June 3, 2021

Milwaukee M18 system

I just bought a "Hacksawzall" and it is a fine tool for an excellent price. It came in a kit with a 5 Ah XC series "red lithium" battery and charger for $240.

Lots of marketing hype with all this "red lithium" and "fuel" designations. Ignore all that. There are some nice tools here.

There may be more than hype. But you do have to slice away the balogna. The "Fuel" designation indicates a brushless motor, which will be much more powerful than the non-"fuel" brushed motor.

The Milwaukee M18 batteries are a surprisingly complex business. There are also M12 (12 volt) and perhaps M21 (21 volt) batteries, but we won't talk about those here. There are 3 main M18 battery size classes:

If you want to go nuts, get the HD 12.0 Ah battery, but it costs over $200. Here is the story on the HD batteries. These are "high output" batteries using 21700 cells inside. These can deliver more instantaneous current, which is good for big tools like chainsaws or concrete cutoff saws. For other tools (like my Hacksawsall) the HD versus the XC gives no advantage. It is all about the amp hour rating. So buy the XC-5.0 or the HD-5.0 and get whichever you find at the best price.

There may be weight and handling differences. The "CP" series (not of interest to me). provide a lightweight battery and good handy (probably good for normal drills and impact drivers).

At some point I want a rotary hammer drill. I am warned to be a careful buyer. Low rates (like 5000, 7000) indicate a true rotary hammer, whereas higher rates are likely a hammer drill. I also want a drill to take SDS or better yet SDS plus drills. Maybe this one for $300 which specifies 4900 blows per minute No battery included for $300.

Bosch actually gets better ratings than Milwaukee, and here is their 18 volt SDS-plus hammer drill for $230 with battery and charger. 0 to 4350 bpm for this GBH18V-26DK15 unit.

A better price than the Milwaukee, and you get a battery, and ratings are better. The choice looks clear. Batteries are less expensive and there are lots of well priced "clone" batterys.

Note that SDS-max drills have a 18mm shank and SDS plus drills have a 10mm shank. There are tradeoffs both ways. I am told that if you want to drill 1/4 holes and have an SDS-Max you won't find drills to fit your machine.

Joe's 2717-20 SDS-Max M18 drill

It is 2-6-2023. Joe handed me his dead 2717-20 today saying that it is either give it to me or pitch it in a dumpster. I am just getting started troubleshooting it. He was using it with an HD 9.0 battery. He says that Milwaukee wants $350 to repair it, and an electronic "board" inside is quoted at $150. I see this very tool listed on Amazon right now for $328. I also see the 2717-22 listed for $702. Clearly the -22HD replaces the -20, but I wonder what difference merits the much higher price.

The 2717-20 is described as a 5 ft-lb Impact tool. It weighs 12.15 pounds.
I also see it called a "rotary hammer", 0-3000 blows per minute. Original price was $700, now sells for $328 given that the -22 is available.

The 2717-22HD is described as a Rotary cordless. It weights 14.75 pounds. They rate this at 8.1 ft-lbs of impact energy. Also rated at 0-3000 blows per minute.

Have any comments? Questions? Drop me a line!

Tom's Welding pages / tom@mmto.org