For years, I wasn’t very interested in outdoor power tools, at least not personally. That all changed when we moved into a home with grass, bushes, brush, weeds, trees, and everything in between.
Don’t get me wrong, outdoor power tools don’t top my list of most interesting tools to talk about, but I’m still trying to learn more about the nuances and details that separate the good outdoor power tools from the better ones.
Earlier this week, Milwaukee Tool representatives were in the area to show off their latest and greatest M18 Fuel outdoor power equipment – a blower, a string trimmer, and a hedge trimmer. I made the trip out, and previewed the tools in a hotel conference room.
It was an interesting presentation to say the least. I had my infant daughter with me, and she really put my multitasking abilities to the test.
Thoughts raced through my head as I absorbed details about the string trimmer and fired off some questions. Why is it better than competing models? The string has a high energy impact, so what’s the durability like? Why is the motor housing shaped like that?
We also had a great discussion about the blower, and discussion of the hedge trimmer was detailed but a little hurried since I needed to race to another appointment. I didn’t have a chance to test the tools on wood dowels and broom bristles, but there will be plenty of time for tool testing once they’re released.
General Thoughts About Milwaukee M18 Fuel Outdoor Tools
It seems sincere to me, that Milwaukee is seeking to deliver the best outdoor power tools that they can. It also seems clear to me that they’re targeting gas-powered tools and high powered cordless solutions, including higher voltage systems.
The new M18 Fuel tools – and I’m sorry I ran out of time and was unable to take photos – were each paired with a 9.0Ah High Demand battery pack, capable of delivering high power and long runtime.
Don’t worry, your non-HD M18 battery pack will be more than capable of powering these tools, although you’ll likely see better runtime with one of the newer and higher capacity XC battery packs.
I believe it’s the string trimmer that will benefit from a small bump up in power when paired with a 9.0Ah High Demand battery pack.
Overall, the tools looked the part they were designed to play – they look to be high performance outdoor tools for professional use. Demanding consumers should also take notice.
More details are forthcoming – this post is meant to be a quick run through initial observations and details that stuck with me.
I’ll try to get some images too. But right now, my immediate priority was getting these details on figurative paper while they were all still fresh in my mind.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel String Trimmer
There were some standout features, such as a solid drive shaft between motor and cutter head. The cutting head had an offset guard, to help avoid debris build-up, the handle was covered
in a thicker and squishier than usual grip material, for vibration dampening and comfort. Even the motor housing was specially designed to mimic the ergonomics and stance experienced and heavy users take when using gas trimmers.
There were talks of high tip speed and high impact energy, and of the specially coated twisted trimmer line.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Blower
I have been using Dewalt’s 20V Max blower a LOT these past few weeks, mainly to clear the garage, and to clear the drive of dust and debris. With leaf-falling season upon us, I’ll definitely keep it at the ready.
Milwaukee’s new blower is larger, at least it looks substantially larger. Maybe a bit heavier too. I lifted the blower, and while it’s got so heft, it doesn’t feel like an iron weight waiting to exercise my arms. But ask me again after I’ve had to clear an entire driveway or walkway.
The blower has a removable air duct, and a rather large air intake. You should be able to get a feel for the blower’s size from Benjamen’s photo, shown above.
I put some baby ear muffs on my daughter, and the product manager fired up the M18 Fuel blower to show how it zips to full power nearly instantaneously. That was a bullet point shared along all 3 new outdoor tools – full power ready to go whenever you press the trigger.
I also noticed the blower to be a bit louder than the Dewalt I’ve been using. But it’s also larger and presumably much more powerful.
While the hedge trimmer and string trimmer will be limited to their specialized purposes, the blower looks to have additional appeal. I’m guessing jobsite cleanup is an intended use, and the product manager specified that they expect the blower to be used by some for for clearing concrete forms and things like that.
The most interesting part, at least in my opinion, is the inclusion of a small baffle towards the bottommost arc of the fan guard. The guard helps to reduce speed and airflow losses. While I don’t have much of a background in airflow, I know that the fan creates a sort of dead spot at the center where the motor is. Beyond that, airflow should be symmetrical, so why a slow down towards the bottom of the guard?
There’s no filter, but don’t worry, the fan can handle small pieces of debris, such as grass clippings that might find their way into the intake. Rocks and other larger debris should be deflected by the fan guard.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer
The new hedge trimmer has a 24″ blade and tip guard, in case you swing the trimmer and hit some grass. It can handle branches up to 3/4″ thick.
There was talk of lower vibration and less noise compared to gas-powered tools, which makes sense.
More to Come
We talked about the product category in general, and how an M18 Fuel chainsaw is a possibility, and that a mower really isn’t on the roadmap right now. As for a hand tools segment of lawn and garden tools? It would be interesting if you ask me. There’s definitely potential for disruption in this market.
I tried to squeeze out as many details as I could, especially since outdoor power tools isn’t exactly my forte, and because I couldn’t make it to the June media event.
Between my tight schedule, my daughter’s feeding need and dirty diaper, and my caffeine spike and subsequently drop, I think I managed to hold onto the important bits.