In Tool Reviews

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Milwaukee held their annual PIPELINE event today, and there was no shortage of exciting tool announcements for the woodworking crowd. If you want full details of any the products announced today, or to see the non-woodworking related releases, check out the Milwaukee PIPELINE landing page.


It’s hard to highlight any single item as the standout for woodworkers, but the new battery technology announced today is a very big deal. The batteries feature tabless cells, which create lower electrical resistance in use. In plain English, it means that the batteries create more power from the same size pack as existing batteries. Here’s how I’ve explained this concept in the past:

“Think of it like a drinking straw- you’re capable of generating the same amount of suction regardless of the straw size- but you’re able drink a lot faster with a big gulp straw instead of a cocktail one.”

Here’s the rundown on those new batteries, which are compatible with existing tools on the M18 battery platform:

M18 REDLITHIUM FORGE HD12.0 Battery Pack  Offering 50% more power than the existing HIGH OUTPUT 12.0, the new top-of-the-line battery features advanced high-speed cooling technology, the ability to achieve an 80% charge in just 35 minutes, and the longest life vs REDLITHIUM batteries. The battery is also resistant to oils, greases, and solvents.

M18 REDLITHIUM FORGE XC8.0 Battery Pack Offering the power equivalent to the existing HIGH OUTPUT 12.0 battery in a compact form, this battery also features advanced high-speed cooling and the ability to charge to 80% in just 35 minutes. Delivering 8 amp hours of runtime, the M18 REDLITHIUM FORGE XC8.0 matches the power of the M18 REDLITHIUM HIGH OUTPUT HD12.0 in a smaller, lighter design.


More powerful batteries translate to more powerful saws, which was on full display at the event. Combine that with new brushless motors, and you get saws that absolutely put yesterday’s corded models to shame. And while a chainsaw isn’t a very common tool in a woodworker’s arsenal, it was the first tool Popular Woodworking ever reviewed so we’re including it here as well.

M12 FUEL™ 5-3/8″ Circular Saw

M12 FUEL 5-3/8″ CIRCULAR SAW Designed with professionals in mind, this saw features a POWERSTATE brushless motor. Its compact and lightweight design excels at ripping and cross-cutting sheet goods and dimensional lumber and has exceptional portability, making it ideal for cuts in tight spaces, overhead work, and tasks where a larger saw is unnecessary.


M18 FUEL 6-1/2″ CIRCULAR SAW This saw is crafted for professional carpenters, remodelers, and general contractors who demand high performance and durability from their tools. This saw delivers exceptional performance, offering up to 20% more power and up to 40% faster cut speeds. The POWERSTATE Brushless Motor operates at 6000 RPM, maintaining high speed under load, enabling users to tackle their most challenging tasks. REDLINK PLUS Electronics maximize tool performance and protect against overload, overheating, and over-discharge of the batteries. When paired with an M18 REDLITHIUM HIGH OUTPUT™ XC6.0 Battery (sold separately), the saw achieves up to 300 cuts per charge. (We already have a sample unit of this saw and will share our full thoughts after testing)

M18 FUEL™ 7-1/4” Circular Saw

M18 FUEL 7-1/4″ CIRCULAR SAW Designed for professional carpenters, remodelers, and general contractors, this saw offers advanced cordless technology for superior performance in a 7.9-lb package. Like the 6-1/2″ saw, this model features a 6000 RPM POWERSTATE Brushless Motor and REDLINK PLUS to protect the tool and battery health. When paired with new M18 REDLITHIUM FORGE HD12.0 Battery, the saw can achieve 750 cuts per charge.

M18 FUEL™ Rear Handle 7-1/4″ Circular Saw

M18 FUEL 7-1/4″ REAR HANDLE CIRCULAR SAW This new saw delivers top-tier performance for professional carpenters, remodelers, and general contractors. Utilizing cutting-edge cordless technology, this saw provides the power for demanding applications and the speed for enhanced productivity. The POWERSTATE Brushless Motor drives this worm drive style saw at 6,300 RPM, maintaining high speed under load for efficient completion of tough tasks. Also featuring REDLINK PLUS protection, when paired with the M18 REDLITHIUM FORGE HD12.0 Battery, the saw delivers up to 700 cuts per charge.

M18 FUEL™ 20″ Dual Battery Chainsaw

M18 FUEL 20″ DUAL BATTERY CHAINSAW Engineered to deliver 70cc power for faster cutting, this chainsaw features a power mode select option, allowing operation in Standard Power Mode with 4.4HP for extended runtime and cooler operation, or Peak Power Mode with 5.8HP for maximum power without stalling. REDLINK PLUS Intelligence ensures seamless communication between the saw and battery, enhancing performance, protection, and productivity. The saw is optimized for use with two of the new  REDLITHIUM FORGE XC 8.0 batteries, and can deliver up to 60 cuts per charge in 10″ hardwoods.

Sanding and Dust Collection

Like the rest of the tools announced today, these sanders and dust extractor set new standards for power and comfort from Milwaukee while remaining compatible with existing battery systems. I especially appreciate that the dust extractor can be plugged in. This should be the standard going forward for larger tools with higher power usage.

M12 FUEL™ 3″ Random Orbital Detail Sander

M12 FUEL 3″ RANDOM ORBITAL DETAIL SANDER Ergonomically engineered, the sander provides greater access to hard-to-reach areas and features active dust extraction to minimize dust build-up. It features a variable speed trigger with a lock-on button and four-speed settings ranging from 4,000 to 10,000 OPM. An adjustable On/Off LED light bar illuminates 270 degrees for maximum visibility of the work area. And the whole things just weighs 2 lbs.

M18­ FUEL™ 5″ Random Orbital Sander

M18 FUEL 5″ RANDOM ORBITAL SANDER Designed for professional carpenters, remodelers, and general contractors, this sander delivers the power needed for heavy stock removal with the latest POWERSTATE Brushless Motor and REDLINK PLUS intelligence. With the lowest cordless vibration at 12,000 OPM and up to 95% dust collection, it ensures a clean and comfortable operation. A variable 5-mode speed button, ranging from 4,000 to 12,000 OPM, offers increased control across various materials.

M18 FUEL™ PACKOUT™ 9 Gallon Dual-Battery Dust Extractor w/ VACLINK™, M18 FUEL™ PACKOUT™ 9 Gallon Dual-Battery Dust Extractor w/ VACLINK™ Kit

M18 FUEL PACKOUT 9 GALLON DUAL-BATTERY DUST EXTRACTOR W/ VACLINK Setting the benchmark for cordless dust extractors, this new tool features two HEPA filters and automatic filter cleaning, which allows it to achieve OSHA Table 1 Compliance. The extractor supports both corded and cordless operation for all-day productivity. The POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor delivers 125 CFM with two M18 Batteries and 175 CFM when plugged in. With two M18 REDLITHIUM FORGE HD12.0 Batteries, MAX POWER MODE provides up to 41 minutes of continuous cleaning, and MAX RUN-TIME MODE offers up to 78 minutes.

The dust extractor includes five accessories: (2) HEPA Filters, (1) 10ft Hose, (1) VACLINKTM Remote, (1) Fleece Dust Bag, (1) Power Tool Adapter, and (1) Table Saw Adaptor

Product Recommendations

Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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