Electricians understand the struggles of using manual fish tape to pull wires through walls and conduit. It’s a tedious task that often leads to fatigue and frustration. But fear not, because the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler Fish Tape is here to revolutionize the way you work. With its powerful brushless motor and innovative features, this battery-operated fish tape is set to make your job easier and more efficient.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Minimize fatigue during long pulling sessions
- Faster power feed and retraction compared to manual operation
- Choose between steel or polyester tape drums
- Impressive 240-foot reach
- Heavier than traditional manual fish tape
- Limited “feel” when running the tape with two hands on the tool
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler Performance
To provide you with an authentic perspective, we collaborated with OAR Electric’s Richard Hoar and Mandi Kikta. During their construction of a residential pool, they faced the challenge of pulling over 100 feet of guy wire. This presented the perfect opportunity to put the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler to the test.
Push and Pull
On their first 100-foot run, Richard and Mandi immediately noticed the weight difference compared to their experience with a 120-foot manual tape. Additionally, the route included three 90° bends, making the task even more demanding.
Using the variable-speed trigger, Mandi effortlessly threaded the 120-foot steel cable through the conduit. They did, however, mention that the lack of tactile feedback could be a slight drawback, particularly when dealing with PVC pipes with potential gaps in the fittings.
While you can use one hand to power feed the tape, lifting the roller requires both hands for support. If you can’t keep your second hand on the tape, remain vigilant as it feeds to prevent any potential snags.
Once given the green light, Mandi effortlessly pulled the tape in a blazing 45 seconds. The smooth retraction of the rotating drum eliminated the repetitive arm movements typically associated with manual tapes. Combined with the significantly reduced feed and pull times, this tool requires only a fraction of the physical exertion.
The Milwaukee Angler boasts a brushless motor capable of reaching a top speed of 37 RPM and exerting a staggering 250 lbs of pulling force. According to Milwaukee, this power enables the Angler to pull wires through 200 feet of 360° bends. While our test involved a 120-foot tape, the impressive performance suggests that Milwaukee isn’t exaggerating its claims.
One standout feature of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler is its modular design. You can pair an Angler power head with any drum of your choice. This offers a practical solution for outfitting a service cart with multiple tapes for your crew without having to invest in complete kits for each tape.
Size and Weight
The Angler’s profile closely resembles that of a traditional fish lead, albeit with distinct differences in the handle and trigger. As previously mentioned, the inclusion of a motor and battery significantly increases the weight. The Milwaukee 120-foot steel fish tape weighs approximately 5.7 lbs, while the Angler version weighs 16.25 lbs with the 2.0Ah battery installed.
To address the weight concern, it would be advantageous to have shoulder straps, preferably foldable, to manage the tool’s weight when it cannot be placed on the ground.
Warning Tape, Grip, and Trigger
To prevent overextension of the fish tape, Milwaukee has cleverly integrated a yellow-painted section approximately four feet from the end. This serves as an indicator to release the trigger and avoid over-rotation of the drum.
The Angler features two-handed rubber overmolded grips, providing excellent control during operation. The grip diameter is larger than what you’ll find on other Milwaukee tools, such as the 2853 Impact Driver, making it more ergonomic and comfortable to use. The variable-speed trigger allows precise control during both feeding and retracting, while the thumb switch enables effortless direction changes.
The Bottom Line
After extensive testing, our electrical crew agrees that the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler significantly reduces the time and effort needed to pull wires through conduit. Although the weight of the tool may require some adjustment to your usual working style, the time and fatigue saved make it well worth it.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler Fish Tape Puller Specifications
- Model: Milwaukee 2873
- Power Source: Milwaukee M18 battery
- Variable speed trigger
- Interchangeable drums
- Maximum Speed: 37 RPM
- Towing Capacity: 250 lbs.
- Height: 17.7 inches
- Length: 13.2 inches
- Width: 6 inches
- Weight: 15.31 lbs. (tool only), 16.25 lbs. (with 2.0Ah battery)
- Warranty: 5 years (tool), 2 years (battery)
- Price: $369.97 (bare tool); $529.99 (2873A-22 kit); $549.97 (2873B-22 kit)
Note: The article is based on the original content but has been extensively rephrased and restructured to maintain the essence while adhering to SEO best practices.