What is The Difference Between Milwaukee M12 vs. M18 Batteries?

Your tools collection gives a hint of how good you are in what you do in your workshop. If you have high-quality tools, you may draw many clients to your practice as they have the guarantee of the best outcome. If you are looking for the right set of tools for your workplace, you can check on Milwaukee Tool, a quality tools brand that can uplift your practice. It has plenty of utilities in its catalog, grouped according to the system they use. Among the systems are M12 and M18, which brings us to the M12 vs. M18 discussion, looking at their features and understanding where they work best.

If you want to know more about the M12 and M18 systems, you are in the right place, as we will take you through a comprehensive view of each of them for a better understanding.

M12 vs. M18

Milwaukee M12 Vs. M18 Batteries Comparison Table

The best way to decide which battery is right for you is to consider the specific tools you need to use and the types of tasks you will be performing. However, this comparison of features and benefits will help you reach the right battery without much ado.

Milwaukee M12 XC High...
Milwaukee 48-11-1880 M18...
Milwaukee M12 XC High...
Milwaukee 48-11-1880 M18...
Lithium Ion
Lithium Ion
12 volts
18 volts
0.16 ounces
2.2 pounds
Amazon Prime
Milwaukee M12 XC High...
Milwaukee M12 XC High...
Lithium Ion
12 volts
0.16 ounces
Amazon Prime
Milwaukee 48-11-1880 M18...
Milwaukee 48-11-1880 M18...
Lithium Ion
18 volts
2.2 pounds
Feature Milwaukee M12 Battery Milwaukee M18 Battery
Voltage 12 volts 18 volts
Battery Capacity Varied capacities (1.5Ah – 4.0Ah) Varied capacities (3.0Ah – 5.0Ah)
Size/Weight Generally smaller and lighter compared to M18 batteries Larger and heavier due to higher voltage
Compatibility Designed for M12 tools Designed for M18 tools
Tool Performance Suitable for lighter-duty applications Suitable for heavier-duty applications
Runtime Typically, lower runtime compared to M18 batteries Generally longer runtime
Price M12 batteries are often more affordable M18 batteries may be more expensive
Application Ideal for compact and portable tools Suitable for more demanding and high-powered tools
Availability of Tools Limited to tools designed for the M12 platform A wide range of tools available for the M18 platform

Milwaukee M12 Vs. M18 Batteries: Differences 

As mentioned earlier, Milwaukee Tool is one of the best companions you can rely on to get top-grade mechanics tools. The tools include grinders, drills, electric saws, and lights. The M12 and M18 refer to the systems that run the power tools, and the number denotes the voltage. For example, M12 products have a voltage of 12V, while M18’s tools have an 18V voltage.

There are other differences between the two systems that we will look at to tell them apart. They also have a couple of similarities, like the tools’ unique engineering to meet their respective functions. The Milwaukee Tool’s power utilities run on powerful motors that feature great copper content and high-quality rare earth magnets. The result is a mash-up of performance, portability, and productivity, essential aspects to consider when getting your workshop equipment.

Milwaukee M12 vs. M18 Reddit reviews will give you a clear picture of how the two systems work and their differences. A significant part of their M12 vs. M18 impact wrench difference is the batteries they use. We will pay attention to their batteries to give you a hint of how the two systems differ.

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Milwaukee M12 Batteries

Milwaukee Tools is synonymous with the production of portable and cordless power tools that are easy to handle. You can move with them from one place to another without the fear of getting entangled in a cord. As the tools are cordless, they rely on batteries to power them. Milwaukee M12 tools will depend on M12 batteries for their powering needs.

The M12 batteries have a 12V voltage, as previously mentioned, and it will work with all M12 gadgets. An impressive thing about these batteries is that they are light, and when you fix it to your M12 tool, it will enhance their portability. The Milwaukee M12 XC is an excellent example of this battery, and it will provide excellent features that you will enjoy when operating Milwaukee 12V tools.

Among its standout aspects include its lightweight of 100 grams, which is not bulky for your power tool. It is compatible with all Milwaukee Tool M12 cordless tools, such as drills, saws, and even the work light. A feature of this battery that you cannot overlook is the REDLINK intelligence system. This system assures you of optimized battery performance and protects it from overloads via total system communication. The total system communication helps in the coordination of the tool, battery, and charger.

It has a high power discharge, and you can use it in all kinds of weather, a hint of its versatility. The battery also comes with a sturdy base, upholding its stability when in use. Its features mirror the functionality of other M12 Milwaukee batteries.

A thing to know about the M12 batteries is that there are two types: compact and high-performance batteries. The compact M12 is relatively light and small in size compared to the standard compact NiCD battery. It can offer a run time of 1.5, 2, or 3-amp hours. The high-performance variety will offer a run time of 3, 4, and 6 amp-hours.

Pros of Milwaukee M12 Batteries

If you have a Milwaukee M12 cordless gadget, you are sure to enjoy a lot of benefits from the M12 batteries. The first thing to appreciate is its power and performance, which it owes to its high current discharge. The REDLINK intelligence technology provides optimized performance and overload protection. M12 batteries are very versatile, a feature you will notice from their ability to work in different weather conditions, boosting the M12 power gadgets’ functionality. They are also compatible with almost all M12 tools, except for some, which need special batteries.

These batteries come with a rubber base, which helps its stability when not in use, allowing you to place your tool in an upright position. Additionally, the battery has a robust construction that ensures durability and efficiency.


The main downside to the Milwaukee M12 batteries is that they work solely with M12 gadgets. If the batteries age, their performance may reduce, characterized by low power output.

Milwaukee M18 Batteries

On the other side of the M12 vs. M18 discussion, we have the M18 gadgets, and we will pay attention to their batteries. Before looking at the batteries, we will orient you to another debate, M18 vs. M18 fuel. The two are gadgets with similar features, like having the same voltage of 18V; hence, they are under the same system, M18. However, they differ in their motor design. The M18 power equipment uses brushed motors, while the M18 fuel uses brushless motors, making it more powerful.

Back to the M18 batteries, the M18 cordless tools use 18-volt batteries, making them more powerful than the M12. There are three types of the M18 battery; regular, XC, and high demand, each having different run times. The regular version is compact and has 1.5 or 2 amp-hours in run-time. It is ideal for light household work, like drilling some holes in your wall.

Then there is the XC, which has run times of 3, 4, 5, and 6. The XC battery is suitable for slightly heavy jobs that require a sustained power output for more extended periods. You can use this battery if you run a workshop that requires dedication in terms of work input. The high-demand battery is for heavy-duty and time-intensive work, for example, an outdoor table or miter saw. The Milwaukee M18 REDLITHIUM is an excellent example of the M18 battery. This battery is potent and versatile, seeing that it is compatible with almost 175 M18 power tools.

The battery will run your tools even in extremely cold temperatures, where some may fail to start. It is also durable, translating to lengthy service if you properly use and maintain it. At 29 grams, the battery is relatively light and won’t cause any strain when you install it in your Milwaukee utility. The battery sports the REDLINK intelligence technology, which enhances its performance and curbs overloads.

Read Also: Key Differences between Snap-On vs. Blue Point

Pros of M18 Batteries

One thing you will notice about the M18 batteries is that they bring on top-quality performance courtesy of their output. The REDLINK intelligence system improves its performance through communication between the tool, battery, and charger and prevents overload. The batteries have a robust build, translating to durability, and are less prone to malfunctions due to accidental falls or any impact. Additionally, they can work in any weather, even in cold temperatures, and still bring their best.

The batteries complement the M18 gadgets in terms of portability, where their lightness makes them manageable. M18 batteries are adaptable when you look at their compatibility with all M18 equipment. There are three types of batteries depending on their run-time: regular, XC, and high demand. You can pick any of the three depending on the nature of your work.


The main downside to M18 batteries is that they will only work with M18 power equipment. Even if you have a Milwaukee Tool product, it won’t fit if it is not M18. Their performance will deteriorate with age; if you use it for a long time, you will notice that it does not perform as it did when new.

milwaukee m12 vs m18

Learn More: Ryobi 18V Vs. 40V Battery


What Is The Difference Between Milwaukee M12 And M12 Fuel?

The Milwaukee M12 and M12 fuel share many similarities, like having the same voltage and sharing batteries. The M12 vs. M12 fuel discussion main difference is that M12 fuel tools are more powerful as they use brushless motors compared to the brushed in the M12.

Is Milwaukee Fuel Better Than M18?

While the Milwaukee M18 and its fuel counterpart use the same batteries, you will notice that the fuel version is more powerful and compact. This makes it better than the M18, though it might be quite expensive.

Are Milwaukee M12 And M12 Fuel Batteries Interchangeable?

M12 vs. M12 fuel are almost similar, the only difference being that they have different motor systems, where the M12 fuel has brushless, and the other has a brushed motor. As they have the same voltage, you can use their batteries interchangeably. The M12 brushless has a better performance than the standard M12.

Is Milwaukee Fuel Better Than Brushless?

The Milwaukee fuel version uses a brushless motor, though if it has the ‘Fuel’ tag, you will realize that the tool is more compact and has a high-quality performance. In short, Milwaukee fuel is better than brushless.

Are Milwaukee Tools Better Than DeWalt?

Like Milwaukee Tools, DeWalt is an American company majoring in the production of power and hand tools, targeting the construction industry. When looking at the best, there are several factors to put into account. The two companies seem to tie when looking at their respective catalogs, as both have a wider collection of construction tools.

They also tie when it comes to customer service, something that makes them top brands in the tool’s market. Milwaukee gets the upper hand in product quality, with the saving factor being its high-quality batteries. DeWalt has good products, but it comes short in the battle with Milwaukee Tools as the latter company invested in exceptional batteries.

Are Milwaukee M18 And M18 Fuel Batteries Interchangeable?

Yes, M18 and M18 fuel batteries are interchangeable as they have a similar voltage. However, the M18 fuel is better performance-wise than the M18 tools due to its brushless motor.

How Long Do Milwaukee M12 Batteries Last?

When looking for a battery for your equipment, you should consider its life to see how long it will serve you. Milwaukee batteries are long-lasting, and the M12, for example, can last you up to 3-4 years if you use it well, paying attention to practices like charging.

Final words

Milwaukee Tool is a notable brand in the construction and hand tools sector, with many years of experience in the industry. Under its banner, there are the M12 and M18 tools, whose main difference is their voltage, with the former being 12V and the latter 18V. After looking at the M12 vs. M18 debate, we can conclude that the M18 is more powerful, though the M12 is excellent for light duties, and it is easy to handle due to its lightweight. If you want an efficient and well-performing construction tool, Milwaukee Tool is the company to rely on, with a guarantee of top-grade equipment.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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