Are you sick of all of our Milwaukee 2015 New Product Symposium tool coverage yet? Too bad if you are, there’s still a lot more coverage to come. Don’t blame me, blame Milwaukee for innovating so much and for coming out with so many new tools. Today I’m going to discuss a little bit about their new pipe wrenches and a couple of other new plumbing tools.
First up, shown above, is the Cheater Wrench. One of my Tweets during the event was a little silly:
— Stuart Deutsch (@ToolGuyd) June 17, 2015
Anyways, so there’s this new Cheater Wrench. It’s a 10-inch pipe wrench with tubular handle, and it comes with 2 extension handles. If my memory serves me correctly, the shorter handle essentially makes the Cheater an 18-inch wrench, and the longer one makes it a 24-inch wrench.
No, you cannot use regular black pipe with the Cheater Wrench. The Cheater handles were specially designed to stand up to normal application torques.
And no, that’s not a Milwaukee pipe vise, it’s a Ridgid.
What I liked is how compact the wrench becomes. So not only do you get a multi-sized pipe wrench, thanks to the removable handles, you get a long pipe wrench that can break down and fit into a small tool bag.
The Cheater holds similar appeal as the ToughBuilt and Olympia folding handle bolt cutters I posted about 2 months ago. You get full-size functionality, but in a small-size tool.
The downside is that the Milwaukee Cheater, and the aforementioned folding bolt cutters, need a moment to set up and then another to separate or collapse down. Moving folding locking handles back and forth is a lot quicker and easier than screwing and unscrewing the Cheater’s handles from the main wrench.
I don’t remember what they said about pricing, but I got the impression that the Cheater is going to be a premium tool.
The Cheater ships with both handles, giving you 3 length options – no handle, short handle, long handle. Both handles easily screw into the base of the Cheater wrench.
Milwaukee is also coming out with a new line of steel pipe wrenches.
And they’re coming out with aluminum pipe wrenches too. Ooh, are those size markings in the movable jaw?! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before in a pipe wrench, have you?
All of the new pipe wrenches have a spring-action anti-self-adjustment mechanism that helps to lock the jaws in place.
Overall, I was intrigued by Milwaukee’s effort to spring head-first into the pipe wrench market, and am optimistic about their new offerings.
Aww, look at the cute little tubing cutter! I’d say this is a prototype, so forgive the peeling paint.
And it’s got a big brother too!
The product manager was especially proud of this new basin wrench. I’ve never used a basic wrench before, but Milwaukee’s looked to be far better featured than the lesser competitor’s model that it was compared it against.
I remember someone saying something about Milwaukee’s basin wrench head having the strongest spring compared to competitors’ offerings. That’s a good thing, right?
Considerable efforts were put into the handle design. I found the adjustable handle shaft easy to lengthen and shorten, and liked the “doorknob-inspired” ergonomic curve of the handle endpiece.
There’s a regular sliding bar that’s used to increase leverage, but also the potential to couple additional tools for even greater leverage.
Slots on the sides of the handle endpiece are designed for use with a screwdriver. You might want to use one of Milwaukee’s heavy duty demolition screwdrivers instead of a thin-shafted one. You probably already figured as much, but I thought I should warn you anyway.
And that hole at the very end of the handle? It is perfectly sized for a square drive ratchet. This gives you multiple options to get the job done. When I first saw the ratchet (scroll up 2 photos), my heart skipped a beat or two, as I thought it was Milwaukee-branded, but it wasn’t.
ETA: November 2015 for the basin wrench, February 2016 for the pipe wrenches and tubing cutters
Milwaukee has said that their goal is to “own the installation.” This was in regard to their 2″ to 3″ ProPex expansion tool, but I can tell that they’re applying it to other tool areas as well.
With tubing cutters, a basin wrench, and pipe wrenches, Milwaukee is trying to get into even more plumbers’ tool bags. And remember – these tools are all in addition to the new adjustable wrenches and PVC pipe wrench that I posted about before these tools. Also keep in mind that they recently came out with new and updated plumbing-centric pliers as well.
I didn’t have much opportunity to test any of these new pipe wrenches or other plumbing tools at the media event, but look forward to being able to use and test them for review later on.
If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Cheater Wrench. I really like the out-of-the-box thinking behind the Cheater’s design.