Recently we did a review of the Milwaukee M12 Jig Saw. I have to say I wasn't expecting much for a 12V, but this saw really surprised me. The power was great, but the feel and balance were incredible. So naturally we had to take it one step further and take a look at the Milwaukee 18V Jig Saw model 2645-22. This model comes with the Jig Saw, one 1 Hr Charger, 2 M18 XC Batteries (High Capacity), 1 Blade, Non-Marring Shoe and a nice case.
The first thing I noticed when I ripped open the cardboard box, was how big the Milwaukee case was. To me this is always a good feeling because either the tool was extremely big or Milwaukee included some nice storage in this case. Since I knew the dimensions of the saw, it only could mean that the case had some nice room. There is nothing more frustrating then buying a tool, taking it out for the first time and finding out it will never fit back in the case the same way. Not with this Milwaukee. The Saw has a specific place, in fact you can even leave the blade in the tool when it is stored in the case and the blade is protected. The extra battery has a specific place and even the charger fits backs easily and you don't have to roll up the power cord perfectly. There are two spots for blade storage to keep two separate stashes.
Picking up the saw, I noticed this bad boy has some weight to it. In fact it weighs about 7.75 lbs. This is a huge key and I was happy it had weight because that means more control and most likely less vibration, which when using, the saw didn't have a lot of vibration. The overall balance of the tool is great and the weight seems to be evenly distributed over the whole tool. One of the biggest things I noticed was the handle. The handle runs parallel to your work. While most of the other manufacturers also run parallel to the work, they tend to slope up a little where your index finger rests higher than your pinky finger. While both are great designs and reduce fatigue, I like the Milwaukee design better. I had more control.
This saw has a lot of pros and it is hard to figure out where to start. The first thing is that this saw has all the major options you would want on a Jig Saw and none of them need a tool in order to use them. If you want to make a bevel cut up to 45 degrees, you can do that with a flick of a lever and the saw even has some positive stops for accurate cutting, 0, 15, 30, 45. The non-marring removable shoe is a nice feature for the cuts. Two things I like best about this saw is the blade system and the orbital action. To insert and remove a blade, you pull a lever in the front of the saw and insert a blade. Once the blade is inserted, pull it again and the blade pops out, so no more trying to grab a hot blade to make a change. The orbital action is great. There are 5 settings to really fine tune your cutting. The trigger is variable speed which moves the blade up and down 1″ for a nice stoke length.
Let's jump into the Strokes Per Mintue or SPM. Some would say this is a con while others say this is a plus. The Milwaukee has a 2,200 spm while most of the competitors have 2,700 or 3,000 spm. So what does this mean? Does Milwaukee cut slower? While I guess technically speaking it should cut slower, a lower SPM would indicate that. However when we ran it through some 3/4″ plywood, I really couldn't tell a huge difference. There seems to be a plus with this. Now this is something we are speculating, but Milwaukee indicates the battery lasts longer than the competitors. So we are speculating that since the saw has a lower spm, the motor isn't working as hard, therefore, saving the battery and getting longer run times. We didn't time the battery, but we sure did get a lot of cuts from one charge. So all things considering do you want a faster cut or a longer battery? Since I didn't see a huge difference in the speed of the cut and I am not trying to break any Jig Saw cutting records, I would rather go with the lower SPM and longer battery life. Again, there could be other factors that make the battery last longer such as a better battery, better motor or other factors.
We cut through some 3/4″ plywood to see how this tool handles. Overall we were both very impressed by the saw. No jumping when making cuts, even on high orbital setting. The control was easy and produced a great cut primarily because it was easy to control and move around. I had an opportunity to take this on a roof and make a couple of vent cuts for a roof and I have to say it worked great.
Overall this is a great saw. The feel and balance of the tool are great. Easy to control and I like how Milwaukee implemented so many features and all without having to use a tool to make changes. The battery lasted longer than we expected, but we think this is partly because the motor is not working as hard with it only putting out 2,200 spm.