Milwaukee M12 Fuel Insider Squeezes into Tighter Spaces
The development of cordless ratchets has been a blessing to many mechanics, MRO crews, HVAC techs, and more. With so many options, it’s natural to wonder if the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Insider does anything significant to set itself apart from the competition. If you’re familiar with Milwaukee tools, you know they don’t make a new product without finding a way to improve it, so we’re diving deeper into the design to help you decide if it’s worth pulling the trigger.
- Smaller head profile accesses tighter areas
- Sockets and adapters install on either side of the head
- Some Insider socket sizes are pass-through
- High speed and high torque
- Extended reach shaft
- Variable speed paddle switch offers multiple grip options
- Brushless motor
- Includes adapters to use standard 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch sockets
- Includes 13-piece socket set and adapters with both the bare tool or kit
- Requires specialized hex drive sockets or adapters
- Square drive adapters tend to come out of the head when you’re trying to switch standard sockets
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Insider Cordless Ratchet Basics
Above everything else, the Milwaukee 3050 is a cordless ratchet. Fueled by an M12 battery, it uses a brushless motor to deliver up to 60 ft-lbs of torque and speeds up to 350 RPM.
When you look around at what else is available in the cordless ratchet space, this model is in the upper tier for both torque and speed. Often, you have to choose one or the other, but you get the best of both worlds here.
As we expect, it’s a single-speed drive paired with a variable speed paddle trigger to feather the power and speed to the job.
From a design standpoint, you this is an extended reach model with a total length of 15.2 inches. Bare, it weighs 2.3 pounds, and has a working weight of 2.7 pounds with a 2.5Ah High Output battery.
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Insider Cordless Ratchet Insider Report
Instead of having a square drive extending from the head, the 3050 uses a hex box end that sockets and adapter push into. This design concept has some consequences.
First, it means you can’t use a standard socket on its own since they’re designed to fit on a square drive. Milwaukee includes a 13-piece metric set to get you started. It includes 8mm – 21mm sockets, plus 1/4-inch hex, 1/4-inch square, and 3/8-inch square adapters. The adapters effecitively make the Insider a 3-in-1 tool. Keep in mind that while the adapters allow you to use standard sockets and driver bits, they also eliminate the primary benefit of space savings while greatly increasing the overall versatility.
One other thing to know is that when you’re using the adapters, they tend to pop out of the head when you’re switching sockets. The connection between the socket and adapter is stronger than the friction fit of the adapter into the head.
Because the Insider socket slips into the head instead of just on it, you end up with a narrower overall profile that gets you into tighter spots that standard cordless wrenches. It opens up more areas, leaving you with fewer times to have to reach for a manual wrench.
To see what kind of space savings you’re looking at, I grabbed the 15mm Insider socket and compared it to what I would normally use. The difference was just over 1/2 an inch of clearance, and when you’re working around an engine bay, an extra 1/2 inch to work with can make a diffference.
There are some other benefits as well. Insider sockets up to the 15mm size are pass-through. For those of you working with long bolts or threaded rod, it’s a huge timesaver.
You can also insert your socket from either direction. If the trigger happens to be in the way, just flip the socket to the other side of the head to deal with it.
- Dual LED lights (top and bottom)
- Onboard fuel gauge
- Use manually to assist breaking loose nuts and bolts
- Extended paddle swtich offers multiple grip positions
- Trigger lockout switch
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Insider Cordless Ratchet Price
As a bare tool, the Insider is $299. The kit runs $399 with a charger and 2.5Ah High Output battery. Either way, you get the 13-piece socket set and the 3 adapters we mentioned earlier.
There’s also a protective boot available (49-16-3050) that runs $29 if you’d like to add it.
Individual Insider sockets run $7.99 – $9.99 and are available in both metric and SAE sizes.
The Bottom Line
With improvements in reach and access, pass-through on some socket sizes, and an excellent blend of speed and torque, the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Insider cordless ratchet is very different from other models on the market. Those benefits do come at a bit of a premium in price compared to MIlwaukee’s other brushless ratchets. However, it’ll be worth it every time the Insider helps you avoid grabbing a hand tool.