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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.


7 Responses to Milwaukee Goes Multi-Volt

  1. Eric says:

    My thinking is it’s more about cost. It’s probably cheaper to produce and stock just one charger that will work for everything.

  2. fred says:

    Neat idea no matter why Milwaukee is doing it.

    I’d like it better if it charged Makita 18V LXT batteries on one side and Milwaukee M12’s on the other – but who am I kidding. In actuality – we have little crossover in the tool platforms – with most of the 18V Makita tools being bought for one business and going out on one set of trucks and most of the 12V tools bought for another business going with different crews on their vans. The only crossover for us is with M12 and M18 Pex expanders.

  3. Kenneth says:

    Milwaukee definitely has a good idea here because, with the options of power tools available these days, no one wants to carry more than two chargers. A friend of mine recently purchased the M12 set, after witnessing my Bosch 12Vs in action, and he plans to go fully cordless, so this will be a treat. I definitely back the cordless movement, but when it comes down to business, a good professional corded tool will destroy any battery-powered one. The 18Vs are light, strong, and versatile and the 12Vs are lighter, just as strong(for the most part), and even more versatile.

  4. PutnamEco says:

    I would much rather see a multi-bay charger, Milwaukees V18/V28/18v NiCad 3 bay charger was more along the lines of what I use/need. It would appear Ryobi is the only brand who understands the need to have many batteries charging at one time. I believe a M18/M28 charger would be more fitting for professionals

    • Sawdust_Everywhere says:

      Craftsman actually makes a really nice 4-port charger that will charge the ni-cad and li-ion batteries on their 19.2v line. That’s not surprising, though, since Craftsman and Ryobi are both manufactured by TTI.

      I wish they would come out with something similar to this that would do both their C3(19.2v) and nextec(12v) lines. I use both sets actively when I woodwork and a charger that does both would be awesome.

  5. Jack says:

    This is nice since I use m12 and need to upgrade to m18. Knowing that i only have to have one charger is great

  6. Steve says:

    M12 set is terrible.
    All three of my batteries lasted about 6 months of daily use. I thought $300 was a lot for a set of power tools. I’ll be moving on to another company.

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