January 20, 2011

Milwaukee M12 Cordless Multi-Tool (Oscillating Tool)


So this one was just a matter of time. We're actually surprised it took so long for Milwaukee to get with the oscillating tool program and on top of that, we're actually disappointed that they opted for a cordless version. We privately had high hopes for a corded version that would give King Fein some competition. No such luck.

But still the new Milwaukee Cordless Multi-Tool looks like a nice item and while we're generally uneasy with the idea of a cordless oscillating tools because of the fast battery drain, the Milwaukee is powered by their new Red Lithium battery so it stands a pretty good chance of breaking this curse, or at least making it less obnoxious. So far, cordless oscillating tools seem to drain out within 10 minutes of constant sanding, which to us is just not enough. Powering an oscillating tool is a lot to ask of a battery, and from what we've experienced, the oscillating function, when used in a construction site setting, is simply incompatible with the life that a 12-volt battery can afford it.

So anyway, we talked about Milwaukee's new Red Lithium battery here and according to the company, it supplies the juice for 40% more run time. If this holds true here, then we might finally be in business with the cordless oscillating tool.

It looks like this oscillating tool has all of the trappings of yet another solid Milwaukee offering; a metal gear case, a nice gripping area, and easy controls. The kit comes with two batteries and an accessory adapter which makes it compatible with most available accessories.

At Amazon.com

Read More in: Cordless | Lithium-Ion | Oscillating Tools

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at January 20, 2011 6:06 AM
Recent Comments

I use this tool almost daily on the job and the regular M12 (or any 12v) battery is a bummer in dies to quickly to use efficiently. Enter the XC M12 battery I bought 2 XC batteries for this tool and NOW we're cookin. It seems to be the only "affordable" cordless O-saw worth using professionally (Ryobi Job Plus isn't to bad though), the 18-volt Fein is around $750.

Posted by: MikeGrey at December 6, 2011 9:43 PM

Thanks, Tool Snob :-) Hope all that was helpful - I'm obsessed with tools, their technology, and the quest for well-made powerful tools with longlife durability and sometimes blurt out more than is likely helpful LOL.

@Ethan, speaking of adaptors - the M12 Oscillator from Milwaukee also came w/a brilliant 2-sided adaptor 'coin' you can flip one way for Dremel accessories and flip over for Fein accessories (and everybody else's non-Dremel accessories too).

So far, my M12 has had no prob mounting any brand accessory at all. Runtime still good; build quality seems better than most tho certainly no better than Fein's but definitely better than Rockwell's; power is very good for cordless, better than harbor freight's corded (both HFT models I tried & returned early in the game) but perhaps equal or a tad under that of Rockwell's corded.

One other M12 tool I'm considering is their PVC pipe cutter - but not for pipe LOL... Trouble is, I can't get a feel for how well it'd perform for lopping tree branches (power as well as blade life in green wood) or even humane 'surprise!' sneak-up chicken dinner slaughter (I know, I know...). Am tempted to buy and try then keep or return but haven't done so because other than M12 Oscillator the M12's build quality isn't nearly that of milwaukee's m18 line.

Posted by: Justin at January 21, 2011 7:05 PM

Justin, I think I might hand this website over to you...

Ethan, sorry, I misunderstood. Love your website, btw.

Posted by: Tool Snob at January 21, 2011 9:06 AM

It's not that I didn't like it... just want to use it on an actual job before I give it a thumbs up

Posted by: ethan@OPC at January 21, 2011 8:30 AM

I nabbed this Milwaukee at HDepot last week and runtime is surprisingly good... Must be those new "red" batteries. After testing the Ridgid and finding it overly rough in vibrating through wood versus the smoother dremel I found the New milwaukee not only smooth but very powerful and amazingly comfortable (unlike their m12 screwdriver I returned which, despite being smaller, was far less comfy in the hand than their larger m18 tools which have rerally impressed me in terms of power, smoothness, durability, & comfort). So far the m12 oscillator is the only 12volt tool from Milwaukee I'll be keeping. I had high hopes for their 12volt line, but frankly DeWalt's new 12v tools seem a lot better... That said, none of DeWalt's 18 volt tools come anywhere close to milwaukee's M18 tool line in terms of build quality and often even power---so good I've invested in every M18 tool they've released yet and happily kept every tool except the M18 jigsaw due to it's non-plumb shoe. Tho I've not yet experienced the "red" 18v batteries, i've had mediocre to fair runtime on their m18 XC batteries (the compact batteries are a total JOKE that reduce power noticeably and run for a few mins only LOL, so be sure to get only XC kits the weight isnt that much more at all anyway but do cost more). The M18 XC batteries do, however, output/peak ASTOUNDING power that literally rival and often exceed cordED tool performance. E.g., I'd rate their non-orbital M18 d-handle sawzall around 85% the cutting power of their brand new 12-amp non-orbital corded sawzall (shockingly made in USA!) which is a damnfine sawzall w/very little vib and great power and extrmely well made---and for a battery sawzall to come that close astonished me. Stille, there's a reason i went out to get the new corded sawzall: i'm lucky to get 5 mins of constant runtime from the m18 on a week-old fully charged xc battery when pushing the saw to the max like felling trees or stump removal (12" bosch fleam blades seem best for this in my sawzalls). M18 circ saw is also amazngly powerful for cordless, the quietest circ ive ever used, and has a nice Thick metal show (alum or mag). 2602, 2610, & 2611 drill drivers rock, but compact 2601 is so-so. M12 angle grinders are great, impacts are small but very potent yet light. But absolute favorite m18 tools are tied: the m18 cordless bandsaw that slices metal iron and rebar like butter w/ no cord, slices paddlelocks in seconds, conduit & pipe, and more; runtime is great because cuts so fast the saw is only in for a couple seconds at a time. Other favorite M18 is the high torque impact Wrenches (7/16 hex quick change drill, the 1/2 square, & 3/4 square, the latter yielding over 500 FOOT lbs torque which blows away all corded wrenches ive used and many pneumatics as well). The 7/16 hex HTIW rocks: bye bye hole hawgs as the 7/16 can drive 18" long 2" ship augers, 4" hole saws on 7/16 arbors, and hole hawgs/switchblades through utility poles (& trees, 6" beams, glue lams, etc) in 2-4 seconds cleanly & w/o twisting your arm off---just like the old lineman hydraulic impact wrenches only cordless. Build quality is amazing, but feature-wise wish all 3 of these HTIWs had an LED light like most the rest of the m18 line does. Apologies for the sudden brain dump. Lol.

Posted by: Justin at January 21, 2011 3:50 AM

I get 22-24 min of runtime on average at speed 10 (out of 12). I do remodel and end up using it almost every day for one thing or another. Great little tool for the money. I don't think i'd use a corded as often since i can just have this handy in my bag.

Posted by: ryan at January 20, 2011 9:46 PM

Ethan, I'm surprised the Fein didn't make a better impression. I've been using them for years and really think they're great. Bosch has a cordless out and this year they're releasing a corded which should be cool.

And the adapter thing is a bit confusing. What Bosch has released is a little adapter piece that fits all OTHER oscillating tools (non-Bosch). What this piece does is make those tools compatible with Bosch accessories. It's a smart play by Bosch to try to capture the accessory market, which, at the moment is fragmented by brand.

Posted by: Tool Snob at January 20, 2011 6:39 PM

Tool Snob: I demoed the Fein multitool at the NAHB show here in Baltimore. It seemed nice but I didn't really get a good feel for it. Bosch also had a multitool there and I learned that their accessories come with adapters for competitors products.

Posted by: Ethan@OPC at January 20, 2011 2:15 PM

I work part-time at Home Depot and we can't keep the M12 oscillating tools in stock. They sell as quickly as they arrive. I haven't had a chance to test it since they don't stay in stock long enough, but they are almost keeping up with sales of the corded Dremel despite the $149 price tag.

Posted by: tim at January 20, 2011 11:34 AM

Moose: Yeah, it's definitely pick and choose on the cordless option. Drill: cordless...oscillating tool: corded.

Ethan: You should try to get your hands on the Fein. It's really head and shoulders above the rest. Costs an arm and a leg, but if you're going to be working the tool really hard, totally worth it, I think. Bosch has a corded version coming out soon, but, like you say, the Rockwell is pretty nice, particularly considering the cost. I think I saw a kit at Amazon for $80 (with very few accessories).

Posted by: Tool Snob at January 20, 2011 11:17 AM

Cant someone just make a cord/transformer that fits into the M12 battery slot?

Posted by: Joe at January 20, 2011 10:49 AM

Everybody's jumping on the multi-tool bandwagon but so far, I haven't seen one that is a must-have tool. I've used the Dremel, Rigid and Rockwell versions and the Rockwell Sonicrafter is the best IMO.

Posted by: Ethan@OPC at January 20, 2011 10:48 AM

If it's not corded I'm not buying. I'm not in business for myself, so this probably doesn't fully translate to all aspects of power tools. But there are some tools that just have to be corded for me. The oscilating type definitely need to be corded. Maybe Milwaukee has a corded version planned? One can dream..

Posted by: Moose at January 20, 2011 9:48 AM
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