Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler Reels at the touch of a button
Electricians rely on manual fish tape to pull new wire through walls and conduit. However, longer runs increase the chances of the tape snagging, and require more force to actually pull it off successfully. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler Fish Belt looks like it can shift that burden off your shoulders and onto its powerful brushless motor.
- Reduce fatigue when pulling for long periods of time
- Power feed and retract faster than manual operation
- Steel or polyester tape drums available
- Raised 240 feet
- Heavier than a manual fishing line
- Can't "feel" running when you have two hands on the tool
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler Performance
We worked with our friends at OAR Electric, Richard Hoar and Mandi Kikta, to get their firsthand impressions of the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler. During construction of the residential in-ground pool, the team had to do a series of more than 100 feet of guy wire. This is a great opportunity to put this power fish belt to the test.
push and pull
As the team set out on their first 100-foot run, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler clearly weighed more than what Richard and Mandi were used to on the 120-foot run. The route includes three 90° bends, making the task even more difficult.
Using a variable-speed trigger, Mandi carefully and easily threaded the 120-foot steel cable through the conduit. Both Mandi and Richard point out that you lose some "touch" because you don't actually feel the fish tape go through. This is something to keep in mind, especially if you are running in PVC where gaps in the fittings are more likely to get in the way.
You can use one hand to power feed, and the other hand to feel the combination of running, but when you need to lift the roller, you need two hands to support the weight.
When you can't keep your second hand on the tape, just keep an eye on it as it feeds to make sure you can react if there is a bind.
Once Mandi gets the green light to start towing, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler only needs about 45 seconds to pull.
The rotating drum retracts smoothly, allowing us to avoid the tiring repetitive arm movements of a manual tape. Combined with greatly shortened feed and pull times, it requires only a fraction of the physical exertion.
The Milwaukee Angler's brushless motor has a top speed of 37 RPM and a pull of 250 lbs. With this level of power, Milwaukee tells us you'll be able to pull wires through 200 feet of 360° bends. We're only using 120 feet of tape, but everything we've been through leads us to believe that Milwaukee isn't pulling our legs with those claims.
One of the best things about Milwaukee's design is its modularity. You can take an Angler power head and pair it with any drum you want. This is a great way to outfit a service cart with all the tapes a crew needs without spending the full kit price on each tape.
size and weight
The Angler's profile is very similar to a traditional fish lead, but the handle and trigger are distinctly different.
As we mentioned, there is a significant difference in weight due to the motor and battery. The Milwaukee's 120' steel fish leash weighs approximately 5.7 lbs, while the Milwaukee Angler version weighs 16.25 lbs with the 2.0Ah battery installed.
One additional feature we'd like to see are shoulder straps, even foldable, to help manage the weight of the Angler when you can't keep it on the ground.
To help keep the fish tape from overextending, Milwaukee placed a yellow-painted section about four feet from the end. Release the trigger as soon as you see this mark to avoid over-rotation of the drum.
Grip and Trigger
The Milwaukee features two-handed rubber overmolded grips to help maintain control of the Angler. Both grips are larger in diameter than what you'll see on the Milwaukee 2853 Impact Driver and other pistol set tools.
The variable speed trigger provides excellent control when feeding and retracting the tape, and the thumb switch makes it easy to switch directions.
Milwaukee M18 Fuel Angler Pricing
There are two kits to choose from. One comes with a 120ft steel drum, two M18 2.0Ah batteries and a charger, while the other comes with a 240ft steel drum, batteries and a charger. The Angler is also available as a bare tool without tape.
You can buy the drums individually for anywhere from $115 to $185. Here's the list of the current lineup:
- 2873A-22 (120′): $529.99
- 2873B-22 (240′): $549.99
- 2873-20 (Bare Metal): $369.99
- 48-44-5176 Steel Pull Fish Tape Drum 120′ x 1/8″: $85.97
- 48-44-5178 Steel Pull Fish Tape Drum 240′ x 1/8″: $115.99
- 48-44-5195 Non-Conductive Polyester Fish Tape Drum 100′: $115.99
- 48-44-5197 Non-Conductive Polyester Fish Tape Drum 200′: $185.99
the bottom line
When the job comes to a close, our electrical crew agrees that the Angler can help greatly reduce the time you spend pulling through any type of conduit, ultimately increasing productivity. The only question is how the weight of the tool accommodates you to the way you're used to working. Once you get used to it, the time and fatigue saved will be 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. (naked), 16.25 lbs. (with 2.0Ah battery
- Warranty: 5 years (tool), 2 years (battery)
- Price: $369.97 (bare); $529.99 (2873A-22); $549.97 (2873B-22)