Welcome to the first edition of Tool Junkie, which will be a regularly occurring feature on Construction Junkie in 2019. It’s important for everyone in the construction industry to keep up with new tool developments, from the trades to those in charge of purchasing. Our goal is to better highlight noteworthy tools throughout the year. We’ll start with a familiar brand to our readers: Milwaukee Tool.
Much like Milwaukee’s recently released M18 cordless table saw, the new M18 Fuel 7-1/4” Circular Saw (model #2732-20) is part of “The Next Breakthrough” line for the tool manufacturer. Harnessing the brand’s newest supercharged – and supersized – 12.0 amp-hour battery, the company has promised 50% more power, 50% cooler running temperatures, and 33% more runtime versus their previous largest battery, the HD9.0.
This new circular saw is the replacement for Milwaukee’s 5 year old model #2731, which, at the time, was the world’s first cordless 7-1/4” circular saw.
In addition to the upgraded battery technology, the new circular saw features a new brushless motor and new powerhouse to increase the performance over their previous model. The saw, which is constructed of magnesium, also includes many features that are common to any worthy professional circular saw, like tool-free bevel and depth adjustment, an on-board Allen wrench for blade replacement, and a rafter hook. For dust sensitive areas, the tool also comes with an optional dust port for easy hook up to a vacuum.
M18 FUEL™ 7-1/4” Circular Saw Kit (2732-21HD)
Speed: 5,800 RPM
Arbor Size: 5/8”
Bevel Capacity: 1-7/8”
Weight: 12.0 lbs (8.75 lbs bare tool)
5 year warranty
Kit Includes M18 FUEL™ 7-1/4” Circular Saw, M18™ REDLITHIUM™ HIGH OUTPUT™ HD12.0
Battery, M12/M18 Multi Voltage Charger, General Purpose Framing Blade and Contractor
*Also available as bare tool (2732-20) – will be available in mid-January 2019
Weighing in at over 12 pounds with the 12.0ah battery installed, this saw is certainly one of the heaviest blade right circular saws on the market. The weight is more in line with worm drive style, or blade left, cordless options, however, so the power to weight ratio is fairly on target. The DeWalt Flexvolt circular saw weighs in at just over 10 pounds, but that is with a smaller capacity battery (6.0ah equivalent).
If you’re looking to reduce the weight, but keep the same performance, I would recommend grabbing one of the new XC6.0 High Output Milwaukee M18 batteries (Model # 48-11-1865), which uses the same technology as the 12.0, but is smaller and lighter.
You may notice the extra weight throughout a long day initially, but it could be an added benefit to horizontal cutting.
This saw is an absolute beast, there’s no way around it. Whether ripping 2x material or plywood, it’s near impossible to apply enough pressure to bog the motor down. While the blade right DeWalt Flexvolt is a worthy competitor, it doesn’t pack nearly the same punch that this new Milwaukee does. There are some worm drive style cordless circular saws out there that are more powerful, however, but that is up to personal preference.
Runtime on the 12.0ah battery is impressive, as it can crosscut 2x4 up to 750 times on a single charge. That will be plenty of runtime on small to medium sized jobs, but heavier workloads may require additional batteries. Non-High Output rated M18 batteries can be used on the saw with no issues, but you won’t get the same performance as you would with the new 6.0 and 12.0 batteries. The current Milwaukee fast chargers will take 2 hours to completely recharge a depleted 12.0ah battery, so that should factor into your decision, as well.
With the kit retailing for $399 and the bare tool for $249, it is priced above its competition from DeWalt and Makita, but none of the kits are truly an apples to apples comparison. The standard DeWalt DCS575T1 kit features (1) 2.0ah 60V Flexvolt battery (6.0ah equivalent on 20V) and retails for $299. The Makita XSH01PT Circular saw kit operates on (2) 5.0ah batteries and costs $349.
Overall, the Milwaukee will set you back more than its competition, but I believe its performance warrants the higher price. I’ve used the Flexvolt extensively and believe that it’s a great saw, as well. I’ve unfortunately not had the opportunity to use the Makita much, however, but I have heard good things. While you can opt for the bare tool of the Milwaukee, it’s optimized for use with the high output 6.0 and 12.0 batteries, so you should at least start with one of those.
The Milwaukee 2732 is built for a jobsite. It’s big, it’s powerful, and it’s fun to cut with. That amount of power may not be necessary for many users, but for those of you who are waiting for cordless technology to match up to the performance of corded tools, this saw has done it.