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:
@MilwaukeeTool #NPS15 Cheater, cheater, round pipe eater pic.twitter.com/k1yoVSDxl8
— 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.
Being a plumber at heart I’m intrigued and wonder how the – TTI- Milwaukee stuff will be positioned versus the Emerson-Ridgid tools at places like Home Depot. The “cheater wrench” seems like it will fit a niche – and the square-drive end on the basin wrench is a nice touch (maybe the Milwaukee will compete with the new lighted basin wrench from Ridgid
I have seen side marking in a pipe wrench before. I’ll have to go track down which one has on in my box.
The basin wrench looks awesome. I’ll be getting one of those extending pipe wrenches.
I believe most, if not all of the Ridgid pipe wrenches have size markings on the jaws. I know there are markings on the 14″, 18″ and 24″ wrenches that I have. I’m not sure about the 8″ wrench. I can honestly say that I’ve never used the markings though. They’re a nice concept, and they get it close for pipe sizes, but they don’t help much for fittings which vary in size greatly based on manufacturer, shape (tee, wye, coupling, etc), material, and type (standard, heavy, etc.). Nonetheless, I’m happy to see Milwaukee continuing to expand their lineup.
I was ready to post a note about the sizing on my 14″ Ridgid pipe wrench, but you did it nicely. And, like you, I’ve never bothered with the markings either. I probably never even noticed they were there until Stuart made the comment and I went to look. When I’m using a pipe wrench, I simply eyeball the approx. size of the pipe, grab a wrench that I think will handle it, and adjust it for use.
I’m not sure Milwaukee will be able to make a big dent in the plumbing tool segment. Ridgid, Reed and other professional makes have been around for ages. They don’t break easily, so they can be handed down from one generation to the next. What I like most about them (aside from quality, heft and variety of types, including smooth jaws and angled frames), is how smoothly they adjust. I can spin the nut on the frame easily, and the jaw goes up or down without drama or special effort.
Milwaukee will have to produce a really special pipe wrench to make a dent in the market. Ditto for pipe cutters, basin wrenches, et al. I suspect they may drain off some sales, but I don’t think Ridgid will have much to worry about. It’s akin to an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” decision among professionals.
I hope Stuart will be able to do a comparison post of Ridgid vs. Milwaukee when these new tools come out next year.
In my neck of the woods – Ridgid plumbing tools dominate the market. When I was working – we had 16 trucks for our plumbing work – with probably no more than a dozen tools (re-rounders and meter box keys) from Reed and a smattering from Wheeler Rex (we used their hydrostatic test pumps). The rest were from Ridgid . On some big jobs we might be working alongside other steamfitters and pipefitters too – and I don’t recall anyone using other brands either. When I heard that Irwin was introducing a line of pipe wrenches – and saw that they were priced lower at our supply house (maybe not as low as HF) – I thought that they might start to make a dent. A year or so latter – they were no longer stacked up – and I was told that they did not sell well. I see that Amazon still sells them:
Yeah the Rothenberger range have had side markings for a long long time!!
Is that a milwaukee ratchet and screwdriver I see in the background?
“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.”
I don’t remember checking the name, but Milwaukee’s not getting into the mechanics hand took business anytime soon.
I guess you caught me skimming! Sorry!
Don’t worry, everyone does it. It’s worse when people miss big bolded text, but that’s not as common. I copied the answer from the post only to make it clear that I wondered the very same about the ratchet.
The idea of the cheater wrench is great. Not quite qualifying for EDC :), but it’s great to have something easily stored in a standard size tool box and end up with 3 different sizes.
I want the cheater wrench! Doing maintanence like replacing a pipe in a restricted area, I often need a long handled pipe wrench to break it loose and for the final tightening, but for all but the first half turn loosening and last half turn tightening don’t require a big clumsy wrench that usually just barely fits In the space where the pipe is. Removing/installing the cheater handle would seem to be less of a bother than getting a separate pipe wrench, and adjusting it to the pipe. Now, if they made the cheater handle with some sort of quick snap in, snap put mechanism instead of threading in, it would be even better. I know, don’t be talking upgrades before I can even get one, but what about something along the lines of the screwdriver shank that Wera uses in their Kraftform Kompact bit holding screwdriver. It uses a locking collar that holds the shank in a collapsed position, an extended position, and allows it to be removed completely, and instantly.
I like the cheater wrench – however I hate to say I’m that guy that puts a cheater bar on my solid normal 18″ pipe wrench when I’ve needed too.
my cheater bar is the cut drive axle off a buick.
I’ve never used a basin wrench – and I’ve been told I should pick one up. I just don’t really see the appeal.
Regarding the basin wrench: Just get one; they’re worth having when you’ve got no other way to remove basin nuts on the kitchen sink or loosening supply lines attached to the water stops. If that doesn’t work (for lack of turning space), you can also try a crowsfoot wrench (I think it takes a 7/8″ opening), a long extension and a ratchet (all three items using 3/8″ drive); it will do the same thing for you.
Another reason to have a basin wrench is working on your yard’s irrigation system. When you have to dig down 6″-10″ to replace a tee fitting or the sprinkler body itself, the basin wrench goes down into a small diameter hole and will turn/remove the sprinkler easily. Previously, I dug a wide-diameter hole to do this until I figured it out. It’s a big time saver, and time is money.
If you want to buy even more tools, Ridgid also offers a Faucet and Sink Installer Tool. It’s made of dark orange plastic and has two metal tool ends (they reverse), which will perform a multitude of plumbing tasks in restricted spaces. It’s available at the big box stores, on Amazon and lots of other places for around $23.00. I recently saw a video on YouTube which shows all of its capabilities.
I don’t condone the use of cheater bars, but sometimes a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do when he’s working alone. Just be sure to wear your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)–Goggles, gloves, etc., in case a pipe or a wrench breaks, sending metal shards flying at you. You might also overwrap the parts in rags or an old towel to contain the flying bits. If it’s really fighting you, try spaying some penetrating oil/PB Blaster or Freeze-Off Super Penetrant on the pipe threads to make the process easier.
Superior Tools also makes a tool called a Basin Buddy that sometimes fits where a basin wrench will not.
It’s too bad you can’t use just a regular black pipe
Now if harbor freight can come up with a 10 buck knockoff!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m in
It’ll probably cost $15 but a lot of HF knockoffs are pretty good – their basin wrench for example is solidly built (their extending one anyway). I’d like to know how heavy the Cheater Wrench is – I like feeling the weight of a wrench before I’d use it (for me lighter is better because I can use it more often).
I didn’t think to compare it at the time, but if I had to guess I would think it weighs on par with steel wrenches of comparable size.
I have a basin wrench, only used a few times over a number of years, but when I used it, nothing else would do (diy). I do like the telescoping handle. Not likely to upgrade as I don’t know when I’d use it again.
The telescoping handle is copied from a Ridgid design that is probably 40 years old.
RIDGID= “KING” of pipe wrenches/plumbing tools
Milwaukee prides themselves with not being a “Me Too” tool maker, why are they getting into this market then? Hardly any innovation here and just going to eat into their own marketshare in Ridgid…
My understanding is that the “Ridgid” brand is a bit like a person with multiple personalities. The original Ridgid tool brand is still put on the tools made and/or marketed by Emerson – a big global company. At one time Emerson (then Emerson Electric) made a lot of the stationary power tools sold at Sears. When Sears threw them over for other OEMs – Emerson cut some sort of deal with Home Depot – and the Ridgid name started appearing on more than just plumbing tools. The OEM of some of the Ridgid-branded tools – notably the small portable power tools became TTI (also produces tools under the Ryobi, and AEG names). TTI is the parent for companies including Milwaukee, Hoover Vacuums, and Homelite). Home Depot markets other tools with the Ridgid brand name that are produced by different OEMs – like garden tools made by Ames and hole saws made by R.A.F. Industries.
The long and the short of it is that TTI-Milwaukee’s plumbing tools will be competing with Emerson-Ridgid’s.
I’m assuming all imported?
Why, when Ridgid already makes the tools in the USA and they are readily available at very reasonable prices?
I want 2 of those cheater pipe wrenches. Where can I buy them. Also when will Milwaukee be selling them. I converted all of my power tools from dewalt and Bosch to Milwaukee. I would also love to get the force logic press but the price is ridiculously high. My ridgid does the same and is far less. Please the cheater wrench where and when.
When this post was written, the new Milwaukee pipe wrenches were expected to launch in February 2016. I have no new information about whether that target is still accurate.
Where? Your best bet will be to check with your favorite Milwaukee hand tool dealer. I’ll keep in mind to update this post as soon as more information is available.
I don’t have a comment, I have a question. I have an application where a narrow jaw pipe wrench is needed. I don’t mean how far the jaw can open, I mean where both top and bottom jaw is less than 1′ wide. And would like to get one about 3′ long. We have a narrow area we are trying to get a pipe wrench in and have found none that will work. And modifying one is not an option.
You mean less than 1 inch wide, with 3 inch jaw opening?
If a regular pipe wrench won’t fit, I’m not sure what will. A couple of Wiha “narrow style” pipe wrenches come up in a search, but there’s no mention of jaw thickness.
I just bought the milwaukee 14 inch pipe wrenches and used them for 4 hours.. Very disappointed they wouldn’t grip the pipe at all no matter how tight or loose I adjusted them. I tried to return them to the wholesaler I purchased them but they wouldn’t take them back. My 6 year old lenox grip far better than the brand new milwaukee do. I’m gonna try resell them.