Last Updated on August 2, 2023 by Web Operator
Which is better? Milwaukee Fuel or their general brushless motors?
It depends on what you want from your tools, but generally I would say Milwaukee Fuel is better for more intense projects where absolute power is required. However, for basic projects, their normal brushless tools will be more than enough.
You see, choosing tools will not always be as simple or straightforward as you think. I know trying to select from the array of brands makes life harder, and I’m not in the business of trying to complicate your life when it comes to something about tools or your DIY projects.
So, this time, I will focus on what one manufacturer offers regarding the motor and power in their tools. The manufacturer in question is Milwaukee, and in particular, I will check out what’s best between Milwaukee Fuel and their brushless motors.
I see this as being more important than some people may be aware of. After all, the price difference that can exist between both models can be significant, and the price will often prove to be a major contributing factor to how people decide on the tool they intend to buy. Let’s face it, if you compared say Milwaukee to Ryobi, then you would pick up some differences in both what the tools offer, as well as the price.
But there’s another issue.
Milwaukee Fuel is a key collection of tools within the Milwaukee brand. However, even though people have heard the term, have you ever dived into how it works?
If not, then don’t worry because I have you covered.
You see, I’m not only going to tell you all you need to know about how Milwaukee Fuel works, but I will also tell you if it is indeed better than the brushless models also available under the Milwaukee brand.
In short, you will soon learn everything you need to know about both options to make it easier to decide which model you wish to purchase.
An Important Point Regarding Milwaukee Fuel Tools
Before I dive into the details, I need to let you know that all Milwaukee Fuel tools are brushless. I know that may make you wonder about the point of all of this if both options do not contain brushes, but that’s because this question is linked more to the power rather than anything else. That means both their corded and cordless tools do not contain brushes, and I do feel that’s a great thing.
But it does mean neither Milwaukee Fuel nor their brushless models suffer from the issues surrounding the use of brushes in power tools. Neither option has an issue with dust or heat building up in the motor. Neither option will be too bulky, thanks to the motor using smaller components compared to a brush motor, so it means looking elsewhere for any differences.
What is Milwaukee Fuel?
The Milwaukee Fuel brand is a line of power tools within Milwaukee, which is one of the top power tool brands on the market. This line is viewed as being their most exclusive, so I understand that people tend to equate the term “exclusive” with a higher price tag. Well, that’s also often the case here, but the difference is with the technology that’s contained within the tools that really stands out.
When you start checking out everything this line has to offer, you discover that it contains three pieces of technology that help it stand out from the crowd.
The POWERSTATE Motor
The first piece of technology is the POWERSTATE motor, which is obviously brushless. According to Milwaukee, you can expect vastly improved power and the delivery of that power compared to any other line under their name.
Actually, they claim it is four times as powerful as any other motor that appears on any of their power tools, and that really is a vast difference. Also, the motor gives greater speed, improved torque and also superior durability. But one thing I appreciate is that each motor is basically designed for each tool. So, there will be slight differences in the motor for a circular saw instead of a drill.
That does mean the motor can deliver optimum performance for whatever job the tool is designed to do, and that does make a difference when looking at its capabilities.
But this is only the first of three pieces of technology that makes the Fuel line stand out.
Milwaukee Fuel tools also come with something called REDLINK Plus, and this is where Milwaukee has taken things to a whole new level.
This technology focuses on combining hardware and software to ensure there’s effectively better communication between the tool and battery. I get that this may be something that people don’t think about too much. After all, we just think the transfer of power between battery and tool is just something that happens.
However, most power tools are lacking in efficiency when it comes to transferring that power. So, Milwaukee has sought to combat this issue to improve the tool’s overall efficiency. I admit this is not something you would tend to get with budget power tools, but it’s not a surprise to see a brand such as Milwaukee focusing on an area such as this.
This improved communication improves performance, but it’s about a whole lot more than that. That’s because this technology will also include something called Overload Protection.
With this protection aspect, it stops the motor in the power tool from overheating and also being overloaded by power. If this happens, it does mean the motor will be damaged, and over time this leads to the tool breaking down and no longer being able to perform to the standard you would expect.
I do love this because the Milwaukee Fuel is all about power and offering you the ability to really work the tool hard without it crumbling. So, anything that can make that more of a possibility is clearly a fantastic thing. This is just not something you would get with power tools that have brushes in their motor.
The final piece of technology is the REDLITHIUM battery that comes with this line of tools. What Milwaukee has tried to do here is to improve each and every aspect of the battery to allow it to work harder for longer. Ultimately, their aim is to ensure the tool itself can perform at a consistently high standard and deliver the results you want from it.
But here’s the difference with a REDLITHIUM battery. According to Milwaukee, you can expect this battery to offer an increase in run-time of around 40% as well as a boost of power that comes in at approximately 20%. Also, they state you can recharge the battery much more than their average 18V battery without the performance diminishing, which is a significant improvement.
But that’s still not everything it offers.
Milwaukee aims the Fuel range at people who are serious about their power tools, and there’s an understanding that there are moments when people use them in less than perfect environments. That is why Milwaukee has ensured these batteries have the capability to continue to work no matter how hard they are being pushed.
So, you can expect a REDLITHIUM battery to work even if the temperature is at -20C. Basically, it will continue to perform pretty much no matter what you throw at it.
When you look at those three pieces of technology, you can see how Milwaukee is seeking to push things to a new level when it comes to the FUEL line.
Summing Up the Key Features
- The motor delivers 4x as much power compared to other motors
- The delivery of the power is far superior to previous ranges
- The Fuel range has improved speed and torque as well
- Greater efficiency
- Improved communication between tool and battery
- The Fuel range has Overload Protection, so less chance of burning out
- The motor has greater protection from being damaged when in use
- The battery has a 40% better run-time
- It has a 20% power boost in the battery
- The battery lasts longer than before
How Does the Fuel Line Compare to a Brushless Motor?
Milwaukee does have an 18V brushless line, and the Fuel line of power tools also comes with an 18V battery, even though it’s superior to the more normal battery you get with their normal range of power tools. So, it would help if you looked elsewhere to see how the Fuel line does indeed compare to a typical brushless motor, and you can even do this with other brands.
Who is Milwaukee Fuel Aimed at?
First, let me address who Milwaukee Fuel is aimed at. Their target market is undoubtedly professionals looking for a sturdy and reliable tool that intends to outperform everything else.
That’s not to say only professionals should use this line. Anybody has the ability to do so, even people just starting out with their woodworking or DIY hobby.
However, Milwaukee has undoubtedly added in technology that will appeal more to individuals in need of absolute power, performance and capabilities than what most people would need.
How Many Tools Does it Have?
The number of tools in the Fuel line is something that Milwaukee is continually expanding. Currently, there are over 150 different tools to choose from, so they cover almost every type of tool you can imagine.
In comparison, the M18 line from Milwaukee has over 250 different tools, so the Fuel line is falling behind in that respect. However, I do feel you should have no problem in finding the perfect tool for the job from the Fuel range. Also, there are a number of bits associated with the Fuel line, so you should have no problem with setting up the tool to complete the task at hand.
But both lines certainly have more tools than other brands out there on the market giving you greater scope with finding the perfect tool for your project.
Comparing the Differences
Up until this point, I’ve focused on what Milwaukee Fuel has to offer, but this entire post is designed to answer the question as to whether or not the Fuel line is better than the standard brushless line.
So, let’s do exactly that.
The Power Difference
Now, the power difference between the two lines is not something I’ve studied myself. Instead, I’m working from what Milwaukee themselves have had to say about it, so you can certainly trust the information.
According to Milwaukee, their Fuel line is four times as powerful as their normal brushless M18 line. That is a huge difference, and you will immediately see how that translates into this line having the capability of being used in more situations and working on harder materials.
But you need to remember that a tool having more power will also result in the battery of the tool being drained more quickly, but I’ll cover the battery comparison shortly.
Yet, I must stress that having so much more power in a tool will not always be something you will need. If you are your average DIY’er at home carrying out your normal types of projects, then do you really need all that power?
I would certainly argue that someone new to DIY would perhaps be best to avoid using a tool with this much power. It makes it harder for you to maintain control over your project, and you would be more likely to make mistakes.
The truth is that most people in and around their homes will not require a more heavy-duty and powerful tool to get their projects completed. However, if you feel confident in handling the power, then by all means, go for it because you will undoubtedly blast through things faster than you ever thought possible.
I feel we can sum up the difference with the power like this:
- The Fuel line has far greater power compared to the M18 line
- A beginner may struggle with the excess power at first
- The Fuel line power equates to more of a heavy-duty tool
- You do need some confidence handling a tool such as this
- A lack of confidence may mean more mistakes are made
This section sort of stays with the concept of more power because it clearly all comes from the motor, and the motor in the Fuel line does offer a number of other advantages.
What you will find in this POWERSTATE motor is it comes with significantly more torque, is more durable, and is also more compact in size. Basically, you have what amounts to a super-charged motor without it taking up more space or changing the size of the tool.
I find that quite amazing, and it does illustrate how technology has evolved over the years that Milwaukee can produce a tool with this power and ability without it weighing too much or even being too difficult to handle due to its size.
Oh, and don’t worry about efficiency either. This tool does not waste power at any point.
I must also mention the idea of protection, and what I mean here is the way in which the tool can be used in even the harshest of conditions without the conditions then being able to damage the tool.
That’s because the Fuel line does come with technology that offers better vibration control through the tool, along with a couple of other items I’ll mention soon.
By reducing vibration, it does prevent additional damage to the tool, and that’s before I talk about the way it helps you maintain better control over the tool when in use. Less vibration makes it more comfortable to hold the tool, and it will not tire out your hands.
This is an essential piece of the tool because you would expect the greater amount of power to then equate to more vibration. Of course, that would have happened had Milwaukee simply ignored that problem, but they didn’t, and this is the result.
But on top of that, Milwaukee has also improved both the heat and water protection in the tool. This tool is designed to be pushed to the limit, so they have ensured it won’t simply overheat even when you are working it hard.
The same goes for the water protection part. You can work in all conditions, and the tool’s performance will not drop even slightly, and that’s a huge deal. Again, it’s all designed to provide you with a vast amount of confidence in the tool, allowing you to push on with your project and get the job done.
With having covered a few points here, I see these as being the key things to take away from this section.
- The Fuel line has better heat and water protection
- You can work in all sorts of conditions with the Fuel line
- It does improve your confidence in the tool thanks to this
- The Fuel range just won’t overheat that easily
- It gives off less vibrations offering better control over the tool
- You won’t feel fatigued as much as you would do with the M18 line
It won’t be a surprise to discover that the Fuel line of tools are more expensive than the M18 brushless line, so that may prove a deciding factor for you with your decision. Also, the difference can, at times, be quite substantial, so I would certainly weigh up your budget before going ahead and making your decision.
Honestly, because of the price difference, if I were your regular DIY guy, I’d opt for something from the M18 line and be very happy that I did. Yet, if I knew I had some big projects coming up that I wanted to hammer through, I would try to push my budget a bit and get my hands on the Fuel equivalent.
But is the Fuel Line the Future?
But here is a point that I feel is an important one to make, and it’s what power tools will be like in the future.
You see, the technology in power tools is constantly evolving, and the Fuel line is a prime example of this. If you look at tools that were viewed as the top of the range some 20 years ago are actually now viewed as what you get with budget tools. The reason? Motors are far more efficient and powerful and have far superior capabilities than in the past.
Yet this is the critical point. The Fuel line may be seen as the top of the range now, but it’s something that you will start to see appearing with other power tools. It won’t be too long until the technology and power contained within the Fuel line become standard.
Now, I’m saying this because I don’t want anybody to feel disappointed if they cannot afford to purchase a tool from the Fuel range. Instead, that technology will soon drop in price as Milwaukee surpasses it with something else that comes with even more capabilities.
But one thing you can say with some certainty is that power tools will all soon fall into line with the Fuel range of tools, so what you are seeing here is a glimpse into the future.
Which is Best?
When I look at everything regarding these two lines, I really come to a couple of answers.
The tricky part is that both the Fuel and M18 lines are fantastic tools in their own right. Both lines have the ability to outperform so many other brands on the market that most individuals should feel quite happy with either line.
So, it all comes down to what you want from a tool and what you will be doing with it. Generally, I see it like this.
If you are a contractor, then Milwaukee Fuel is best. That power increase and longevity also make a massive difference to what you can achieve. Honestly, it should allow you to work through different projects in a shorter time span, and as a contractor, you will have the confidence and ability to handle that extra power.
But if you are someone who simply carries out the occasional project in a small workshop or even doing jobs around the home, then the M18 line will be more than sufficient.
To me, that’s the only real difference. Both lines come with a great brushless motor that is reliable and requires little in the way of maintenance. Also, both the Fuel and M18 lines have a real solid feel to them. You just get the impression that they are built to last, and that’s because that is exactly the case.
So, to sum up which is best for you, I’d consider these key points.
- How often are you likely to use the tool?
- Are your projects more heavy-duty, or just basic?
- Consider your budget, as there is a difference in price
- Both lines feel sturdy and solid when in use
- Both are reliable and dependable
- The Fuel line does have more power and better delivery of that power
- The Fuel line offers greater efficiency
- The Fuel line is less likely to break
So, is Milwaukee Fuel better than brushless? If it’s raw power you are after, then I would have to say yes, as that’s where the difference between the two options will really come into play.
Also, don’t fall into the trap of believing this line is only for professionals. Sure, it’s the market Milwaukee is targeting with the development of these tools, but that doesn’t mean nobody else has the ability to use them.
However, before you go ahead and make your decision, I suggest checking out these additional articles to even help you decide if Milwaukee in general is the brand for you.