Milwaukee Tool has been producing new pliers and screwdrivers in the USA, after opening their new hand tool factory in West Bend, Wisconsin several months ago.
A lot of people have been asking about when the new tools will be available. The new pliers and screwdrivers are not yet available at retailers, but should be soon.
At the start of 2023, I asked Milwaukee Tool for an update and received the following:
We received an overwhelming amount of excitement from the announcement of our new cutting pliers and screwdrivers. Our teams are working hard to deliver the most innovative and highest quality lineman’s, diagonal and long nose pliers, and screwdrivers from our new state-of-the-art production facility in West Bend, Wisconsin.
We are looking forward to getting these new hand tool solutions into the hands of our users in the middle of 2023.
Mid-2023 was the only official ETA I had been given so far.
If this estimate continues to hold true, I expect to see the first wave of new USA-made Milwaukee hand tools as early as May or June. July also counts as mid-year in my book.
The first wave of new USA-made tools will include pliers and screwdrivers. Here are the styles and sizes of pliers that will be included in the initial launch:
Lineman’s Pliers with Dipped Grips
- 9″ (MT500)
- 9″ w/ Crimper & Bolt Cutter (MT500C)
- 9″ w/ Thread Cleaner (MT500T)
Lineman’s Pliers with Comfort Grips
- 9″ (MT550)
- 9″ w/ Crimper and Bolt Cutter (MT550C)
- 9″ w/ Thread Cleaner (MT550T)
Long Nose Pliers
- 8″ Dipped Grip (MT505)
- 8″ Comfort Grip (MT555)
Diagonal Cutting Pliers with Dipped Grips
- 6″ (MT506)
- 7″ (MT507)
- 8″ (MT508)
Diagonal Cutting Pliers with Comfort Grips
- 6″ (MT556)
- 7″ (MT557)
- 8″ (MT558)
The pliers available for on-site testing had an incredibly smooth feel. Milwaukee designed their USA-made pliers to deliver “the smoothest open and close experience with no break-in period required.”
Here are the first of Milwaukee’s USA-made screwdrivers:
Phillips Screwdrivers with Cushion Grips
- #1 x 3″ (MT201)
- #2 x 4″ (MT202)
- #2 x 10″ (MT204)
- #3 x 6″ (MT203)
Slotted Screwdrivers with Cushion Grips
- 1/4″ x 4″ (MT206)
- 5/16″ x 6″ (MT207)
- 3/8″ x 8″ (MT209)
Cabinet-Style Slotted Screwdrivers with Cushion Grips
- 3/16″ x 3″ (MT211)
- 3/16″ x 6″ (MT212)
- 3/16″ x 8″ (MT213)
- 1/4″ x 10″ (MT214)
Demolition Screwdrivers with Cushion Grip
- Philips #2 x 6″ (MT205)
- Slotted 5/16″ x 6″ (MT208)
- Slotted 3/8″ x 8″ (MT210)
ECX Screwdrivers with Cushion Grips
- #1 x 4″ (MT215)
- #2 x 4″ (MT216)
Square Screwdrivers with Cushion Grips
- #1 x 3″ (MT217)
- #2 x 4″ (MT218)
- #3 x 6″ (MT219)
There will be 2 screwdriver sets at launch:
4pc Cushion Grip Screwdriver Set (MT200-4)
- Slotted 1/4″ x 4″ (MT206)
- Slotted 5/16″ x 6″ (MT207)
- Cabinet Slotted 3/16″ X 6″ (MT212)
- Phillips #2 x 4″ (MT202)
6pc Cushion Grip Screwdriver Set (MT200-6)
- Phillips #1 x 3″ (MT201)
- Phillips #2 x 4″ (MT202)
- Phillips #3 x 6″ (MT203)
- Cabinet Slotted 3/16″ x 6″ (MT212)
- Slotted 1/4″ x 4″ (MT206)
- Slotted 5/16″ x 6″ (MT207)
Milwaukee’s new USA-made screwdrivers feature machined tips that are laser-etched for increased grip, high-strength boron-infused steel shafts for increased hardness, cushion grip handles, and clear size markings.
Milwaukee says that their new drivers deliver a “precise fit” for reduced stripping, and “ultimate durability.”
Select screwdrivers will also feature knurled shafts for precision control, and others will feature a hex-ready bolster.
There are also 3 demo drivers, with metal hammer-ready strike caps.
All of the new USA-made pliers and screwdrivers will be backed by Milwaukee Tool’s “complete Lifetime Guarantee.”
Pricing details are not yet available.
Why are They Taking so Long?!
When we toured the new Milwaukee hand tool factory in August, 2022, production was up and running.
Read More: Milwaukee Tool Raises the Bar with New USA Factory
My understanding is that the initial rollout will require many tools, and it’s taking time to build up the necessary volume.
Milwaukee has many independent, online, and retailer tool dealers, with Home Depot the largest. According to Home Depot’s 2021 annual report, they have a little more than 2,000 stores in the USA.
Assuming Home Depot will carry Milwaukee’s new USA-made hand tools, even if not in main aisle promotional displays, the initial offering will involve many thousands of tools.
I have been in the factory, seen the manufacturing cells, and held early production samples in my hand.
The new USA-made Milwaukee hand tools are on the way.
Thanks for the update Stuart! You’ve covered all of my questions and allayed my concerns. Looking forward to seeing these by mid-year.
I wonder if these are of the “made with global materials” category. Either way, it’s wonderful to see US-produced tools on the way.
This makes SBD’s “desire” to make US-made Craftsman tools look even more half-hearted.
From my previous article https://toolguyd.com/milwaukee-tool-new-usa-factory/ :
Why does everything Milwaukee make have to look like a toy? Might try the pliers anyways
That’s how I always felt about the Stanley “FatMax” products. Hated those things.
Why didn’t they put where they are made on the tools themselves?
What do you mean? They all say “USA”.
“West Bend, Wisconsin” would take up too much space.
“Made in USA” is not the same as “USA”. I just take it to mean the company is from the US. Same with “Made in Germany” vs “Germany”.
Actually, USA by itself with no other qualifiers is considered the same as “Made in the USA” according to the FTC. I work in trade compliance.
Good to know – thank you!!
Good info, makes sense. I see a lot of tools that have some variation of just “[brand] – [part #] – USA” stamped or cast on them.
That is true but the loophole is you can put a name that *happens* to be the same as a US city on your tool and that is legal. Like HF’s hand tools that are stamped Pittsburgh.
Many Harbor Freight brand names do indeed seem to have been chosen to suggest COO or heritage. Pittsburgh and Chicago Electric might suggest USA heritage.
Then there is the (perhaps apocryphal) stories about post WWII stuff made in Japan and labelled – made in Usa with Usa being a city located in Ōita Prefecture, Japan
Not sure I’ve ever seen an imported tool with USA stamped all over it. I assume the packaging says Made in USA somewhere for you.
I’ve never seen that.
These are made in the USA from USA materials.
Made in Italy.
You just need to put USA in your brand name. Done deal 😂
So what you’re saying is, Wright, who manufactures all their own sockets, ratchets, and wrenches in Ohio and has been for nearly 100 years, might be somehow pulling a sneaky fast one that even their own production workers in Ohio making these tools don’t know about, because they just stamp “USA” on them.
That’s not quite how it works.
How is that what I’m saying? There are plenty of examples of companies pulling a fast one on consumers. That is why the government regulates these things.
Dirck Van Lieu
This is good to see. I already have more Milwaukee screwdrivers than I need, and a set of Craftsman that I got in the early 70s, but I’ll want these, too.
Since I’m having a hard time keeping untrained kids (16-24) for less than $20 per hour doing basic stuff, I’m guessing these have a pretty high labor cost as well. Wonder what the price delta is between these and Chinese made.
The production was highly automated, with some tasks requiring very highly skilled labor. There was a dedicated testing and quality assurance lab.
The investment was huge, with bespoke building infrastructure and robotic production cells.
To set all that up from nothing?
Not all of those costs are going to be recouped in initial tool sales .
Up to $25 an hour is normal starting wage for simple factory jobs at least in the Midwest. Why would you think you’d be able to keep people around for less than that if your not teaching them advanced work? Learning nothing for a low wage would be a waste of their time and money.
Good news and some added features too – like the knurled shaft screwdrivers and the 5/8 bolt cleaner on the lineman’s pliers (similar to Klein D213-9NETH) .
That bolt grip is super handy (if you need it). It fits threaded rod (Unistrut hangers) and galvanized bolts out on poles.
I wish all of my current slew of screwdrivers had knurled shafts, too. It’d almost be enough to change out all of them…
Great news! The lineman pliers look promising, and I’m picky about my pliers. Nice to see the regular dipped, I’m never crazy about all the “ergo” style grips. The screwdrivers look good too.
Also, I agree with the comment above that this really makes Craftsman look pathetic. I like/use a lot of SBD brands, but man did they manage to blow the last hopes for the Craftsman name.
Well done, Milwaukee.
So if Milwaukee can make pliers and screwdrivers in the USA, why can’t SB&D/Craftsman?
SB&D/Craftsman keeps looking more and more like liars and frauds as time goes by.
Sorry Craftsman, but making plastic bins and box cutter blades in the USA doesn’t count. Nobody gives a sh*t.
I will be giving Milwaukee my business, 110%.
Stanley makes about 20% of its catalog in the States. Craftsman has never ever made anything for itself, that factory in Texas will be its first time in the century-long history of the brand in which it will finally become a manufacturer and not just a name.
Stanley does make pliers and screwdrivers in the US. Proto and Mac brand.
And – IMO – for the most part their tools have always been quite a bit better than Craftsman branded counterparts. I first saw the Proto stuff in the 1950’s – when there was still some old stock around with ther old “Plomb” name on it. I think that in ther 1950’s their parent company was Pendelton Industires who sold out to IR and then IR sold it to Stanley.
The Sears Craftsman wrenches seemed to originate from Moore Drop Forging – and then EASCO when Moore was acquired.
I’m very much aware of Craftsman being a brand, not a manufacturer. I’m very much aware of Easco, Danaher, Western Forge, Eddie Lampert, specific dates when things took place. That wasn’t the point of my comment. Stanley Black & Decker should have absolutely no issues manufacturing Craftsman brand screwdrivers and pliers in the USA, just like Western Forge did for the brand under Sears reign.
Also, MAC pliers are now made in China. Every set I see on the MAC truck is Chinese made with exception of their rebranded Knipex pliers, which are German made.
I don’t particularly care what SB&D does with Proto or MAC. I want them to stop making empty promises and actually deliver with Craftsman. Like I said, plastic bins and razor blades don’t count. There’s no reason why the largest tool manufacturer in the world can’t make Craftsman brand pliers and screwdrivers in the USA. If Milwaukee can do it, so can they.
The order of magnitude difference in the amount of skus alone between craftsman and Milwaukee is mind boggling this is before you mention that craftsman is supplying thousands of retail fronts with those items. Ohh and craftsman can’t charge the snap on price that these Milwaukee tools will end up being. You are being very dishonest with your statements here and comparing apples to concrete trucks.
Modern technology and manufacturing processes cut the cost of manufacturing significantly. If that weren’t the case, then why is Craftsman opening a new socket and wrench manufacturing facility in the Texas? I don’t believe they would have invested millions of dollars into manufacturing millions of tools if the retail price was comparable to SnapOn. If that were the situation, nobody walking into Lowe’s look twice at those tools.
Channellock still manufactures pliers in the USA. There are a few companies that still produce screwdrivers in the USA. None of their prices are comparable to SnapOn, but they are almost comparable in price to their overseas counterparts hanging on the pegs next to them.
There’s no dishonesty in my statements. I’m comparing Chevy Malibu’s to Toyota Camry’s… Damn near the same thing, one’s just a little bit better.
You say that. But most of us who bought the old Craftsman disagree, and back that with our money. I’ll be buying this new Milwaukee at whatever the price. I would have bought USA Craftsman in the same manner. Unless they somehow exceed snap-on pricing, there is value in my eyes.
My toolbox hasn’t had new craftsman since it went overseas, and never will – at any price.
I only wish I had been old enough/had enough money to buy more craftsman before they went south. I only missed by a few years.
From what I’m told, Knipex doesn’t make any pliers or other products for any other brand.
They do own a different factory that makes pliers for other brand but that is not the Knipex factory and those are different designs.
I dunno, they sure look like Knipex me. Maybe MAC needs to be sued for having pliers made with the Knipex name stamped right into the metal.
Knipex made Cobra pliers for Craftsman when they were under Sears.
I’m really excited to see high quality made in the USA tools with Milwaukee branding.
Thanks for the update!
I don’t drink the Milwaukee Kool-aid, but I give them credit and kudos for putting their money where their mouth is and doing this.
I love all my Milwaukee tools, however I have been stressed over so many made elsewhere. I will be getting these new made in USA tolls and adding to my collection. I hope Milwaukee will come out with more USA made tools, so I can spend more money
The thing that I miss about old-school Craftsmen is that you were able to take your worn out hand tools to your local Sears and they’d swap it out on the spot. So when I see “ lifetime warranty” on the package, I typically don’t weigh that into my buying decision because honestly, nowadays you’re required to wrap it up and pay the postage in order to get a replacement….at least that’s the case with Milwaukee and Dewalt…..and all the German made tools. It’s just not worth the hassle and expense. I’m not sure, but I’d guess SnapOn and Matco and the other mobile tool vendors will probably replace your worn out tools on site. Are there any others, like Husky or Kobalt? If I were able to swap out a broken Milwaukee USA made-tool at a local HD, then I’d be all over these.
You can still return your Craftsman tools to Lowe’s for immediate replacement–with the caveat that they have that SKU in stock, otherwise it’s the phone call and shipping–so I presume the same could be said of other warrantied tools? I’m not sure.
As an aside, Harbor Freight still does on the spot replacements, as well.
Here’s hoping Home Depot follows suit with these new Milwaukee tools.
Home Depot will do swaps for Milwaukee that they have in stock now, sometimes telling you to buy the new one and return the broken.
I’m not sure how HAPPY they are about doing that, but they do it
Wasn’t a Milwaukee plant that recently opened getting shut down? Must not be affecting these production models?
That was not the new hand tool factory.
Stuart, hate to be “that guy” but today I am…
“Lineman’s Pliers with Dripped Grips” section header I think you meant dipped.
Thank you! *fixed*
Technically they’re dipped and then left to drip. =)
Great news. The screwdrivers look good. Not 100% keen on the styling of the diagonal cutters, but I’ll probably buy a few, anyway. But I gotta say, those linesman and needle nose pliers look like pinching monsters. I have a habit of sneaking my hand up toward the pivot when doing tight work, and when (not if) the pliers slip, my index finger gets pinched leaving a nasty blood blister. This happened numerous times, until I threw away every pair of pliers with pinch points like those Milwaukees. Everything in my pliers drawer is “bypass style” with no pinch point.
Definitely don’t need any of it. But that sure doesn’t mean I’m not going to dive in. Thanks Milwaukee.
I really wish they also bought craftsmen’s tools as well and kept them alive.
Looking forward to these. They’ll be the first Milwaukee tools I own.
I’m definitely going to give these new tools a try!
The screwdrivers and the comfort-handled pliers look a bit too much like the Chinese tools for my taste. It’s that “busy” modern-looking styling Milwaukee seems to love. I’ll keep an open mind though – how they look doesn’t indicate how they perform. The dipped pliers are more to my taste and that’s probably what I’ll try.
Anytime there’s a new high-quality entry into the tool market it’s exciting!
Tangentially, have you been able to confirm the rumors that SK is coming out with an import line of tools Stuart? It always seemed like a risk when Great Star bought the company, but I hoped they would take a Milwaukee-style approach of modernizing tool production, coming out with more tools and maybe even lowering the retail price.
I have not, but am working on having a conversation with them.
My current understanding is that they are still setting up the former Shop Vac facility for tool production.
Thanks for the update. I can’t help but be very curious.
An import line alongside a higher-tier USA line isn’t the end of the world. Maybe the broader tool catalogue will help keep the company healthy.
I just hope it doesn’t become a brand name to attach to import-only production.
Back when Craftsman and Sears were both ubiquitous, the Craftsman brand represented good quality – very serviceable tools with broad selection, sold at a reasonable price that were easy to find and easy to replace if they failed. That was clearly a winning set of attributes that made the brand well respected and very popular. The popularity of the brand and sales volume probably contributed to the pricing and value that Sears was able to offer. In today’s market I do not believe that there is any equivalent.
We like to think that competition will always drive prices down. But that may not always be the case since each different competitor will need to include fixed costs in their pricing and there gets to be lots of factories worldwide producing products with the same purpose. The Internet and competition have certainly increased our choices for mechanics tools, made some brands that were once hard to source easier to buy but has driven many producers of decent tools out of business while making some newer brands come to the fore. I also suspect that in terms of year 2023 dollars versus 1960 dollars – Proto prices may have come down while Craftsman prices may have increased.
As other observations from Craftsman’s golden post WWII age:
Milwaukee never produced hand tools when they were independent from TTI and their Home Depot retailing outlet. Proto, like Armstrong, Martin and Williams were companies whose market (and pricing) was mostly industrial users. Snap-On only sold via tool trucks.
Automotive specialty stores carried brands (some were then independent) like Blackhawk, Bonney, Husky, SK and Thorsen. Hardware stores carried brands like Armstrong, Crescent, Fairmount, Stanley, Williams, and Wright. Many retail outlets did not discount tools. Home centers and lumber yards had limited selections of tools. The equivalent of Home Depot and Lowes did not exist.
Sears had a giant presence as a tool source for smaller volume buyers nationwide. European brands like Beta, Facom, Gedore, Hazet and Stahlwille were not readily available in the USA. Japanese brands (like Truecraft-Daido and KTC) – were hit and miss regarding sales in the USA. Tools from China into the USA market were non-existent.
fred. I (kinda still) miss the annual Craftsman Tool Catalogs. Best thing most of us could study unless we had easy access to the big countertop tool books.
AKA long before the interwebs.
Here’s a link to one of the ones that I probably pored over as a young teenager:
That $99.50 swing saw on page 10 now has me cringing – talk about table saw safety or lack thereof! Glad that I didn’t have the money or inclination to buy one back then. If I had somehow scraped enough together from mowing lawns and bought one – if my dad didn’t kill me the saw might have.
I’ve been looking for a midway pair of lineman’s pliers – roughly an 8″ as a 9″ just doesn’t fit in the case I need it for. Any recs?
Lowes says that this 200mm (7.9 inch) Knipex is on sale:
I’ve so many Japanese, German and Klein hand tools I’ve just not been too interested.
But Laser Etched Driver Tips?! Whoa.
Now I’m interested.
Thanks, Stuart, for the heads up.
I have as set of these from Wera. They are not at my primary residence – so Idon’t use them enough to say that the laser etching makes a big difference – but they seem OK and perhaps cam-out less.
fred. I’ve both “standard” and insulated sets and really like their screw setting feel. Can’t describe that better.
The ones I’ve gifted have been well received too.
Je suis européen et me réjouis que l’outillage Milwaukee soit fabriqué aux États-Unis.
Je possède plusieurs outils sur batterie ,de la marque Milwaukee ,et j’en suis très satisfait .
J’espère que les outils manuels seront, comme la marque Française Facom, garantis à vie.
I am European and glad that Milwaukee tooling is made in the USA.
I have several battery-powered tools from the Milwaukee brand and I am very satisfied with them.
I hope that the manual tools will be, like the French brand Facom, guaranteed for life.
I hope Milwaukee can launch these on time. I’ve been wanting to buy a dedicated #1 ECX/combo driver for electrical work for months now (48-22-2041 or 48-22-2841). Klein makes one as well (7314) , and I might just go with that one for my upcoming project.
Those Milwaukee ones like the 48-22-2241 are available now – but they are made in China. Another alternative is the Wiha:
I have been looking for a set of USA-made pliers for quite a while I suspect these are geared towards the pro. I am happy to see these. I’ll definitely get a set over time. Thanks for the info.
Can’t wait! Very interested in how they price this obviously premium tool since it’ll be sold in box stores. But honestly either way take my money.
Please keep us updated on what else they have planned for USA production! Would love to see sockets and wrenches in the box stores with USA on them as well, even at a higher price.