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Milwaukee Fuel vs Non Fuel – Detailed Comparison!

Milwaukee FUEL vs Non FUEL
Written by Brent Butterworth

When craftsmen decide to buy Milwaukee tools, they face the choice of FUEL or non-FUEL tools. Naturally, there are pros and cons for each.

Continue reading while we compare Milwaukee FUEL vs non FUEL tools.

Milwaukee FUEL vs Non FUEL Tools

Milwaukee FUEL vs Non- FUEL Tools

Motors: Brushed vs. Brushless

Brushed

  • Tend to get hotter quicker due to the friction caused by the motors brushes.
  • Motor brushes make the tool heavier, leading to tired arms and shoulders.
  • The vibration of the brushes caused by friction can lead to difficulties in controlling the tool at higher speeds. Vibrations lead to arm fatigue.
  • These tools use more energy, leading to more frequent charging and less time working on a project.

Brushless

  • No friction that helps the tool stay cooler longer for prolonged use.
  • Lightweight and compact; you can do the job longer without tiring out your arm and shoulder.
  • Use the Powerstate motor, which Milwaukee claims is 4x as powerful.
  • No brushes, little to no vibrations!
  • The Redlithium battery and Redlink Plus technology allow you to tailor power needs to each job, resulting in extended battery use. The longer the runtime, the longer you can work on a job.

Speed Efficiency

Brushed

Less speed than the brushless version. Slower speeds may affect the tool’s accuracy (such as the saw’s cut) and fatigue your arm and shoulder.

Brushless

Higher speed lets you do the job more accurately and quicker.

Fastening Efficiency

Brushed

Slower impact driving efficiency due to motor in the brushed tool.

The energy required to run the tool on the impact job didn’t seem to be sufficient; there is noticeable wobbling of the tool when pressing down on impact.

Brushless

Speed and lighter weight of tool makes this faster and more accurate when using an impact tool.

The ability to change speeds to meet the needs of the job leaves you more time to get the job done.

Safety

Brushed

Brushed motors don’t have high safety features. As there is physical contact, they produce sparks while being used. Sparks can spot burn your skin and also make it dangerous to work near any flammable objects.

Brushless

Brushless motors are free from this kind of danger as there is no brush at all, therefore no physical contact to make sparks, making them safer to use.

Size

Brushed

Brushed motors are not compactly designed. AS a result, they can’t be used in tight spaces where brushless can easily operate.

Brushless

Users can work in tight spaces as brushless motors are compact in design.

Life Span

Brushed

Brushed motors don’t last long as the physical contact of the brush makes it wear quickly.

Brushless

Brushless models have a longer lifespan than their counterparts because they are don’t wear out easily. They also feature and upgraded fuel model.

Price

Brushed

Brushed models are typically cheaper than the brushless version. Additionally, they are old in design and don’t have any exclusive innovations incorporated.

Brushless

Brushless models are relatively expensive because they feature newer innovations. The M18 Fuel package is 40% more expensive than its brushed counterpart.

Lower Heat Levels

1. Single

Brushed

While one speed means the tool doesn’t get very hot, it still is hotter than the brushless version.

The hotter running motor slows down the job’s completion time and leads to less tool life.

Brushless

The Power state motor doesn’t get hot as quickly as the brushed version. It allows for longer runtime and quicker job completion.

The less heat created, the longer your tool will last.

2. 4-Speed

Brushed

This tool offers 4-speeds allowing you to choose a speed for the job, translating into more efficient tool use and better runtime.

Brushless

This 4-speed tool is faster than the brushed version, more accurate in its cut, has less vibration, and has a longer runtime.

Speed adjustment is made through the app.

High Output Battery Advantages

The high output battery gives both tools increased power, keeps the tool cooler,  and offers a longer runtime.

Brushed

Even with the high output battery, the brushed motor does not keep up with the FUEL version of the same tool.

There is more vibration with this battery, especially with impact tools.

Brushless

The high output battery gave this quick and powerful tool more speed and power. No vibration was noted with use.

Advantages of Fewer Parts

Brushed

The more parts the motor has, the more that will need repairing. The brushed tool has brushes and more core components.

Brushless

No brushes, fewer motor components, less to repair.

How Secure When Fastened

Brushed

The impact drivers have more instability and vibration.

Brushless

The driver is stable at all speeds, with no vibrations noted.

How Hot Do They Get?

Brushed

The brushed motor is known for getting hot, requiring a cool down. Slowing the job down considerably.

Brushless

No brushes, no friction, no heat. It stays cool so you can finish the job without stopping.

Reducing Noise

Brushed

All tools make noise; the brushed motor and vibration make this the louder tool.

Brushless

As with all tools, there will be noise, the brushless motor, and lesser vibration, making this the quieter tool.

Energy Requirements

The fueled and non-fueled versions both use the Lithium-Ion battery.

Brushed

The brushed motor requires more energy resulting in frequent battery charging.

The inability to change speed drains the battery quickly on heavier jobs.

Brushless

The brushless motor uses much less energy with infrequent charging.

The ability to change speeds according to the job keeps the battery running longer.

Maintaining Your Tools

Brushed

Due to the brushes and their components, there is more maintenance required.

Brushless

Very low maintenance due to fewer parts, no brushes, or added components.

Weight of the Tools

Brushed

The weight of the motor makes this tool heavier and more awkward

Brushless

Lightweight, without the motors, easier to hold and use

Battery Life

Brushed

The heat these tools generate shortens the life of the battery

If you’re doing a heavier job, you may have to charge this battery several times throughout the project.

Brushless

The battery lasts much longer than the brushed version.

The ability to change speeds throughout the job saves battery use, letting you use the tool longer between charges.

Batteries Offered for Milwaukee FUEL vs Non FUEL

Batteries for the M18 and M18 FUEL tools can be used in both tools with a 50% increase in power for FUEL tools.

Milwaukee offers multiple batteries in the following categories, battery increase in power, runtime, and charges as the numbers increase:

  • Redlithium-Ion High OutPut Battery +HO XC 8.0, HO XC 6.0, HO XC 5.0,
  • Redlithium-Ion High OutPut Battery CP3.0
  • Redlithium-Ion Battery XC 6.0, XC 5.0, XC 4.0, XC3.0
  • Redlithium-Ion Battery Extended XC 6.0, XC 5.0, XC 4.0, XC 3.0
  • Redlithium-Ion High Demand Battery 9.0
  • Redlithium-Ion Battery CP 2.0
  • Redlithium-Ion Battery M18 Compact

Check the Watt-Hours of Milwaukee Battery Pack

When choosing a battery for your tools, forget about the watt-hours; choose by the number of cells.

The higher the cells, the more power, runtime, and performance you will get out of the tool.

You want to go with the High OutPut batteries with 21700 cells for the best output. They are the latest technology and work with all tools.

However, not all tools will require the highest cells; tools such as light and vacuum can use the lower celled battery and work at maximum capacity.

Are the Batteries on Fuel and Non-Fuel Models Interchangeable?

As long as the battery has M18 on it, the batteries are interchangeable

The batteries give more power to the FUEL tools than the non-FUEL tools

Batteries can be purchased as a single unit or in multi-packs (usually the better buy).

Combo Kits Milwaukee Fuel M18

All combo Kits offer tools, a battery that powers all tools, a charger, a bag or hard case to carry the tools, the side handle, and a belt clip.

All FUEL tools have Powerstate Brushless motors, Redlink Plus technology to change tool speed according to the job through the app, and Red Lithium-Ion for increased power and longer tool time.

2 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver and Hex Impact Driver

3 Tool Combo kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, and Sawzall

4 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Sawzall, Circular Saw and saw blades

5 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Sawzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, and LED work light

6 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Sawzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, LED work light, and Grinder

7 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Sawzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, LED work light, Grinder, and Torque Impact Wrench

9 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Sawzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, LED work light, Grinder, Torque Impact Wrench, three batteries, and two chargers (M18 and M12)

Combo Kits Milwaukee Non-Fuel M18

All combo Kits offer tools, one battery that powers all tools, a charger, bag, or hard case to carry the tools in, the side handle, and belt clip.

2 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver and Hex Impact Driver

3 Tool Combo kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, and Hackzall

4 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Hackzall, Circular Saw and saw blades

5 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Hackzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, and LED work light

6 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Hackzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, LED work light, and Grinder

7 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Hackzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, LED work light, Grinder, and Impact Wrench

9 Tool Combo Kit

  • HammerDrill/Driver, Hex Impact Driver, Hackzall, Circular Saw, saw blades, LED work light, Grinder, Impact Wrench, three batteries, and two chargers (M18 and M12)

Milwaukee FUEL vs Non FUEL Milwaukee: Choosing Your Tools

The best tool for your money, performance, runtime, lightest tool weight, and best technology is the Milwaukee FUEL tools.

Used in construction, woodworking, and by tradesmen, they run the coolest and have adjustable speeds using the Redlink Plus technology.

The Non-FUEL tools are the same quality, heavier, run hotter, and offer no technology to change tool speeds. These are great tools for a handyman or hobbyist.

About the author

Brent Butterworth

A Professional Woodworker & Custom Furniture Builder

Brent lives in Wisconsin and is a woodworker, custom cabinetmaker, interior consultant, and a freelance writer who got the opportunity to write several magazine articles for different publications on home improvement and woodworking. He’s always amazed at the depth and breadth of woodworking all over the globe, and feels proud to be a part of this great effort. Brent has built everything one can imagine, from unique art furniture to different types of home furniture to canoes and even a sailboat.

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