Milwaukee M18 Fuel Cordless Hammer Drill Review

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Cordless Drill

In a world of power drill options, the Milwaukee M18 Fuel drill and driver rises above the competition with its impressive torque, battery life, and overall durability. The batteries on this cordless drill take longer than some to charge, but a fully charged battery can spin the driver non-stop for an hour, surpassing the 20-minute average of most other cordless drills.  In fact the whole M18 line of power tools is very impressive.

Our Milwaukee M18 Fuel Review

The M18 Fuel packs high power into a compact and durable cordless drill that is easy to use despite its heavier weight. This drill is so well-designed that the extra weight is distributed evenly throughout the driver, which results in a well-balance tool that can apply more heft to harder projects while still being easy to handle.  

What You Get

  • Milwaukee M18 Fuel 1/2" Cordless Drill/Driver Tool
  • 2 Rechargeable Milwaukee M18 Redlithium XC5.0 Battery Packs
  • M18 & M12 Multi-Voltage Charger
  • Side Handle
  • Carrying Case
  • Bit holder
  • Belt clip

This hammer drill driver also comes with LED guide lights, another useful feature that makes this tool easy to use in any setting. Any power drill or driver you buy should come with guide lights to ensure you're drilling where and what you should be in low-light situations without having to fumble around with a separate headlamp or try to set up an extra light source that is easily blocked.

The impressive battery life powers 1,200 inch-pounds of torque topping out at speeds of 2,000 RPM, making it one of the most powerful 18-Volt cordless drills on the market with a level of torque you would most commonly expect from an impact driver or hammer drill. The M18 Fuel is built of durable metal to house and channel the impressive power and capabilities of this tool, causing it to weigh in a little on the heavy side at almost 6 pounds.

This can make the Milwaukee M18 a little unwieldy to maneuver, thought the compact size of only 7.5 inches in length helps reduce strain and makes it ideal for prolonged use in heavy projects. This driver isn't the least expensive option out there, but the higher cost is a small price to pay for the impressive capabilities of this cordless drill, the wide range of tasks it can be used to accomplish, and the fact that it can replace the need for other tools like a hammer drill or impact driver.

As you will see in this Milwaukee M18 drill review, this drill is a heavy-duty power tool perfect for professional users and serious DIYers alike.  In fact it took second place overall in our cordless drill competition.

Key Product Details and Features

Possibly the most impressive aspect of this Milwaukee drill is the fact that it manages to pack so much power into such a small tool. At 7.5 inches, this is one of the most compact cordless drills on the market, and it still manages to be one of the most powerful tools we've covered. It comes with an ergonomic grip and side handle, making it easier to hold and control when utilizing its impressive power and speed.

The speed in the Milwaukee M18 can be controlled by using two settings located on top of the drill: one setting allows for speeds between 0 - 500 RPM, while the other allows for speeds between 0 - 2,000 RPM. There are also two different functions you can set this power tool to: "drill" and "fasten". The drill setting covers what you would typically use a cordless drill or even a hammer drill for including boring through hard materials or as a mixer for things like paint and cement.

The fasten setting allows this drill to also be used as a driver to place screws and bolts. This means it can replace a typical manual driver and can, in most instances, eliminate the need for a separate impact driver as well. A good cordless drill that doubles as an impact driver with precision settings is not easy to find, but the M18 Fuel manages to check all these boxes.

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel also comes with 24 clutch settings to help you use the impressive power of this drill with precision and accuracy. This is more clutch settings than just about any other cordless drill out there and will ensure you don't strip your screws or damage the material you're drilling into on even the toughest or most delicate of projects. The sheer amount of power controlled by precise clutch settings is part of what makes this drill so versatile and practical.

The M18 Fuel drill driver also comes with an all-metal, single-sleeve ratcheting locking chuck. This provides excellent grip and bit retention, ensuring your drill bits are secure and won't slip when the high amount of available torque in this powerful tool creates the friction necessary to drive your bits smoothly through hard surfaces. The all-metal design of the chuck also adds to the durability and dependability of this impressive power tool.

Key Specs

  • No Load Speed: Low 0-550 RPM; High 0-2,000 RPM
  • Max Torque: 1,200 inch pounds
  • Length: 7.5 inches
  • Chuck Type: 1/2" Metal Single Sleeve - Ratcheting Lock

Battery Life

The Milwaukee Redlithium batteries are specially designed to deliver more work per pack charge, and more work overall during the life of the battery. These batteries can take up to an hour to fully re-charge, which is a bit longer than other packs in the field. The impressive use time, though, makes the wait well worth it, and the inclusion of two battery packs with this cordless drill lets you leave one pack on the charger while the other is in use. This makes it pretty hard to out-pace the M18 driver, which means you should never find yourself waiting on the batteries to charge before you can get back to work.

Durable in Harsh Environments

Another unique feature of the battery design is that it is specifically built so the structure helps channel moisture away from critical components, which increases its durability in wet conditions. These batteries are also designed to be resilient even in high-heat or freezing temperatures, which means you don't need to worry about them overheating in extreme summer heat or freezing during winter use or storage.

Intelligent Protection

Another proprietary feature that makes this drill so impressive is the REDLINK PLUS™ intelligence technology that manages energy use and controls voltage, temperature, and current. It does this by monitoring exchanges between the drill, battery, and charger to maximize productivity and prevent overloading or overheating of the batteries which can damage the drill and the batteries themselves.

Brushless Motor Technology

The brushless design of the Milwaukee M18 motor is responsible for many of the impressive features in this drill including the high torque and RPM, the extended battery life, and the overall durability of this driver. A brushless motor allows for electronic controls that can regulate the torque and RPM balance to optimize battery usage so the right amount of power is supplied when needed but the battery power is still conserved during lighter projects. The lack of carbon brushes also increases the overall life of the motor and longevity of the driver.

Final Thoughts

As we've seen in this Milwaukee M18 Cordless Drill Review, this power tool works as a cordless drill and driver that provides more torque and RPMs than just about anything else out there, all in a compact, highly durable, easy-to-use tool. The Milwaukee M18 Fuel comes with a nice array of accessories to make this drill easy to store, carry, and use. The Milwaukee M18 drill and driver can handle just about any job you could need it for, both in a professional setting and as a serious DIYer who doesn't want to be limited by tools lacking in power and quality.  While the Makita took #1 in our competition, if you're a fan of Milwaukee products this tool is a solid investment.

About the Author Jason Thompson

Jason is a work from home dad who has a passion for DIY projects, yard work, and SEC Football. His background is IT, but he's always fancied himself as a part-time ship welder, landscaper, and short order cook. During the week he can be found on his laptop 10 hours-a-day, but on the weekends he escapes to the local DIY Cave to play with REAL toys.  You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and can contact him via email.