Greg ran into some misfortune and is now facing a tough decision. Should he buy back into Dewalt’s 20V Max cordless power tool lineup, or find what he needs, except smaller, lighter, and less powerful, in Milwaukee’s M12 lineup?
I recently was robbed of a bunch of my Dewalt 20V [Max] cordless tools. Among those stolen: 20V SDS rotary hammer drill, 20V reciprocating saw, and a couple of batteries. Now what I have left are a 20V bandsaw, and a brushless impact, no batteries. I’m trying to decide if I want to make the switch to the M12 tools or buy back Dewalt. What do you suggest?
Ouch, Greg, I’m really sorry to hear about your losses!
Yours is a tough situation to be in – a near blank-slate scenario. In general, 18V and 20V Max tools are still workhorses. You get more power and more capabilities, compared to smaller voltage tools. M12 and 12V Max tools are getting increasingly powerful and cost less than 18V-class equivalents, but they don’t compare head-to-head with 18V-class tools.
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I’m a big fan of Milwaukee’s M12 lineup, but I don’t know if I could use M12 tools instead of 18V-class tools all the time. Much of the time? Surely. Most of the time? Maybe. All of the time? No. I would still need access to either 18V-class cordless tools, or AC-powered corded ones.
The cost, convenience, and comfort of 12V-class tools make them highly appealing. But sentiments now are going to be the same as they were a couple of years when I asked a similar question, but with in regard to homeowner uses.
12V-class tools can be used in ways that 18V-class tools cannot. Most notably, they’re smaller and lighter. But they are also less powerful, often less featured, and other times they lack the size to get things done.
I think that most professional users would buy back into the Dewalt 20V Max system.
With 12V-class tools, smaller jobs will be easier and more comfortable. But with heavier jobs, the 18V-class tools would be more capable.
If you only buy into one cordless power tool platform, it should be an 18V-class system. If you have funds leftover, or want to mix things up, go for both 12V-class and 18V-class tools. 18V class heavy-hitters, and 12V class tools that you might never need high power or performance for.
Take Milwaukee’s M12 SDS rotary hammer, for example. Drilling smaller 1/4″, 5/16″, or 3/8″ holes in masonry materials? It’ll do it, and without skipping a beat. But if you need to drill a lot of 1/2″ holes, you’d be pushing the tool to its very limits. Need to drill longer or even larger holes? You’ll wish you had an 18V rotary hammer.
That Milwaukee M12 Hackzall compact reciprocating saw pictured above? It won’t hold a candle to an 18V Sawzall or other brand of reciprocating saw.
I say go for both. But if you have to go one way or the other, 18V is the safer choice.