The Milwaukee M18 FUEL Driver/Drill is an excellent power tool that scored well in our user experience survey. It has the most powerful, long-lasting battery of all the cordless drills in our review, but it also takes the longest to fully charge. It can produce up to 650 inch-pounds of torque – the most we encountered during our evaluation. And at 5 pounds, it’s the heaviest tool in our lineup. It has all the accessories we look for in this category and a generous five-year warranty. For these reasons and more, it earned the Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award for cordless drills.
During our testing phase, we had more than a dozen reviewers use and evaluate the Milwaukee M18 FUEL. They rated it based on balance, handling, power, weight and grip. When the results were tabulated, this cordless drill scored a 3.77 out of 5 on balance, 3.95 on handling, 4.27 on power and 2.45 on weight. This all shakes out as an overall B grade in our user experience survey. Based on the feedback from our reviewer team, this tool is best for heavy, professional, everyday use. If you’re looking for a cordless drill to keep in your tool chest for occasional use, this model is probably overkill.
This drill can produce up to 650 inch-pounds of torque – the highest we encountered in our tests. Its turning speed tops out at 1,850 RPM, which isn’t the fastest we saw, but it’s more than enough for nearly any job, which is one of the main reasons we feel it’s best suited for professional users.
This tool has the longest battery life we encountered. In our battery test, we attached a fully-charged battery to the drill, taped the trigger down and timed how long it took for the battery to die. At the end of the test, Milwaukee was the last drill turning after an hour. By contrast, some drill batteries (like the Kobalt 1424A-03) gave out after only 20 minutes.
The flip side to this long-lasting battery is how long it takes to charge – which isn’t surprising given how long the battery lasts. Expect to wait at least an hour for the battery to fully recharge after you’ve used up all the juice. Other batteries we reviewed take about half that long. But since it comes with two batteries, you’ll probably never run out of power if you keep one of them on the charger.
The M18 has 24 clutch settings, the most of any cordless drill we reviewed. This means that you can adjust the drill to apply a specific amount of turning force to drive screws into your material without damaging the wood or screw. This feature is particularly useful when you work on finishing projects, such as attaching cabinet doors or even assembling furniture.
At 5 pounds, this is the heaviest cordless drill we tested. This isn’t a shock, considering how much power it provides. Nevertheless, it should be noted since the next heaviest drill we reviewed is a full pound lighter.
This drill features an LED work light, so you can see exactly what you’re doing no matter the lighting conditions. It also has a belt-loop hook, which lets you holster the tool when not in use – a handy feature when you’re moving up and down ladders. And the on-board screwdriver bit keeps that small, easy-to-lose bit close at hand.
Milwaukee offers an excellent five-year warranty on the drill itself and two years on the batteries. This warranty protects you from defects in material and workmanship, but not tool abuse or misuse, as is the industry standard. If you have questions or concerns regarding your drill, you can contact Milwaukee via email or over the phone. You can also check out the tool's user manual on the company's website.
High power, a great user experience and a long-lasting battery earned the Milwaukee M18 FUEL one of the top spots in our list of the best cordless drills. You can expect this tool to provide the power you need, when you need it, as long as you need it. It’s a bit heavy, and the battery takes a long time to recharge, but these are minor tradeoffs for the great usability and usefulness of this cordless drill.