Milwaukee Releases Low Voltage Tools

It could be happy news for your installers: Milwaukee (one of the leading power tool brands) has announced a new line of low voltage/ network installer gear.

In the commercial construction market, Milwaukee brand tools are apparently near the top, with the M12 and M18 'Fuel' cordless tools being especially popular.

Even this relatively boring low-voltage tool announcement has resonated on the company's Facebook page, with the post showing 1000+ <mostly> positive 'likes' and 180+ positive comments in the day since the announcement.

No pricing or stock is showing available for the new line yet, but just like 'Apple fanbois' buy up the newest iPhone, you can expect 'Milwaukee fanbois' do the same for these tools.

What do you think? Does this new line of Milwaukee low voltage installer tools get your attention?

I would think that since there are no power tools the interest would have been pretty low.  

There is definitely an extreme brand loyalty group out there.  I was scolded a few months back for buying a half dozen Ryobi power drills that I needed to outfit new techs because we are a Milwaukee only house.  Still not entirely certain what the advantage of Milwaukee is, not being a tech.

Still not entirely certain what the advantage of Milwaukee is, not being a tech.

Your guys were used to Ferraris and you just gave them a Kia.

Ryobi stuff is OK, but it is a consumer brand, and will generally not stand up as well as Milwaukee or Makita in a hard-use/professional setting.

I see... that's good to know and unfortunate to learn.  I will say the rate on "lost/misplaced" Ryobi drills versus Milwaukee is a lot lower.  Almost makes it worth the scolding.

Because they're garbage. Dollars to donuts your techs are bumming tools off other trades, or bringing their own. So the Ryobi sits safely in the truck, and nobody bothers to steal it.

[have had company-issued Ryobi, never got more than an hour of use out of them. switched to DeWalt and could go 10 hour days on a battery and a half]

...switched to DeWalt and could go 10 hour days on a battery and a half...

continuous use?

I don’t care about how long the battery lasts or how fast the charging is, per se.

as long as the battery in the charger is ready before the one on the tool dies, I’m happy.

Brand loyalty is pretty strong in the tool world, because switching between tool brands is highly unsettling. 

Installations is a mainly a matter of muscle memory, you see. After thousands of repetitions, a technician learns exactly how to position their wrist and how to balance their forearm and how to twist their thumbs and on and on and on. Trying to use unfamiliar tools means that all the skills they don't even know they have are now useless and needs to be relearned, leading to stress, panic, and confusion. 

You'll find this phenomenon in most activities that rely heavily on muscle memory. Chefs are loyal to a brand of knives, golfers are loyal to a brand of clubs, gamers are loyal to a brand of keyboards, and so forth. If you ask them why, most of them will struggle to explain themselves or will invent ridiculous post hoc explanations, but the actual reason is muscle memory. 

This holds even when switching between tools. Many technicians, if given a choice, will prefer to source all their tools from the same manufacturer. Toolmakers, like knife makers or golf club designers or computer keyboard builders, tend to use a consistent design language between products, meaning that a technician who is comfortable with a Milwaukee drill will very likely feel comfortable with a different Milwaukee product from the very first time they pick it up. It will look and feel and act familiar, which is very psychologically important to a technician. This will lead to very fast adaptation of the new tool, allowing them to use it to its fullest potential almost from the first day on the job site. 

The difference between Milwaukee tools and Ryobi tools is particularly egregious. As Karas says, Ryobi is a consumer grade brand, and Milwaukee is a professional grade brand. Not only will the tools feel and act very different, they aren't designed to stand up to daily use, and will probably need replacing before the year is out. No wonder your techs are feeling mutinous, although it sounds like they aren't smart enough or articulate enough to explain all this. 

Next time you have to buy new tools, get the buy-in of the people that have to use them. They, of course, will always want the fanciest and most expensive option, because it's not their money, so don't actually feel obligated to follow all their suggestions. But at least let them feel heard. And if you want to give a Christmas gift to your computer gaming nerd nephew, give them a gift card instead of trying to guess what keyboard or joystick they want. 

Very well said!  

It will look and feel and act familiar, which is very psychologically important to a technician.

I’d just be happy if the reverse button on all drills had the same polarity.

Seriously, whomever the first one to go opposite everyone else out of spite or ignorance should be fined ;)

I do think there's a difference between a Milwaukee drill and Ryobi, to be sure. I'm not saying they're equivalent in any way.

That being said, Ryobi has improved quite a bit in the past two years. The difference between the first ever Ryobi drill I used years ago and the latest one is night and day. I've been using one as my sole drill while renovating for a couple years and my only complaint is that the clutch adjustment isn't particularly granular. 

I think it comes down to what #1's techs are using the Ryobi for. If they're mostly using it as a driver and occasionally popping a hole in a cabinet, I think they should suck it up. If they're using it for constant drilling in hard surfaces (like brick or block for anchors), a Milwaukee or DeWalt is going to be a lot better and run longer. 

This graphic is widely distributed online, ie: Popular Mechanics and others, and it shows both Milwaukee and Ryobi are owned by a parent named TTI:

Of course, this does not mean the two subbrands are copies or the same, it just suggests that there may be component or design similarity.  Much in the same way luxury car brands are built on parent designs, ie: Lexus vs Toyota.

I've seen that before, too. I'm not sure I see many similarities but I also don't open 'em up and look.

I think of Ryobi as the Hikvision in the tool race to the bottom. It's not necessarily always the best or longest lasting, but it's cheap and works in a lot of situations.

I think of Ryobi as the Hikvision

Yet again, The Blog refers to RYOBI, in a negative nature because fear of the best!  RYOBI is always the RELIABLE, CHEAP, and of Unsurpased QUALITY.  We have used millions of RYOBI drills in the past 45 decades.  Why does The Blogger write about RYOBI yesterday, RYOBI today, and RYOBI tomorrow, because they threaten The Blogs favorite brand milwaukee?  milwaukee continues to fail while RYOBI dominates the market.  Why does every test on The Blog test only milwaukee, bosh, and dewalt?  99.9% of all 700 million ineptegrators in the USA use only RYOBI because of the low breakdowns.  Mr. Akira Urakami, is the most upstanding individual, who stands behind the RYOBI product, who I have met many times in my completely SELF-FINANCED trips to Fuchu which I will later deny.  Keep using your Overprised Dewald, mailwaukee, and bosch, drills while I laugh all the way to the bank!

Is this satire?  Because it seems that way.  I'm a pretty objective person, and I've tried pretty much every major tool brand.  Ryobi is hot garbage.  Their full size drills won't even drive lag bolts.  I've never seen a professional integrator use them.  And the TCO is higher without a doubt.  Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee and even Husky make great tools.  Ryobi makes toys.

I am pretty positive #1 is engaging in satire. It's such good satire that, at first, I thought it was by everyone's favorite Hikvision supporter :) Alas, it is not.

Pretty bad that I knew that and still took the bait :/

It’s satire for those long time IPVM users.  Once I saw the comparison to Hikvision I learned the error to my ways.  When it comes to tooling I have no valid opinions as I am not a technician.  If you send me to buy a tool I will almost invariably come back with something that is utterly incorrect as demonstrated here.

This picture must be incomplete; I don’t see any of my “goto” brands, like HaulMaster and Badland.  Sure you got your Milwaukee, but no Chicago, Pittsburgh or Portland:

Buying a quality power tool like Milwaukee will pay for itself many times over in the long run. Getting the job done faster, not having to charge batteries as often, not having to get your power tools fixed nearly as often. Also they have their high end products that have built in Bluetooth in case the tools gets stolen. Basically the same system as the Tile device you would put on your key chain. Trust me well worth the money for the durability and performance. DeWalt is OK too... I know that will rub some the wrong way :)

I can't believe I'm that guy, but those snips look super comfortable. 

I've never seen an extended length punch tool like that. Maybe I'm just out of the game, but it looks unwieldy. I thought it was a screwdriver.

I was just talking to a coworker about how I could see some use for an extended length punch blade. Some patch panels we have, I have found to be tricky to re-terminate lines after the fact ,trying to squeeze the punch down tool in there. I would of course have to try the extended blade to know for sure.

I like the integrated LEDs too! Holding a flashlight in one hand, or finding a place to balance it out of the way, is a PITA.

Use a Milwaukee M18 drill for a week in January outdoors in Chicago vs. a Ryobi and tell me how much you cant tell the difference or why someone would buy Milwaukee

not a big enough fanboy of milwaukee to buy those wire tool those are bs but I also wouldnt goto HILTI to buy a toothbrush lol



Mostly because a Hilti electric toothbrush would be $500.

And it would promptly dislodge all your teeth.

These will look good along with my Milwaukee drill, impact, hammer drill, mini-band saw, hackzall, oscillating saw, vacuum, and my favorite....

My new heated coat I received for Christmas

Have you considered industrial modeling professionally? You seem a natural ;)

I tried several different professional brands and Bosch seems the most convenient for low -voltage work

makita would be my second choice, milwaukee and dewalt after that

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Ridgid brand tools.

It's sold only at Home Depot and comes with a lifetime warranty, even on the batteries, and even when used commercially! I had a 3 year old drill that the battery wouldn't hold a charge. Walked into home depot with the dirty old battery, company name engraved on it and all, walked out with a brand new battery. My dad had a 5 year old table saw that the motor burned out on. Straight exchanged it for a new one in store!

What's interesting, is it's made by Millwaukee, yet is sold cheaper and has a better warranty then their own line of tools.

Now, granted, a Millwaukee will still drive a screw in much faster then a Ridgid, and will knock out a 2" hole in a panel twice as fast, but for most tasks you come across in the low voltage industry I would recommend Ridgid all day long.

I have a few Rigid tools, but no drills. I was told by a few that really like the Rigid tools that they have started to require registration or no warranty. I haven't tried this for myself, but it's just what I was told.

I have a few Milwaukee tools but mostly use Makita. The hardest part of switching brands is the cost of batteries and changing them. I like Makita because of the vast amount of tools that work with the same 18V battery. The only time I will use other brands is when a manufacturer offers a unique tool that Makita doesn't offer. Milwaukee was one of the first companies to offer one of the smallest SDS cordless hammer drills. Dewalt makes the Gyro screwdriver. Those were unique products. Makita has since make a small SDS and as a bonus, still used the 18V battery.

Dewalt makes the Gyro screwdriver.

what do/did you find unique about the Gyro?  would you still buy one today, with some of the much cheaper options?

I didn’t discover this driver on my own. I met a service tech a little while back and he had one. There are a few different variations of the similar item. The one I prefer is the one with the clutch, bit holder, and can be straight or angled. This tech said it was his main go-to for service work. His main field is mechanical contracting. The gyro wasn’t what I liked the most. I simply liked the sensitive clutch to avoid over torque and for its size, it had power. Many larger drills have a clutch that can’t be set low enough to avoid over torque. This mainly comes into play for camera dome covers.

I use Duluth flex cargo pants exclusively and the drill when I’m straight position has a place at my side. It’s light weight and I usually have a Phillips #2 tip and whatever security bit I need for a particular camera.

I did a quick Google search and nothing came up as a close competitor to the Dewalt. It’s probably the only Dewalt cordless tool I own but because it uses an 8V battery I let it slide. What options have you found that are much cheaper? The Dewalt is fairly inexpensive for what it is considering $99 gives you the tool, charger, and two batteries.

I did a quick Google search and nothing came up as a close competitor to the Dewalt.

ah, that’s because I was thinking “Gyro” was just a marketing term.  I’m glad I asked.