We saw these new Milwaukee Cordless Drain Cleaning solutions at this year’s New Product Symposium (#NPS17) we did leave there with a few questions and recently we had the opportunity to have Morgan in the shop and address some actual usability questions, pricing questions and try to get a glimpse into how deep Milwaukee plans to go into the Drain Cleaning. Below is our chat with Morgan and below that some additional info now available from Milwaukee, including their official product videos.
Milwaukee M12 AirSnake
The new M12 AirSnake has been pretty controversial since its announcements, lots of hesitance and comments that it will damage pipes or not work or splash poo in your face or all the above. These comments are of course from people who have not yet used this product (as it’s not out at this time) so we are trying to keep an open mind that Milwaukee has done some serious testing, which from our chat with Morgan it sounds like they have. That being said it does sound like there are some potentials for damage if the tool is not respected and used improperly, like leave it cranked to 50psi, which seems like a real possibility. In correctly assembled plumbing, in good shape, it does seem like using air pressure will be a pretty reliable option for certain scenarios but what if the plumbing is already damaged, cracks, has heavy corrosion, etc then high air pressure could make it worse.
We strongly believe when the tool is used properly by a professional with common sense and in the right applications it will save them a lot of time for those specific jobs. However we also strongly believe there will be folks who think they never need a plumber again because they bought an M12 AirSnake, crank to full blast and what could go wrong… We have no doubt that group will blame Milwaukee and the tool when they have issues. For those that take time to learn, understand and respect their tools this may be a good addition to the arsenal. Since it is “just air” and not a spinning metal blade at high RPMs people are much more likely not to respect it but it seems like a tool that needs some respect.
Milwaukee M18 SwitchPack Drain Cable Machine
Having had a little more time to see how this machine works, take it apart and connecting the cables together it does make more a lot of sense. Whereas it would be complete impractical to have several drum machines in you van with different diameter cables and lengths these new M18 SwitchPack Drain Cleaner it makes a lot of sense to have a couple drums with cables ranging 5/16”, 3/8”, 1/2” & 5/8” in 50’ lengths (5/16” in 75’). Connect together drums to go longer 100’ and we would not be surprised to see people go 150’ or longer but not recommended by Milwaukee.
Milwaukee M18 DrainSnake with CABLEDRIVE
When we first saw the M12 DrainSnake last year we really wondered why they did not put an automatic cable feed option on the tool. Clearly these new M18 DrainSnakes were always in their master plan with the M12 tool hitting a lower price point and light duty applications. These new M18 FUEL Snakes have more power, better design, auto cable feeding, better storage bucket, longer cables and clearly the better option between the two if you handle the $399 price tag.
Milwaukee Cordless Drain Cleaning for 2018 & Beyond
You don’t need a crystal ball in your tool box to understand Milwaukee is looking to build more tools and accessories for the plumber out there. In the drain cleaning world a larger drum machines seem like the next logical step for powering 5/8” or 3/4″ cables 100’+. What might those machines look like, who knows but they are not going to fit into a backpack so will they go to a more conventional cart or something totally different. Powering a larger drum machine with 2x M18 9.0Ah batteries would not be too difficult and you could get a fair amount of runtime. Going hand in hand with drain cleaning the other logical need would be pipe inspection and locating, currently they do have a M12 M-Spector Camera with some different head options but they would need much better solutions if they want to be a player in that world, maybe #NPS19 or #NPS20?
All 3 of these new Milwaukee Plumbing Tools will be hitting the streets in November of 2017 along with their new cables and other accessories. We are very curious to get a lot more feedback once we get these into the hands of the pros. If you have any questions on Milwaukee Tools in the meantime give the pro staff at Ohio Power Tool a call 800-242-4424 and they will be more than happy to help you find the right tool for the job.