Milwaukee 2732-21HD M18 FUEL Circular Saw Review – There Goes Another Cord

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milwaukee 2732-21hd

What's This?This post is sponsored by The Home Depot. Ask any framing carpenter or remodeler to point out his or her most-used power tool, and odds are good you’ll be looking at a circular saw. On any construction site, circular saws are used all day long for crosscuts and rip cuts on dimensional lumber, plywood and OSB, and even laminated beams. It used to be impossible to get a capable circular saw that didn’t have a power cord dangling from its rear end. Improvements in Lithium-Ion battery technology and brushless motors have changed all that, though, and cordless saws have been getting much more powerful. Milwaukee just released its most powerful cordless circular saw to date, the Milwaukee 2732-21HD. Join us as we check it out to see if it has what it takes to make it through a full work day in the real world.

Milwaukee 2732-21HD
The new Milwaukee 2732-21HD M18 Fuel 7-1/4″ circular saw

Although a bare-tool version will be available eventually, the Milwaukee 2732-21HD is currently sold only in kit form. The saw will run on any Milwaukee M18 battery, but it’s optimized for the new Milwaukee High Output 12.0 Ah battery, and Milwaukee feels this will provide users with the optimal “cutting edge” experience. The kit includes the saw, the High Output battery, a rapid charger, and a sturdy contractor bag. Red, of course.

Milwaukee 2732-21HD
The Milwaukee 2732-21HD kit has everything you need to get working. And KEEP working.

The folks in Red aren’t shy about touting the capabilities of their new flagship cordless circular saw. They claim the Milwaukee 2732-21HD M18 Fuel 7-1/4” Circular Saw (its full and proper title) has power equal to that of a corded 15-amp saw, thanks to its all-new innards (more on that later). And with the brand-new Milwaukee High Output HD 12.0 Ah battery supplying the juice, they claim the saw can make up to 750 cuts in 2X4 lumber on a single charge. That’s a lotta slicing and dicing!

The Milwaukee 2732-21HD has all the features you’d expect on a top-end circular saw. The durable magnesium shoe and guards help shave some weight, and the built-in rafter hook makes it easy to hang the saw from a rafter or ladder. The saw has engraved bevel markings, so they won’t wear off after a few weeks of use, and an electric brake stops the blade very quickly when the trigger is released, which is great for productivity AND safety.

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The rafter hook is handy for when you’re ready to hang it up…
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And engraved scale markings won’t wear off.

The saw has great balance, and the cut line is dead-on accurate. A rubber overmold on the handle makes it more comfortable, and helps reduce vibration a bit. Although dust control from circular saws isn’t a concern on most job sites, the Milwaukee 2732-21HD comes with an adapter that allows you to connect to most dust-extraction systems.

Milwaukee 2732-21HD
The rubber overmold adds some comfort, and you can easily attach the dust port if needed.

Here’s the full rundown on specs and features from Milwaukee, followed by a little promo video:

• Blade Size: 7-1/4″
• Length: 13.75″
• RPM: 5,800
• Cut Depth at 90 degrees: 2-1/2″
• Cut Depth at 45 degrees: 1-7/8″
• Arbor Size: 5/8″
• Maximum bevel: 50 degrees
• Weight: 12 lbs.
• Magnesium shoe and guards for maximum durability
• Integrated dust port on metal blade guard with included vacuum adapter
• Electric brake to stop blade after trigger is released
• Integrated rafter hook for easy storage
• REDLITHIUM High Output HD 12.0 Ah Battery Pack: Provides 50% more power and runs 50% cooler versus standard REDLITHIUM HD packs
• LED light for increased accuracy and visibility
• Compatible with all M18 batteries
• 5 year tool and 3 year battery warranty
• Includes: 2732-20 7-1/4″ Circular Saw, Blade, (1) M18 REDLITHIUM High Output HD12.0 Battery Pack, M12 & M18 Multi Voltage Rapid Charger, Wrench, and Contractor Bag

Battle Of The Blade Runners: Old Milwaukee 2731-21HD Vs. New Milwaukee 2732-21HD

We did a full review on the Milwaukee 2731-21 circular saw, the predecessor to the Milwaukee 2732-21HD, about four years ago. The saws are almost identical, with the same robust build quality and attention to detail. Apparently in tools, though, just like in humans, extra muscle means extra weight. The original saw weighed in at 7 lbs. 10 oz. without the 4.0 Ah battery that came with it. Adding the battery brought the total to 9 lbs 3 oz. The Milwaukee 2732-21HD weighs just over 9 lbs. without its 12.0 Ah battery, and 12 lbs. 7 oz. once it’s strapped on. That’s a pretty big difference in weight, but it brings with it a HUGE difference in power.

Milwaukee 2732-21HD
The original (R) may be leaner, but its successor is definitely meaner.

The red-clad engineers at Milwaukee gave the Milwaukee 2732-21HD the mechanical equivalent of a shot of steroids. First, they completely re-designed the brushless motor, tailoring it specifically to the new saw, and giving it more power and a speed boost to 5,800 RPM. Then they did a bit of brain surgery, giving its Redlink Plus operating system a complete overhaul. The REDLINK PLUS system optimizes the saw’s performance, and protects it from overload, overheating and over discharge.

Rounding out the do-over trifecta is Milwaukee’s latest triumph in battery technology, the High Output HD12.0 Ah M18 battery. Milwaukee claims the new battery cranks out 50% more power and runs 50% cooler than the previous heavyweight champ, their HD 9.0 Ah battery. That’s a pretty significant boost.

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The all-new Milwaukee High Output HD 12.0 Ah battery is a powerhouse

Taking The Milwaukee 2732-21HD For A Spin

To give it its first whupping, I took the Milwaukee 2732-21HD to the woodshed. Actually, it was my workshop, which is very similar to a woodshed, if you ignore the fact that it’s not a shed, and there’s no wood stored in it. Anyway, I gathered up some bowed and salvaged 2X4s, and got ready to make some sawdust.

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Getting ready to scuff up that pretty new blade…

Getting the Milwaukee 2732-21HD into action is about as easy as it gets. The saw comes with a 24-tooth framing blade, and it’s easy to install. Pop the blade wrench out of its perch behind the handle, depress the spindle lock, and remove the blade bolt. Slide on the blade, and insert and tighten the bolt. Keep in mind that the teeth should point upward at the front of the saw, and since this is a right-bladed saw, on some replacement blades the logo may face inward. Now just slide in a charged battery, and get to work!

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The little blade wrench stays secure until you need it.
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Just push in the spindle lock…
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Remove the bolt, add the blade, and tighten ‘er up.
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All bladed up and ready to slice and dice!

If you’re used to using a corded saw, there’s one more minor step to learn. Since a cordless saw is always “live” whenever there’s a battery installed, there’s a lock-off button you have to push down with your thumb before you can pull the trigger. It’s a minor annoyance that you get used to pretty quickly. It’s worth putting up with if it saves you, or someone else, an unscheduled underwear change – or worse – somewhere down the road.

When I pulled the trigger on the Milwaukee 2732-21HD and made my first cuts, I was truly impressed. The saw really does feel every bit as powerful as a corded circular saw. It effortlessly sailed through cut after cut, with absolutely no bogging down or stalling. I cut one full-length stud into bite-size chunks, then ripped another from end to end. The Milwaukee 2732-21HD chewed its way through quickly, and once again the saw felt equal to a corded saw.

milwaukee 2732-21hd
The Milwaukee felt strong right from the start.
milwaukee 2732-21hd
And quickly had the first 2X4 right-sized.
milwaukee 2732-21hd
It was equally strong ripping a 2X4 end to end.

After ripping the stud, I grabbed another stud and resumed the cross cuts. I kept at it until the board was too short to safely make any more cuts. At this point, the Milwaukee 2732-21HD was still going strong, but my forearm was getting tired from wielding the 12-1/2 lb. saw for so many continuous cuts. Getting old and weak? Possibly…anyway, I counted my cutoffs, and at that point the Milwaukee 2732-21HD had made 182 cross cuts and one 8’ long rip cut, all without a break. The High Output 12.0 Ah battery still had 3 out of 4 bars left, and I was ready to call it quits and belly up to ONE bar.

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The Milwaukee, resting on its victims…
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Three bars left, after 182 cross cuts and one 8′ rip. Not bad.

Will It Go Round In Circles?

Milwaukee touts the Milwaukee 2732-21HD as having the power of a 15-amp corded saw. They speak the truth. The saw is well designed and ruggedly built, and should hold up well under typical job site abuse. As I said, it’s almost identical, at least outwardly, to the saw we reviewed almost four years ago, and that saw is still going strong.

milwaukee 2732-21hd
The Milwaukee 2732-21HD circular saw should hold up very well.

Nowhere near as strong as its new brother, though; Milwaukee has managed to wring an incredible amount of power – and run time – out of a single 18V battery. The older saw, with its 4.0 Ah battery, made around 210 cuts in our testing before the battery took its nap. The Milwaukee 2732-21HD came pretty close to that, and still had three bars of juice left. And that was going steadily, with no breaks like you’d have on a normal job site. Milwaukee’s claim of up to 750 cuts on a charge seems pretty realistic to me, and the saw should last through a full day’s work at any normal job site.

milwaukee 2732-21hd
The Milwaukee 2732-21HD has the power to be the primary circ saw on the job site.

Any downside? When using it non-stop like that, the saw does get heavy after a while, especially if you’re an old fart like yours truly. But damn, can it cut! Other than that, there’s no reason the Milwaukee 2732-21HD couldn’t serve as the primary circular saw on any construction site. The saw is backed by a solid five-year warranty, with a three-year warranty on the battery, and the Home Depot’s 90-day return policy gives you a risk-free opportunity to take the saw for a long spin.

milwaukee 2732-21hd

Buy the Milwaukee Saw Kit From The Home Depot for around $399:

Buy Now - via Home Depot

I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with Home Fixated in sponsored content. As a part of the sponsorship, Home Fixated is receiving compensation for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are our own words. This post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

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About Phil

Phil’s path to the pinnacle of success as HomeFixated’s Senior Writer was long and twisted. At various stages of his life, he worked as a framing carpenter, attended motorcycle mechanics school, served as an Army MP, did a hot and itchy stint installing insulation in Phoenix, owned and operated a small contracting firm doing residential renovations, and worked as an employee of a major airline (Motto: We’re not happy ‘til YOU’RE not happy). He is currently semi-retired, but continues to take on little projects, such as the total renovation of an old farmhouse. Yes, he is a slow learner. Future projects include a teardown restoration of his 1965 BMW motorcycle, and designing and building a kick-ass playhouse for his grandsons. Phil loves spending time outdoors, hanging out with family and friends, cool tools, and a cold IPA when beer o'clock rolls around.

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