At the recent Milwaukee Tool NPS event we got to look at several new cordless tools and hand tools specifically designed for electricians. The new Fish Stick Kits and M18 Strippers have now been launched and very nice additions but somewhat expected as Milwaukee builds out their trade specific lineup. The M18 Angler Fish Tapes however was a real surprise to us which bridge the gap between small automatic wire puller and manual fish tape. Last year we saw the launch of the Southwire 1K wire puller XD1 ($1566) that works with any professional drill/driver and used a more traditional pulling wire configuration. So where does the M18 Fish Tape fit, with mini wire pullers or fish tapes?
When we are talking about 200’+ run of wire with multiple bends there can certainly be a lot of strain on the electrician to manually pull it through. Not to mention the time involved, Milwaukee’s engineers of course found a way to put a battery on it and the result is very impressive. The Auto-Run feature can feed and retrieve lines 2-3x faster than a manual process saving time, variable trigger gives the user full control and 250 lbs of pulling force is enough to pull 4x #10 wires in ¾” conduit through as many as 8x 45 degree bends (360 degrees total).
What the M18 Angler Got Right & Wrong
The drums are easily interchangeable which is great, however the Kit options 2873A-22 (120’) $529 and 2873B-22 (240’) $549 are only available with the steel fish tapes. They do also make Poly fish tape drums with 48-44-5195 100’ $115 and 48-44-5197 200’ $185 which we’ve seem become more and more popular in recent years for reasons listed below however not available in any M18 Angler Kits currently. You can build your own kit with M18 Angler Base Unit 2873-20 ($369) which we anticipate many people going that route.
Polyester Tape vs Steel Fish Tape
Poly has only been an option for the last few years but has a lot of advantage of steel including more flexible, easier to push/pull past existing wires, non-conductive, doesn’t kink like steel, won’t rush if gets wet, less likely to bind up in drum, 30% lighter and overall just a better user experience.
Battery Power Is Good!
Overall we think cordless fish tapes in general are going to be a home run and probably change the way a lot of electricians do their day-to-day jobs moving forward. We would not be surprised to see other brands follow suit base on the popularity of the existing mini-pullers however this all in one solution at a below $600 price point makes it a solution with nothing else like it. For the near future looks like Milwaukee has a lock on saving electricians a lot of time and energy when it comes to using a battery powered fish tapes.