Milwaukee Batteries Guide: Ensure the Longest Runtime and Strongest Power Output

close-up of milwaukee cordless ciruclar saw and charger

If you’re building your toolset around cordless power tools, you’re investing in a future proof venture. Cordless tools have all but replaced their bigger corded cousins, and for a reason. They’re smaller, lightweight, and can be moved to any location, and have comparable power. Newer battery tech means you can use them during a whole working day and in high power output even for the most demanding tasks. Tool makers are all joining in on the cordless game, and are putting more effort into getting the most out of their tools.  

One of the leaders in cordless tech is American company Milwaukee. They are the biggest power tool maker in North America, and export their products globally. The company makes all things tools, including tool accessories like their famed Milwaukee batteries found in their ranges of cordless saws, grinders, drills, sanders, nail guns, impact drivers and multi-tools.  

Why Milwaukee Cordless Tools? 

Milwaukee has a rich history in providing professionals and DIY-ers with a range of tools and tool accessories.  It is one of the first companies to completely revamp their entire lineup, and go cordless only. Their M12 and M18 tool range combine high-capacity Lithium-Ion batteries with the latest developments in brushless motors and intelligent software solutions to get some of the longest runtimes across different cordless tools and the highest specific power figures in more demanding jobs. The company offers a 5-year warranty on all its tools, backed up by the highest build levels.  

What are the Differences Between M12 and M18 Batteries? 


Milwaukee Tool’s M12 line of rechargeable batteries are 12V offerings, which are interchangeable through a set of 95 different tools. These are lightweight, efficient and powerful batteries that enhance the working output of compact cordless tools, like drills, SDS hammers, palm nailers, impact guns, ratchets and torque wrenches, band and circular saws and so much more. Batteries are available in different capacities, from 2,3,4 or 6 amp-hours. For 6Ah versions the company promises up to 3 times the run time, 20 per cent more power and twice the battery life of comparable lithium-ion batteries from other brands. This is enabled by monitoring individual battery cells to optimise charge and discharge levels and prolong battery life cycles. Incorporated safety features prevent damage to tools from high overloads. The M12 battery line comes with a sturdy buildable to withstand knocks or drops. The tool and battery combos work fine in all conditions, including extreme temperatures without any loss in battery capacity or power.  

When you need more bite in demanding jobs and from beefier tools, then step up to the M18 battery range. These Milwaukee batteries are at the core of the company’s focus for professionals and DIY-ers that need a reliable and robust power pack for extended periods. They operate at 18V and can be fitted to more than 150 tools in various categories and applications.  

Milwaukee M18 batteries are divided into four distinct groups. The CP or compact range is the smallest and lightest of the M18 lineup, and also the one with the fastest charging times. Output is 1.5 or 2Ah, enough for decent runtime in smaller tools like nailers, expanders and drills. One step up are the XC or Extended range batteries which still are moderately sized but come with longer runtimes thanks to the capacities of 3, 5 and 6 amp-hours. These are suitable for larger drills, reciprocating saws and orbital sanders amongst other tools. High Demand or HD Milwaukee batteries provide better overall performance for bigger tools that you’ll use for longer periods. Circular saws, chainsaws, impact hammers and similar tools demanding high power output in tough conditions are where the HB batteries excel. With safety tech like thermal protection, grinding, drilling or cutting through tough materials won’t drain the battery when tools get hot.  

The newest addition to the M18 lineup are the High Output or H.O. batteries. These have bigger cells and the batteries are slightly larger than the standard CP, XC and HD lines as a result. This helps to achieve the longest runtime, and highest power output. The largest capacity is 12 amp-hours, so you can easily work with the most power-hungry tools. Better maintenance tech keeps the batteries cool and efficient while providing power comparable to that in corded tools. Like the M12 batteries, these too are all well-built and come out unscathed from extended vibrations or drops.  

Milwaukee Chargers 

close-up of Milwaukee batteries and charger

After a day’s work batteries need recharging. Milwaukee has a range of chargers to suit your needs. The M12 batteries can be topped up by all chargers, like the 12-volt C12C or the M18 and M12 Rapid Charger, which is also suitable for the larger M18 batteries. M12 batteries are recharged and ready to use within an hour, and bigger M18 units in a little over 90 minutes. Chargers monitor the voltage in individual cells as well as battery temperatures to extend battery life. A nice feature is the 80 per cent charge level indicator, meaning you can use your cordless Milwaukee tool without having to wait that much longer for a full charge. Other chargers, like dual bays, and charging stations charge multiple batteries at once. Convenient for companies with more tools running at the same time. 

Milwaukee cordless tools, batteries and chargers are available from reputed hardware stores across Australia.