Milwaukee M12 vs M18 Batteries

Milwaukee M12 vs M18 Batteries






0.16 oz

2.2 pounds







Battery technology

REDLINK Intelligence system

REDLINK Intelligence system

Battery size

12 volts

18 volts

Battery cells




For How Long Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Last?

Battery-powered tools have come a long method in the last years. Relocating to lithium-ion as a power storage tool, as opposed to the older nickel-cadmium batteries, enhances performance as well as runtimes to a point that "cutting the cord" has come to be a feasible option for numerous expert applications. Pros can currently get rid of hauling around expansion cords and also generators to the job website. However, because Li-Ion batteries are costly, the relocate to cordless ease can show to be a financial investment. Normally, before delving into a cordless tool line, the critical Pro will think about just how large an investment cordlessness calls for in the long-term. How long can a battery rest extra? The amount of charging cycles can you get out of a battery? What's various regarding Li-Ion batteries? For how long do lithium-ion batteries last?

We talked to our pals at Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi, Makita, Milwaukee, and Ridgid obtain some responses directly from the producers. While the responses vary here and there, there's a basic agreement on the major factors.

How Long Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Last on your shelf?

There are likewise a variety of outside factors that affect a battery pack's life expectancy on the shelf. What was the state of the pack's charge when it was kept? Will the user shop the battery in hotter or colder temperature levels? Will it be stored on the device, on the rack, or on the charger? Who made the inner electronic devices, and exactly how well do those electronics control the current within the pack?

What is the amount of cycles Can We Expect To Get?

Once more, the answer to this question will mainly rely on a number of variables. Battery configuration as well as capability will certainly figure in, as will certainly ambient storage space temperature levels.

Customer habits will certainly additionally impact how many billing cycles a battery can experience before it craps out. Believe it or otherwise, you actually should not utilize your battery crams in area of a hammer. Blunt pressure trauma will negatively influence the lifespan of your Li-Ion batteries.

Do I need to invest in good quality batteries?

In my opinion, the short answer is yes. Power tools are essential in my craft as I’m sure they are for commercial utilization. For any of my tools to work efficiently, they require durable and reliable batteries as well as chargers. This is where the Milwaukee M12 and M18 batteries come in. 

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Milwaukee is among the top power tool brands, producing long-lasting, top-notch tools, and their batteries are no exception. I noticed that these two batteries are rather different in terms of power and capacity. Nevertheless, I find that they’re quite handy to use in various Milwaukee power tools. 

Here is a detailed comparison of the Milwaukee M12 and M18 batteries;

Milwaukee M12 Overview 

The M12 fuels cordless equipment and M12 compact utilize the Red-Lithium chargers and batteries explicitly designed for the M12 product line. Typically, these batteries have a great run time and feature Lithium-Ion technology, which lasts me almost double the run time of the previous Milwaukee batteries. 

As mentioned above, these batteries work with all my M12 tools. The difference between the high-capacity and M12 compact batteries is the amount of power they deliver and their appearance. The compact battery is lighter than its counterpart and provides 3.0-, 2.0-, and 1.5-amp-hours of battery use. 

On the other hand, the high-capacity version gives me 6.0, 4.0, and 3.0 amp-hour battery utilization, allowing me to use the tool for much longer. I often interchange these batteries to achieve the perfect result, and I’m sure anyone can replicate that performance.


Even though there is a wide array of M12 power tools, I love that you can utilize the M12 batteries in almost all of them. However, none of my M12 tools are compatible with M18 batteries. 

Milwaukee M12 Pros and Cons

If you own a cordless Milwaukee tool like me, you will undoubtedly enjoy the variety of benefits that the M12 batteries have to offer, including;


  • Firstly, its performance and power are excellent thanks to its increased current discharge. It features the REDLINK technology, which delivers maximum overload protection and performance. In other words, it is a workhorse I consistently rely on to get the job done.
  • Secondly, these batteries are versatile since they operate optimally in various weather conditions. I don’t often work in the rain or extreme cold, but whenever I’m caught out in a light drizzle, I’m secure in the knowledge that my battery is not going to sustain damage.
  • Thirdly, they work on almost all of my M12 devices, excluding a few that require special batteries. 
  • Fourthly, the M12 batteries have a rubber base that they sit on. I like placing my tools upright when I’m working, so this is a huge plus. 
  • Lastly, durable and robust construction guarantees efficiency and resilience. Thus far, I have little to complain about.
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  • The main disadvantage with the M12 batteries is that they're only ideal for M12 devices. Personally, I don’t think that’s a deal-breaker, and it probably won’t bother you either if you only own M12s.
  • After several years, their efficiency reduces, and they deliver low power output. I think that’s expected of most batteries.


These impressive batteries come in two variations; the high capacity and the compact. At a glance, I can tell that the M12 battery is designed for sturdiness and features an exclusive pack build. It’s no wonder it’s my go-to for heavy-duty tasks. I also love that it can fit in my tool bags and overalls pockets. It’s a very convenient carry.

Milwaukee M18 Batteries Overview 

The Milwaukee M18 batteries are only compatible with M18 gadgets. They work well with my M18, 18V gadgets, at least. I suppose they are a bit more potent than the M12 batteries. These come in three types; XC, regular and high-demand batteries. They all feature different runtimes. 

The regular model has a compact build with 2 or 1.5 amp-hours operation time. I use it for lightweight home tasks, including drilling or screwdriving. 

Lastly, the high-power version is something I reserve for those power-intensive tasks, most of which are commercial. It’s also a godsend when I have a time-intensive application, such as when I use my miter saw or outdoor table saw. 

The M18 RED-LITHIUM is one of the products in the M18 battery line. It is powerful and highly versatile, and it works pretty well with most of my M18 power gadgets. 

I noticed that the M18 batteries will operate even when the temperatures are extremely cold. They are also quite robust. I know that they will serve me for years with proper maintenance.

I’ve never had an issue fitting it in my Milwaukee tool. At 29g, it is also remarkably lightweight—I barely even notice it sometimes when I’m working.

What's more, it features REDLINK technology, which boosts its performance and combats overload, so this is a proper battery for heavy-duty stuff.


Another fascinating thing about the Milwaukee M18 batteries is that they're compatible with all my M18 cordless devices. As the owner of several M18 tools, I highly doubt there’s a better battery out there. 

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  • First, these impressive batteries offer top-quality performance thanks to their output. The REDLINK Intelligence system boosts performance via communication between the charger, battery, and the tool and hinders overload. 
  • Second, they have a sturdy construction; thus, they're durable. This translates to them being less susceptible to breakdowns as a result of accidental drops, which I’m guilty of perpetrating every so often.
  • Third, they are operational in extremely hot temperatures or extremely cold ones. 
  • Fourth, M18 batteries come in three different types; high demand, XC, and regular. It’s easy for me to pick the one that best fits my needs.


  • As with the M12 batteries, the M18 are only compatible with M18 tools only. Also, their performance gets worse as they age. Again, I don’t consider this a deal-breaker since most batteries suffer this flaw.


The XC model, on the other hand, has 6,5,4, and 3 run times. It is often my go-to for medium applications that need constant power output for a long time. Also, since I have a workshop requiring consistent work input, this battery works very well for me.

Which one is better?

Milwaukee is a well-known brand in the power tool industry, thanks to its reliable and durable products throughout the years.

Within its wide range of products are the M12 and M18 batteries, whose major variation is their voltage. The M12 offers 12 volts, while the M18 delivers 18 volts.

At the risk of sounding like an absolutist, I find that the M18 is way better than the M12, at least where power is concerned.

That said, the M18 battery may be more powerful, but I can’t deny that the M12 is better suited for lightweight tasks thanks to its reduced weight. 

If you're looking for an effective and powerful battery, you can choose the M12 for portability and the M18 for power. I find that they fit nicely into these applications. 

This detailed comparison of the Milwaukee M12 and M18 batteries is purely from my experience, so take it with a grain of salt.

Hopefully, this review has helped you choose the Milwaukee battery that best fits your needs. 




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