Starting this March, when you buy an M18 Drill Driver or Hammer Drill, you’ll get the mutli-volt charger you see above, which can charge both Milwaukee’s M18 and M12 batteries. If you’ve already got some of both, you’ll be able to buy the charger yourself as an accessory at a to-be-determined price, but what really interests us is the fact that they’re going to ship this model out as the default charger. As far as we can tell, this is Milwaukee saying “If you use our M18 line, we figure you’re likely to use our M12 line, too.”
So what, right? Well, first, while most manufacturers now offer multi-volt chargers, we couldn’t find many others offering both compact and standard format chargers, with the notable exception of DeWalt. DeWalt’s new MAX line utilizes batteries of similar shape, and their newest chargers accept both the 12V and 20V batteries. So essentially DeWalt and Milwaukee seem to see their users as possibly carrying both compact and full-sized tools, while the others (we suppose) don’t.
Does that fit how you work? Around the Toolmonger shop we use both, but that’s often because we have a number of each in for test at any given time. Certainly with access to a number of drivers, I’ve gotten in the habit of grabbing the smallest one that I think will do the job. Smaller, at least in my opinion, equals lighter, less mass to wave around, and a less cumbersome tool. I imagine that if I carried tools in a truck for work, I’d likely carry both. Of course, if I had to carry them on my person, I might just pick one and keep things light and simple.
Add to this the fact that Milwaukee has always been good about offering their products in easy-to-find tool-only format, and we think this might push some on-the-fence people to try out the other side of the battery size fence.