Milwaukee Tools have been around for quite some time ... actually ... well over 100 years. Several years ago they were purchased by Techtronic Industries (TTI), who also own Ryobi, AEG, Homelite and others. The Milwaukee brand in the complex of businesses is considered to be the serious tool owners preference because of the high quality of Milwaukee tools.

If you get a chance to look at their website ... if the quality of their tools is anything like the high quality of their website you will be in for a treat of having a well made tool. Not only do they describe all their tools on the website (the same as everyone else) they ALSO provide excellent information on parts ... too bad others don't take this hint.

We tested some of the components of the M12 System which is their 12 volt cordless system, which consists of a drill, a driver, recip saw, rotary tool, inspection and camera viewers, lights, temperature measuring guns,  a palm nailer, PVC shearing tool, a multi tool, and even a very cool radio/MP3 Player (that can withstand the rigors of a construction site).

The tools we looked at primarily were the drill and driver as we felt these would be among the most popular tools in the lineup. The 12 volt system is NOT for everyone. The power is ... well, 12 volts, which is great for driving smaller nuts and bolts and screws, or for drilling a smaller number of holes. The 12 volt system is not going to drill multiple holes though 2" fir beams if you happen to be running new power feeds from your 110 electrical panel. The 12 volt system is perfectly suited for smaller applications of drilling multiple smaller holes, or driving screws into a woodworking project. What we liked was that the 12 volt system is light but still packs enough punch to drive larger screws into Oak without any difficulty.

What was of particular interest is that these new tools are all using the same lithium ion battery system which recharges in something like 30 minutes.

We loved that feature. We also like that lithium ion batteries don't develop a "memory" like the old Ni-Cad batteries did. After a few years with the old Ni-Cads you would have to go through a series of fully charging and fully discharging to "cycle" the batteries so they would take a full charge again. Lithium Ion doesn't have this problem ... PLUS they hold charge MUCH longer. The old Ni-Cads ... you would charge them up, then go back to use them in 6 or 8 weeks and the batteries would be dead. Lithium Ion batteries hold their charge something like 5 or 6 times longer.

The biggies benefit that we found on these tools were 2 things. First of all the little head light. At first we thought this was ... well ... a stupid selling gimmick ... but when we tried it out in some dark corners, we found it was actually quite nice to see the head of a screw you were trying to remove. There is nothing worse than fighting to take a screw out when you can't see what is going on and then you end up damaging the head so badly it is even harder to remove. The second thing we loved about this system was the battery life indicator lights. 4 lights that tell you what you have left in battery life on the tool. What great and helpful idea. How many times have you grabbed your cordless drill out in the garage, gave it a couple tests on the way to install something elsewhere in the house, then get to the job a find tha battery dies halfway through the first hole. Wouldn't it have been nice to see what the state of the charge was BEFORE you left the garage with the tool?

All in all we thought this quality line of tools from Milwaukee is a real winner ... for some applicatons. We fell in love with the radio / MP3 player. This is DEFINELY a keeper for us !!

Copyright Colin Knecht