Milwaukee Tools invited magazine and newspaper editors to its headquarters in Brookfield, Wis., on June 10 to unveil a number of new tools , 48 during the next 18 months , and a complete new line for the company. The buzzwords around Milwaukee Tools are “Disruptive Innovation.” The company is not looking to embellish a product with a unique switch or a larger over-molded grip; it’s looking to introduce products with such new innovation that we re-think how we use those tools. And Milwaukee is OK if it cannibalizes it’s own product in the process.
Also, Milwaukee Tools reinforced the company focus. Milwaukee made no bones about where the company plans to focus its attention in the coming years. It plans to return to its core customers , the trades. Electricians, plumbers, HVAC and other similar groups are in the headlights of the 85-year-old company. And the headlights are set to high beam.
A big part of the new focus is a new line of “Test and Measure” equipment. Seven new products from this area are released or about to be released. Most of these tools are for electricians, HVAC and the building trades , clamp meters, open-jaw testers and laser temperature guns , and not so much for woodworkers. Noticeably absent were distance-measuring tools. When asked about those, the response was to be patient; those are in the pipeline.
Of the corded tools introduced at the event, angle grinders stood out the most. Milwaukee is releasing many new grinders. There are large angle grinders (7″ and 9″ examples), small grinders (4-1/2″ to 6″ 12-amp tools) and a couple cordless designs, too. And, the company has a cut-off grinder coming out. Again, for woodworking, even though some woodworkers sculpt with grinders, this doesn’t knock our socks off.
With the discussion turning to cordless tools, the event shifted closer to the interest of woodworkers. Milwaukee has three tool platforms , M12, M18 and V28. Tool introductions were made in each platform with the majority of the releases coming in the M12 and M18 platform.
The majority of the new cordless introductions from Milwaukee are hammer and/or impact tools. The largest tool is a 3/4″ High-torque Impact Wrench (0764-22) from the V28 lineup and the smallest introduction is a M12 3/8″ impact wrench (2451-22). While the range in tool size is huge, the choices are even larger.
Also in the mix of cordless tools is the M12, 3/8″ drill/driver. The two-speed 2410-22 drill/driver, according to the company, is the only tool in its class with a metal locking chuck and it can deliver 25 percent more torque and drill 35 percent faster than the competition. For me, it’s small and feels great in the hand. It’s a great choice for all-day-long work or maneuvering in tight spaces. In the hands-on portion of the event, I compared the 3/8″ drill/driver to Milwaukee’s 1/4″-Hex Compact Impact Driver (2650-21) while driving a handful of screws into 2″ material. Both tools did the job.
Because both small drivers did the job, I wonder if woodworkers need impact tools. More than a few companies have introduced impact drivers , a couple companies are set to introduce a full line of accessories developed just for impact drivers , and I’ve found impact drivers mentioned on a couple woodworking forums. But I want to hear from you. Do woodworkers need this tool?
It’s time for a poll. Please take a minute to register your response, then click comment to see more detailed information.
If you are planning to purchase or if you use an impact driver consistently, please leave a comment explaining how you use the driver.