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Milwaukee M18 FUEL Review

This has a short wind-up time, cuts like a dream, and has a battery that works with a massive list of other tools
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Milwaukee M18 FUEL Review (The Milwaukee's great cutting performance in combination with it being a member of the M18 FUEL family has made it one...)
The Milwaukee's great cutting performance in combination with it being a member of the M18 FUEL family has made it one of our favorites.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman
Price:  $600 List
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Manufacturer:   Milwaukee
By Ross Patton ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 23, 2019
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 13
  • Saw Performance - 35% 7.5
  • Ease of Use - 30% 7.0
  • Battery - 25% 7.0
  • Noise - 5% 6.9
  • Weight - 5% 6.3

Our Verdict

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel is one of our favorite battery chainsaws that we've reviewed to date. It is on the heavier side, but we find that in many instances the added weight aids with cutting. It has a great overall performance, our favorite type of chain tensioning system, and metal bucking spikes. We love the M18 Fuel battery. Not only does it produce a good runtime and charge quickly, but it is also interchangeable with an impressive number of other power tools. Milwaukee boasts that their M18 batteries power cordless tools for just about any task you can think of from high torque impact wrenches, angle grinders, and pipe threaders for your mechanical needs to circular saws, reciprocating saws, and framing nailers for working with wood.
REASONS TO BUY
Instant wind-up time
Metal bucking spikes
M18 battery system works with many other tools
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Uses a lot of oil
Bulky

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line The battery for this saw works for a long list of other tools made by the same brand, has terrific cutting power, and winds-up in an instantThe champion of our dimensional wood-cutting time trialsIf you want an easy-to-use cordless electric chainsaw with a long-lasting battery and a long bar this is the oneIf you want a saw with a battery that charges in a matter of minutes, then this is the oneIf you're in the market for a 20 volt model, this saw does the trick for quick and small jobs
Rating Categories Milwaukee M18 FUEL EGO Power+ CS2005 Ego Power+ CS1800 Greenworks Pro 80V Worx WG322
Saw Performance (35%)
7.5
10.0
8.5
8.5
5.5
Ease of Use (30%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Battery (25%)
7.0
7.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
Noise (5%)
6.9
5.0
6.6
6.9
7.9
Weight (5%)
6.3
4.4
6.2
6.0
9.4
Specs Milwaukee M18 FUEL EGO Power+ CS2005 Ego Power+ CS1800 Greenworks Pro 80V Worx WG322
Model Number 2727-21HD CS2005 CS1800 GCS80420 WG322
Bar Length 16 inches 20 inches 18 inches 18 inches 10 inches
Measured Average Cutting Time 8.316 seconds 3.45 seconds 5.876 seconds 5.32 seconds 38.382 seconds
Measured Battery Charge Time 1.3 hr 1.25 hr 1.5 hr .5 hr 3 hr
Measured Weight 14 lbs, 4 oz 19 lbs, 1 oz 14 lbs, 11 oz 15 lbs, 2 oz 6 lbs, 10 oz
Measured Battery Weight 3 lbs, 6 oz 6lbs, 5 oz 4 lbs, 13 oz 3 lbs, 8 oz 1 lbs, 10 oz
Measured Body Dimesions 18.5x9x8 inches 18 x 8 x 7 inches 16x9x8 inches 14x9x7.5 inches 13x8x7.5 inches
Included Battery Size 12 Ah 6 Ah 5 Ah 2 Ah 2 Ah
Nominal Voltage 36V 56V 56V 80V 20V
Measured Runtime 33 minutes 35 minutes 60 minutes 27 minutes 22 minutes
Measured Run Time Eco Mode n/a 47 mins n/a n/a n/a
Measured Wind Up Time Instant Instant 1.25 seconds 1.15 seconds 2 seconds
Measured Decibel Reading at 48in 86.8 dBa 99.1 dBa 88.8 dBa 86.8 dBa 80.0 dBa
Control Type Side safety w/ chain brake Side safety w/ chain brake Side safety w/ chain brake Electronic button, side safety, and brake Thumb safety
Chain Replacement and Tensioning Type Included Tool Included Tool Tool Free Tool free Tool free
Metal Bucking Spikes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Oil Conservation 6 10 8 6 8
Bar & Chain Tank Location and Type Side Side Side, Screen Top Top

Our Analysis and Test Results

For nearly a century Milwaukee has been producing quality tools for consumers, so it comes as no surprise that their cordless chainsaw is such a great product. The M18 Fuel model has fantastic cutting power, great battery performance, and zero wind-up time. This cordless chainsaw may be on the pricier side, but if you already own Milwaukee products or plan on expanding your fleet of tools the Milwaukee model is a great bet.

Performance Comparison


milwaukee m18 fuel - the milwaukee's great cutting performance in combination with it...
The Milwaukee's great cutting performance in combination with it being a member of the M18 FUEL family has made it one of our favorites.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Saw Performance


When it comes to our first testing metric, the Milwaukee M18 is near the top of the pack. During our testing period for saw performance, this model made some of the fastest cuts and did a fantastic job cutting through larger, wet logs. Considering that cutting wood is the primary function of a chainsaw, we weight this metric as 35% of the total score.

For half of the testing for saw performance, we brought the fleet of saws to a commercial tree service wood yard to get a feel for how they worked in the field. We spent the day slicing up a huge pile of freshly removed pine trees into 16-inch lengths to later be split for firewood. The Milwaukee is one of our favorites for dissecting wet wood. The lack of any type of wind-up time means that with this model you'll be spending more time making cuts and less time waiting for your chain to get up to full rpm. The metal bucking spikes in combination with the long body make for some added leverage so that you can really lean into the saw and get the job done.

milwaukee m18 fuel - the m18 fuel has an instantaneous wind-up time so you can spend more...
The M18 FUEL has an instantaneous wind-up time so you can spend more time making cuts and less time waiting on your saw to get going.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Due to inconsistencies when dealing with wet wood and logs of various sizes we created a more objective cutting test back at the lab. To eliminate any divergence in cutting conditions for each saw we opted to use a given volume of dry wood from the lumber store.

milwaukee m18 fuel - the milwaukee m18 fuel was one of the fastest during our dimensional...
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel was one of the fastest during our dimensional cutting tests.
Credit: Michelle Powell

To further reduce the chance of one model getting stuck with a knot or an extra hard section of wood for our test we went with a stack of smaller posts rather than one large wood slab. We then timed how long it took each saw to cut through our dimensional wood five times, threw out any outliers, and took an average. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel showed an impressive time of 8.3 seconds putting it very close to the top of the pack.


Ease of Use


As with saw performance, for this metric, we combined both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Following close scrutiny of many variables, we determined that the Milwaukee M18 Fuel deserves a good score for ease of use, which constitutes 30% of the total. To come up with some numerical data we weighed each model with the battery installed because some of the manufacturers had their models weight listed on their websites and manuals without them. We then measured each bar as well as the body dimensions in order to provide our readers with an accurate size for each chainsaw. Other tests included how intuitive it is to start the saw, the location of the battery, and how difficult it is to tension or change the chain.


The M18 is one of the most user-friendly models of cordless chainsaws that we've ever seen. This tool uses a simple combination of a chain brake, a safety switch, and a variable speed trigger to activate the motor — and we can't think of a more streamlined system for getting a saw going.

milwaukee m18 fuel - the m18 battery is compatible with a very impressive line of other...
The M18 battery is compatible with a very impressive line of other tools made by Milwaukee.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The battery compartment is on the top of the saw body which we see as the most practical place for it. One of our favorite features of the M18 is that it uses a screwdriver/wrench combination called a “scrench” to tension the chain. We find that the classic system makes it easier to get a precise tension on the chain rather than the newer tool-free systems that many cordless chainsaw manufacturers have come out with.

milwaukee m18 fuel - the onboard "scrench" that the m18 uses allows for a great deal of...
The onboard “scrench” that the M18 uses allows for a great deal of accuracy when tensioning the chain.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Milwaukee is one of the heavier products in our review, but depending on the application the weight can make cutting easier by letting gravity do some of the work. People who are concerned about constantly lifting a few extra pounds should consider a lighter model.

milwaukee m18 fuel - the milwaukee is big and heavy but in many instances, this can work...
The Milwaukee is big and heavy but in many instances, this can work in your favor.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Battery


For the next 25% of our total score is a combination of the battery runtime and charge time. With a full charge on each battery, we ran the saws at full throttle with no load other than the chain to measure their runtime. During this process, we carefully monitored bar and chain oil levels and stopped the saws and timer to add oil as necessary. With the saws completely depleted of all power, we sat next to each charger with a stopwatch to determine their charge times.


It only takes 1 hour and 20 minutes to get the battery up to 100% after being completely dead. One thing that we love about the Milwaukee model is how long it runs despite its lightning-fast wind-up and great cutting power. During our timed runtime test, it lasted 33 minutes.


Noise


For each model, we measured the decibel levels with a sound meter from a distance of 48". Because sound levels don't necessarily determine how annoying a tool is, we then had a panel of judges stand at a distance of 50 feet from each fully throttled saw to decide if there were any noises that set them apart from the others.


The Milwaukee M18 is not the quietest saw in our review. It reads 86.8 decibels on the sound meter and is especially whiny and loud compared to many other cordless chainsaws from 50 feet away.

Weight


Weight may or may not play a role in your purchasing decision. For those who are looking to use their saw in various positions all day, a lighter model would be ideal. If you have a yard of logs to cut into firewood sizes, a little extra weight might even help the saw do its job instead of you constantly applying downward pressure.


Should You Buy The Milwaukee M18?


The M18 earned one of the highest scores in our battery chainsaw review for a reason. The Milwaukee model has an extremely rapid wind-up that will make certain that you aren't waiting on the tool to get started and you'll be spending more time cutting than with practically any other model. With easy-to-use controls and a good battery, we feel very comfortable recommending this saw to our readers. Above all, Milwaukee has a massive fleet of power tools that run on the M18 platform. If you already have the battery for this saw, it's definitely the way to go.

milwaukee m18 fuel - with a lightning-fast wind-up time, great performance, and a great...
With a lightning-fast wind-up time, great performance, and a great battery system the Milwaukee M18 Fuel is one of our favorites.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

What Other Chainsaw Should You Consider?


If you're looking for the ultimate in performance, you can't go wrong with the EGO Power+ CS2005. With a 20" bar and a 56V 6Ah motor, we prefer this model over consumer-grade gasoline chainsaws. If you're tired of getting your backyard spring pruning done with a man-powered handsaw, the Worx WG322 is light, easy to use, and very budget-friendly.

Ross Patton
 

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