Milwaukee M12 vs M12 Fuel

Milwaukee M12 vs M12 Fuel: The Ultimate Showdown

If there is one thing I know about power tools, it has to be that Milwaukee has the best tools on the market. Not only do they have lines and lines of new products, but they also have innovative technologies that make their products better than other companies products. What can compare to the Powerstate brushless motor or the Redlink Plus intelligence hardware and software?!

In today's guide, I will talk about two great product lines from Milwaukee that have been on the market for years - Milwaukee M12 and M12 Fuel. I will compare the power tools to see which offers better quality for the money. I will also give a quick overview of the key features and capabilities to help interested buyers decide which one to get.

So, if you want to learn more about the Milwaukee m12 vs m12 fuel debate, read the rest of this guide!

What Does Fuel Mean on Milwaukee Tools?

Many Milwaukee tools have the word "Fuel" in the name. The term does not signify that the tools need fuel to work. Instead, it points to the type of motor, the type of battery, and the technologies included in the tools to make them better than competitor tools.

So, a Milwaukee M12 Fuel or M18 Fuel will have three main characteristics that make it different from its fuel-less counterpart. Those three characteristics are:

  • Powerstate Brushless Motor: The brushless motor means that the tools have a powerful yet compact motor that allows better speed, more power, more control, and effortless operation.
  • The Redlithium Battery Pack: As for the batteries, Redlithium is a Milwaukee invention that gives tools an extended battery life and better performance even when put under pressure. The battery itself helps prevent tool overheating, impact, or vibration.
  • The Redlink Plus Intelligence Hardware & Software: The Redlink Plus technology is also unique to Milwaukee tools and helps get the best performance. The intelligence technology adapts to the situations and tells the tool how to operate under specific conditions.

Even though this makes the M12 Fuel line sound like a better option on many levels, the M12 line also has some exceptional capabilities. I will tell you more about what makes the tool lines different and what they have in common. Let's get right into it.

What is the Difference Between Milwaukee M12 and M12 Fuel?

Milwaukee M12 vs M12 Fuel 2

Ever since both these tool lines were released, there has been a Milwaukee m12 vs m12 fuel debate. After all, there are a few crucial differences between the two lines that you need to know before you make your final purchase decision. Here is a bit more on the key features of these two product lines:

Product Lines

The first thing worth mentioning is the product lines as a whole. Milwaukee M12 came out first back in 2008. The line first consisted of only a few tools, including a screwdriver, hammer drill, regular driver, and impact driver. Only after a few years did some of the other tools come, but that was roughly the same time the M12 Fuel came out.

Milwaukee released the M12 Fuel line in 2012, again with fewer tools than today. There was an impact driver, press tool, hackzall, and band saw. But it was not the number of tools that impressed people - it was how many improvements Milwaukee made in its new line of products.

Nowadays, the Milwaukee M12 Fuel and M12 consist of dozens, if not hundreds, of different tools that could help anyone finish any DIY project. Both lines are a fantastic investment opportunity, even for those who do not need them daily but would rather keep them close by for when the time comes to use them.

Milwaukee M12 vs M12
Fuel: Comparison

Milwaukee M12

Milwaukee M12 Fuel


Magnesium build

Plastic build

Size & Weight

Compact, lightweight

Bigger, bulkier


NiCad brushed motor

Powerstate brushless motor


Low, medium, and high


High and low torque


12V Redlithium battery

12V Redlithium battery

Special Features

  • Ergonomic handling
  • Low maintenance
  • Quick Charging
  • Extended battery life
  • Ergonomic handling
  • Noiseless operation
  • Redlink Plus
  • Low maintenance

Design & Features

If you look at the design, you will immediately notice that the Milwaukee M12 Fuel looks more modern than the M12 line. In general, both lines and Milwaukee tools feature the same red design with the recognizable Milwaukee logo on the side. Still, the lines are made from different materials that can make a world of difference.

The M12 line has a magnesium build that makes the tools strong and durable. None of the tools are prone to wear and tear, even when put to the test. The brand has outdone itself by making the tools as low-maintenance as possible. But I could also say the same about the M12 Fuel line.

The M12 Fuel has a predominantly plastic build. Still, the plastic is not the regular kind we are used to seeing - it is durable, wear-resistant, professional-grade plastic. The devices from this line are larger and bulkier but are still quite compact compared to devices from other companies.

As for the features, these are generally the same between the two lines. Both have powerful motors, lasting batteries, ergonomic handling, a low noise level to help avoid problems with the neighbors, and many other great things. More on these features in the following sections!

Power Output & Performance

The power output on both product lines depends on the specific product, and considering there are dozens of products within each line, I could only say that the products are all very powerful. The performance is also unprecedented, which I have come to expect from Milwaukee tools.

Namely, the motor is quite different between both tool lines. On the M12, you will find a NiCad-powered motor with three different torque levels - high, medium, and low. As for the M12 fuel, the motor is Lithium-powered and has two torque levels - high and low, but double the torque compared to the M12.

Both tool lines have fantastic quality, and which one you choose will depend on what you plan to use the tool for. The M12 Fuel is more versatile, but the M12 is more compact and sleek. So, consider these features when making your final decision.

Battery Life & Charging Time

milwaukee m12 battery

You must also worry about batteries and charging times when working with cordless tools. You do not want to run out of battery during a project and wait hours before it recharges. Instead, you want a tool with a lasting battery and quick charging.

This describes the Milwaukee Redlithium battery pack, one of the most powerful batteries you can find on the market. If you are wondering what makes it so great, it has to be the 12V voltage and 1.5 amp-hour of runtime, along with the quick charging option that could take between 90 and 130 minutes to charge fully.

Furthermore, this battery has a 2-year warranty, so it is worth the investment. You can use the same battery for M12 and M12 Fuel tools. If you have more than one battery, you can use them interchangeably between your tools and between charging cycles.

Durability & Reliability

If you compare Milwaukee M12 and M12 fuel lines, you will find that both lines have amazing durability. It could take years before a tool shows any sign of deterioration. Still, another testament to that is the company warranty that allows you to see how much the company trusts its products will stand the test of time.

You get a warranty with each product bought through an authorized Milwaukee reseller or the company directly. Depending on the product, the warranty could cover all repairs and replacements for a year or more. You should contact the company to find out exactly how long your warranty lasts and what it covers.

But that also brings me to my next point - the tools are as reliable as possible. The only difference is that the M12 is better for smaller, less demanding projects. In contrast, the M12 fuel is more suitable for challenging tasks. So, you should keep that in mind when deciding which tools you want to use for your upcoming project.

Price Range & Value for Money

Finally, let's discuss the price. The M12 Fuel requires a bigger investment as all tools in this line are more expensive than their m12 line counterparts. It might be the fact that the M12 Fuel line is more recent, while the tools are more modern and have better features. All these things lead to one conclusion - even a more significant investment is worth it when you consider the quality you will get in return.

As for which will give you the better value for your money, both lines are extremely valuable and worth your money. You will be better off investing in M12 if you plan smaller DIY projects. In contrast, the M12 Fuel is a must for serious handypersons and people who often need to use the tools.

Customer comments have shown that there is yet to be someone who dreads investing in either the Milwaukee M12 or the M12 Fuel. So, do not hesitate to move today and get your entire tool line.

Which One to Choose?

That is everything you need to know on these two lines of Milwaukee devices. Whether it is a hammer drill, impact drill, or impact wrench, you can rest assured that Milwaukee has you covered. You only need to choose the line of tools you want to purchase. But before you do that, here is what you should consider:

  • The M12 Fuel is more modern than the M12 and has more features and capabilities.
  • The M12 Fuel is a better option for demanding and long projects.
  • Even though the prices are not that different, the M12 Fuel is a bit more expensive than the M12 line.
  • Both tool lines come with lasting batteries you can use interchangeably.
  • The M12 Fuel is more powerful than the other line, considering it has double the torque.

You cannot go wrong with any of these tools, while you can choose to purchase separate tools or the entire line. Consider what you need the tools for, how often you think you will use them, and how much money you want to spend. Based on that, I do not doubt you will be able to decide which line is better for you.


Thank you for reading this detailed Milwaukee M12 vs M12 Fuel comparison. I hope you learned a lot of valuable information on both product lines and know which one you want to invest in when you can. Do not forget that both are durable, powerful, and offer noiseless working. The M12 is better for smaller projects, whereas the M12 Fuel line can handle more demanding projects.

All in all, I recommend both these lines to interested buyers. If you have experience with the M12, M12 Fuel, or Milwaukee tools in general, please share more about it in the comments below. If you have any burning questions, share those as well. I will make sure to read everything as soon as possible!

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