m12 vs m18 oscillating tool

M12 VS M18 Oscillating Tool: The Right One for You

M12 and M18 Oscillating tools are two of the most popular product of Milwaukee. Both are handy tools that can cut about anything. 

So, what would you choose between M12 vs M18 oscillating tool?

M18 offers a speed of 20,000 OPM while M12 offers 18,000 OPM. M12 has a 12-volt battery and M18 has an 18-volt battery. Also, M12 is lighter and shorter with its plastic build that is perfect for DIY jobs. But, M18 is heavier with its reinforced Nylon build and perfect for heavy-duty jobs. M12 is cheaper with a price range of $149-$219. But M18 is expensive with a price range of $199-$319. 

Follow the article as I will explain all of their features in this comparison guide. 

M12 VS M18 Oscillating Tool: Comparison Table

m12 vs m18 multi tool
M12 vs M18 Multi Tool

Both Milwaukee M12 and M18 oscillating tools offer efficient and useful features. First, let’s take a look at their competitive features and you can choose one that agrees with your situation. 

FeaturesM12 Oscillating Multi-ToolM18 Oscillating Multi-Tool
Battery Power12 Volts Lithium Ion18 Volts Lithium Ion
Battery OptionsTwo options ranging from 1.5 to 5 amp-hourThree options ranging from 1.5 to 12 amp-hour
Speed10,000 to 20,000 OPM10,000 to 20,000 OPM
Cut Angle3.9 degrees4.2 degrees
CompatibilityLimited tools optionOver 200 tools option
WeightLighter (2.296 lb)Heavier (2.581 lb)
Build MaterialPlastic buildReinforced Nylon build
VibrationLowest full-tool vibration with vibration-dampening technologyLowest full-tool vibration with vibration-dampening technology
Auto-Start OptionNoYes
WarrantyBattery Warranty: 3 YearsTool Warranty: 5 YearsBattery Warranty: 3 YearsTool Warranty: 5 Years

Although both oscillating tools are the finest in their functionality, they differ in their features. Now, let’s dive into their features and details. 

Feature 1: Battery Power & Option

Milwaukee M12 offers a 12-volt battery. On the other hand, M18 offers an 18-volt battery. Now, both offer RedLithium battery technology. But M18 offers more use per charge than M12. 

M12 contains 1.5, 2, and 3 amp-hour batteries in its compact variants. And 3, 4, 5, and 6 amp-hour in its high-capacity variants. You can remove the Milwaukee battery M12 and use it for any of the M12 tools. 

On the other hand, M18 offers stronger battery packs. It starts from 1.5 and 2 amp-hour in its compact variant RedLithium CP. And the amperage goes up to 9 and 12 amp-hour in its RedLithium high-demand variant. 

Thus, M18’s battery’s 10% more powerful with its higher amp variants and runs longer than M12’s lower amp variants. And with the M18 battery’s durability and strength, you can cut through anything, from small-scale works to heavy-duty jobs. 

Compared to M18’s durable and strong battery packs, M12 is suitable for works that require less voltage and power. But, the M12 battery charges quicker than M18 as it has a lower capacity compared to M18’s. 

Winner: M18 wins the race between M12 and M18 for its increased durability and power. 

Feature 2: Speed & Cut Angle

Both M12 and M18 Oscillating Tool offers up to 20,000 OPM. Also, M12 offers a lower cut angle of 3.9 degrees compared to M18’s aggressive 4.2 degrees. 

But some users reported that M12 actually delivers up to 18,000 OPM. M18 offers the most powerful impact driver. While both M12 and M18 offer brushless motors, M18’s powerful impact driver offers greater motor life, speed, and runtime. 

Also, M12 has a 12-setting variable speed dial to adjust the speed with integrated LED light for increased visibility. M18 also has a 10-speed variable dial option with a 180-degree span LED light for enhanced visibility. 

M18 offers the world’s first cordless impact wrench with 1900 to 2000 lb-ft torque. On the other hand, M12’s impact wrench can only handle up to 200 lb-ft suitable for small-scale jobs. 

Although both tools offer quicker tools-free blade change M12 offers less speed than M18 because of its lower voltage. Also, M18 offers an aggressive and enhanced cut angle than M12. 

Winner: So, M18 is the winner for its enhanced speed, motor life, and aggressive cut angle. 

Milwaukee M18 Multi-Tool 

  • M18 Multi-Tool (Tool Only)
  • Voltage: 18V DC
  • Tool Weight: 2.7 lb
  • Tool Length: 13 1/4 in
  • Orbits per Minute: 11,000 to 18,000

Feature 3: Compatibility

M18 oscillating tool offers over 200 tool options for various use. But M12 offers a much more limited tool option. 

But, you can work with M12 for pretty much anything while M18 offers enhanced tool options for various jobs. As such, M18 is more compatible with industrial jobs. And M12 is perfect for your DIY workshop, home, or garage jobs.

M12 is compatible with all M12 batteries. And M18 is compatible with all M18 batteries. Also, M18 offers you an enhanced runtime capability of installing up to 200 bolts per battery than M12.  

Now for brushless vs brushed reciprocating saws, be sure to check and explore their efficiency. And also see which is compatible with your application. 

Winner: It’s M18 again for its higher compatibility.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool Bare Tool

  • Item Weight 2.68 pounds
  • Voltage 18 Volts
  • POWERSTATE brushless motor provides 10,000 RPM
  • Auto-Load allows the user to start slowly when making precise cuts, and automatically ramp up to the highest speed once under load
  • Oscillation Angle: 4.2° for fastest cutting vibration dampening
  • Technology for lowest full tool vibration
  • Variable speed dial
  • 180° span
  • LED Light for better visibility
  • Tool free blade change

Feature 4: Weight & Build Material

M12 is shorter and lighter in weight. But M18 is much heavier and slightly longer in size. 

For its Plastic build, M12 is much lighter with only 2.296 lbs. But M18 is heavier with 2.581 lbs, and unwieldy with its reinforced Nylon build. For its lighter weight, you can work with M12 much more easily in your DIY workshop.

On the other hand, as M18 is longer and heavy-weight, it is suitable for heavy-duty and powerful applications. 

Milwaukee 2526-20 M12 Brushless Oscillating Multi-Tool

  • Item Dimensions LxWxH 12 x 5 x 3 inches
  • Item Weight 2.83 pounds
  • Fastest 12V Cut Speed
  • It minimizes vibration during operation, ensuring a more comfortable and less fatiguing experience.
  • Tool-Free Blade Change
  • The brushless motor provides a speed range of 10,000 to 20,000 oscillations per minute (OPM) and maintains its speed under load better than the competition.
  • 12-Setting Dial
  • Integrated LED Light
  • Offers a 3.9-degree oscillation angle for faster cutting.
  • Incorporates intelligence for enhanced performance, protection, and compatibility.
  • Compatible with all M12 batteries, ensuring versatility and convenience for users.

Feature 5: Vibration & Noise

Both M12 and M18 oscillating tools have the lowest full-tool vibration with vibration-dampening technology. 

But M12 offers less vibration and noise with its lightweight build. Work smoothly with M12’s lightweight ease and less vibration in your DIY project according to M12 multi-tool review

M18 also gives away less vibration but it’s heavy and thus is more compatible with powerful jobs than M12. 

Feature 6: Auto-Start Option

M18 offers an auto-start option that slowly ramps up the oscillation with a cut before gaining full speed. This makes the M18 sharper and reduces any skittering but M12 is not that sharp with no auto-start option. 

Milwaukee M12 FUEL Oscillating Multi-Tool Bare Tool

  • Triangle Sandpaper Oscillating Multi-Tool delivers 10,000 to 20,000 OPM
  • Provide the fastest speed of cut on a 12V
  • Platform Oscillation Angle: 3.9 degrees
  • Lowest full tool vibration
  • Variable speed dial
  • Tool-free blade change
  • Item Weight 2.83 pounds

Feature 7: Warranty 

Both M12 and M18 offer 3 years of warranty for the battery and 5 years of warranty for the tool. You can get both a service and replacement warranty under these features. 

Winer: So, for cost issues, you can go with M12 as it’s capable of handling all that a homeowner needs. 

Final Verdict: Which Is Better Between M12 & M18

So, I’ve discussed and compared all of the essential features of M12 and M18 oscillating tools. While both are excellent tools in their own respect, M18 offers more variability, durability, and strength than M12. 

Now, what you choose between these two fine tools depends upon your situation and application.

For homeowners and DIY guys, M12 is capable of handling the jobs as DIY jobs don’t require heavy-duty applications. 

On the other hand, for advanced and serious works, there is nothing more suitable than the M18 oscillating tool. You can do both small-scale and heavy-duty work with its variable battery packs and tool options. 

So, choose one that agrees with your situation and job schematics. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can I Use M18 Batteries in M12 Tool?

No, you cannot use M18 batteries in M12 tools. M12 tools are only compatible with M12 batteries, while M18 tools are only compatible with M18 batteries. But you can use an M12 battery in any of the M12 tools. The same goes for M18 tools. 

Is There An M12 Grinder?

Yes, there is an M12 Grinder. The M12 Fuel Straight Die Grinder is the first cordless grinder offering the efficient performance that a professional wants. It features a PowerState brushless motor technology with heavy-duty compatibility.

Do M12 And M18 Use The Same Charger?

Yes, M12 and M18 both use the same charger. The Multi-Volt Charger can charge both M12 and M18 batteries. This helps you to be more productive with less time managing the charge cycle.


So, between M12 vs M18 oscillating tool, compare them according to your application and preference. 

For construction jobs, Milwaukee is one of the best in the market. The oscillating tools of Milwaukee offer diversity and power for various kinds of jobs. 

And with minimum maintenance, M18 can be the choice for you. Or, M12 is the choice you want for your DIY projects.

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