Tool Review – Milwaukee M12 FUEL 12-v Brushless Cordless 3-inch Cutoff Tool

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First Impression

I’ve got to be honest here. When I first saw this little saw I rolled my eyes and thought “pffff, what is this little turd of a tool?” Seriously, I judged a book by its cover. Boy do I regret that. I felt like an asshat after using it and finding out that it’s pretty much one of the coolest little tools on my truck.

I put the blade in and thought, “this is cute, I suppose I could cut bolts with it or something.” Well, after using it on a piece of sheetmetal my jaw hit the floor. I had no idea that so much power and efficiency could be packed into a little tool. I’m kind of a hater on the M12 system, and for no true reason. The M12 system is really badass after using several of tools in the system, I just wanted so badly to believe this tool was a marketing gimmick. BUT ITS NOT!

Functionality

Recently I had a job that required me to cut a bunch of corrugated sheet metal that was installed as a ceiling in a shop. I had to cut in some 1900 boxes and surface-mount some 3/4” EMT (electrical metallic tubing) along the inside of the corrugated ridges along the ceiling. To do this I had to cut a lot of the sheet metal in certain places to access old wiring up above it, then screw it all back down, cut in my boxes, then run the conduit across it and strap it all down, Not only did this little saw cut through the sheet-metal with ease, it is such a small, light-weight tool that carrying it up a ladder and keeping it shoved in my back pocket made it a snap to use. Normally I’d have to try to use an angle grinder or a bi-metal blade on a sawzall to do the same task, and when you’re climbing up to the top of a 12 ft ladder both of those tools require a lot of real-estate….especially if either one of them are not cordless.

This little tool turned an hour job into a 15 minute job. The batteries lasted through dozens of cuts, and the 3” cutting wheel worked far better than I expected. And it cut’s through electrical metallic tubing like butter…you know I had to try it right? The next day I worked on a job with tile…as I’m sure you can imagine I was now SO stoked to pull this out and try it.

One of the 3 blades that come with this tool is a diamond wheel for cutting light masonry, stone, and tile. I had a job that had some over-cut tile that prevented us from installing outlets in a backsplash. I whipped out my little Milwaukee cutoff tool with the quickness! I was seriously blown away again. Normally we don’t have the tools required to trim tile (gracefully), so we have the tile guys take care of it. But now that I have this little cut-off tool I can do it all in no time, without the worry of busting or messing up the tile. This saved us time not having to wait on the tile guys to come, and we were able to complete the job without messing up any tile. It will cut both wet AND dry tile.

The next day I was on another job, and this one we had to cut out a long and skinny patch of sheetrock in a finished ceiling to add wire for some new recessed lighting. I didn’t want to hand-saw a 6ft long by 1ft wide hole above my head using a keyhole saw (sheetrock knife), and I could have used a sawzall or a circular saw…but why? I had this amazing little tool that was light-weight and efficient…and I happen to have a 3rd blade specifically designed for sheetrock and fiber-board. DOPE!

I used a chalk-line to snap a straight and pretty rectangle over the area I was about to cut. I do this because I want to make patching easier for the sheetrock crew. Normally you can use a sawzall or a circular saw to get a decently straight cut but it makes a lot of mess, its heavy to use above your head, and they’re such high-powered tools that if you make a mistake it’s usually not a small one. This little cutoff saw worked perfectly. The blade is roughly 5/8” deep, so it’s perfect for penetrating sheetrock. It still does kick up a lot of dust, but in my situation the sheetrock was mudded and sanded recently and the place was being remodeled so creating a mess was not an issue. I just opened the exterior door, turned a fan on, and all the dust blew outside. Now better yet would have been to use the accessory guard with shoe that it came with, to hook it up to a vacuum and catch all of the dust while doing all of this. Again though, the environment I was in didn’t require that kind of care.

The blades can be changed out with an allan tool that comes with it. This is a great way to change out blades, and even comes with a 7/16” flange adapter for when you’re using the Dremel Saw MAX stuff.

Summary

Sooooo, this guy gets 5 stars without question. I DO recommend that you get extended-life batteries like a 3ah M12 to use, because this will chew through batteries if you’re making long slow cuts, or multiple long cuts. Other than that this thing will come in handy in SO many situations that it has earned a permanent place in my van. This is a great little tool to keep on you that will help you out in so many random situations you didn’t see possible.

For more detailed information on this Cutoff Tool CLICK HERE.

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