Milwaukee M18 FUEL Rear Handle Circular Saw Hands-On Review:
The Milwaukee M18 FUEL Rear Handle Circular Saw Kit is designed for those who want to build their own DIY circular saw without spending too much money. The kit includes all the parts needed to make your own homemade circular saw with a price tag of $299.95 (MSRP). You will need to purchase some additional tools like a hacksaw, drill press or table vise if you plan to use it for other than cutting small pieces of wood.
If you are looking for a simple DIY circular saw then this is the best option available. It is easy to assemble and requires very little skill. You do not even have to take any welding classes since the design of the saw uses standard hand tools. If you are interested in building your own circular saw but don’t want to spend a fortune, then this is the way to go!
You can buy one of these kits from various online retailers such as Amazon or eBay. For example, I purchased mine at Amazon for $299.95 with free shipping. This saw is very popular and the kit is often back-ordered. Be prepared to wait a few weeks for delivery if you do not have Amazon Prime because these kits are in high demand.
The overall weight of this circular saw is just under 10 pounds with the battery which makes it very easy to use all day long without getting tired. The saw is very well balanced and does not feel front heavy even without a blade installed. I really like the soft rubber grip. It feels very comfortable in your hand and also provides good torque when making straight cuts.
The rear handle is not removable but I do not find this to be a problem. The trigger is conveniently located and easy to reach even with a gloved hand. The power and operation of the saw are very good. The Milwaukee FUEL brushless motor has plenty of power and the soft start feature makes it much easier on your hands when ripping hardwoods. The polished aliminum gear housing looks very professional and is very durable.
The kit includes a heavy-duty metal carrying case that will protect your saw from the usual bumps and dings. It is well made and can be locked shut with a small padlock. The case also has several compartments to store blades, screws, and other small parts. This makes it easy to transport the saw to a jobsite and keep everything organized. It even has space for your battery and charger.
It’s much better than the cheap plastic cases that often come with power tools.
One of the nice features of this saw is the quick release button for the blade. This makes it very easy to change the blade and results in very little downtime. The only thing that you have to manually do is adjust the depth setting every time you change the blade. The kit includes a 30 tooth carbide-tipped blade that is designed for crosscutting hardwood and softwood. It can also be used for ripping softwood but not with the same speed and efficiency as a rip blade.
The kit includes a powerful 20V (5.0Ah) FUEL battery that provides more than enough power for most applications. This battery can also be used with all of the other Milwaukee FUEL tools which is a nice bonus if you already own some of these tools. The batteries are interchangeable which gives you great flexibility when working on a job site.
It takes about 12 hours to fully charge a completely dead battery. This might seem like a long time but it’s significantly less than the competition. For example, it takes 24 hours to charge a completely dead DeWALT battery. You can purchase an additional battery and always have a spare which allows you to spend more time working and less time waiting for batteries to charge. Each battery costs about $100 so this is definitely an optional cost.
The kit also includes two battery chargers. You can charge a battery in about 30 minutes which is faster than any of the competition. This really comes in handy if you’re in the middle of a big project and one of your batteries dies. You can quickly swap out the dead one and have a fresh one in no time. The chargers are very easy to use and they display the charging status directly on the unit.
There is also an LED light on the front that can be handy when working in dark areas.
The downside to these is that you need to take the battery out of the saw in order to charge it which can be a pain if you’ve already got the saw on the job. It would be nice if they could somehow build a wall charger into the case so you could just set the entire saw inside.
Overall, I am very happy with this kit and feel it was a great investment. The tools are dependable and have great build quality. I don’t have to worry about the tools failing and causing me to lose time on the job. With proper care and maintenance, these tools should last a long time. I definitely recommend them for anyone who does a lot of woodworking or remodeling projects around the house.
They are well worth the high price tag.
I’ve included some pictures of the tool kit. I hope this review has been helpful.
3.0 out of 5 stars A few notes on the tools themselves before I get to the kit. Verified Purchase I’m honestly torn with the tools, hence the 3-star rating. The sawzall is incredibly powerful, and with the guide it’s easy to get straight cuts. The flashlight on it is a nice touch, and the ability to change the blades makes it versatile for many uses.
The recip saw is fairly simple, but it gets the job done. The flashlights that come with these tools are nothing special, but again they’re intended to be workhorses rather than collectibles. For what they are, I give these tools 4-stars.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain why I docked a star…
The kit is supposed to contain 2 batteries and 2 chargers. The kit I received contains 1 battery and 1 charger (not sure if they’re supposed to be for the same tool or not). Thankfully I have a universal charger so I was still able to charge a battery. Just seems like quality control should have caught this.
3.0 out of 5 stars Good tools, but some quality control issues here too… VINE VOICE Verified Purchase I’ve been doing woodworking on a casual basis for about a year now and decided that it was time to buy a nice drill/driver combo instead of borrowing my Dad’s bulky old Skil kit when I needed to drill holes or put in screws. I looked around on Amazon, read the reviews and settled on the Black & Decker LI4000.
It’s a really nice drill (powerful, long battery life, comfortable to use, etc).
I was doing some research online before I bought it and came across a forum topic where someone was asking about whether or not they should get the Black & Decker LDX120C kit for their son. I saw some of the replies where people said that it wasn’t a good kit and that they had quality control issues with their tools as well.
Now that I own the kit myself, I can see what they mean…
My kit came with the reciprocating saw, flashlight, charger, and one battery. Everything seemed to work fine at first. I used the tools quite a bit over the past few months without any issues.
Just the other day, while I was using the reciprocating saw, the trigger suddenly stopped responding. It still runs if you push the blade in by hand, but as soon as you release it, the trigger just stops working.
This could be a quality control issue where something happened when they were assembling the trigger and blade together. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I was able to take the saw apart and fix the problem. The problem was a stripped hex bolt that holds the trigger and blade together. It should have been a simple fix (replace the bolt). The problem is, metric hardware is not exactly my forte. There are some metric wrenches in my toolbox, but nothing that fits the hex bolt.
I don’t have any other metric hex bolts either (that size isn’t common for households). I could go to a local hardware store and buy one, but I don’t have a car so that would require taking public transportation, which could be problematic if I can’t get the bolt out (if it strips more, then I won’t be able to use the tool at all). It’s possible that my Dad could bring his car down here to my apartment, but he’s on vacation right now so that would be a few days at least before I could get the tool back together.
I suppose I could try to drill it out and replace it with a standard bolt, but that’s risky (it is a small area that I’d be drilling into and the plastic threads for the original bolt are already stripped, so if I drill the wrong way it might drill into the gearbox, etc. and make things a lot worse).
This isn’t even the first time I’ve had quality control issues with this kit. The first time was when I needed to tighten up the clamp on the flashlight, but I figured I could fix that. Now this…
I’m starting to wonder if it would just be easier and cheaper to just go buy a different kit at the store. I’ve seen a couple that look decent (including one by Black & Decker). Plus I think my Dad will agree that it might be wise to not buy any more tools online unless we know for sure the quality is there.
It just annoys me that I took the time and spent the money on this kit and now it’s broken.
Not to mention if I can’t get it repaired, then what was the point of even buying it?
I still have one battery that works and the tools seem to run well enough (I tested them before taking the saw itself apart). I guess I could just use them with the one battery until it dies.
Maybe I’ll do that for a while and see if I really notice a difference in quality. If so, then I guess I’ll buy a new set of tools from the store.
I did end up buying another kit from the store and I wound up throwing the broken one away. The new one works a lot better (though requires a lot more battery power) and I think it’s a better quality overall.
I don’t know if I’m just spoiled from using my Dad’s stuff or my own experience working with the smaller hand tools, but I do know I won’t buy anything without seeing it in person first.
I also had to take the drill apart again and discard the stripped bolt. I could have drilled it out and replaced the hex bolt, but I decided it would be easier (and more accurate) to just replace the entire drill bit. I had to drill out the old one and that’s when I discovered it was a bit worn. Not enough to affect general purpose use, but if I was using it for heavy duty work or metal it would have failed long before now.
I replaced the bit and now it works as good as new. In fact, I wound up not only using the drill for my Dad’s project, but also for my own as well. The circular saw wound up being a good investment after all (even if it did break).
I learned a few things from this experience and while I hope it doesn’t happen again, I’m glad I at least have some idea of what to do.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Chasing Rabbits: A Contemporary War Novel (DR Haen – 2013 – minds.wisconsin.edu)
- Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for a Farm of One’s Own; a Memoir (J Woginrich – 2011 – books.google.com)
- 2006 Mississippi Curriculum Framework: Secondary Agricultural and Natural Resources Technology.(Program CIP: 01.0003-Agricultural and Natural Resources). (A Bennett, D Chaney, T Cole, B Sumrall… – Research and Curriculum …, 2006 – ERIC)
- AS LUZES SE ACENDEM EM ÁFRICA: VIAGENS FILOSÓFICAS DE UM NATURALISTA LUSO-BRASILEIRO EM ANGOLA 1783-1808.(Dossiê: As fontes para a … (MM Pereira – e-hum, 2016 – unibh.emnuvens.com.br)
- Cities in the third wave: the technological transformation of urban America (LI Ruchelman – 2007 – books.google.com)