Author Topic: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?  (Read 2027 times)

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Offline hdv

  • Posts: 140
Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« on: June 06, 2020, 04:37 PM »
I am thinking of buying a compact drill a la the CXS. After reading all the positive posts on the Milwaukee compact installation drill I was thinking of going for that. (I don't mind the unconventional postition of the reverse/forward switch.)

I am also seriously considering a cordless sawsall/reciprocating saw. To minimise the number of battery platforms in my shop I thought of getting one of theirs too. Right now I only have a whole bunch of Makita 14.4V batteries (not counting one set of Ryobi batteries, because I really like their cordless nailer). Would the M12 sawsall be useful for "regular" jobs around the house? That would enable me to stick with the same batteries as the drill. Or would I regret not going for the M18 later on? I expect to use it for stuff like cutting thin-walled aluminium profiles (2 mm), shortening small softwood timbers (but no massive construction grade timbers), pruning branches, and probably once a month I might demolish a pallet so I can put the pieces in the fireplace in the garden. All in all no really "heavy" stuff.

What would be your choice?


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Offline Vtshopdog

  • Posts: 35
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2020, 05:34 PM »
hdv:
I own a bunch of  M18 stuff including the Hackzall cutoff tool. (Hackzall is Milwaukee's name for their one handed sawzall, I believe the M12 is only offered in this configuration??)  It's super handy all over the place and I hardly ever get out my big corded version anymore.  Guessing the 12 V version would do just fine for what you describe as my 18V never breaks a sweat. 

Really happy with Milwaukee battery performance BTW

No experience with the drill, but lots of posts here about that.

Offline HandyDen

  • Posts: 38
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2020, 06:16 PM »
I have extensively used both the M12 and M18 Hackzalls, and I think the M12 is great for all but the biggest jobs.  I’m very impressed with the power of the whole M12 lineup.  I did, however, buy the Milwaukee M12 Installation drill and returned it.  I’ve grown too accustomed to my CXS, and the Milwaukee just didn’t feel or work as smoothly.  That being said, if the CXS didn’t exist, I would buy the regular M12 drill/driver set and would be happy with it.

Offline Dane

  • Posts: 389
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2020, 06:40 PM »
I’ve got both the M12 and M18 hackzalls.  The M12 is fine if you get the fuel version and run one of the higher amp hour batteries.  I got the m18, because I was finding myself cutting a lot of old, hard 2x lumber in place on remodel jobs and the m12 was a bit underpowered for that.  I also have the M12 installation drive and would buy it again.  I have a pretty wide assortment of tools
On both platforms and find that if you are doing real construction type tasks using framing lumber, the M18 is the way to go.  If you are just tinkering around the house or doing woodworking projects, the M12 is more than adequate.

Offline waho6o9

  • Posts: 1547
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Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2020, 10:38 PM »
The M12 fuel Hackzall works well. I like using a carbide blade in it when cutting metal, it's very efficient. 

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 565
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2020, 10:54 PM »
I have the M12 Installation drill / driver and love it! I already had a lot of M18 tools so it was my first M12. I was so impressed with the weight to power that I also bought the M12 Surge hydraulic impact driver which is both super quiet and very powerful. I have an M18 Fuel Hackzall and an M18 Sawzall and love them both but have not tried the M12 versions. If my experience with these first two M12’s are any indication then the Hackzall would be just fine.

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 565
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 11:08 PM »
Also, I don’t know about other dealers but I do know that Toolnut.com has a promotion going where if you but an M12 Haczall you can choose a free tool. One of the choices is a 6 amp hour battery which is really nice to have, especially for the more power hungry tools. It’s not the Fuel version Hackzall but it might work for you. I think that they also have the same promotion on the M12 Surge impact driver that I talked about loving. I didn’t see anything currently on the 4 in 1 installation driver. I always try to wait for the tool I want to be available in one of the promotions. That additional free batter really comes in handy as you grow into the platform.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7367
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2020, 12:20 AM »
I'd just embrace the M18 Fuel Sawzall and lighten your load. The M12 Hackzall is cute but it will only accept a 4" long blade which makes it difficult for cutting pallets and especially difficult for trimming trees. Besides, the M12 Hackzall was brought to market as an addition to the Sawzall line rather than a replacement for the Sawzall. Kind of like the short, stubby screwdriver, it has its place but you'd never consider it to be your first choice for a screwdriver assortment.

The M18 Sawzall is much more flexible and will expand your capabilities, both present and future. With the M12 Hackzall you're limited to putzy, small items.

A Sawzall is like a right angle grinder, it's one of those tools you purchase for a specific purpose but as time goes by, you continue to find more and more uses for.

Besides that, here are two Milwaukee tree trimming blades that can be used in the Sawzall, these will not fit in to the Hackzall. These are serious tree trimming blades and are second only to a chain saw.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 12:28 AM by Cheese »

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 140
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2020, 06:16 AM »
First of all: thanks for all the replies! I really do appreciate it. [big grin]

You guys aren't making it easy for me though. I read the first replies and got to the point of thinking "yeah, M12 will be good enough". And then there's Cheese...  [eek] [wink] His remark about the short length of the blades for the M12 (which I hadn't noticed before) got me thinking. I have about 32000m2 with shrubs and trees on it that I have to keep at least somewhat in check. Especially where it is near the road. I have a Stihl chain saw for the thicker branches and trunks, but being able to use a sawsall with blades of a decent length for quick pruning would be a great boon to me.

Alas, there goes my hope of keeping the number of battery platforms down.  [scared] Too bad the installation drill doesn't come in an M18 version...

Now I am leaning towards the M12 installation drill and the M18 sawsall. Any hints about things and accessories to be aware of before I order them?

Offline thudchkr

  • Posts: 163
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2020, 07:09 AM »
One thing of note not mentioned prior is the difference in stroke length on the Hackzall. M12 Fuel has 1/8” longer stroke than the M12 non-fuel version. Non-fuel M18’s stroke is 1/8” longer yet while the Fuel version of the M18 Hackzall adds another 1/8” for the longest stroke of the Hackzalls.

Of course, going to a Sawzall as recommended by Cheese gets you a longer stroke yet. I’ve had and used all of them. I got rid of the non-fuel M12 because it was noticeably slower while cutting because of that shorter stroke. I do, however, use the Fuel M12 all the time though. If I were limited to one tool of the bunch, I’d have to look hard at what it would be likely to get used for. If you intend to use it for cutting green wood, the longest stroke length you can get will be essential.

Good luck on your choice. 

Clint
Clint

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Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1198
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2020, 08:09 AM »
@Cheese Here’s my M12 Fuel Hackzall with 9 inch Diablo pruning blade in it.



I routinely use this thing to prune. The only thing the manual says about blades is don’t use one shorter than 3.5 inches because it won’t engage the guide on the back stroke.

The Hackzall will take any blade that has the standard mount.

I can one hand the Hackzall I can’t do that with the Sawzall and I have both.  The stroke on the Hackzall is shorter than the Sawzall. For bigger limbs and landscape timbers I’d bring out the Sawzall but for smaller stuff I really like the Hackzall. I got it after I had the bigger Sawzall for pruning and such and tend to grab it before the bigger one.

@hdv You’ll want one of the bigger batteries on it not the small battery on mine for the photo op  [big grin]. the normal kit comes with a 4.0 battery. Home Depot has a current deal with the kit with the 4.0 battery and a free 6.0

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-M12-FUEL-12-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Brushless-Cordless-HACKZALL-Reciprocating-Saw-Kit-W-Free-6-0Ah-Battery-2520-21XC-48-11-2460/301560919

they also have some free tool deals as well

https://www.homedepot.com/s/milwaukee%2520fuel%2520hackzall%2520m12?NCNI-5

Ron
« Last Edit: June 07, 2020, 08:16 AM by rvieceli »

Offline Pompeio

  • Posts: 71
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2020, 08:16 AM »
Sorry to disagree with the post regarding the M12 Hackzall only accepting 4” blades.
I have had the M12 for about three years and have used it with 4”, 6”, 8” and 9” blades. It is lightweight and requires holding it with only one hand.  I have used it extensively to cut small limbs on trees and bushes. I would purchase it again.

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7367
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2020, 09:00 AM »
I really like the long reach of the Sawzall...especially when trimming thick, prickly fir trees. One-hand it into position without having to get too close, place it on the limb and pull the trigger. The weight of the Sawzall is enough force to do the job. No extra effort on my part is needed.

 [popcorn] [popcorn]

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1954
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2020, 09:28 AM »
The one handed use of the hackzall is much more handy to me over the two handed sawzall (with exception to Cheese’s prickly trees).  I can hold what I’m cutting with my left hand.  I had a sawzall before, but got to the point where a chainsaw was necessary, so I replaced it with the hackzall which has been fine for most everything around the house including pruning tasks and cutting up pallets.  But I only have the M18 fuel, not the 12v.  I’m not sure I would want to drop to something with a smaller stroke and less power, and no matter what, you’ll be getting the XC battery with an M12 Hackzall, and you’ll be using a regular battery with that installation drill.  While the 12v batteries are interchangeable, you really won’t be doing that much, so you may as well get the M18!   :)
-Raj

Offline mike_aa

  • Posts: 1171
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2020, 11:10 AM »
@Cheese Here’s my M12 Fuel Hackzall with 9 inch Diablo pruning blade in it.

(Attachment Link)

I routinely use this thing to prune. The only thing the manual says about blades is don’t use one shorter than 3.5 inches because it won’t engage the guide on the back stroke.

The Hackzall will take any blade that has the standard mount.

I can one hand the Hackzall I can’t do that with the Sawzall and I have both.  The stroke on the Hackzall is shorter than the Sawzall. For bigger limbs and landscape timbers I’d bring out the Sawzall but for smaller stuff I really like the Hackzall. I got it after I had the bigger Sawzall for pruning and such and tend to grab it before the bigger one.

@hdv You’ll want one of the bigger batteries on it not the small battery on mine for the photo op  [big grin]. the normal kit comes with a 4.0 battery. Home Depot has a current deal with the kit with the 4.0 battery and a free 6.0

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-M12-FUEL-12-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Brushless-Cordless-HACKZALL-Reciprocating-Saw-Kit-W-Free-6-0Ah-Battery-2520-21XC-48-11-2460/301560919

they also have some free tool deals as well

https://www.homedepot.com/s/milwaukee%2520fuel%2520hackzall%2520m12?NCNI-5

Ron

@Cheese , I have used the same exact setup as @rvieceli  with the M12 Fuel Hackzall and the Diablo 9" blade with no issues.  Only difference is my wife does the pruning.   [eek]

Besides the Hackzall and a few M12 tools the only other Milwaukee I have is an old corded Sawzall.  I haven't felt the need to pull out the old battleship in a few years.

Mike A.

Online rst

  • Posts: 2397
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2020, 07:59 PM »
I keep a M12 hackzall in my van for pretty much the sole purpose of cutting bolts and screws and occasionally aluminun angle.  M12 oscillating for cutting shims and the rotary tool for small grinding wheels and carbide burrs.

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 140
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2020, 05:09 AM »
Hmmm, so many choices...  [scratch chin]

I think, with all the pruning I have to do, I am leaning towards the longest stroke possible. As far as power goes, the M12 will probably be sufficient for what I want to do with it. And one-handed operation is nice, but not really a deal breaker to me. All-in-all I think I'll be going all out and buy the M18 FUEL FSX with a stroke of 32 mm. It might be too heavy duty for what I have in mind right now, but you'll never know what the future brings.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 08:29 AM by hdv »

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1954
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2020, 09:16 AM »
Bear in mind, to get the full power out of a beast like that, you’ll want to use one of Milwaukee’s high output or high capacity batteries.  Those are typically 6-12ah and have higher discharge rates to meet the tools demands.  You can get by with a regular 5.0 XC battery, but you won’t have the full power.
-Raj

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1198
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2020, 10:19 AM »
I’m with raj that thing is a monster. Milwaukee ships the kit with a 12ah battery which is quite large.

This is kind of like going shopping for a Fiat 500 and coming home with a Unimog.

Ron

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 140
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2020, 11:44 AM »
@RKA: I was indeed planning on getting the 12 Ah batteries with it. But before I order anything: did I miss something? Are these batteries coming in multiple versions? Or are all 12 AH batteries "high output"?

@rvieceli: guilty as charged!  [embarassed]  I am not yet fully sure I will be buying this particular saw. But in the past most of my regrets (tool-wise that is  [tongue] ) were related to choosing something that later on proved to be not up to the job. Maybe this one is a bit over the top? Knowing myself, that is a real possibility. I am drawn to the large stroke of this thing, but have to admit that at the moment I don't plan on doing real rough work with it. Cutting up pallets will be about the hardest it will be doing for the time being. But as thudchkr noted, and this matches my experience as well, fresh wood (especially the resin-rich firs on my plot) have a tendency to clog up a blade real fast. If I remember correctly there was a 28 mm stroke saw in the range. Maybe that would be less overkill? Sorry to be so whimsical. I am a bit at a loss between all the different versions.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 11:47 AM by hdv »

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7367
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2020, 11:56 AM »
Food for thought...the pallets I'm familiar with have 2" x 4" stringers while the deck boards are usually 5/8"-3/4" thick and usually all are made from oak for durability. 

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1954
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2020, 12:29 PM »
Milwaukee first came out with the 9ah and 12ah for their high demand tools.  I think the marketing behind them was "HD".  Then they came out with the 3ah, 6ah and 8ah high output batteries ("HO") which also met the needs of a high demand tool (the 3ah a little less so).  With a tool like that, used to it's fullest, you're typically looking any 8ah and higher to get decent runtime and full power.  But it will wear you out lugging this thing around cutting 3" branches!  And the exact differences in discharge capacity between HD and HO I cannot recall.  It probably boils down to which cells they used in each.

I would start with the hackzall.  That (with the correct blade) will handle pruning tasks and pallets.  If you find a need for something bigger, get the unimog.  While they are similar in operation, they are meant for different things.  So first take stock in what you need it to do now.  If you later decide you want to demo half your house, get the big boy.
-Raj

Offline hdv

  • Posts: 140
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2020, 01:19 PM »
Something good came up. A Milwaukee dealer a few kilometers from here offered to let me do real-life testing of the different saws. That is great service! Now I can find out if the lighter saw will be up to the primary tasks I have in mind for it. I am looking forward to it.

@RKA: you are quite right. To be honest I was hoping to prevent having to buy another tool later on. But slowly I am getting to understand that these saws really are too different to be considered "the same, but with a bit more power".

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7367
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2020, 01:56 PM »
If you find a need for something bigger, get the unimog.

Funny...I forgot completely about the Unimog. Freightliner used to handle them.

Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1954
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2020, 03:05 PM »
That’s great!  Get a 9” pruning blade (Bosch and milwaukee Swiss made blades should be readily available in HD) and a 6” carbide tipped wood/metal demo blade to do your testing.  Watch your toes when you handle the big boy!
-Raj

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 836
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #25 on: June 08, 2020, 10:00 PM »
I've never tried the M12 Hackzall, but own the M18 One Key reciprocating saw and hated it after pulling the trigger, before even making a single cut with it. The trigger is not controllable at slow speed for starting a cut. In other words it is too fast. I have an old brushed Makita reciprocating saw, and it is my favorite as the trigger allows slow speeds to start a cut. I'll sell the One Key recip someday.

When it comes to the 18 volt batteries there are times bigger is better, but often smaller is less fatiguing. For impacts and drills I prefer the 2.0Ah size range, and switch to a 5.0Ah when using a 6 1/2" circular saw or other power hungry tool as it makes a big difference. The 9.0Ah is great for even larger tools, but very heavy. I'd save the 12.0Ah battery for their chainsaw, chopsaw (SCMS), or tablesaw. The new 6.0Ah, 8.0Ah, etc, really only come into play if you have the newest Super Charger with is sold separately. The Super Charger will not rapid charge the older batteries, IE: 5.0Ah, 9.0Ah, etc.

I am heavily vested in the M12 lineup, and other than the stupid little gutless grinder, have been happy with all my other purchases. The M12 installation driver is working great for me. Having the ability to put a couple 2" bits on it is really nice. The switch for forward reverse is far preferable over a regular impact type switch. Seems like I am always pulling the trigger and nothing happens because the switch got knocked into the half way point. Much prefer the switch on top.

The M12 impacts and drills do just about anything you can do with an M18, other than 4"+ lags or using a 4" hole saw. I routinely drive thousands of screws up to 3 1/8" GRK #10 screws with an M12 impact, and drill 3" holes using an M12 drill. I'd much rather carry an M12 impact in my vest, than a larger M18 or 18v Makita (I have both battery platforms). Surge impacts ROCK!


Offline hdv

  • Posts: 140
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2020, 08:18 AM »
I am just back from the test session. Wow! I sure am glad I got the opportunity to do this. I even got to test the M28 monster. That thing is heavy!   [scared] I doubt there's much it wouldn't be able to do, if you have the strength to hold it for prolonged periods of time.   [eek]

After that I tried the next one down they had, which was the M18 FSX Sawzall. I really like that machine! It surely is not lightweight by any means, but much easier to handle than the M28. Lot's of power and not as unruly as I had expected. The adjustable shoe was nice too.

Then it was the M18 CSX. Still a nice machine, but if I had to choose I definitely would buy the FSX. There's nothing specific that makes this machine not as good as the FSX, but the FSX has a much nicer feel to it.

On to the M18 FHZ. If I were to buy just one reciprocating saw, then it would be this one. It has enough power for most tasks. Cutting up timbers was no problem at all. Sure, it was only softwood (fir), but it handled that easily. Even the more thicker ones (I didn't measure them, but I would estimate they were about 80 mm). Cutting a piece of steel pipe was a bit harder, but if you don't try to push your way through it does so just fine. Just let the machine do the work. This machine has a different form factor and handles easier than the sawzall models.

They only had one M12 model, which was the M12 CHZ (this is one the FUEL types). Compared to the other machines it feels really light. The difference is really significant. It has a tiny stroke, which made me worry it would not be useful for things like pruning. But I tried it on a freshly cut branch of rowan about 45 mm thick and I was pleasantly surprised it cut through that quite easily. I did not expect that. I had a bit more trouble with a branch of beech of about the same thickness that had been cut a few weeks before, but it did cut that just fine too, just slower.

So, what did I end up buying? Well, I had serious trouble choosing whether I'd go for one all-round saw (M18 FHZ), or for the added comfort (but higher price tag) of both a lighter and a heavier saw.  [embarassed] In the end the guy made me a very nice offer. If I were to buy the M12 FDD (the installers drill, which I wanted to buy anyway and which started this whole adventure), the M12 CHZ, and the M18 FSX, he would sell the FSX for the price of the FHZ (that's about €175 difference). The only catch was that he could not tell me when he would get new stock of the M18 FSX. I am not in a hurry, and thus took him up on his offer.  [big grin]

So, I ended up with a whole different set of saws than I had in mind when I asked you guys for advise. And I still ended up with an additional battery platform. Ah, well. That's the problem of being a sucker for tools... you always end up buying more/better than you planned to do. I am sure you all recognise that problem!  [tongue]





Offline RKA

  • Posts: 1954
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2020, 09:27 AM »
Excellent, sounds like it worked out really well!  And you have a good retailer allowing you to demo near everything in the line.

As to the batteries, I gave up trying to consolidate years ago.  There is always some other tool, better suited for the job or unique on a battery platform you don't have.  In fact, despite having 6-7 different battery systems, I just ordered a cordless backpack sprayer on yet another unheard of battery system.  *sigh*
-Raj

Online Cheese

  • Posts: 7367
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #28 on: June 09, 2020, 09:54 AM »
So, I ended up with a whole different set of saws than I had in mind when I asked you guys for advise.

Well good for you...you got the best of all worlds with that grouping.  [smile]

Don't be fooled by the V28 Sawzall it's big and it's tough but it eats batteries like crazy. I actually have 2 of them, one in the shop and one in the garage for working on cars. I no longer use either one, I grab the 2720 instead because it cuts as well/fast as the V28 but it has 4-5 times the battery life. Here's the 2720 vs the V28 on the bottom.


Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 565
Re: Opinions on the Milwaukee M12/M18 cordless sawsall?
« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2020, 10:25 AM »
Congrats on your purchase! I hope that you enjoy your M’s as much as I do! The good news (for me) about these batteries is that most (if not all) of the M18 kits come with battery chargers that accommodate both M12 and M18 batteries in the same charger. Unfortunately the M12’s only come with a charger that works for M12’s (those are all stored away).