Milwaukee Expands Woodworking Line With M18 Cordless 1/4-Sheet Orbital Sheet Sander
There aren’t many areas where Milwaukee’s cordless lineup isn’t as deep, but cordless sanders are one of them. That’s beginning to change as the Milwaukee M18 Cordless Orbital 1/4-Sheet Sander joins the brand’s expanding selection of cordless woodworking tools.
Milwaukee M18 Orbital Sheet Sander Performance
This orbital sander uses an M18 battery to power the brushed motor between 11,000 and 13,000 oscillations per minute with a 1.6mm orbit diameter. That’s a somewhat narrower operating range than we’ve seen on some models and it has a slightly lower top speed.
However, we don’t have any complaints about our material removal rates. Paired with 60-grit sandpaper, it can keep up just fine.
To turn the sander on, flip the power switch on the front of the housing. Speed adjustments are also easy with a dial around the left side towards the back. Both are easily in reach while you’re sanding.
Milwaukee tells us the M18 sheet sander’s integrated dust collection bag gathers up to 95% of the dust output you create while in use. It also features a universal hose adapter so that you can hook up a vacuum hose for even better dust containment.
We did have the opportunity to use it extensively on our 2×4 bench build. Even without connecting it to a dust extractor, we saw less dust than we expected considering how much sanding we were doing.
Milwaukee tells us that when paired with a 5.0Ah battery you can expect to get up to 40 minutes of continuous runtime, depending on your sanding speed. During our testing, we used a 3.0Ah High Output battery at high speed and swapped batteries after about 25 minutes of sanding time.
Milwaukee M18 Orbital Sheet Sander Design Notes
With a 5.0Ah battery, this sander weighs a very reasonable 4.4 pounds. If you go with a smaller pack like we did, you can shave the weight down a bit more. While it’s heavier than its corded counterparts, the weight isn’t a significant concern for a handheld sander of this size.
Overall, Milwaukee doesn’t stray from the foundations of a good sander design. The rounded top easily contours to your palm and the rubber overmold helps you easily maintain your grip, even if your hands are sweaty.
The front of the sander recesses in and offers a secondary grip location. With the vibration that a sander produces, it’s nice to have multiple grip locations as you’re switching between one-hand and two-hand use for longer tasks.
As a 1/4-sheet sander, the Milwaukee 2649 sticks with a traditional paper clamp system over the hook and loop (Velcro) connections you find on other sander styles. Just use the clamp in the front to hold one edge and set the back edge using the wire clamp.
It’s easiest to use pre-punched 1/4-sheet sandpaper, but that’s not always what you have on hand. Whether you’re cutting down larger sheets, have 1/4 sheets without holes, or it has a different pattern, there’s a hole punch in the box. To use it, clamp your paper in place, clip the punch on and press in to get the correct hole pattern.
Milwaukee M18 Orbital Sheet Sander Price
The Milwaukee 2649 retails for $149 as a bare tool and $329 as a kit. The kit includes a 5.0Ah battery and charger. Both options are backed by a 5-year tool warranty and a 3-year battery warranty.
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee M18 Orbital Sheet Sander is proof that you can cut the cord without sacrificing material-removing performance. The design is solid and while the runtime might benefit from a brushless motor, it’s an excellent addition to Milwaukee’s cordless woodworking lineup.
Are you a fan of Milwaukee tools? Be sure to keep stay tuned to see what’s coming down the Pipeline.
Milwaukee M18 Orbital Sheet Sander Specifications
- Model: Milwaukee 2649
- Power Source: Milwaukee M18 battery
- Speed: 11,000 – 13,000 OPM
- Orbit: 1.6mm
- Vibration: 2.5 m/s^2
- Length: 5.3 inches
- Width: 5.8 inches
- Height: 5.9 inches
- Weight: 2.75 lbs (bare), 4.38 lbs (with 5.0Ah battery)
- Sander style: 1/4-sheet
- Warranty: 5-year tool, 3-year battery
- Price: $149 (bare), $329 (kit)