Milwaukee has (finally!) come out with a new M18 Fuel cordless air compressor.
The new Milwaukee 2840-20 air compressor features a 2 gallon capacity and is said to be “the industry’s quietest cordless air compressor for professional carpenters and remodelers.”
Milwaukee also says that their new cordless air compressor is 2X quieter than standard corded models.
The new Milwaukee M18 Fuel air compressor weights 31.2 lbs without battery, and can be carried with one hand.
It has a low profile design, which gives it a lower center of gravity (our words), and Milwaukee says its stackable design aids in storage as well.
With the compressor being stackable, it can be transported on top of a rolling stack of Milwaukee Packout tool boxes.
However, the M18 Fuel air compressor has 4 feet and does not look to be Packout-compatible.
It looks like the feet can fit within Packout tool box grooves, but there’s no active locking mechanism.
Features include a quick-connect coupler, roll cage design, and compact user interface in close proximity to the battery port.
The roll cage is welded to the tank itself, as is the side handle for one-handed carrying. The whole system looks to be configured as compactly as possible.
Taking a closer look at the user controls, there’s an on-off rocker button, tank pressure gauge, and one-touch regulator control for outlet pressure.
The over-pressure release port is at the side, near the coupler, and the moisture drain is at the rear.
Milwaukee says that the new compressor can fire up to 1600 18 gauge brad nails on an M18 High Output 12.0Ah battery.
M18 FUEL 2 Gallon Compact Quiet Compressor (2840-20) Specs
- 2 gallon capacity
- 135 PSI max pressure
- 1.2 CFM at 90 PSI airflow
- Brushless motor
- 68 dBA noise level
- Oil-free pump
- Measures 18.2″ wide x 16.25″ long x 10.62″ tall
- Weighs 31.2 lbs without battery
Price: $349 for the bare tool
ETA: June 2020
Buy Now: Milwaukeee Compressor via Tool Nut
Buy Now via Acme Tools
Buy Now via CPO
Compare: Dewalt Kit via Acme Tools
I know that a lot of you have been waiting for this release for a while. So, what do you think about Milwaukee’s M18 Fuel cordless air compressor?
The low-profile – and more easily stored – design seems like a good idea, and I love the idea of quieter operation.
Digging around, we see that the new Milwaukee air compressor delivers 135 PSI max. It has a 2 gallon air tank, which is slightly smaller than Dewalt’s 2.5 gallon capacity. Ben reviewed Dewalt’s FlexVolt air compressor here.
In March, I posted about my Milwaukee M18 Fuel cordless air compressor predictions, and there I said that it would be nice to see such a tool featuring:
- Corded or cordless operation
- At least a 2.0 gallon capacity air tank
- Packout-compatible design, possible with internal hose (and cord) storage
Well, I was right about the 2 gallon capacity part. The new compressor isn’t Packout-compatible, but it does at least look to be “Packout stackable” due to its low profile design and the shape of its bottom feet.
Here’s a look at the other cordless air compressors on the market. I have not yet updated that post to include Metabo’s model.
Milwaukee said their 2840-20 M18 Fuel cordless air compressor can drive up to 1600 nails when powered with an HD 12.0Ah battery pack. What if you want to use it with a lower capacity battery?
- 12Ah (HD High Output): 1600 brad nails
- 8Ah (XC High Output): 1000 brad nails
- 5Ah (XC): 600 nails
According to this, we could perhaps expect to see slightly longer runtime or faster performance when using a High Output HD battery (12Ah), compared to using High Output XC or standard XC batteries.
My guess is that the higher capacity and larger for factor batteries might enable higher current flow, for faster tank fill-up, but if so the difference is likely slight. We’ll check with Milwaukee about this and report back once we learn more.
Milwaukee takes a shot against Dewalt’s FlexVolt cordless air compressor, and how their M18 Fuel 2 gallon compact quiet air compressor is substantially quieter.
We hope to be able to test out Milwaukee’s cordless air compressor once it launches, but comparisons will be complicated. Dewalt’s compressor has a pancake-style air tank form factor, giving it a small and compact footprint. It also has a 2.5 gallon air tank, which means it’ll hold up to 25% more air. Both compressors have max pressures of 135 PSU.
Dewalt’s is also less expensive, at $299 for the kit, compared to $349 for Milwaukee’s bare tool option.
Overall, we’re quite optimistic about Milwaukee’s design. The new M18 Fuel air compressor has most of what we’d like to see in a product like this – 2 gallon capacity, portable design, a simple pressure gauge and regulator user interface, and the quiet operation is an unexpected and pleasing bonus.
The price seems a little high – $349 for the bare tool, but I’d rather that than a compromise on quality or features.
While the air compressor isn’t Packout-compatible, it does at least look like it can be securely transported on top of a Packout rolling tool box stack.
An AC power option might have been nice, but where would it go? There’s also the possibility that the motor operates better on DC M18 battery power. To date, we’ve seen DC/AC options on cordless worklights, radios, and some other accessories (mini shop vacs), but I can’t recall any brushless motor-equipped tools that have hybrid or dual power as an option. In other words, while it would be nice, I can understand that it might not have been possible.
Buy Now: Milwaukee Compressor via Tool Nut
Compare: Dewalt FlexVolt Kit via Acme Tools
Compare: Dewalt FlexVolt Kit via Tool Nut
I don’t do much welding, so can someone knowledgeable tell me if they’re a little concerned about having a weld directly onto a part that’s intended to contain 135 PSI air? Even if most of them are done perfectly by a robot, it only takes one screw-up on the line followed by someone “fixing it” by hand to thin, weaken, and ruin the heat-treatment of the steel at the attachment point.
The price comparison in the article doesn’t seem fair; FlexVolt batteries cost a fair penny, so kit vs. bare tool isn’t quite right.
Lastly, love love LOVE the emphasis on how much quieter it is. Looks similar to the noise specs on my beloved California Air Tools compressor, whereas DeWalt’s compressor is a noisy little pig. With battery-powered, it’s much more likely to be close to you than a plug-in unit. Very, very smart decision by someone over at Milwaukee.
The main concern with the welds on these ‘hot dog’ tank style compressors is that the long seam weld for the body is usually on the bottom, and along with the side caps being fully welded around, you wind up with an almost certain point of failure when water builds up in the tank and sits right on those welds. Even if drained every so often as required, rust still builds up and the constant exposure to the water and then moist air and then water again rusts the tank from the inside out.
It’s not like the tank will hold air and then suddenly blow apart when the welds fail, more like eventually the rust will get through and eventually a hole will form and whatever air is in the tank will leak out and you’ll probably be looking for a new compressor since a warranty doesn’t cover rusting of the tank as a defect.
Good specs and solid option if you are on the M18 system. No AC power limits run time and blow gun will drain it quickly
Rather see a M18 compact inflator since I already have a corded compressor. 1.2 cfm @ 90 ps iss ok, 68dba is very quiet, brushless motor is nice, and 30 lb is light. Contractors will make homeowners happy if they run this versus the rattling oil free noise machines.
Corded still has an advantage for high power use tools. My Makita Mac 700 was $200 and runs 3.3 cfm @ 90 psi, is oil filled with tolerable 80dba, manegeable 60 pounds, and 50 percent duty rated. At 45 psi it can handle a blog gun at 90 psi it drop the tank.
Shouldn’t be a major concern, being that tanks are welded in the first place. The welds there do look questionable though, at least in terms of this being a promo picture and the welds being chunky.
I thought I was only one that noticed the welds lmao…
And when you look at other compressor designs, many smaller designs are welded all together anyway. Pancake-style compressors have welded-on feet, and then a riser structure on top.
It seems unusual for a roll cage to be welded to the tank like this, or the side handle, but it doesn’t seem to be of concern.
I doubt its an issue. My senco trim compressor is 15 years old and has the handle/frame welded to the tank. Hasn’t been a problem, and I don’t hear of any others having issues with them. That design hasn’t been changed in ~20 years it’s been around
I guess they gave up on the cordless framer and decided to launch this instead? I ordered my cordless framer (2744-20) for my crew from Acme tools almost a year ago and the ship date is now 7-30!
June 2020 the M18 Fuel framer is supposed to be out. Another tool blog was talking about it today.
Like it, but not at that price. I was on the fence about DeWalt’s, but ultimately got the kit when it was on sale for $199 and had a $20 off $100+ DeWalt orders. So $179 for the kit was an easy decision.
But $349 for a bare tool is quite high, especially since most use a compressor less and less with cordless tools. Unless you’re a Milwaukee or nothing fan boy, I don’t see the appeal over competitors (besides the quiet aspect). Either way, looks cool.
I’m one of those red fan boys, but even I don’t think I can justify it at that price. Over time most of my uses have become battery powered anyway. I’ll stick with my quiet corded california air compressor for now
How much SCFM does it deliver? If it is giving out steady 4-5 scfm then it may be worth looking at
1.2CFM @ 90psi
“2x quieter” drives me nuts. I wish they’d just call it half as loud.
Agreed. They pulled the same nonsense with the surge impact drivers. It seems their marketing folks don’t understand the value of transparency vs ambiguity.
Nah I think their marketing folks know what they’re doing. On the whole, marketing uses positive language. Half has an inherently negative connotation. It means not-as-much, in a society that always wants more.
Would you rather have half of a coffee, or double the coffee?
I get it, more is more, but it’s silly. It’s like saying, hey Bob, that teenager of yours sure is getting big. “Yeah, he’s almost twice as light as me!”
Does that imply a 10dB drop in noise level compared to their competitors?
I’m going to assume Milwaukee used a steel tank. I really like the aluminum tank on my tiny Senco. I drain it every once in a while but don’t worry about, unlike the Dewalt, Porter Cable and Hitachi compressors that I used to have.
I’m thrilled that they went with an ultra quiet design. After owning a California air tools compressor, standard compressors make me feel like a caveman.
I just wish it was dual power, then it would be the ultimate remodel/repair compressor
I think it’s a little disingenuous to say “2x quieter than standard corded models”. What is Standard? Now, Almost every brand offers a quiet model. California Air Tools has been making them for decades. Even Harbor Freight now has a line of Aluminum Tank, Sub 70Db compressors.
But it’s cool to see such a powerful unit. I sort of thought their inflater was as good as it would get for battery powered air supply. I’m not a huge fan of that outlet pressure dial. I much prefer to see the actual pressure on a gauge.
“What is Standard? Now, Almost every brand offers a quiet model.”
Standard is the one that’s not marketed as the quiet model…
Just because it’s old doesn’t make it standard. Carburetors haven’t been sold on cars for decades yet you’d be hard pressed to find that standard. So another way to say that would be “2x quieter than the old style compressors”.
Or are they standard because they’re generally dirt cheap? “2x quieter than the dirt cheap compressor you can only sell if you include a “free” nail gun”
You can’t just use an ambiguous term like standard if there is no actual standard. The “standard Pancake” compressor is a thing, and it’s different than the “Standard California Air Tools” compressor.
It’s a disingenuous statement because it prompts the consumer/reader to fill in what a “standard compressor” is. 9/10 times someone will think of the compressor they have/use despite that claim not being true in that instance.
I don’t think the price is bad. I’m with others, for me it’s all about how quiet the compressor is now. I use a Rolair 4.5gal compressor I keep stationary in the garage and using my old pancake Craftsman when I need air somewhere else is almost alarming to my ears now. I’m in the V20 line but if I were on the M18 line and wanted a battery compressor I’d be thrilled with this.
I kind of get the idea of a cordless compressor until you think about dragging the hose around. I mean you have a hose connected to the compressor and obviously cant drag it around. So since you cant drag it around does it matter whether or not it is plugged in to an outlet. As much as I would like to have a cordless compressor it just isnt practical., especiallly at that price.
If there’s no power, then yes, it’s practical. If you are doing punch-out Items and there’s still only one temp outlet and your all over the house, yes, it’s practical. If there are three crews of different trades on a job and the breaker keeps popping, then yes, it’s practical.
yeah. To any working carpenter the use case is obvious. I don’t think it’s as clear to homeowners.
I own 5? compressors. I’ll buy this the second it comes out
The beauty of this is you can have a short 10′ hose and set the compressor right next to you. No worries of a 25′ hose catching on jobsite debris so you can put a super loud compressor away from your work area.
Also you could set this on top of the Packout 4 wheel dolly and it’s plenty mobile. The 4 rubber feet rest in the cleat pockets.
Why isn’t it packout compatible? Would it have been that hard to make it do that? Or atleast make the rubber feet removable with a packout cleat feat capability. The last thing you want is your expensive compressor falling off the top of a 3-4 stack packout bundle.
I wonder if people commenting on the dB rating understand that the dB range isn’t linear?
Wait a minute, where do you think they’re talking the decibel readings from? Right at the unit or at the end of a 25 foot air hose. I’m having flashbacks to the tape measure standout fiasco…
Not sure if I need a cordless compressor yet, but the quiet is a necessity for me and an actual money maker. Over its 3000 hour run time life, our California Air Compressor has let us continue conversations, yell out numbers, and just have a nicer work environment. Even if it’s only boosted productivity 10% for 1/3 of those hours, the cost of the compressor is easily covered.
They didn’t make it packoutable? Might have something to do with the vibration. If not they could have added the packout feature, which would have appealed to many. It sort of set the packout radio apart from the others.
If dewalt made a 120 flexvolt compressor in a Cali air tools 4.5gal clone (like husky and kobalt did) as a bottom wheeled tough system 2.0 base… Ughhh, a boy can dream. Maybe in 5 years.
I have that exact compressor and it is nearly perfect. Run time would only be about 30 minutes with 2 12A batteries though. Always the dilemma with cordless air, it simply takes a lot of power.
Yeah, wonder if 120 flexvolt could be designed in such a way that with the lower hp (8.5ish amp) motor they could run a regular heavy gauge cord to simultaneously run AND recharge the batteries… Without having to pop them out, throw em on chargers…the classic battery dance.
I rarely need it off a wall for that long, but it’d sure be better than running multiple leaky hoses or worse: a long ass extension cord or even worse rolling it to the wall and back 50 times to fill-er up.
Beautiful tool. But Pricey.
I am considering selling my Ridgid unit since it’s a noisy little unit.
Maybe I’ll wait for it to show up on CG/Offerup
Awful they focused on this over an m18 powered PAPR
Why would Milwaukee make an M18 powered air-purifying respirator? That’s a very niche specialty product, and not something I’ve seen used often in any of the trades they cater to. Awful they “focused” on a tool that fits in their lineup and target audience instead of something that’s probably not even on their radar?
Hey Tim, thank you for asking. A PAPR is recommended/required for such a wide range of tasks covered under this sites content and way beyond. OSHA won’t continue to be so lenient on enforcing table 1 in the future. Silicosis and other respiratory diseases are rampant among those who make it to retirement. Please consider spending some time reading into PPE and respiratory hazards. There’s tons of great info just a google search away.
This likely has been in R&D for years, it’s not like they just made it this month instead of a M18 PAPR. Though DeWalt actually did partner with Ford and 3M to make some.
I’m betting it’s not Packout compatible due to vibration. Can you imagine the warranty nightmare if it started fatigue cracking the Packout lid attachment points it was locked into?
There’s enough of a demand for Packout aftermarket accessory mounts that someone will design an adapter anyway though.
Way over priced for what you get . Those batteries are expensive as ****. My little “Rolair “ is right at 60 dB at about half the price of this with two batteries , you would need at least two .
Quieter usually means it takes longer to fill because the motor runs slower, that’s why it’s quieter, so don’t start going crazy, quieter doesn’t mean better, plus this weighs 10lbs more than the Dewalt and has a larger footprint and has a smaller tank $$$$$
This is generally the opposite of correct. The biggest air compressors are much quieter than loud pancake compressors. The highest CFM compressors run slower. And this Milwaukee is the same CFM as the DeWalt.
can it handle use it with 16ga. & 15ga. finish nailer
I believe it should; most portable air compressors can driver finish nailers fairly well.
I wish places would provide “turn on” PSI specs.
I really like my California Air Tools compressor, but the PSI it goes down to before restarting means it can’t really be used for framing nailers. I’d love to be able to use my framing nailers and especially my fence stapler with this, but I’m guessing I’d have the same problem.
I have the Hitachi cordless framing nailer which I love, but it’s still nice to be able to use my existing nailers and nails when needed.
You can turn up your cut in pressure. But a better fix is a high flow regulator. I added one to mine and now I can rapid fire nails no problem. The stock regulator would drop to 60 PSI after the first shot in a volley. High flow stays much closer to set PSI.
High & Mighty
What a big disappointment. Seriously. After all the speculation and hype about how awesome this thing was going to be, Milwaukee completely struck out with this expensive underachiever. Never mind the quiet motor or the roll cage. Three hundred fifty dollars for a cordless two gallon air compressor that’s only good for brad nails is ludicrous. Not even their own Milwaukee framing gun can be used with their own cordless air compressor. That’s awful. How do they know how many nails can be shot per type of battery when they don’t even make a brad nailer? People typically buy one air compressor to be used with multiple types of nailers. Not the other way around. I’m not saying that this is a rip off because I’m sure that there are some simple minded people out there that are going to buy this nor am I saying that it’s a piece of junk or that it won’t benefit someone, but I’ve never heard of anyone who buys an air compressor for one specific nail gun and especially for a three hundred fifty dollar two gallon air compressor. That would make absolutely no sense. What’s interesting is that not even a week after they release this, they announce a their first cordless framing nailer. How is it that they couldn’t design a battery powered air compressor that could be used with a pneumatic framing gun or any other type of pneumatic nailer, but they were able to design a battery powered framing gun? Something is not adding up to an answer that makes sense.
Are you maybe not understanding that this can be used with any air tool, within the limitations of the CFM delivery? In general, a small compressor like this would be used for trim work. pinner, 18, 16, 15 gauge. Maybe very light framing punch list work.
To comment on your other point, I do not know a pro that owns less than two compressors. There is no one size fits all option.
For some, quietness and cordless might be the top two priorities. Others will buy it because it’s red. Others won’t buy it because it’s not right for them.
“I can’t recall any brushless motor-equipped tools that have hybrid or dual power as an option.”
Stuart, FYI the DeWalt FlexVolt Miter Saw has a brushless AC/DC motor.
True, although it’s not quite what I meant, as those 120V Max miter saws require the use of an external battery port adapter and not a built-in AC port.
The reason you get more nails per AH with larger batteries is that the WH capacity is reduced at higher draw both from voltage drop and reduced capacity.
Seriously? The welds? That’s because it’s ALUMINUM! You think they got that thing to be 30 lbs with a steel tank, handle and frame??? Come on guys.
Craftsman’s 6 gallon pancake-style air compressor weighs 30 lbs. This one is smaller. Its tank isn’t necessary made from aluminum.
The welds on the end caps don’t look exaggerated compared to those on other comparable sized hot dog-style air compressors.
Any welder can see that’s aluminum. They’re not putting a cheap, heavy steel tank with oversized crappy welds on a $350 hand carried portable compressor with no wheels . Why argue the fact? Just to be contrary? Logic and critical thinking. The best guys could do was laugh at the welds? Looks like normal, well done aluminum welds to me! Moving on.
Aluminum or steel, I don’t see what’s wrong with the welds – that’s my lack of experience talking. My experience in spotting aluminum welds only draws on what I’ve seen in bike frames.
I know aluminum is harder to weld, haven’t seen enough examples to know it results in larger beads that can’t be cleaned up.
I at first thought the issue was the roll cage welded to the tank, but it didn’t seem that unusual after looking at other small-size models.
So their comments are because the weld beads are large, and you’re saying that it’s no big deal because it’s aluminum?
About the weight – what I meant is that I’m not convinced that a compressor this size needs to be aluminum and not steel, seeing as how larger compressors with steel construction are the same weight. Is it possible the air tank and roll cage are dissimilar metals?
The beads have to be bigger for strength because it’s, well, aluminum. Tiny beads would look nice but wouldn’t do the job. Plus aluminum welding is just different. It’s softer so it lays out differently. Also, you can’t combine dissimilar metals when welding, like steel with aluminum. It would have to be bolted together.
On another note, steel tanks rust horribly on the inside from condensation forming during operation. Opening the valve to purge rusty water is a total mess. Aluminum tanks are far superior because of weight factors AND no rust in the tank. That same rusty water comes out your airline, kind of vaporized, straight into your tools! Aluminum is more expensive too, hence part of the reason for the higher cost of this compressor. Though I honk the price is ridiculous.
Update: Air tank and roll cage are made of steel, not aluminum.
Hey, Milwaukee, if you want me to keep defending you since you don’t disclose any of this on your website, you need to send me a compressor to review. Also, more info is better for tool guys. We’re not blind fools that just buy Milwaukee because it says milwaukee…(well, not all of us) we like to think we’re buying quality and innovation. Milwaukee needs to work on both in some instances. I can name a couple of recent Milwaukee tool purchases that I deeply regret.
I am so excited. I will buy this the minute it comes out.
A lot of people here aren’t used to building with no power outlet it seems. I hope it’s perfect. But even if it’s not I expect it to be useful.
I have something like 5 compressors, I don’t keep close track. For a pro, adding this is a no brainer.
My guys always go for the battery tools first even if there is access to power. I get it.
Now that these are available I am hoping for a review and also would love some sort of air hose shoot out.
“To date, we’ve seen DC/AC options on cordless worklights, radios, and some other accessories (mini shop vacs), but I can’t recall any brushless motor-equipped tools that have hybrid or dual power as an option. In other words, while it would be nice, I can understand that it might not have been possible.“ …. well the entire Multivolt line by Hikoki/Metabo HPT utilizes AC or DC. Cord or cordless..you decide. I own majority of the line and can honestly say I’ve used the AC/DC adapter on almost all of them without any issues.
i had it 6 months and it died! no help from Milwaukee. can’t find parts anywhere.
not a great product