Milwaukee M18 vs M18 Fuel (Ultimate 2022 Guide)

Are you looking for a guide on Milwaukee M18 vs M18 Fuel range

Super – you are in the right place!

In this ToolsGaloreHQ.com guide you will learn 

  1. Key differences between M18 Non fuel and M18 Fuel
  2. Three things that make the M18 Fuel Better
  3. Which range (M18/M18 Fuel) is best for your specific needs
  4. And So Much More!
Milwaukee m18 vs m18 fuel

M18 Fuel vs M18 Non Fuel – What’s The Catch

Milwaukee has been creating power tools for a couple of decades. They are known to be one of the most innovate and high performance tool makers in the market.

Now when looking at the differences between the M18 range and the M18 Fuel range, the key thing that stands out is this:

The M18 Range of tools generally use brushed motors. Whereas the M18 Fuel range of tools use brushless motors. 

Let’s analyze very quickly what these difference imply. 

Read More: Titanium vs Cobalt Drill Bits - Learn which are better to compliment your M18 Power Tool

Understanding Brushless and Brushed Motors

Two of the most commonly used DC motors are the brushless and brushed types. 

The reason these DC motors are preferred as opposed to other types  (i.e. AC Motors) for power tool applications, is due to their ease of use.

This is especially the case when looking to implement control strategies that includes speed, torque or position control.

DC Brushed motors have brushes (as the name suggests) which are used to commutate the motor as it spins. The problem here is that these brushes wear out over the lifetime of the motor and will need to be replaced.

The DC Brushless motors however uses electronic commutation as opposed to mechanical commutation. The use of active electronics helps in that it improves the performance of the power tool by providing longer runtimes and extended motor life.

Therefore the use of brushless technology is one of the primary reasons why the Milwaukee M18 Fuel range is higher performance than the standard Milwaukee M18 range.

Read More: Learn How To Drill Into Concrete with a Regular Drill

M18 vs M18 Fuel: Deeper Look At The M18 range

Milwaukee originally released the M18 range of cordless power tools during 2008, in response to the needs from the market for more powerful and longer lasting power tools. Replacing the previous M12 range.

Interestingly enough the original name “M18” comes from the lithium ion battery pack given that it uses 18V.

The tools within this range have been built to be durable, portable and very lightweight.

standard M18 power tools

The entire range of over 200 products can operate off the use of the same battery. Which is a great touch by Milwaukee making battery changes and tool usage that more worker friendly.

M18 vs M18 Fuel: Deeper Look At The M18 Fuel

The M18 range really took off within the market. In order to really consolidate their position within the market, Milwaukee developed the M18 FUEL range, and this was introduced into the market in 2012.

The purpose of this range was to build contractor ready high performance tools.

Unlike your typical weekend warrior or DIYer, tradesmen/tradeswomen generally use their power tools for much longer periods of time, and reliability and performance become absolutely key.

m18 fuel

What makes the M18 Fuel range special is that it is equipped with 3 innovative and trademarked technologies that ensure top notch quality and performance. These are:

  • POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor
  • REDLITHIUM™ Battery Pack; and
  • REDLINK PLUS™ Intelligent Software and Hardware

These 3 technologies are integral to Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel range. Let’s delve into each in a bit more detail and see what they really give and provide.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel – POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor

Milwaukee have put in a lot of research and development work into developing a brushless motor.

It has exceptional technical attributes and it specifically designed for power tools in that it can provide good speed, torque and durability maximized for it’s compact design .

This motor has also been designed to deliver up to 4x more power than similar tools in the market.

This coupled with a 5 year warranty – which is incredible given that most power tools generally only provide 1 to 3 year product warranties should give you great comfort.

All in all – the M18 Fuel’s POWERSTATE™ Brushless Motor provides great performance, longer service life and efficient operation during its run time.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel – REDLITHIUM™ Battery Pack

What I like about Milwaukee’s RELITHIUM™ Battery Pack is that it is interchangeable between the wide range of Milwaukee’s M18 tool range. Both the standard (non-fuel) and the M18 Fuel types.

As with the brushless motor, a lot of research and development has gone into making this battery pack what it is today. The batteries last longer than other typical lithium-ion constructions within the power tools market. 

Furthermore, here is a good read to help you keep your lithium ion batteries healthier for longer.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel – REDLINK PLUS Intelligent Software and Hardware

What truly makes the M18 Fuel stand out in my opinion is the way that all the controls integrate so seamlessly to create the really efficient power tools that we see from Milwaukee.

This PCB based intelligent hardware and software control system is one of the most advanced in the market.

Apart from monitoring tool performance, it ensures full cycle communication between motor and battery – ensuring industry leading protection and productivity.

Read More: Find Drill Press Table to compliment your M18 Power Tool

Milwaukee M18 Brushless vs Milwaukee M18 Fuel Brushless

Something that is quite important to note. There are some tools in the standard M18 range that operate off brushless motor technology.

Now the obvious question then arises. Which brushless power tool is better – the M18 or the M18 Fuel type?

The key thing to consider always when comparing these two – the M18 fuel always has better and more powerful brushless motor, in the POWERSTATE™ technology as we had stated previously.

In fact I can tell you that from tests that have been performed it has been shown that the M18 Fuel tools perform on average about 25 to 50% better than the standard M18 tools. This by the way is across the board.

However for the quality and increased performance found in the M18 fuel, you will find yourself paying a premium.

So ultimately it’s really up to you.

I must say that the standard M18 range is more than sufficient for anyone who doesn’t use the tool more than 2 or 3 times a week.

However if you are a contractor or tradesman who performs work for clients. I would strongly recommend that you look at the M18 Fuel range of tools. 

milwaukee pro tip

The added cost will be made by multiple times in terms of productivity, quality and lower tool down times. You will also benefit from the great ergonomic features and the industry leading warranties.

With that being said, let’s touch on why brushless motors and better than brushed motors so that we really hammer this point. Once and for all.

Safer To Operate

The brushless motors are safer to operate than brushed motors. The reason for this is due to the fact that brushless motors do not have mechanical contact points.

These contact points create a couple of problems especially when operating power tools at their performance limits. They can create opportunities for contact degradation which can lead to material debris or even worse chemical energy in the form of sparks.

These sparks can change the chemical composition of the surrounding material and greatly reduce the tools life. In the worst cases your tool can catch fire and completely degrade.

Hence why I will always recommend that you go with brushless motors.

Better Performance Metrics

Brushless motors use less energy than their brushed counterparts. This means that the battery does not need to charge and discharge as much which leads to lower cell degradation and improved battery life throughout.

Also Brushless motors have a lot fewer parts, and hence fewer points of failure. On top of that you can expect lower tool downtime and maintenance expenses.

These are but just a few critical points that improve the overall performance of the M18 tool.

Better Heat Management 

When looking to buy high performance tools, heat management is of absolute importance. This is even more important for tradesmen or contractors who have a high power tool utilization factor.

Heat loss occurs due to the change of energies within the tool. Be it electrical to mechanical or chemical to electrical. The laws of thermodynamics state that all energy transfers have an efficiency loss in the form of heat.

Generally this is manageable in a system that has cross ventilation and the heat is not concentrated.

For power tools this is not the case. Hence brushless motors due to their improved efficiency of operation produce less heat when operating. Making for extremely reliable power tools.

Final Thoughts On M18 Fuel vs M18 Non Fuel

As you have read Milwaukee has an incredible range of both the M18 and M18 Fuel power tools. If you are a DIYer or occasional weekend warrior the standard M18 tools will probably work for you. The real cost-benefit comes for individuals who use their tools are a lot. In that case M18 Fuel are without a doubt the better option.

I had a lot of fun writing this guide. Feel free to share this online or with anyone you think would benefit from this information. All the best and happy tooling. Milwaukee tools will always be a great choice.

Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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Mogale Modisane

Mogale Modisane

Mogale is a qualified B(Eng): Electrical Engineer. With experience working on large-scale Solar, Wind, and Hybrid Projects. He has been exposed to multiple tools throughout his career and has a keen interest in breaking down the often murky world of power tools, machines, and measurement equipment making them more accessible and understandable to everyone.

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