Milwaukee M12 Vs M18 [What Is the Difference Between Them?]

Milwaukee is one of the most reputable global brands of power tools. It has a diverse product line with innovative models. As you decide what to pick, you should know the differences between M12 vs M18, which are two of their most popular products.

Milwaukee M12 and M18 are both powerful, comfortable, and reliable tools. Nonetheless, they have some key differences, including the following: 

  • Batteries: M12 have two types of batteries: compact and high-capacity. They are both 12 volts and compatible with other M12 tools. On the other hand, M18 have 18-volt batteries that are suitable for all M18 tools. You can choose from three types: Red Lithium CP, Red Lithium XC, Red Lithium High Demand. 
  • Product Lineup: Some of the products under the M12 lineup include cable cutter, ratchet, impact wrench, impact driver, and hammer drills. Meanwhile, M18 products include table saw, impact drill, rotary hammer, and dust extractor. 
  • Applications: If you are looking for DIY tools, M12 is for you, Meanwhile, for professional projects, M18 is the better option.
  • Construction: M18 power tools are tougher than M12, although they will both withstand the test of time. 
  • Price: Since they are more powerful and designed for more demanding tasks, M18 tools are more expensive than M12. 

Read on to learn more about the differences between M12 vs M18, and decide which one is more suitable for your needs. 

Milwaukee M12 vs M18

milwaukee m12 vs m18

Milwaukee has been the go-to brand for top-notch power tools, from cordless drills to impact drivers. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a professional, the company promises many innovative products.

Two of the most popular choices from Milwaukee are M12 and M18. If you cannot decide what to pick between the two, here is a quick look at some of their main differences:

1. Batteries 

Both M12 and M18 tools are cordless. This means that they are portable, allowing you to work anywhere and anytime. You do not need a plug or electricity. Plus, since there are no wires, you have the freedom to move around and will have no limitations depending on the length of the cable. 

M12 and M18 Require Batteries with Different Specs

Nonetheless, M12 and M18 batteries have varying specifications. M12 uses 12-volt batteries. Meanwhile, M18 uses 18-volt batteries. These batteries are not interchangeable since they are designed to provide the specific power needs of each tool lineup. 

Two Types of M12 Batteries

M12 batteries are known for being lightweight, which means that they are comfortable. More so, they are available in two types:

  • Compact Battery: Available in 1.5, 2, or 3 amps.
  • High-capacity Battery: Either 3, 4, or 5 amps; Made for more demanding tools, providing the necessary power.

Three Types of M18 Milwaukee Batteries

As for the M18 Milwaukee tools, the battery is available in three types:

  • Red Lithium CP: Most compact; available in 1.5 or 2 amps.
  • Red Lithium XC battery: Available in 3, 4, 5, or 6 amps.
  • Red Lithium High Demand Battery with 12 amps: Use for the most demanding applications. 

Both Batteries Are Durable

While the two batteries have varying specifications, especially in terms of amperage, they have the same durable construction. They deliver all-weather performance. Plus, they are versatile since you can use them with all tools in the respective lineup. 

2. Product Lineup 

As we discuss the difference between the Milwaukee M12 and M18, their product lineup is one thing to look at. Start by asking yourself what tools you need, then check if a specific lineup has them. Regardless, both M12 and M18 guarantee superior performance that you cannot find in other brands.

M12 Lineup Tools

Below are some of the tools in the M12 lineup: 

  • Digital torque wrench 
  • Cable cutter 
  • Tubing cutter 
  • Ratchet
  • Rivet tool 
  • Crown stapler 
  • Caulk and adhesive gun 
  • Press tool 
  • Hex hydraulic driver 
  • Impact wrench 
  • Impact driver 
  • Hammer drill 

M18 Lineup Power Tools

Meanwhile, here are some of the power tools in the M18 lineup: 

  • String trimmer 
  • Chainsaw 
  • Right-angle drill 
  • Knock-out tool
  • Cable cutter
  • Long-throw press tool
  • Table saw 
  • Expander kit 
  • Rotary hammer 
  • Angler finish nailer 
  • Dust extractor 
  • Impact wrench 

3. Applications 

M12 Power Tools Are Suitable for Simple DIY Tasks

The two lineups of Milwaukee power tools are also different in their applications. If you are into simple DIY tasks, we recommend choosing the M12. They are built to be lightweight, compact, and comfortable. Even as a beginner, they promise intuitive operations. They have enough power for most light-duty tasks. 

M18 Tools Are Tougher and More Powerful

Meanwhile, M18 tools are built to be tougher and more powerful. Hence, it is an ideal option for professional contractors who need heavy-duty equipment for their job. From the battery to the motor, they have higher technical specs compared to M12. 

4. Construction 

Because of the differences in their applications, the two tools also have slight differences in terms of their construction. They are both durable, but M18 power tools are tougher since they are made for demanding jobs. This can also make them a bit heavier. Despite the latter, they both have an ergonomic design, so you can be confident that they are durable. 

5. Price 

In evaluating Milwaukee M18 vs M12, you also have to look at the price. The price depends on the specific model that you will choose. Nonetheless, it is best to select M12 Milwaukee, especially for DIY projects, if you have a budget. M18 power tools are more expensive because they often have higher specifications and cater to the needs of professional users. 

Again, is Milwaukee M18 or M12 better? While M12 is not as powerful as the Milwaukee M18, an 18V-class cordless impact driver, it has enough power for certain tasks. Also, M12 is smaller, advantageous in finishing tasks in tighter spaces.

Milwaukee M12 and M18 Product Reviews 

milwaukee m12 vs m18 impact driver
Milwaukee M12 Fuel Two-piece Kit 

After a general comparison of Milwaukee M12 vs M18, here are some of the top products worth considering:

1. Milwaukee M12 Fuel Two-piece Kit 

Utilize for DIY Tasks

It is hard to go wrong with this combo kit for basic and affordable tools that you can use for DIY tasks. It includes a hammer drill and impact driver. 

Powerful Hammer Drill

While it is small, the hammer drill with this kit is powerful. It has 1,700 RPM and 350 inch-pounds of torque. The manufacturer also claims that this is the lightest in its class, which will make it comfortable to use. It is unlike others that can easily strain your wrist. 

Impact Driver with a Four-mode Drive Control

Meanwhile, the impact driver has 3,300 RPM, allowing it to drive bits up to 20% faster than what you can expect from most of its competitors. It also has a four-mode drive control, allowing users to customize its settings depending on what is most suitable for a task. 

Robust Built

Additionally, we love how it has a tough construction. The body of both tools is made of glass-reinforced nylon to ensure durability. It can withstand shock and vibration, preventing the internal components from damage. 

Includes Two Lithium-ion Batteries

The combo kit offers the best bang for the buck because it already includes two lithium-ion batteries. Plus, it has a tool bag, so you can keep the tools organized while also protecting them from dirt and dust. 


  • Lightweight and compact 
  • Durable glass-reinforced nylon body 
  • Ideal for working in tight spaces 


  • Can be wobbly 

2. Milwaukee M12 Fuel Hammer Drill 

Lightweight, Powerful, and Compact

Lightweight but powerful – that is what you can expect from this hammer drill. It is also compact, which makes it easy to maneuver. Additionally, we love how tight spaces are accessible with this tool. 

Brushless Motor with Customizable Speed

If you look at the technical specs, there is no doubt that it is an impressive product, even if it is more suitable for DIY tasks than professional jobs. The brushless motor has 800 watts of power. Plus, you can customize the speed at a maximum of 1,700 RPM, depending on what the job requires. 

Intuitive Design

Another good reason to choose this hammer drill is its ease of use. Even if you have no experience operating power tools, you will love its intuitive design. From the lightweight body to the accessible controls, it is beginner-friendly. 

Take note, however, that you will need to purchase the battery separately. Some people might not like how this is an added cost. 


  • Outstanding brushless motor
  • Has overload protection 
  • Can access even tight spaces 


  • Does not include a battery 

3. Milwaukee M18 Cordless Compact Combo Tool Kit

milwaukee m12 or m18
Milwaukee M18 Cordless Compact Combo Tool Kit

Kit Inclusion

This is a great pick for professionals looking for powerful tools suitable even for demanding tasks. Do not let the price discourage you. It is expensive, but the cost is justifiable. It includes the following:

  • Hammer drill/driver
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Hex impact driver
  • Work light
  • Battery
  • Charger
  • Contractor bag

Four-pole Frameless Motor with Adjustable Speed

One of the tool’s highlights in this kit is the four-pole frameless motor. It has 500 inch-pounds of torque and adjustable speed. You can select a maximum speed of 1,800 RPM, so you can match it depending on what a task requires. 

Shock and Impact Resistance

The rugged construction of the tools in this kit will guarantee longevity. It has an all-metal case and chuck, allowing shock and impact resistance. Despite being tough, the weight is manageable, and it also fits even in tight spaces. 

Another thing worth noting about this kit is the battery. It has an extended capacity, so you can work longer without worrying about the need to recharge. 


  • Comes with a high-capacity battery 
  • Powerful performance in a lightweight body 
  • Robust construction 


  • Charger prongs are prone to misalignment 

4. Milwaukee M18 Fuel Hammer Drill 

Built to Handle the Most Demanding Applications

This 18-volt cordless drill is one of the most powerful you will find in the market. It is built to handle even the most demanding applications, making it a top pick amongst professional contractors.

Protected from Over-discharging, Over-loading, and Over-heating Dangers

Looking at its features, one of the most impressive is the REDLINK Plus Intelligence. This is also found in other M12 and M18 tools. The latter protects the unit from over-discharging, over-loading, and over-heating dangers. 

Hammer Drill Has Adjustable Speed

The technical specifications of this hammer drill are reflective of its powerful performance. It has 1,200 inch-pounds of torque, making it up to 20% more powerful than its leading competitors. It also has an adjustable speed of 0 to 550 and 0 to 2,000 RPM. 

Even if it is powerful, the unit is compact. With a length of only 6.9 inches, it is easy to hold. Not to mention, it accesses even tight spaces


  • Fast even under heavy load 
  • The chuck has maximum grip 
  • Easy and comfortable to hold 


  • No battery 

Conclusion – Milwaukee M12 vs M18 [What is the Difference Between Them] 

Both M12 and M18 are reliable power tools from Milwaukee. M12 has 12-volt batteries, which can be either Compact or High-Capacity. They are interchangeable so you can use them with other M12 tools. More so, they are built for DIY tasks and other light-duty applications. Also, it is an excellent option for people on a budget. 

On the other hand, Milwaukee M18 tools are more expensive but powerful. They are great for professional users and heavy-duty applications. They use an 18-volt battery, which is available in three kinds:

  • Red Lithium CP,
  • Red Lithium XC, and
  • Red Lithium High Demand.