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Milwaukee Battery Reviews 2023 – Comparing & Reviewing Top Options

Milwaukee 48-11-1850 M18 Redlithium 5.0Ah Bat Pack

Milwaukee 48-11-1850 M18 Redlithium 5.0Ah Bat Pack

If there is one thing Milwaukee does well, it’s having a massive line of tools. This is great, but reading reviews on them shows it can also be a problem if you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of the brand. For the most part, their tools and batteries are interchangeable. However, they are separated into several separate categories.

Understanding what each battery is capable of and its intended uses will give you a good idea of which category of tools will be best for you. Reading reviews from consumers like you, paired with personal experience with each of these batteries, we’ve come up with a list of the top options for batteries. Then we will discuss some of the major differences within each category to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision—because these tools aren’t cheap!

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites of 2023

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
M18 XC 5.0 M18 XC 5.0
  • Compatible with all M18 tools
  • Excellent life on a single charge
  • Quick charge compatible
  • Best Value
    Second place
    M12 XC 4.0 M12 XC 4.0
  • Compatible with all M12 tools
  • Lightweight
  • Reasonably priced
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    M18 High Output HD 12.0 M18 High Output HD 12.0
  • Compatible with all M18 tools
  • Incredible battery life
  • Performs under the worst conditions
  • M28 XC 3.0 M28 XC 3.0
  • Decent battery life
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Designed for commercial use
  • M18 CP 1.4 M18 CP 1.4
  • Compact size
  • Reasonably priced
  • The 6 Best Milwaukee Battery Options

    1. Milwaukee M18 XC 5.0 – Best Overall

    Milwaukee M18 XC 5.0

    Milwaukee’s M18 battery-operated tool line is one of their main lines. So, the M18 XC 5.0 is the best overall battery you can get that balances quality with price. There are less expensive batteries in the M18 line. However, there is a significant difference in how long the other batteries last.

    The XC 5.0 is ideal for demanding tools such as the circular saw or reciprocating saw. Also, if you plan on a heavy drill use like drilling holes in stainless steel, the XC 5.0 is suitable. However, if this is an everyday task, it may be best to upgrade to the HD12—which is also on this list.

    Pros
    • Compatible with all M18 tools
    • Excellent life on a single charge
    • Quick charge compatible
    • Durable construction
    • Designed for heavy use
    Cons
    • Pricey, unless you catch a sale

    2. Milwaukee M12 XC 4.0 – Best Value

    Milwaukee M12 XC 4.0

    The M12 Milwaukee line is not as heavy-duty as the M18. And being a 12-volt versus an 18-volt line hinders its ability to keep up. However, the XC 4.0 performs well and easily makes it to the number two spot. As long as you’re not looking for a battery that will perform under heavy commercial or industrial use, this battery will not disappoint.

    Compared to the M12 3.0 battery, this one is significantly bigger. The benefit is a much longer-lasting battery, but the main draw of the M12 line is how compact it is. If you don’t mind the extra size, this is a superior battery without question. Read about the 3.0 amp-hour battery below if you prefer a smaller physical battery.

    Pros
    • Compatible with all M12 tools
    • Lightweight
    • Reasonably priced
    • Decent life under the right conditions
    • Quick charge compatible
    Cons
    • Not as rugged as the M18 batteries
    • Not the most power

    3. Milwaukee M18 High Output HD 12.0 – Premium Choice

    Milwaukee M18 HD 12.0

    Rounding out our top three is High Output HD 12.0 in the M18 line. Price-wise, you’re looking at spending quite a bit more on this battery compared to XC 4.0. However, you will notice a massive difference in battery life. When it comes to the type of work these tools are designed to do, you won’t always have the ability to charge batteries on a job site. So, a battery that can realistically last through an entire workday is a huge win.

    The major downside to this battery is its physical size. This is not the battery you will want to run on your drill all day unless you have forearms the size of tree trunks. You will not be able to maneuver the drill with the dexterity you often need. It is an excellent battery for demanding tasks or tools, though. If it weren’t for the size, this battery could easily take the top one or two positions on this list.

    Pros
    • Compatible with all M18 tools
    • Incredible battery life
    • Performs under the worst conditions
    • Durable construction
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Heavy

    4. Milwaukee M28 XC 3.0

    Milwaukee M28 XC

    It’s a shame the M28 is not more popular. This 28-volt line pumps out the power you need to get any job done. However, Milwaukee has stated that its focus is the M12 and M18 lines, so there won’t be any expansion on the M28 line.

    But if you don’t need a massive selection of tools and need something that can keep up with everything you can throw at it. The M28 XC 3.0 is worth looking at if you can find them. For their size, the batteries are comparable in weight to the big M18 batteries. While you can’t buy them directly from Milwaukee anymore, some suppliers still have the M28 line, and Milwaukee still honors their manufacturer’s warranty.

    Pros
    • Compatible with all M28 tools
    • Decent battery life
    • Heavy-duty construction
    • Designed for commercial use
    • Lightweight for size
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Nothing new coming out
    • Not as many tools options

    5. Milwaukee M18 CP 1.4

    Milwaukee M18 CP 1.4

    In most cases, if you’re running the M18 line, you’re not worried about a compact size. Other than using a massive battery in the drill, bigger is almost always better. For the price, the CP 1.4 is a great addition to your kit if you’re running things like portable lights or other low-demand tools.

    If your main tools are things like the saw or impact drills, this compact battery will not be ideal. It’s a popular battery, but more as an accessory battery versus a working battery. The other plus is how fast its charge times are, even with a regular charger. So, if you have random small tasks throughout the day, it’s a reasonable, cheap option.

    Pros
    • Compact size
    • Reasonably priced
    Cons
    • Lackluster battery life
    • Not meant for heavy use
    • Not adequate to run high-demand tools

    6. Milwaukee M12 3.0

    Milwaukee M12 3.0

    If you’re looking for the most compact batteries for your M12 tools, the 3.0 AH battery is a good option. It’s not the most durable or long-lasting battery, but it’ll do well for small jobs around the house or the shop. Another benefit is that it charges quickly, even using a regular charger.

    Overall, this M12 battery will keep you going as long as you’re not expecting commercial runtimes or dropping it from the top of a ladder. However, if you’re not buying it for the compact size, you’re better off upgrading to the XC 4.0 battery.

    Pros
    • Reasonable price
    • Compact size
    Cons
    • Lackluster battery life
    • Lacks durability
    • Won’t perform under heavy use
    • Lacks power

    Buyer’s Guide: Selecting The Best Milwaukee Battery Option

    Settling on a particular battery for your Milwaukee tools is not as simple is as reading a list of the top options. You’ll need more information to make the best buying decision possible because Milwaukee has such a diverse line. Below, we’ve gathered some information on the differences between Milwaukee’s vast variety of batteries.

    Milwaukee Tool Lines

    There are two main tool lines still available, and one that isn’t growing anymore yet remains a solid option if you can find a retailer that still has some in stock.

    • M12: Ideal for light home or professional use. It has some higher-capacity batteries but lacks the power that the 18-volt line has.
    • M18: Ideal for professional use. It’s known for its incredible durability and great power. There are a few options for high output and high-capacity batteries.
    • M28: Similar line to the M18, but 28-volt power. Ideal for heavy professional use where durability, power, and long battery life are crucial.

    Different Battery Types

    Other than the line the battery belongs to, two things determine what a battery is best suited for. Each battery has an amp-hour (ah) rating. In short, this determines how long a battery can is expected to last under a normal load. For example, the M18 XC 4.0 is an extended capacity with an ah rating of 4.

    This leads us to the other determining factor of Milwaukee batteries. You’ll notice four different acronyms when you’re looking at which battery to use. Below we’ll discuss each of them and their ideal applications.

    • CP (Compact): Small tools that don’t aren’t working hard.
    • XC (Extended Capacity): Bigger tools, and capable of much longer runtime than a CP battery.
    • HD (High Demand): Technology is upgraded from the CP and XC batteries. This upgrade boosts the power and runtime even further.
    • HO (High Output): Newest battery series from Milwaukee offers the best power and runtime. They are available from 3.0–12.00ah

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    Conclusion on the Top Milwaukee Battery Options

    After reading the reviews and trying these batteries out, we’re confident that these are some of the best options Milwaukee has available. That being said, they have a diverse line with some differences in each category. Hopefully, you’ll have all the information you need to choose the right battery with the information we’ve provided.

    If you’re looking professional quality battery, the M18 XC 4.0 is an incredible option, and if you need something even longer-lasting, the High Output HD12.0 will be the ticket. Remember, it’s significantly heavier, though. So, weigh the benefits—literally. If you’re looking for something right in the middle, the M12 line and its XC 4.0 battery will give you the power to get most jobs done.

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