Review – the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hedge Trimmer
The Milwaukee brand of tools is renowned for innovating in a variety of areas, and the Milwaukee M18 hedge trimmer is certainly no exception. Compared to other types of hedge trimmer, the M18 is one example of a battery-operated model. Gone are the days where you have to mess with extension cords in your yard to maintain power while you work!
Milwaukee claims that the M18 has enough power to cut ¾ inch branches, run for two hours per charge, and cuts up to 30% faster than its competitors. Does this hold true, though? In this review, we go into depth regarding the specs and performance of the M18 in order to decide whether or not this hedge trimmer is truly worth the investment.
Primary Specifications and Build Quality
The following are the key specifications of the Milwaukee M18:
- 24” blade length
- 3-year warranty
- 3,400 strokes per minute
- ¾” cut capacity
- 11 lbs
- 9.0 battery
- 42.5” long, 8.7” wide, 7.7” tall
According to Milwaukee, the M18 is first and foremost a tool for professionals. It does come with some rather advanced features, including a sliding crank and an gear case made of solid metal for storage of spare parts. One great aspect of the M18 that most Milwaukee tools feature is the keyhole slot on the back of the tool. This allows for very easy and convenient storage.
You can purchase the Milwaukee M18 as a standalone tool or as part of a kit. The tool alone costs $170, while the complete kit retails at $300. The kit includes the M18 itself, as well as a specialized charger and a 9.0Ah battery. As far as the build quality of the M18 goes, the outer casing is made from a hard plastic shell. The blade itself is very sharp and made of forged steel. While nothing about the materials used to make the M18 is exceptional, the build quality is more than satisfactory. This is a tool that should last and definitely feels like it can take a beating and come out on top.
Thanks to the keyhole on the back of the M18, storage is pretty easy and quick. You can simply hang the M18 up in your shed. Also, the M18 comes with a blade sheath that is easy to remove. Such blade sheaths are often poor quality and can become stuck, which is a real pain. Fortunately, this isn’t an issue with the M18, making storing the tool at the end of a long workday very quick and painless.
Like other hedge cutters, the M18 comes with a trigger safety. On the M18, the trigger safety has been designed to work for both left-handed and right-handed users. The trigger is fairly simple to use, and the safety is also easy to reach. In addition, the M18 features a blade shield and tip guard, further protecting you while you work.
Performance, Ergonomics, and Noise Level
As far as ergonomics are concerned, the M18 is fairly easy and comfortable to use for extended periods. This is due in large part to the bulky handle that runs across the top of the tool. The handle makes it very easy to maneuver the M18 and carry it for extended periods. You’re unlikely to have any issues with hand cramping or fatigue when using the M18, and this is largely thanks to the handle.
In addition, a second handle across the back can be used with one or both handles while wearing gloves. Features like these definitely make the M18 a highly ergonomic tool and very comfortable to use while working. Whether you’re right or left-handed shouldn’t make a difference when working with the M18.
Another feature that makes this main handle especially comfortable is the rubber overmold, which can be found on some other power tools that Milwaukee manufactures. The overmold is there to make holding and working with the M18 more comfortable for extended periods. In addition, this overmold is textured to provide a better and more natural grip. It definitely feels much more pleasant to hold and work with than some other power tools. However, if you plan on working a full day with the M18, you should probably use gloves for maximum comfort.
The trigger is long enough to use with two or three fingers, and you can easily maintain a grip on the main handle at the same time. When you press down on the trigger, it feels very secure and stable. The trigger is responsive without being jumpy. It’s worth noting that the trigger on the M18 doesn’t support speed variation – it can only be used at a single speed, regardless of how soft or hard you press down. However, it’s arguably not necessary to support speed variation on a hedge trimmer, as most users are going to be working at a steady pace without much change.
Overall, this is a well-made and handy tool to have if you perform a lot of heavier cutting on larger bushes. The M18 isn’t necessarily appropriate for detail work or trimming back smaller shrubs or bushes. However, it performs very well and is handy to have if you have to carry out a lot of high-volume cutting on larger plants.
While the M18 wouldn’t necessarily be very useful for every gardening enthusiast or amateur to own, it isn’t marketed this way. Milwaukee claims that the M18 is primarily intended to be used by professionals, and it seems likely that any professional that has to carry out a lot of heavy-duty hedge work could definitely benefit from working with the M18.
The Milwaukee M18 is a pricier model than some other hedge trimmers. As such, it’s challenging to justify investing in the M18 as an entry-level hedge trimmer. However, it’s also worth noting that you can potentially save quite a lot over the long term by using the M18, as you don’t need to purchase fuel or oil for the M18. The fantastic build quality means that your maintenance costs for the M18 should also be minimal.