Last week, Milwaukee Tool hosted dozens of construction media representatives at their headquarters for their yearly New Product Symposium (NPS). Over 100 new products were announced in the one day event and Construction Junkie was there to catch a glimpse of what is to come from the red brand over the next year.
Check out our highlights below and let us know what you’re most excited about in the comments!
#1: Milwaukee Answered the Call for Many Carpentry Tools
For decades, Milwaukee Tool’s core users were in the HVAC, Electrical, or Plumbing trades. With their ever expanding line of M18 cordless tools, the company added carpentry and remodeling tools to its group of focus areas in more recent years. Milwaukee made big strides in the category at this year’s NPS, adding several tools that filled necessary gaps in their carpentry lineup.
First and foremost, we need to talk about the new M18 FUEL 21° and 30° Framing Nailers. These cordless framing nailers are a first for the company and, by all accounts, they’re something to be excited about. Several other manufacturers make cordless framing nailers, but most of them do not have the speed or power to be used for much more than a small remodeling job. I only got to use the nailers for a few minutes, but these had absolutely no ramp up time and no issue bump firing into double LVLs at any time throughout the show. Throughout the day, the other members of the media (which included several framers) and I tried to go fast enough for it to misfire, but it never did. Toenailing was also tested and all reports were that they had no problems in that respect, either. The framers are set to be released in October 2019
Another great nailer announced was the Gen 2 M18 FUEL 18GA Nailer. It was widely reported that the first generation nailer had a few major flaws, like its overall weight, heavy recoil, and jamming issues. Based upon everything I experienced at NPS, it appears that all of those issues have been corrected. Using a pressurized nitrogen system, the new 18GA nailer can fire nails with absolutely no ramp up time and can accept brads from 5/8” to 2-1/8”. Milwaukee expects to release the brad nailer in August of this year
Other additions that had many excited were the M18 FUEL 7-1/4” Rear Handle Circular Saw (July 2019 Release), the M18 FUEL 12” Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw w/ ONE-KEY (November 2019 Release), and the M18 FUEL Compact Router (October 2019 Release).
I’ll be posting more information about these tools on Construction Junkie’s social media pages over the next couple of weeks, as well.
#2: PACKOUT: No Drawers (Yet), But the Dolly is Finally Here!
PACKOUT, Milwaukee’s modular and mobile tool storage system, was first announced at NPS in 2017. Last year, the team announced several expansions onto the platform, such as low profile organizer bins, soft zip top tool bags, a wall mount bracket, and a flat dolly. Well, a full year came and went and, while we did see the release of the zip top bags and the low profile organizers, the dolly and the wall mount never came. Well, fear not, Milwaukee has an official release date for them now, as well as a couple other additions.
The elusive PACKOUT Dolly, which is capable of rolling a total load of up to 250 pounds, will finally be released in July of 2019. The mounting plate, for shop or vehicle storage, will be available in August 2019.
New additions to the lineup include a pretty slick, but pricey radio and a multi-positional crate. The radio, which will retail for about $299 bare tool, features 10-speakers and 360 degree sound. The thing can bump. Available in November of 2019, the radio can be powered by AC or M18 battery. The built-in charger can re-fuel your batteries when plugged in and even charge your mobile device with an available USB charging port.
The PACKOUT Crate can not only attach to the top or bottom of existing PACKOUT boxes and or organizers, but it can also hang off of the mounting plate when installed vertically on a wall. The Crate will be able to hold 50 pounds and will be available in November.
#3: Diving Head First into PPE
Milwaukee has been producing safety equipment, like work gloves and lanyards for several years now, but, this year, they have announced they will release a new line of hard hats, safety glasses, vests, respirators, ear plugs, and even more gloves and lanyards.
I can’t say that anything in the category was absolutely breathtaking, but they certainly had some interesting takes. The hard hats, for example, feature a variety of slots for accessories, such as lighting, ear protection, face shields, or pens. There will be several different versions available, including full brim and front brim in both Class C and Class E. They plan to release additional colors other than white in the future and will also offer companies the option to add their logo. The hard hats will be available in October 2019.
The safety vests will be very welcomed on the jobsite, as they include many different pockets reinforced with 600D tear-resistant material, including a zippered tablet pocket in the back of the vest. The padded collar was also a nice addition. Vests will also be available in October.
A variety of safety glasses will also be released, featuring a few different styles with fog-free, scratch-free lenses. We were able to test them with a steamer at the show and they performed very well (see video below). In addition to the lenses being polarized, select pairs will also be offered with tinted lenses. The safety glasses will also be released in October.
The respirators, available both with and without a gasket, and hearing protection, both corded and regular non-corded, will be released in, you guessed it, October. There was a huge variety of additional gloves available too, including full leather versions, as well as a large array of impact resistant gloves complying with the new ANSI 138 standard. The gloves have a release date of September 2019.
The company stated that this is just beginning of PPE and it will be interesting to see how they can compete with some of the companies that have occupied the space for decades. There is definitely huge market opportunity and I’m excited to see how Milwaukee expands the line in the future.
#4: New M12 Tools Were a Couple of Crowd Pleasers
Milwaukee’s M12 line of tools are smaller, lighter, and typically less powerful than their 18 volt brothers, but may trades, especially plumbing, mechanical, and electrical trades, find them extremely useful. There were only a handful of new M12 releases at this year’s NPS, but 3 of them had a lot of people talking, including the M12 Surge Hydraulic Driver, the M12 Installer’s Drill/Driver, and the M12 Ratcheting Torque Wrench.
I’ve been using the M18 Surge Hydraulic ¼” hex hydraulic driver for a couple years now and it’s by far my favorite driver to use, so I, like many, was excited that the M12 platform would be getting one, as well. The advantages of the hydraulic driver are that it produces less vibration and 2x less noise than a traditional impact driver. The one thing I was worried about was the power of this tool, as hydraulic drivers are typically less powerful than traditional drivers, but that was eased when they told us that it has the same torque rating as the M18 Surge has (450 in-lbs). The new M12 FUEL SURGE 1/4'” Hex Hydraulic Driver (2551-20) will be available in August.
Next, the installation drill/driver was a bit of an unexpected release. Much like the Bosch Flexi-click, this M12 tool features 4 different attachments that click onto the tool in seconds, like a right angle drill, an offset driver, a traditional drill chuck, and a straight impact driver. It will be a handy tool to have for many applications, such as cabinet, can light, or other tight space installations. This new drill/driver will be available in September.
Finally in the M12 category, Milwaukee showed of a first of its kind M12 FUEL Ratcheting Torque Wrench with ONE-KEY. The wrench allows you to electronically set the torque value desired, rundown the fastener close to the desired torque and finish with a manual turn of the same wrench. As the user gets closer to the required torque, the digital screen flashes green, so you’ll never over-torque a fastener again. The wrench will be available in November 2019.
#5: More Layout and Measuring Tools on the Way
Empire Level, which is owned by Milwaukee Tool, is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year. To help celebrate, they announced the release of new digital torpedo levels (available in October), as well as 2 different extendable box levels (available in September). The box levels will be available in 24” (extendable to 40”) and 48” (extendable to 78”), which will help reduce the number of levels trades need to bring to the site.
On the red side of things, Milwaukee announced several more layout and measuring tools, including upgraded STUD tape measures, wide blade tape measures, compact tape measures, a 4-1/2” trim square, a super magnetic pocket level, and a pipe lock level.
The housing and tape of the first generation of STUD tapes have proven to be very durable, but they were definitely one of the biggest tapes on the market and only had a 10 foot standout. Now redesigned with a smaller body, a wider blade with 14’ standout, and double-sided measurements, the STUD is even better. There will also be magnetic options available with the release in September. Also releasing in September are the wide blade tape measures, which also feature 14’ of standout, and the compact tape measure, featuring 12’ of standout.
The Milwaukee 4-1/2” trim square, the magnetic pocket level, and the pipe lock level will also be available in September.
#6: November 1, 2019 Will Be a Date to Remember
The releases mentioned above were exciting in their own right, but nothing could top the announcement that Milwaukee made at the end of the show. In a surprise move during their closing remarks, Milwaukee revealed a hidden section of the event space and gave us a sneak peak of what is to come. Unfortunately, we all were sworn to secrecy until November 1 of this year, so you’ll have to wait…but it will be worth it.
Check out our highlight video below to see the sights and sounds of this year’s NPS!