Milwaukee M12 Vs M18 tools 2

Milwaukee M12 vs M18: Which Power Tool is Right for You?

If you are into construction work or perhaps like to do an occasional home improvement project, you must have heard of Milwaukee, and by that, I do not mean the actual city.

Milwaukee tools is a company that focuses on tools - all kinds of them! They have various power tools, batteries, chargers, apparel, accessories, etc. But their most famous products are the Milwaukee M12 and M18 power systems. Here are some of the most important facts about Milwaukee M12 vs M18 systems:

Milwaukee M12: fuel, tools, and batteries

Milwaukee M18: fuel, tools, and batteries

Milwaukee M12 tools: lighter, durable, portable, cordless, great for smaller jobs and home improvements

Milwaukee M18 tools: heavier, durable, portable, cordless, great for long construction projects

Milwaukee M12 batteries: suitable only with M12 tools, powerful but not that long-lasting

Milwaukee M18 batteries: suitable only with M18 tools, powerful and long-lasting

In short, these are some of the facts that you should know about the Milwaukee M12 vs M18 systems, tools, and batteries. To learn even more facts and determine which system is more suitable for your needs, make sure that you read the rest of the guide. Let's get right into it!

Milwaukee M12 Vs M18 - What Are Differences?

If you look at Milwaukee's official website, you will find that they offer four different types of power systems. While today's guide focuses on Milwaukee M12 vs M18 systems, the company also offers the popular MX fuel equipment and the Packout storage systems. But I will leave those for another discussion and focus on the M12 and M18 batteries and tools for now.

The differences between these two systems can help you determine which one is more suitable for your project. So, let's look into the main differences between the systems:


Milwaukee M12 Vs M18

First, let's look into the M12 batteries.

M12 batteries are quite powerful and suitable for all tools in the M12 system, which is more than 100 different tools. These are Lithium-ion batteries that are suitable for light household works.

There are two types of M12 batteries - heavy-duty batteries and compact batteries. The former group consists of 3,4, and 5-amper batteries. The latter group consists of 1.5, 2, and 3-amper batteries. Both groups have long-lasting battery life and can be used with cordless power tools.

Now, let's look into M18 batteries.

These are more powerful than the previously-mentioned batteries. You can find three types of M18 batteries - Redlithium CP, Redlithium XC, and Redlithium High Demand. The first group consists of 1.5 and 2-amper batteries; the second group consists of 3,4,5, or 6-amper batteries; the third group consists of 9 and 12-amper batteries.

All M18 batteries are Lithium-ion and extra powerful. They can last up to 60 minutes without pauses and are suitable for slightly heavy-duty jobs due to the extended running time. All in all, they are better for longer projects.

Weight & Size

From batteries to tools - both the M12 and M18 systems feature a variety of tools.

When discussing the weight and size, there is no doubt that the M12 tools are smaller and lighter. The lighter design gives these tools better portability, which is always a plus. You can get an M12 compact drill and take it to any construction site you need to use it.

But I can say the same about the M18 tools. Although they are a bit larger and heavier, they are still suitable for all kinds of work. They might tire your hands after a while, but they are still portable and convenient.

Power & Speed

The power is among the most significant differences between Milwaukee M12 and M18 tools. Any tool from the M18 system will be more powerful than the M12 tools. It is a fact based on the general RPM of the tools.

The RPM of M12 is 1700 tops, whereas any M18 tool can reach an RPM of at least 1800. This means more power, more torque, and better overall performance of the M18 tools. No matter if you are looking at drills, electric saws, grinders, or other tools from the M18 system, you can count on them being more powerful than the M12.


The differences in durability are not that significant. All Milwaukee tools and batteries are incredibly durable, with the M18 batteries having a slightly longer battery life. Again, the M12 batteries are also quite long-lasting, but you just might need to use two batteries instead of only one if you have a longer or more demanding project ahead of you.

As for the tools, the durability is nearly the same. Milwaukee tools are generally more durable than tools from other brands, but if you focus on tools only from this company, you will see that the durability will not make much of a difference.


Some might consider the price the main difference between M12 and M18 tools and batteries. While both systems are quite similar in many ways, the price might make a difference for people who can spend a lot of money on tools and those who cannot.

So, the price of any M18 fuel, battery, or tool will be a bit higher than the price of any M12 fuel, battery, or tool. The M18 system offers greater power, better durability, and longevity, which is why it is generally more expensive.

If you only have one project and are wondering which tool to get, the M12 might be a better option. The M18 will be a good investment option for extensive work on various projects.

Milwaukee M12 [Pros & Cons]

Milwaukee M12

There are a ton of things in which the Milwaukee M12 ranks above the competition. While it comes with a ton of benefits, there are some setbacks that interested buyers must keep in mind. Here are some of the key pros and cons of the Milwaukee M12:


Redlink intelligence technology - the M12 is equipped with a powerful Redlink intelligence system that allows total system communication. That gives an already powerful tool optimized performance in any condition.

Compact, lightweight design - the size and shape of the Milwaukee M12 make these the perfect tools for light duties. They will feel great in your hand and will not cause problems, even if you need to hold them for extended periods. Most of the Milwaukee cordless tools with the M2 system also have superb ergonomics, which is also great.

Ease of use - these tools have a brushless motor in most cases and are very easy to use. All you need to do is push a button while the tool is plugged in. That will enable the tool to start working and give you less than an hour of uninterrupted work on one charge.

Great value at a low price - all Milwaukee M12 tools come at a great price and provide owners with good enough value to not regret the investment. Few other tools and batteries have the same or at least similar value. Once you try Milwaukee batteries or tools from the M12 line, you will know exactly what I am talking about.


Limited battery use - the problem with Milwaukee M12 tools is that you can use them only with Milwaukee batteries from the same line. There is no other option - no other battery to help you run the tool. So, ensure you have the correct battery whenever you need to do some task.

Overheating - The Milwaukee M12 tools are not for large projects or heavy-duty work. They are not to be used as construction tools but as tools for light work. If you want to use them for longer, more challenging tasks, you risk overheating the tool.

Battery life - Even though Milwaukee M12 batteries are special batteries, they do not have the longest battery life out there. You will not be able to use them for longer than an hour on one charge. If you have more demanding or time-intensive work, you are better off using a more powerful battery.

Milwaukee M18 [Pros & Cons]

Milwaukee M18

The Milwaukee M18 is what some people call the high-performance variety from the company. There are tools and batteries in this line that can make your jaw drop. Here are some of the pros but also the cons that they come with:


Great battery power - even though the Milwaukee M12 is very powerful, the Milwaukee M18 has even more power than you can imagine. The battery is durable and lasting, meaning it can give you more than an hour of uninterrupted work. The batteries also come with overload protection.

Battery compatibility - when comparing the Milwaukee M12 vs M18, remember that the latter can be used with both M12 and M18 batteries. The former is only compatible with M12 batteries. Switching between the batteries will allow you to use the tool for more extended periods, which is great for prolonged projects.

Flexibility - considering that the Milwaukee M18 are cordless tools, you can take them wherever you need to. Tight spaces, large construction sites - you name it, it is possible to conquer it with these tools. The brushless motors will give you performance unlike any other.

Optimized performance in all weather conditions - these tools have complete waterproofing, which allows you to use them even in inclement weather. They can even survive accidental falls in puddles of water, but you should not test this feature often.


Run time could be better - the Milwaukee M18 might run longer than an hour, but that is not always enough for serious workers. You have to recharge this tool after an hour of use. So, if you need a tool that gives you several hours of uninterrupted work, you are better off looking elsewhere.

Expensive - another thing to keep in mind is that the M18 tools are very expensive, no matter how you put it. They are worth the investment but might be too expensive for some people. Only serious construction workers are prepared to invest in them.

Heavy - while the design is compact, the weight of the M18 tools is more than one person can handle for an extended period while still feeling comfortable. The M18 can tire out your hands after a few hours of use, which is something to keep in mind if you plan on using it for long, heavy-duty work.

Milwaukee M12 Vs M18 - Which Is the Better Choice?

Thank you for reading this detailed guide on the Milwaukee M12 vs M18 tools and batteries. Remember that the main downside to M12 is the shorter battery power, whereas the main downside to M18 is the heavy design.

These tools' compact design, ease of use, great value, and optimized performance make them great. Which one you go with depends on your needs and preferences, so ensure you take all features, pros, and cons mentioned in this guide to make your final decision.

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