This year at NPS18, Milwaukee Tool came out with two new M18 Fuel jigsaws: a barrel grip jigsaw and a D-handle jigsaw.
Both saws are driven by a brushless motor that can deliver up to 3500 SPM (strokes per minute). Milwaukee talked about the fast blade speed being important not only for cut quality, but for control. To make even more aggressive cuts, each saw has several orbital modes actuated by a lever on the left side.
Since these jigsaws bear the Fuel moniker, they are powerful enough to cut harder materials, like thick hardwood and metal. Milwaukee claims they can cut up to 105 linear feet of 3/4″ laminated counter top on one 5Ah battery, or about 17 sink openings.
To make changing blades easier, both jigsaws have a tool-less blade change lever on the front of the tool. Each saw also has a built in blower to keep debris from obscuring the cut line and a built-in LED to illuminate the area.
Both jigsaws feature a dust collection port on the rear of the shoe. We were assured that each saw will actually ship with the dust port connector, it won’t be an additional item you’ll have to purchase.
M18 Fuel D-Handle Jigsaw
The D-handle jigsaw has a variable speed trigger with a safety lock above the trigger to prevent accidental activation.
The lever underneath the D-handle saw allows for easy and tool-free adjustment of the shoe angle.
With the bevel angle lever actuated, you can see the positive angle stops on the shoe.
The M18 Fuel D-handle jigsaw is set to launch in August 2018.
M18 Fuel Barrel Grip Jigsaw
On the barrel grip jigsaw, rather than a variable speed trigger, there is a speed selection dial for controlling the cut speed. The dial has 6 different speed settings plus a 7th auto-controlled start setting. This setting allows you to enter cuts more accurately by starting the saw at a low SPM and ramping up to full speed once the saw senses you are in the material.
Above is an example of the auto controlled start in action, notice how the jigsaw starts out slowly then speeds up as it engages the wood.
The barrel grip has ambidextrous on/off switch (one on left and one on right). The way you turn on the barrel grip jigsaw is a little different. You push forward on either spring-loaded switch until the jigsaw turns on — once it turns on, you have to let it go, otherwise the saw will turn off again. This is to prevent the saw from staying on in your bag or toolbox if the switch is accidentally actuated.
Due to the positioning of the battery on the barrel grip, we were told that if you want to use a battery larger than 5Ah, it might interfere with the dust collection port.
Because of the low profile design and the position of your hands on the barrel, they did not want to put a tool-less bevel angle adjustment lever on the saw. To adjust the bevel angle, you need to remove the plastic shoe and access the screw on the bottom of the shoe. At least the required hex key stores in the shoe so you don’t have to go looking for it.
The M18 Fuel barrel grip jigsaw will launch a little later than the D-handle. Milwaukee says it’ll be out November 2018.
Buy Now(Barrel grip jig saw bare tool via Acme Tools)
Buy Now(Top handle jig saw bare tool via Acme Tools)
Buy Now(Top handle jig saw kit via Acme Tools)
I was really excited for the new barrel grip jigsaw — so much so that I pretty much forgot about trying the D-handle saw until I had to switch rotations. Unfortunately I never got back to it. So my observations are about the barrel grip jigsaw.
It took a few tries to get used to the power switch on the barrel grip jigsaw. I’d try turning it on and it would turn off right away. I had to ask the presenter what I was doing wrong and he explained that I had to let the switch go when the saw started. After a few tries it became intuitive.
The placement of the switch did seemed a little awkward for me, I needed to stretch my thumb and slightly change my grip to turn on the jigsaw. Ideally you shouldn’t have to change your grip at all when you turn the saw on or off. Maybe it’s just made for people with bigger hands.
The saw cut smoothly in non-orbital mode and the blade really didn’t deflect much when I was making turns in the 2×4. I’d still like to see how it performs in plywood or hardwood, but we’ll have to wait until the saws officially launch.
I bought a Makita DJV181Z from Mississauga Hardware (wasn’t available directly in the US) a little over 1 year ago. I paid $158 US (bare tool) delivered to the US. I’m generally pleased with it – but still choose one of my Bosch barrel-grip jigsaws when the cord isn’t an issue. The Makita – with battery attached just seems a bit unbalanced to me and seems to work better with a hand on the barrel and one on the top. In comparison, I can easily use my Bosch saws – one with a coping foot attached – one-handed. Of course – as with other tools it all depends on how things feel in your hands. If this Milwaukee arrives t my local HD – I may see how it feels.
I have an 18v bosch D handle. I use it once in a while for cutting up plastic chemical jugs. Not knowing much about jig saws i think i did pretty good.
$158 for that Makita is a deal. Everything I’ve been seeing is $239.
Now $239 Canadian – so that might be $187 US depending on how your bank credit card does the conversion and any fees they charge
Check out summitt tools they have some good prices in the frosty north. Good prices for us is not what u folks are likely to think of as good prices
When I bought from Mississauga Hardware, they may have been having a sale – or it was just that the exchange rate was something like $1.00 US $ = $1.35 CAD
Barrel grip jigsaws are awesome. I’m really glad they released both. And got the brushless motor, light and blower all integrated.
Any ideas on pricing?
You might see some people listing price out there, but it’s not official.
I asked Milwaukee this morning before this post went out and they said it won’t be available until at least July.
I have the M12 jigsaw and Festool Carvex barrel grip (corded) . I really like the handling of the M12 but would like to upgrade to a 18V barrel grip cordless. I want the Makita but now that Milwaukee has released these I’m curious how it compares to the Makita. Unfortunately the Makita is not offered in the US so a direct comparison of Milwaukee versus Makita will be difficult for me. Can anyone provide any feedback that tried the new Milwaukee jigsaws at NPS18 versus the Makita DJV181Z??
What is the biggest difference in the barrel grip and D-handle (other than the obvious)? I have never used a barrel grip but just really would like to know if there are any advantages.
The barrel grip offers better control for awkward operations like coping trim. Although I forgot to ask the rep if there were any compatible coping shoes for the saw. The D-handle is better if you want easy control of the variable speed, as the barrel grip has a dial on the back of the saw instead.
With barrel grip, it’s easy to cut from the bottom of the workpiece so that the clean cut is on top.
You also have a lower center of gravity, so the weight of the tool is closer to the workpiece giving better control.
I literally cut the top handle off an old B&D to try a barrel grip saw. I soon after got 1 of the craftsman convertible saw and gave away the other top grip saws I had. There as different as day and night in my opinion. I can’t think of a use for a top grip saw at this point they are just so awkward to handle. Unless you happen to have small hands is the only time they might have value.
I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who struggled figuring out the barrel grip on/off switch! Once you know how it works it’s not an issue, but it wasn’t very intuitive for me.
I frequently use the Ridgid jobmax with a jigsaw head, I mainly use it because it’s there. I like the barrel like feel(I have a corded Ridgid barrel jigsaw) but it’s awkwardly long and unbalanced. Hopefully our friends in yellow take note of what Milwaukee has done if they ever decide to add an XR jigsaw
I’d be interested with how these compare to Bosch jigsaws.
Also, does the LED come on / stay on at times other than when the blade is on? I’ve had a couple power tools that only have the light on when the motor is running, which is annoying.
Not having a separate button for lights/lasers is something that really frustrates me, especially with miter saws. It just seems like a terrible idea to have to stick my face close to a spinning blade to look at the cut line.
I love my 20v max jigsaw, but it’s time for Dewalt to update it!
I wondered if that battery placement makes the barrel grip version want to titter on the base plate.
Looks like a good overall compromise. Of the 2 I’d probably opt for the barrel grip my self. Maybe dewalt and a others will make one too.
The Makita version has been out for at least 1 year – but strangely available in Canada but not the US
I’m also curious about the balance of the barrel grip, it sure looks like the weight distribution would make it harder to keep the shoe flat on the cutting surface.
I’d settled on getting a Bosch barrel-grip model, but these may change my mind if they end up getting good reviews. The Bosch models seem to be extremely good at controlling the flex of the blade, so hopefully Milwaukee took some lessons from them.
Doesn’t look like they have any blade stability device, looks like they used the old model base and put a new top on it with a brushless motor, you really don’t need that unless you plan on cutting 4×4 materials
I will be picking up one of these, might not be able to wait for the barrel grip version though…patience patience…
tooless blade change, led lighting, dust collection and cut position blower in an M18 Fuel package I’m sold!
If it’s like the M12 jigsaw, which it looks to be, then the blade change mechanism is great. Now if they would just come up with a better solution for the hackzall, that mechanism sucks.
Jeez Milwaukee, I just bought the barrel grip corded Bosch a couple months ago. I do have a couple gripes. It does get hot for prolonged use and the cord does get in the way when doing lots of curves across a work piece but, other than that it has been a great tool.
I waited a long time for these new saws and those blade guides are completely unremarkable.
Jigsaws are the only portable tool capable of handling curved cuts, yet so many brands settle for cheap outdated guides that don’t keep your blade square to the workpiece. I don’t get it.
All the power and extra doodads don’t count for jack if your cuts are wavy beveled garbage.