Milwaukee Brushless M12 Fuel 1/2″ Hammer Drill / Driver Review

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Milwaukee’s Brushless M12 1/2″ Hammer Drill / Driver is one serious drill. I never imagined a 12 volt drill to have this much power and driving ability. If you like the size and weight of a 12 volt drill verses an 18 or 20 volt line, you should see what we have to say about this drill.


Nuzzie says:

why are you reviewing tools when you’ve never seen a fucking clutch on a drill


user3251 says:

Javier I’m a property manager and do minor repairs with ocasional larger repairs. I need a whole new Compact system. What system would you recommend? I was thinking of going non-brushless to save money.

Home depot will have a lot of black friday deals so I want to go with a system and stick with it. I’m debating– Rigid, Milwaukee, and Makita. What are they known for and how do they rate– quality, durability, and cost?

Also I want to go with a system that won’t change so much in a the next few years– like something that I can just keep interchanging batteries instead of having to replace the whole system

Anyone else’ opinion is also welcome

roontunes says:

my drill/driver/hammer m12 was defective out of the box. Left idle for over 90 secs and it’s dead. Remove the battery, wait 90 secs, replace the battery and it works again, leave it idle for 90 secs and the issue returns, the thing is dead. CRAP. Trying to replace it. Doing an internet search and it’s a recurring issue. Very disappointing.

Karl Hans says:

How do you turn off the LED light when it’s unnecessary.

Electrician by trade says:

It looks and feels heavy duty, but dear God it can’t handle much. It doesn’t protect it’s electronics adequately and even warns of it in the manual. It tells you not to exceed a certain size of wood auger. You can’t use larger hole saws, you can’t use a large unibit as I found out the hard way. If you get that flashing light error too many times the drill stops working.
Well I bought one a few months ago, and loved it. Within the third week of regular use on a commercial electrical job, it started acting up after using a unibit to increase a 3/4″ knock out to a 1″. Within 24 hours of that it just stopped working at all. I don’t have time to visit a milwaukee repair for warranty. I can’t be losing production at work, hours on my paycheck, to deal with this loss. 189.00 down the drain. So I took it apart to look into whether I even wanted to rely on this drill ever again. Looks like the circuit board overheated (darkened wire insulation, melted thermal compound… I opened the gearset, and inspected it. Underneath a double stack of planetary gears (for speed choice) there is a stud with a set of 3 pairs of rollers (like bearings). The first planetary gear has 3 notches that land between rollers which push them one way or the other. When I manually turn the chuck in reverse, it moves freely. When I turn it forward, it jams up on a roller. They fall out of position by 1/16″ which locks them up, which would create resistance against the motor. It locks up harder than I can turn using a screwdriver locked in the chuck. This suggests to me that the unibit forward torque resistance deformed the tiny bearing retainers. Perhaps the circuit board detected this and went into error mode. When I pull the trigger it blinks back and forth. Doesn’t even apply power to the motor. So perhaps there is a way to reset the drill to work again, but the bearing assembly needs to be replaced. And then I need to figure out how to get the cover back onto the gears. I must have tried for 40 minutes, carefully aligning the little gears, but finding no working method of getting them past the teeth in the case. They must have a way of stacking them in to the case first…
My 18v Lion never shows “error” codes. When you overwork it, you feel the heat, but it never quits. This little 1/2 hammer drill flashed it’s lights over a lot of everyday activities. Meanwhile my m12 impact driver never gives me trouble, aside from the light going out after a couple years. My hackzall never goes into error, even when my blade jams up, or I’m making tons of cuts and it’s burning hot. I have a 12v sds that never gives errors, but readily leaked it’s gear lube onto my bits.
I love Milwaulkee tools. Been using them for 10 years.

Raj Dann says:

Whats the purpose of the 2 gear?

Rusty Moth Studio says:

Milwaukee Brushless M12 Fuel 1/2″ Hammer Drill /driver kit would love to get this in my paws for some serious work

big milk says:

i had 2 of these, they both broke within 2 weeks, my m12 screw gun blew apart in my hand yesterday and my m12 light came unglued from the magnet today and fell twords my head while i was working on a prv in an acess panel

Arek Kosinski says:

For those who have this model? Do you see chuck wobble?
I have my 18V (no brushless) replaced 3 times and every time the chuck has massive wobble. Can anyone comment on the issue in respect to 18V and 12V brushless drills?

Pimp Baby says:

Love the belt clip and the light.

James Patton says:

I want a new compact hammer drill, I’m hung up between this one and the bosch hds182-02l, which would you recommend? very good review, watched it several times, love this drill, but love the bosch as well, what to do,what to do.

Pimp Baby says:

My little M12 Fuel screwdriver is great too. Love the compact design. It can still drive 2-1/2 screws and countersink no problem. Which is amazing since my old Genesis 7.2 volt screwdriver couldn’t do the job.

I have 28v Milwaukee tools and am transitioning to 12v.

Tools In Action says:

Great review! Keep up the good work

Billy O'Connell says:

Hey I just picked this up its great. Just one question. When on a high speed and when I release the trigger I can hear the chuck stop almost like a loud click. Just wondering if this is normal. I’m A newbie sorry.

WorkshopAddict says:

+488barney I have to thank you for pushing this amp hours verses power issue with me.  I have been doing a lot of digging on this item and I have found out that you are mostly correct.

That may sound a little stupid, but here is what I have come to find out. 

1.  You are right, when you hook a bunch of Lithium ion cells together in parallel, you are going to boost the amperage over that of a single cell.
2.  The battery manufactures use Amp Hours as a gauge to measure run time against their previous batteries.  For instance, a 5 amp hour Milwaukee battery should last 25 percent longer than a 4 amp hour Milwaukee battery.  You can’t make the same assumption when comparing a Milwaukee to anyone else’s batteries though.  
3.  The electronics in a battery is what controls the power delivered to the tool.  For instance, on the Milwaukee 2604 (18 volt fuel 1/2″ hammer drill), when using a compact battery, you can expect 650 Inch-pounds of torque and with an XC battery, you can expect 725 inch-pounds of torque.  There are twice as many cells in the XC batteries verses the compacts.  I can’t speak about the other tool manufactures though.  I got this information right from Milwaukee.

I don’t believe that you will see any noticeable difference between a 4 amp hour battery and a 5 amp hour battery because they have the same number of cells.  I wish I had the ability to check this out because this fascinates me.

Thank you again for making me question everything that I though to be true.

Noah kroes says:

I like that they give you a option between the 2 battery sizes. Also how much battery you have left would be very helpful during long jobs. We are just about to make a deck out the back of my place and this small drill will be very nice not carrying around instead of my heavy dewalt 18v. #WorkshopAddict

jonmillerwv says:

would you suggest the m12 fuel line over the standard m18 line not fuel? im debating

Dan n Amy cowan says:

I like the video…i bet it would work good for pocket holes especially in tight spaces #workshopaddict

drstampfli says:

I have the original (not brushless), and I love it. Their 12v tools are very nice. Looks like the brushless tools are even better. Thanks!

BARNEY says:

You know what I hate, so many retarded ass youtube tool reviews say there’s no difference of power or torque between 1.5-2.0 amp H vs 3.0-4.0 amp H. You Do Have More Power And Torque with more amps. And the run time isn’t much longer than the lower amp battery. The Only difference is torque, when I use a 1.5 or my 4.0, the 4.0 might last 15-20 minutes longer, but you do have almost twice as much power, the run time is hardly any longer than the 1.5. It depends on what you use the tool on, and what kind of load is on the motor. If you have ever had to amp out a motor with a variable pitch gear ratio you would probably understand what I’m saying. Otherwise your probably going of what some ignorant ass wannabe know it all salesman told you.

mmaaddict78 says:

Like you mentioned, it’s really hard to believe that it’s a 12 volt tool. With battery and motor technology advancing so fast, I expect many more surprises to come from tool manufacturers.  I race electric RC cars, so I’m well aware of the advances in electric battery/motor technology.  It’s been very rapid these past few years.

Billy O'Connell says:

Great review. I just have one question. How’s the chuck on this tool?. Does it loosen up easy on its own? Thanks.

Suresh Rampersad says:

Hi every time I try using this drill all the battery lights keep blinking any ideas?

Roger Olmo says:

who’s drill break in 2 weeks u have some bad luck pal.i have a friend and his dad that each own and have about 80 employies .they all use milwuakee drills for years n no just had bad luck i guess.

John Miller says:

Thanks. It means a lot coming from you guys.

Koch 40 says:

Went through the block like Butta.. Sweet

oHerroPrease says:

What all is the hammer feature used for? Is that like putting it in “Impact-Drill” mode?

stan leef says:

im hoping for an m12 vaccum! i got the m18 which is great, but a smaller one would be nice, too.

Rob Pope says:

Another great job, Johnny Boy. Milwaukee really seems to be stepping it up a notch. I love all the Milwaukee equipment that I own.

Bothuhead 19 says:

Another good review. Milwaukee owns the 12v world with their massive lineup and the new brushless technology is just the cherry on top

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