Milwaukee M18 Fuel Oscillating Multi-Tool Stakes its Claim as One of the Best
Milwaukee made some major changes to their latest generation of cordless oscillating tools. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel oscillating multi-tool (2836-20) is the crown jewel in the line and makes some bold claims. We were impressed with the performance of the M12 Fuel version, and we have high expectations for what this 18V brushless model has in store.
- Outstanding cutting and sanding speeds
- Outstanding vibration control
- Auto-Load automatic speed control
- Variable speed dial
- Wide-angle LED light
- Comfortable barrel grip design
- Slower tool-free blade changes than other models we’ve tested
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Oscillating Multi-Tool Performance
Milwaukee boosted their performance from 18,000 OPM on the M18 multi-tool to 20,000 OPM on the M18 Fuel. Additionally, they gave it a 4.2º oscillating angle that’s wider than most.
After running it through a series of test cuts and on the PTR Oscillating Multi-Tool Test Track, it’s clear that the Milwaukee M18 Fuel oscillating multi-tool is one of the fastest-cutting cordless models available.
Milwaukee’s only real competition is from Fein’s SuperCut Cordless. Between those two models, we couldn’t convincingly tell which one cut faster. What we could tell is that they are in a higher class than any other cordless model when it comes to cutting speed.
Milwaukee’s vibration control is outstanding as well—every bit as good as the SuperCut’s. In fact, only the M12 Fuel model seemed to have less vibration while cutting.
The only hiccup we’ve found made itself known during our Test Track runs. Milwaukee brings over its blade change from before and it has a threaded bolt that slows it down. With two accessory changes required during the Time Trial, it moved Milwaukee into the lower end of the group with a total time of 2:17.
PTR Oscillating Multi-Tool Test Track Setup
- Cutting out a door jamb
- Cutting out a gang box hole in drywall
- Removing crown by cutting 5 finish nails holding it in place
- Removing an 18-inch line of grout
- Sanding a 6-inch section of 2 x 4 stud
Check out our full list of recommendations in our Best Oscillating Multi-Tool article.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Oscillating Multi-Tool Design and Features
The design of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel oscillating multi-tool doesn’t stray far from the M12 Fuel’s. It shares a very similar barrel grip design that’s narrower and more comfortable to use than models from Bosch or Fein.
The bare weight is pretty manageable, too. At 2.56 pounds, it’s only a few ounces heavier than the M12 Fuel. Of course, that all changes once you put the battery on. The kit comes with a 5.0Ah battery bringing the weight to 4.18 lbs, but we prefer using a 3.0Ah High Output pack to lighten and shorten things up a bit.
- Variable Speed Dial
- Auto-Load (automatic speed control)
- 180º LED Light
- Tool-Free Blade Change with Magnets to Hold Blades
- Compatible With All M18 Batteries
Tool-Free Blade Change
The blade change mechanism is the same we saw on the older M18 version of this tool. You release the lever on top, and use your fingers to unscrew the threads until you can get the blade off.
Because the bolt is threaded, it’s a longer process to change accessories than most tool-free systems. If your favorite accessories don’t have the back section cut out, you’ll have to completely remove the bolt every time.
We love the Auto-Load feature found on the variable speed dial of the Milwaukee 2836-20. Working with it, the speed increases as you put more pressure into the cut. Combined with Milwaukee’s narrower barrel design, we found it highly effective when we were looking for better control.
This is a feature that’s not very common. Among cordless oscillating tools, Metabo HPT (Hitachi) is the only other model we’ve used that has it.
Milwaukee Cordless Oscillating Multi-Tool Comparison Chart
|M12 Fuel (2526)||M18 |
|M18 Fuel (2836)|
|Speed||10,000 – 20,000 OPM||11,000 – 18,000 OPM||10,000 – 20,000 OPM|
|Bare Weight||2.35 lbs||2.65 lbs||2.56 lbs|
|Length||11 3/16 in||11 7/8 in||12 3/16 in|
|Advanced Vibration Control||Yes||No||Yes|
|Variable Speed Dial||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Milwaukee 2836 Pricing
That’s on the pricier side of cordless oscillating tools. However, with performance and vibration control that rivals Fein’s SuperCut Cordless, it’s pretty compelling against Fein’s $509 – $662 price tag.
Note that both Fein kits include two batteries rather than one.
The Bottom Line
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel oscillating multi-tool is a huge step forward and goes toe-to-toe with the best cordless options out there. Its performance and vibration control are top-notch. The blade change might be a sticking point for some folks, but its significantly lower cost compared to Fein’s SuperCut is likely to add more red to remodelers’ toolboxes.
Learn more by visiting Milwaukee’s website.