to switch guards or cutting wheels!

5/8″ SDS Plus Hammer Drill – This little hammer drill was amazing. Weighing in at only 4.6 lbs this hammer is really compact, really light but it packs a serious punch. I have cordless drills that weigh more than this little monster!

When you consider that a vast majority of concrete fasteners are in the 1/4″ to 1/2″ diameter range you quickly understand why having a smaller, more compact hammer drill is really important. You can work with this little puppy overhead far longer than using a heavier, bulkier version.


The day at Milwaukee also including testing some of their really great accessories. The accessory market has been pumping out lots of great innovations the last few years and Milwaukee is certainly in the mix.

Sawzall Blades – Milwaukee has a great updated line of reciprocating saw blades designed to improve production and performance on specific tasks. Pictured above are the new Flush Cut and Rough-In blades. The Flush Cut blade is great for two common tasks on the job site including cutting out door plates and window over-sheathing. The Flush Cut blade includes two Floor Guard “feet” (shown in black above) that keep the blade from cutting into the sub-floor when cutting out door frame bottom plates. The Rough-In blade allows plumbers and electricians to cut small diameter holes in framing when a hole saw might not be available. Lastly both blades feature the Fang Tip which drastically improves plunge cutting.

Shockwave Impact Duty – Lastly is the continued development of impact driver accessories. Milwaukee’s Shockwave line offers drill bits, driver bits, sockets, nut drivers and much more. As impact drivers continue to create more torque and more driver power these line of impact accessories will continue to get bigger and more diverse.





About the author

Todd Fratzel

Todd Fratzel is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz, and the President of Front Steps Media, LLC, a web based media company focused on the Home Improvement and Construction Industry.He is also the Principal Engineer for United Construction Corp., located in Newport, NH. In his capacity at United he oversees the Residential and Commercial Building Division along with all Design-Build projects.He is also the editor of Home Construction & Improvement.

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  1. Bryan Wright

    I’m liking the looks of that 12v jigsaw! How’s battery life?

    1. Todd Fratzel

      Not sure….waiting for samples…..but we’ll be reporting on it for sure!

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