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.
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).
What size trim can it cut vertical, up against the fence? (It looks like it has a cutout towards the back of the blade).
I have some conflicting info about that. I had it in my notes that it was 3.5″ and I think Stuart had 3″ so I went with the conservative estimate. NPS is just a preview show, we’ll know more for sure when they release the official announcement in a few months.
I think I remember somebody trying to cut a 2×4 upright against the fence at a 45 and it didn’t quite make it through. I didn’t get a photo though. Of course that’s different than a 3.5″ high piece of base with this small blade.
Im not sure what the point was of putting the rails into the base of the 10″ saw. I think i heard something about making it more compact though I’m not sure how it accomplishes that.
I think they need a new 10″ saw that combines the best features of the 7 1/4 and the 10″, add hybrid power capability and they would have the best overall cordless saw on the market hands down.
I believe they told us last year that making it more compact was one of the reasons.
I know many of us were expecting a x2 (two battery) miter saw this year, but in hindsight it makes more sense to introduce this saw. They just shipped the 10″ saw the end of last year and coming out with a new one they would be admitting that there were too many problems with the 10″ and cannibalize sales of it. Maybe next year?
Hybrid might be a problem with a high amperage tool. This isn’t an LED light. To get a motor to run on both 18VDC and 120VAC with the same performance is pretty hard. It might be easier to do with a brushless motor, but I have a feeling that you’d have to make too many compromises on power at one end of the other. So to accomplish a hybrid saw, they would have to put in some pretty beefy power conversion electronics which would raise the cost and weight.
The Flexvolt saw can do it because the motor already is running close to 120VDC. I’ve still heard that it runs better on the batteries than plugged into the wall though.
Runs like a standard 15amp mitre plugged into the wall. It runs better off battery because the batteries can supply even more power.
From most of Milwaukee’s PR video interviews guys did…the rail design on the cordless 10″ was primarily for ‘protecting the delicate rail system, which others leave exposed during transport’…always something along those lines. It did make it more ‘compact’ when stored, I guess, but it still needed a lot of room behind it for cuts up to the fence. It’s compact only with the rails are pulled toward the user (which arguably any sliding miter is), but surprisingly big when actually being used…seems like anyway.
Either way, it obviously didn’t land as well as they hoped…as it was hammered by most reviews (and attributed to the extremely bad dust collection) for that specific design choice, and their next cordless saw…doesn’t have it.
The funny part is that they didnt need to put the dust chute so far back. Their corded miter has the rails inside the base as well but the chute is closer to the blade. Can’t figure that one out for anything. Would think when they tested the prototype they would have noticed dust was going everywhere except in the bag.
600 cuts on a 5amp battery it ain’t 2×4. probably very thin material
Yeah, obviously. It clearly says 600 cuts of casing.
I dunno if I’m feeling the holes cut for the handles in the base rather than some extenders. That hole is pretty large and space is already a premium in such a small platform. I can totally see a hold down situation where a small piece would end out pivoting into that hole which could lead to a kickback or at the very least non perpendicular cut.
One thing I didn’t mention was the hold-down. The saws at the show had hold-down clamps. I didn’t mention them because because they didn’t explicitly say whether they are included or not.
I would have to imagine that Milwaukee will have warnings not to cut such short pieces without using the hold down because that would put your hand too close to the blade.
Fastcap sells a gizmo for holding pieces on the miter saw table.
We used to make a hold-down extender out of a short piece of 1x hardwood – a small block glued on at 1 end to make it sit level and a scrap of sandpaper at the other end t provide some gripping friction.
Thanks for the link fred. These are available here in Australia and I will definitely be buying one.
I know you didn’t have this saw in your shop, but generally speaking about your miter saw reviews- you guys need to actually do some precision measurements. Get a dial indicator, or better yet dial test indicator and measure how straight the saw tracks on the rails, arbor run-out, and blade deflection as pressure is applied to the saw head. Get away from the subjective and get real data. Also using a precision straight edge and feeler gauge measure how low the turn table is compared to the deck(it should be dead even, but I bet you it isn’t). Measure how repeatable the stops are for both miter and bevel. Get actual numbers. The number of cuts a miter saw can make doesn’t matter if they are crappy cuts.
Listen, if all your doing is rough carpentry, then it doesn’t matter what piece of crap you use, close is good enough.
If you are incapable of providing useful quantitative data about the quality and precision of the saw, then just say it is capable of cutting wood.
While I can appreciate the desire to gather as much data as possible, there’s a question as to what data is relevant and useful. A good square or combination square and a couple of test cuts can tell you most of what you need to know about a miter saw.
That all said, we’ll keep your suggestions in mind, although I cannot guarantee we can act upon them.
Another issue with one-off testing is that you may run into a lemon or conversely a “good one” that is not truly representative of the fleet. We bought a batch of Bosch GCM12SD saws and one had a real problem with its fence relative to the table, a few others needed some tune-up – but some were good to go right out of the box. I think that Bosch improved their packing/carton – and the one that got returned may have been damaged in shipping. BTW – none of them were good enough for fine picture framing – but we didn’t buy them for that.
Some testing – as Steve Sanders suggests probably would be of value to your readers – particularly if you can do some head to head comparisons to similar tools that you’ve gotten in the past for testing – to put things in perspective. I guess that also leads to another issue , about receiving tools from a manufacturer for testing – and how representative they will be compared to what one might buy at random. The skeptic in me says that a manufacturer might want to put its best foot forward so to speak – and while its probably impossible to make a silk purse from a sow’s ear – they certainly might tune-up a table saw or a miter saw to insure squareness, check runout etc. BTW – I’m not suggesting getting so carried away as to fuss over thousandths of an inch – since it is wood we are cutting after all – not marching precision parts. But repeatability of cuts is always something to check – and if your trimming out an octagonal window you expect that the casing will come together without obvious gaps and that you can rely on the stops after coming back to them from a different cut. Your point about using a square is certainly the place to start – if the saw can’t repeatedly cut square in both planes (at zero degree bevel and zero degree cross cut) after any needed adjustment then its not worth having.
I wonder how Ridgid feels about Milwaukee calling them nonprofessional since they also make a dual bevel, brushless, 18v 7-1/4″ sliding compound miter
Ah that’s probably only on the consumer end.
It’s like Lexus vs. Toyota, Infiniti vs. Nissan, Audi vs. VW. Yeah, they’re all their own ‘brands’ and mostly with their own development and production, but they’re still all owned by the same corporate suits. Some individual employees may get fired up about it, but they’re built to target different buyers, and it’s understood that certain brands are more of a premium line than what is available within the same corporate umbrella.
It is interesting, particularly since this saw so closely matches the design and features of the Ridgid. I have that saw and like nearly everything about it except I wish the rails were longer so I could cross cut 2×10. Based on that experience (and math) I guess this saw will cut 3.5″ casing vertical against the fence, but not a 2×4 in that position because the arbor bolt will hit.
The hypotenuse of a 2×4 is about 3.8″, which is more than the radius of a 7.25 blade.
Once I saw the Milwaukee announcement, videos, pics, etc. I asked here if it was going to be close to the Ridgid. After reading this more detailed article, Im really not seeing any huge differences between the upcoming Milwaukee and the already existing Ridgid.
The Milwaukee dust chute *might* be closer to the blade than the Ridgid but I cant tell for sure. Im not sure if both sides of the fence move on the Milwaukee, on the Rigid only one moves. But the major features (brushless, dual bevel, light weight, LED shadow light) are present in both. The Ridgid is listed as a bit lighter, so something might be different somewhere, but nothing stands out just from looking at pictures.
Its also interesting to note that HD cleared out the Ridgid version in the last 4-6 months and if you could find one now it would be a miracle.
WTF? Been available here for a long time. Dual bevel, more red BS.
While there are some similarities (here’s the Ridgid: https://toolguyd.com/ridgid-18v-cordless-miter-saw/), the 2 saws are different enough that they’re completely different saws.
The Ridgid is actually lighter – it’s said to weigh 24 pounds.
My comment was directed to the their statement that it is the first 7-1/4 level dual bevel cordless mitre saw, not that is the same saw.
Holy smokes! The Ridgid and AEG look identical. At 3700 rpm it doesn’t sound professional grade.
That’s because it is the same saw.
If you think 3700 rpm is slow, check this one out,
And for the record, I do use mainly Milwaukee cordless tools myself.
I’m excited for this saw. Milwaukee sent me a questionnaire asking me what products I would like to see from them. At the top of my list was a small, light-weight dual bevel chop saw. There are plenty of jobs that can take days to trim out and this saw would make set up and break down a snap. I wonder, though if it would have the mustard to cut maple crown.
I can’t for you to get this saw. I anticipate your review.
So which is better this one of the dewalt 7 1/4 20v max mitre saw?
They’re both very good. I prefer the Milwaukee, because blade changes are a little easier.