One of my top picks from Milwaukee NPS17 was Milwaukee Tool’s new M18 Fuel 7-1/4” dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw. Although it is a smaller saw and has reduced capacity compared to their 10″ Fuel sliding miter saw, it will hopefully address some of the shortcomings of that saw — poor dust collection, lack of power in certain situations, and blade deflection.
Milwaukee is aiming this saw at carpenters and remodelers. It is compact, only weighs 28 lbs, and was designed to be easy to carry around jobsites.
What’s more, Milwaukee is claiming that their new saw is the only pro 7-1/4″ miter saw that can bevel both left and right, making it faster and more convenient to set up cuts.
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Here are some of the relevant specs for the saw:
- 7-1/4″ blade size
- 5000 RPM
- brushless motor
- Weighs 28 lbs with battery
- Can make up to 600 casing cuts per charge (5Ah battery)
- LED shadow cut line
You’ll notice that this saw has a more traditional rail design with the rails mounted on the top of the saw rather than coming out of of the base like their 10″ saw. This hopefully will tighten up the deflection problem — many reviewers noticed that they could easily push the handle left or right and deflect the blade — as there’s a smaller distance from the handle to the pivot.
You’ll also notice that this allowed Milwaukee engineers to place the dust chute closer to the blade, which will hopefully improve dust collection.
One thing they kept in common with the 10″ miter saw was the dual-sized dust port, which can accept both 1-1/4″ and 2-1/2″ inch vacuum or dust collector hoses. The sawdust collection bag was improved upon, and now features a snorkel that extends into the interior of the bag. What this does is help to prevent sawdust from falling out when you remove the bag from the saw.
Obviously, a 7-1/4″ saw is going to have a reduced cutting capacity. Here are the stated cut capacities from Milwaukee:
- 3″ vertical capacity against the fence
- 8″ crosscut (2×8)
- 6″ at 45° or 48° (2×6)
- 3-5/8″ crown nesting capacity
- 3/4″ cut at 48° bevel
Maybe you can already guess from the above capacities that the saw can miter 48° to the right and left. It has detents at all the usual common angles. It also bevels both left and right to 48° with hard stops at 45° and 48°
Adjusting the bevel is done in a more traditional manner than on their 10″ Fuel miter saw. You loosen the bevel knob and angle the head to the left. To set the bevel angle to the right, you need to pull out the pin and tilt the head to the right.
To make the saw more compact, rather than having handles that stick out from the base, the handles are cut right into the base.
For marking the cuts, the new 7-1/4″ miter saw features the same shadow line system its big brother has. It uses an LED to project a shadow of the blade directly onto your work material. The width of the shadow, with the blade close to the work material, will show you the size of the blade kerf. It can’t get any easier than this.
The saw folds down compactly for transport and storage. You can use either the top black handle or the aforementioned side handles in the base to carry it around.
And just to please Stuart, they made it easy to change the blade without having to loosen the guard.
Stuart’s Note: Most users don’t change miter saw blades often. I like to work with very different materials (hard wood, plywood, plastic, aluminum), and change blades as needed. There’s a certain yellow and black 18V-class saw that makes this a slow and frustrating process, where you first have to loosen and move the blade guard. It’s a bigger hassle than it should be, since the guard is fastened with thread-locked screws that the included blade wrench fits very, very poorly.
Finally, here’s what the new 7-1/4″ miter saw looks like on the recently announced compact miter saw stand.
ETA: Sept. 2017
Above is a video of me using the saw to cut a painted 1×6 – we were looking to catch the dust collection system in action. You can definitely see dust funneling up into the dust chute, but you can also see some of the dust flying off to the side. This makes us curious at how well the dust collection would perform connected to a dust extractor.
One thing you might notice is how they qualified the number of cuts per charge. They said 600 casing cuts per charge, not 2x8s, 2x6s, or 2x4s. They also didn’t specify material. What they did tell us was that one 5Ah battery should allow you to trim out about 100 doors or 75 windows. Their goal was to get you through the day on a couple of batteries.
At the show I folded down the saw and grabbed it by one of the base handles to carry at my side. It was very easy to carry this way, and I can imagine carrying the saw up a few flights of stairs like this would be no problem.
Having only made a few cuts with the saw, it’s hard to give a decent impression. I didn’t have any trouble cutting through a 2×4 or 1×6, the sliding mechanism worked smoothly, and I didn’t notice that I needed a lot of force to pivot the head of the saw (another complaint about the 10″ Fuel miter saw).