Whenever you’re doing a repair, large or small, you want to have the right set of tools on hand. There’s nothing more frustrating than needing to stop in the middle of a task to run to the store because you don’t have what you need. To be prepared, you might want to purchase a comprehensive set of reliable tools, and Milwaukee makes sets for just about every repair need.
Milwaukee has been manufacturing quality tools for nearly 100 years. Besides selling tools individually, the company also offers a wide variety of tool sets that are curated to match various home repair needs. However, with hundreds of tools available and numerous possible combinations of those tools, you might need a little help determining which set is best for you.
This buying guide walks you through your options to help you make the most informed choice. It covers what tools you can expect to find in various sets and offers some safety tips as well. If you’d prefer to make a quick selection, consider one of the Milwaukee tool sets that we’ve spotlighted above.
Manual vs. powered
Manual: Milwaukee has an extensive selection of tool sets, including both manual and powered tools. While there are over 400 different types of manual tools available, the sets are limited. If you’re looking for a collection of Milwaukee manual tools, they’re only available according to type. You can find a ratchet and socket set, screwdriver set, wrench set, an assortment of pliers, or some other similarly themed set. When choosing a set of Milwaukee manual tools, you’ll likely be making that decision based on the type of tool you need at the moment.
Powered: A Milwaukee power tool set is a diverse collection of tools that can handle a wide variety of tasks. When you choose one of these sets, you’re more likely focused on finding something that can serve you well for many years to come, no matter what your needs.
When deciding which Milwaukee tool set to buy, your primary concern is choosing the battery system. This is important because there are two and they are not compatible.
M12: This is a 12-volt system. The battery is smaller and lighter, and the tools are smaller, lighter, and less powerful than those in the M18 system. The M12 tools are best for the homeowner who doesn’t have a need for heavy-duty power tools.
M18: This is an 18-volt system. The battery in these tools is larger and heavier. The M18 tools are larger and heavier too, making them slightly more difficult to wield. These tools are designed for situations where heavy-duty usage is required. Also, there is a wider selection of tools available in the M18 battery system.
Milwaukee sets differ based on which tools are included. To give you an idea of your options, here are the top tools available. You will find from two to eight different tools in a set, depending on the set you choose.
Drill/driver: A drill/driver is used for drilling holes and driving screws. It’s one of the most frequently used tools in your power tool arsenal.
Impact driver: An impact driver is a heavy-duty option compared to a standard driver. It’s best for driving larger quantities as well as longer screws.
Hammer drill/driver: This drill/driver has a hammering action that when turned on makes drilling through materials like concrete possible.
Circular saw: This tool spins a circular blade, making it one of the most useful carpentry tools available. Depending on the blade, this saw can cut through a wide variety of materials.
Reciprocating saw: This is a handheld saw that moves up and down. Depending on the blade, this tool can cut through a variety of materials and is often used in demolition work.
Grinder: Rather than cutting through material, a grinder uses abrasive blades to chip away at a surface. This handy device can be used for everything from grinding to cutting to polishing to sharpening.
Random orbital sander: This tool is used to sand a surface either to remove material or to prepare it for painting. The movement of this sander makes it less prone to leaving circular marks in your finished work.
LED work light: Even if you’ll never be working in a dark area, you always want the best light possible for safety reasons. An LED work light is portable and lets you easily see what you’re doing.
Compact blower: This little device, which resembles a leaf blower, is used to quickly clean up a jobsite.
Wet/dry vac: The wet/dry vac that comes with a Milwaukee tool set is a compact device that’s about the size of a toolbox. You can use this item to quickly clean up your work area.
Battery and charger: Every Milwaukee power tool set comes with a battery and a charger. If you do more than light-duty work, look for a tool set that includes a backup battery so you can keep working while one battery recharges.
Whenever you use tools, there are a number of precautions that you need to take to stay safe.
- Wear the proper safety equipment. You want to protect your eyes, ears, hands, feet, lungs, and more. Don’t neglect to wear the gear you need for the job you’re doing.
- Use the right tool. Never use a tool for any purpose other than the one for which it was designed.
- Read and understand all instructions. Many tools have features and functions that aren’t obvious. Always read the owner’s manual so you know exactly what a tool is capable of as well as how to use it properly.
- Inspect your tool before using it. Whether it’s manual or powered, check the tool to make sure all the parts are secure and it functions as expected.
- Keep your tools clean. Clean tools work more efficiently, which makes them safer.
- Keep your work area clean. A cluttered work area is a dangerous work area.
- Keep up with tool maintenance. While some tools are virtually maintenance-free, others require regular upkeep. Make sure you care for your tools so they not only operate safely but also last longer.
Q. How did Milwaukee Tool get its start?
A. Over 100 years ago, Henry Ford commissioned a Wisconsin manufacturer named A. H. Petersen to develop a compact version of a 1/4-inch power drill. Petersen successfully created the first industrial drill that was light enough to be held in one hand. At just 5 pounds, the Hole-Shooter was a success. Petersen went on to found the A. H. Petersen Company with business partner Albert F. Siebert. After a fire put the young company out of business, Siebert purchased the company’s surviving assets at auction and reopened as Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.
Q. Who owns Milwaukee Tool?
A. Currently, Milwaukee Tool is owned by Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd., a global manufacturer of home improvement products that’s based in Hong Kong. Besides Milwaukee, Techtronic Industries also owns companies such as Ryobi, Dirt Devil, Homelite, and AEG.
Q. What is Milwaukee One-Key?
A. Milwaukee One-Key is a premium feature that allows you to control every aspect of your tool usage via an app. You can set running speeds, torque, and even program a saw to automatically stop when you finish a cut. One-Key also allows you to track every One-Key tool you own, so you always know its exact location. Additionally, if a One-Key tool is ever stolen, you can disable it remotely, so it no longer functions.