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Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill Review 2023 – Pros, Cons & Final Verdict

Milwaukee M18 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Hammer Drill

Review Summary

Our Final Verdict
We give Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Editor Rating: 4.5/5
Build Quality: 5/5
Power: 5/5
Features: 5/5
Price: 4.5/5

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Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill – A Quick Look

  • Brand: Milwaukee
  • Model: M18
  • Voltage:  18 volts
  • Speed:  0-550 RPM/2,000 RPM
  • Torque:  1200 pounds
  • Drill Length:  6.9 inches
  • Power Source: Battery
  • Modes: Drilling, driving, and hammer drill modes
  • Weight:  2 pounds (without battery)

Are you looking for a powerful tool to tackle some of the hardest jobs on your list? The Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill is perfect for any tough job, whether you’re punching holes in brick, metal, or drilling ice fishing holes. No matter the challenge, this hammer drill will get the job done without overheating or dying.

One of the best in the business for years, the Milwaukee company continues to deliver a high level of quality performance in an even more compact package in this latest model. The major visible changes from its predecessor are quite minor, like the mode collar and newly moved LED light. Redlink Intelligence is a bigger addition that drastically improves the battery life and lifespan of this drill.

We highly recommend this tool, and we’ll tell you why in greater detail down below.

  • Delivers up to 1,200 pounds of torque
  • Changes in design have reduced the drill length to a mere 6.9 inches, making the M18 one of the most compact hammer drills on the market
  • Unlike the previous model, the side handle no longer breaks under high pressure
  • All-metal ratcheting chuck provides high levels of grip and bit retention
  • Lacks a mode collar, which makes changing modes a finicky task at best
  • The side handle doesn’t rotate and doesn’t include a depth rod for accurate drilling
  • Less useful for extremely high-pressure work

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Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill Details

REDLINK PLUS Intelligence

Redlink Plus is an attempt to optimize the size and location of the drill’s electronics to minimize overheating the brushless motor and taxing the battery. This preserves the integrity of the drill components, helping to improve its lifespan.

If you somehow manage to overwork the M18, the Redlink Intelligence technology will kick in before the motor or battery overheats and suffers damage. This is very, very useful when you’re using this drill for heavy-duty jobs.

A big part of Redlink Intelligence is that by moving the internal components to minimize space between them, thermal conductivity is increased and the drill can perform even better with minimal overheating or overloading.

The advent of Redlink Intelligence means we can expect to see more sophisticated drills from Milwaukee in the future. Perhaps other manufacturers will take notes and see how they can improve performance on the base level to match this drill’s power.

The Strongest & Most Compact Hammer Drill

With 1,200 pounds of torque, the M18 is already a great drill, but Milwaukee goes even farther and compresses that torque into a mere 6.9 inches. This is a 1.5-inch decrease from its predecessor, showing Milwaukee’s commitment to big power in little packages. Doubtless, we can expect this trend to grow in their other offerings.

Not only the length of the drill was affected, either. The middle seems to be a bit shorter than the previous model, and the handle is changed to be more ergonomic and comfortable in the hand. Specifically, the circumference of the handle is smaller and easier to grip.

They were able to reduce the length of the drill by changing how the hammer and clutch mechanisms work, so that the hammer drill is the same length as the drill.

Although improvements in size aren’t a dealbreaker for many people, it’s an important consideration when you’re doing commercial work where every inch counts, like roofing. You can only fit so much on a tool belt while climbing a ladder, for example. For many people, they won’t even notice the size reduction, and that’s fine.

Battery Light Indicator Improved

This is a minor thing to nitpick or praise, but the M18’s LED light was changed from below the chuck to down by the battery hookup. This makes it easier to illuminate the bit in low-light or compact conditions, which is a very minor yet welcome improvement.

No More Mode Collar: Good or Bad?

This is a somewhat controversial change. In their quest for the shortest drill, Milwaukee had to remove the separate mode collar. From a purely practical standpoint, this is relatively minor.

What makes this change controversial is that users feel Milwaukee shouldn’t remove features that help them switch torque levels and modes. As it is, the single collar with its serrated jaws is strong, but not user-intuitive. It’s somewhat complicated

While we understand Milwaukee’s intent behind this change, it sorely lacks user-friendliness. We’d enjoy seeing a return or revamp of the mode collar or something like it, to make changing modes as easy as possible.

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How good is the warranty that comes with this model?

The standard Milwaukee warranty is fairly generous and doesn’t cost extra on top of the cost of the drill. At the time of this writing, Milwaukee offers a 12-month warranty on all new power tools, which extends to 3 years if you register your drill for free within 30 days of your purchase.

How durable is the Milwaukee M18 Hammer Drill?

Along with DeWalt, Milwaukee is known as one of the most durable power tool makers, and this extends to its flagship M18 hammer drill. User reviews for the M18 corroborate this, too, boasting top performance and a long lifespan compared to comparable hammer drills in the same class.

Is this model good for beginners?

Yes. The M18 has top-tier performance jammed into a compact drill size, so even beginners can pick it up and perform basic jobs with it. Changing modes between drive, drill, and hammer drill modes isn’t as intuitive as with the previous model, but it’s not a big deal overall.

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What the Users Say

  • Many users indicate that they upgraded to the M18 to perform more heavy-duty tasks their older tools couldn’t handle. Common examples include drilling through metal, where the M18 shines and doesn’t even lose grip on its bit.
  • Users strongly recommend using a 5ah or 8ah battery with this drill in order to take advantage of its high torque and minimize battery changes when doing extended amounts of work.
  • Users that put their tools through a lot of use expect around 2 years of use out of a brand-new drill, which the M18 frequently outlasts.
  • Unlike other comparable hammer drills, users are happy with the battery hookup on the M18, reporting that it’s easy to remove and attach batteries with just one hand.

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Milwaukee is one of the most well-known power tools brands, and jamming so much power into such a small driver is quite an accomplishment. The Milwaukee M18 has all the power of a huge hammer drill in a tool-belt-friendly package. Although batteries come and go for these powerful drills, the drill itself will last a long time to come.

See Also: Milwaukee M12 Soldering Iron Review

Featured Image Credit: Milwaukee, Amazon

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