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When I heard the new Milwaukee M18 FUEL multi-tool model 2836 was plunge cutting faster than the DeWalt DCS356 I had to check it out for myself. Not only did I find it plunged faster, it sanded faster too, a lot faster.
Both tools have brushless motors, a work light, a tool-less blade change and a top speed of 20k oscillations per minute (OPM). With a 5amp hr battery the Milwaukee weighs 4.3 lbs. vs. the DeWalt’s 3.6 lbs.
The Milwaukee costs more retailing for $229 compared to the DeWalt at $129. Both can be found on sale for less.
Here are a few Amazon live links to shop and compare:
The DeWalt DCS356 uses a variable speed trigger with three speed settings: 0-13K OPM, 0-17K OPM and 0-20K OPM.
All three can be locked on high, which is almost exclusively how I use it because holding the tool by the grip to use the trigger has too much vibration and is not the best hand positioning for optimal control in most situations.
The Milwaukee 2836 uses an on/off switch and a variable speed dial that goes from 10-20K OPM.
I find the FUEL grip much easier to use than the DeWalt and with 1/3 the vibration. I rarely used the DeWalt one handed but do it often with the FUEL.
I’ve heard people complain about the FUEL’s speed selector location getting in the way but for me it makes one handed operation easier and is easy enough to avoid hitting accidentally when it matters.
Power and Speed
To test the new Milwaukee I ran it against the DeWalt DCS356 and my 3 amp corded Makita. I ran all three at their top speed of 20K OPM, all had new blades, and both cordless tools had fully charged 5 amp hr batteries. The FUEL destroyed the DeWalt in every test.
The FUEL plunges like a reciprocating saw, while the DeWalt requires a lot of push and pull to clear dust to plunge on.
On nails they are almost equal but the FUEL still won every time.
The M18 FUEL sanded the paint off this baseboard 2x faster than the DeWalt DCS356.
The Milwaukee grip design is much easier to use than the DeWalt giving the Milwuakee better control. The Dewalt grip is cluttered up by the blade change handle and the variable speed trigger.
Above see how the FUEL pulled up this flooring with 18GA staples every few inches twice as fast as my 355, which is the same tool as the DCS356, only without a 3 speed selector switch.
So it’s not just a few seconds faster as many have commented on my YouTube channel. It’s hours faster. It’s less back, knee and neck pain faster.
The Milwaukee blade change is fast but the DeWalt is faster for universal (open end) accessories.
For closed end accessories the DeWalt adapter is a washer and bolt that requires a hex wrench. So it’s not a tool-less blade change for Starlocks, etc.
The Milwaukee takes everything from Universal to Starlock with no adapter needed. This means you get the best selection to choose from as universals aren’t always the best choice.
The blade attachment point on the Milwaukee has flex to it, which I’m sure has a lot to do with the tool’s performance but also introduces blade wander. As you push through a cut the flex lets the blade pull away from the saw puling you off your line if your not paying attention.
The head on the DeWalt is stiff making it easier to cut straight lines with.
That said, If you’re capable with tools you can get the same straight cuts faster with the Milwaukee.
The Milwuakee M18 FUEL multi-tool is the first I’ve used that cuts like a reciprocating saw, which allows me to not carry a recip on most days.
Many tools between brands are the same. Not here. The M18 FUEL is a next-level tool that thankfully, finally, knocks the Milwaukee non-FUEL and DeWalt multi-tools out of the pro ranks. See ya!
Check out this review to see these tools in action.