Apprentice Carpenter Opts for the Milwaukee Combo Kit 

Reliable, Brawny, and Effortless to Use

I’m an apprentice carpenter entering the second year of my apprenticeship in Sydney — and I decided to go with Milwaukee power tools as my kit of choice.

My old man — who is also my boss — has a preference for another major power tool brand. And, at the start of my apprenticeship, I had no choice but to use his gear until I saved enough money to buy my own.

I figured that the most sensible option was to go for a combo kit — giving me everything I needed in one package and working out cheaper and less hassle than making loads of separate purchases.

To be honest, I was going to follow my dad’s example and buy a kit from his favourite brand. I was already familiar with using them every day, so it seemed the most sensible option.

So, what made me ditch the family tradition and end up with a totally different manufacturer?

It was a chance meeting at our small workshop that changed my mind. Dad was out at the timber yard when a Milwaukee sales rep turned up — he’d arranged to drop off some wrench socket samples that my dad was considering buying.

We got talking about the best tools Australia has to offer, and he explained how Milwaukee was rapidly expanding both its power tool range and nationwide coverage for sales, service, and repair.

He pulled a drill and impact wrench from the boot of his car to show me, and I was immediately won over. They just felt right in my hand — comfortable, perfectly balanced, and looking damn awesome for my Insta posts.

I then powered up the wrench — and the deal was sealed. The eye-watering grunt behind this machine was shocking and gave me goosebumps.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. He’s alone at work, visited by a slick sales rep, and within the hour the mug has ordered a complete combo package. But the truth is, I’m no fool, I know seriously good kit — and this was it. 

I was soon the proud owner of a new Milwaukee M18 10-Piece Combo Kit.

What Did I Get in the Combo Kit?

Milwaukee Circular Saw 165 mm (M18CCS55-0)

A scarily powerful cutter that knocks out 5000 RPM (revolutions per minute) from its brushless motor. I love the reliable in-built blower that keeps my shearing line free from rubbish — and the fact that the magnesium guards keep me safe, while staying nice and lightweight.

M18FID2-0.

Milwaukee Impact Driver ¼-inch (M18FID2-0)

This tool is torque city. With an eye-watering 226 Nm of grunt, it effortlessly drives screws and bolts into the densest of hardwoods. But for me, it’s the compact build that’s the key feature — letting me tackle awkwardly placed boards and uprights.

Milwaukee Hammer/Drill Driver 13 mm (M18FPD2-0)

My go-to batoning tool. With 32000 IPM (impacts per minute), the hammer action makes light work of creating masonry anchors, while the variable speed driver smoothly powers screws into drywall frames.

Milwaukee HACKZALL Reciprocating Saw (M18FHZ-0)

Small yet mighty, this recip saw is easy on my hands and arms — with its dual gear counterbalance cutting back on vibration. And, weighing just 1.85 kg, but delivering a 22 mm stroke — it’s ideal for slicing through nails and screws.

Milwaukee Impact Wrench ½-inch (M18FIW2F12-0)

The very tool that convinced me to go with Milwaukee. A frightening 340 Nm of nut-busting torque can remove old, rusted, and seized fasteners with ease, while its four-mode drive control gives me preset RPM and IPM — meaning rapid and accurate selection of the optimum speed and brawn.

Milwaukee Angle Grinder 125 mm (M18FAG125XPD-0)

Powerful and ferocious — but with impressive safety that gives me welcome peace of mind. Its 125 mm (five-inch) disc slices woods, metals, and plastics efficiently with its 8500 RPM speed. But with a deadman switch, kickback protection, and overload protector — it guarantees I’m decimating the material and not myself.

Milwaukee Multi-Tool (M18FMT-0)

The biggest all-rounder in my tool armoury. Being able to slice, shear, cut, sand, saw, and chip — for many jobs, it’s the only piece of kit I need to pull from my case. Capable of knocking out 20000 OPM (oscillations per minute), it powers through the densest of materials. And, with tool-free accessory exchange, it’s an invaluable time-saver.

Milwaukee Compact Blower (M18BBL-0)

As the firm’s apprentice, guess who gets lumbered with the post-job clean up? This compact blower is my life-saver, delivering 2.8 m3/min, it means I can rapidly clear floors, ceilings, and confined spaces from dust and debris — allowing me to knock off in decent time.

Milwaukee Pivoting Area Light (M18PAL-0)

A rare inclusion in a tool combo kit, and one that’s seriously welcome. It’s got a remarkable user-friendly build — featuring a spring-loaded clamp and twin magnets — meaning I can position it effortlessly whether I’m working with piping, lumber, or cabinets. Combine that with 1500 lumens from the five LEDs, and you have a blinding floodlight.

Milwaukee REDLITHIUM™ 18-Volt 6.0 Ah Batteries (M18HB6)

The reliable powerhouses behind all my Milwaukee tools. Promising 6.0 Ah from its 18-volt lithium cell, I’m constantly impressed by the lengthy running times I get from a single charge. And, as three arrive with the kit, I can run a couple of tools concurrently while having a backup power pack on charge.

Milwaukee Rapid Charger (M12-18FC)

My dad doesn’t like slackers — and with this charger re-energising cells 40 percent faster than its competitors, it means I’m saved from costly downtime. And, featuring Milwaukee’s proprietary Redlink tech — it monitors the cell’s charge, temp, and voltage to shield the battery from damage.

Further Additions to My Tools

 

On the suggestion of my dad — and he knows what he’s talking about — I added the following pieces:

Milwaukee Orbital Sander 125 mm (M18BOS125-0)

I need my tools to be tough — and this is one robust beast. Operating at 12000 OPM, it sands down wood material impressively rapidly. And, with a safeguarding overload protector — reassures me that even if I push it to its limit, there’s no risk of damage.

 

Milwaukee Planer 82 mm (M18BP-0)

 

A real time saver. Able to remove 2 mm of material in just one pass, I can complete tasks both swiftly and with minimal effort. Plus, being a leftie, the choice of right or left chip ejection is a godsend.

 

Milwaukee REDLITHIUM™ 18-Volt 6.0 Ah Batteries M18HB6.

Spare Batteries (M18HB6)

 

Despite getting three 18-volt cells in the Milwaukee M18 Combo Kit, I bought a couple more to ensure my on-site downtime was kept to a minimum. Having a ready supply of fully-charged batteries means I can complete the longest jobs without having to recharge. 

I got all the above items at the same time as the combo package. However, just a few weeks ago, I decided to get my hands on a couple more tools to make my kit complete…

Milwaukee Caulking Gun 310 ml (M12PCG-0)

Perhaps a bit of a luxury — since you can pick up a basic non-branded unit for a few Aussie dollars — but in my job, a worthwhile investment. Offering 1800 Newtons of mighty pushing force, it easily dispenses the densest adhesives, sealants, and fillers. And, with anti-drip and seal puncture features, my working area is kept clean with no material wastage — issues that would normally get me serious disapproving looks from my dad.

I got all the above items at the same time as the combo package. However, just a few weeks ago, I decided to get my hands on a couple more tools to make my kit complete…

Milwaukee Right Angled Drill (C18RAD-0)

 

The final piece of my carpenter toolkit. Currently, we’re tackling a lot of kitchen fits, and this machine is crucial for operating in the tight and confined spaces of cabinets and beneath sinks — being just 95 mm in length. I love the inbuilt LED lamp, which means I don’t have to set up a work light, and the 12 torque settings give me the versatility to drive hardcore wall mounts and more fragile panel hex screws.

My Opinion of the Milwaukee M18 Combo Kit

I’ve now owned the combo package for over a year — and it’s never failed to impress me, nor has it ever let me down.

The torque on the driver, wrench, and drill is simply radical. There hasn’t been a project where they’ve failed due to insufficient grunt. In fact, my dad is now coming to me to borrow my gear when his equipment isn’t quite man enough to tackle the job.

Having all the tools run off the same 18-volt batteries is invaluable. I haven’t got the time to be messing around with loads of different cells and chargers. And, twelve months down the line, these batteries still boast long running times — with none of the recharge degradation problems you see in many units.

As Steve Jobs used to endlessly say about the iPhone — Milwaukee tools just work. No complicated set-ups or operation, simply plug in the lithium cell and go. What’s more, despite how much on-site abuse they take from knocks, bumps, and drops — their robust build ensures they keep on running day after day.

Sure, there are a few niggly issues. I miss the inclusion of a hanging loop on the hammer drill, would prefer a half-inch more length in the recip saw blade, and wish that the blower had more sound baffles as it’s pretty loud.

However, for a trade-grade kit that works as well as it looks — I think the Milwaukee M18 Combo Kit is one of the best power tool kits Australia can offer.

Other Milwaukee Combo Kits

 

If you’re looking at a Milwaukee combo kit, but feel that the 10-piece M18FPP10C2-603B is overkill — check out these alternative options from the same reliable brand. These awesome packages may be more suited to lighter contractors, serious DIYers, or those looking just to upgrade their kit.

What’s more, all the below awesome Milwaukee options are available in Australia — no waiting for unreliable, overseas dispatch.

Milwaukee 2-Piece Combo Kit (M18ONEPP2A2-502C)

Includes:

  • Milwaukee Hammer Drill Driver (M18ONEPD2-0)
  • Milwaukee Impact Driver (M18ONEID2-0)
  • 1 x Lithium Cells
  • Rapid Charger

Milwaukee 3-Piece Combo Kit (M18FPP3M2-502B)

Includes:

  • Milwaukee Hammer Drill (M18FPD2-0)
  • Milwaukee Impact Wrench (M18FIW2F12-0)
  • Milwaukee Angle Grinder (M18ONEFAG125XPDB-0)
  • 1 x Lithium Cells
  • Rapid Charger

Milwaukee 5-Piece Combo Kit (M18ONEPP5B2503B)

Includes:

  • Milwaukee Hammer Drill Driver (M18ONEPD2-0)
  • Milwaukee Impact Driver (M18ONEID2-0)
  • Milwaukee Angle Grinder (M18ONEFAG125XPDB-0)
  • Milwaukee Sawzall Reciprocating Saw (M18CSX2-0)
  • Milwaukee Rotary Hammer Drill (M18FH-0)
  • 3 x Lithium Cells
  • Rapid Charger

Milwaukee 6-Piece Combo Kit (M18FPP6F2-503B)

Includes:

  • Milwaukee Hammer Drill (M18FPD2-0)
  • Milwaukee Impact Driver (M18FID2-0)
  • Milwaukee Angle Grinder (M18FAG125XPD-0)
  • Milwaukee Hackzall Reciprocating Saw (M18FHZ-0)
  • Milwaukee Circular Saw (M18CCS55-0)
  • Milwaukee Blower (M18BBL-0)
  • 3 x Lithium Cells
  • Rapid Charger

Milwaukee 8-Piece Combo Kit (M18FPP8B2-503B)

Includes:

  • Milwaukee Hammer Drill (M18FPD2-0)
  • Milwaukee Impact Driver (M18FID2-0)
  • Milwaukee Angle Grinder (M18FAG125XPD-0)
  • Milwaukee Sawzall Reciprocating Saw (M18CSX2-0)
  • Milwaukee Rotary Hammer Drill (M18FH-0)
  • Milwaukee Circular Saw (M18CCS55-0)
  • Milwaukee Radio and Charger (M18RC-0)
  • Milwaukee Pivoting Worklight (M18TLED-0)
  • 3 x Lithium Cells
  • Rapid Charger