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Milwaukee M12 Lithium-ion vs. M12 Red Lithium


Conductor562

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Back in December (2011) I ordered the Milwaukee M12 Jig saw kit I'd been lusting over which came equipped with a standard capacity Red Lithium battery. The very next payday (2 weeks later) I got the M12 inspection camera which came equipped with 2 of the standard pre-Red Lithium batteries. So, I'm messing around in the garage today glancing over my power tool cabinet and I wonder "what's the real difference in these M12 batteries?". Naturally I decided to test them and see for myself. To conduct this test I used the M12 multi-tool (model 2426) which I positioned on a bench vise. I simply inserted the battery, turned the tool on, and let it run until it died while timing it with a stopwatch. Of course the recorded times are under no working load what so ever, but all conditions being equal I felt the results would provide a true answer to my question. To insure the integrity of the test I assured both batteries were fully charged by placing them both on the charger until the light turned green immediately prior to beginning the test. I don't feel there is any issue with age or use because I got both batteries in the same month and I use a battery rotation system to insure usage is spread out equally among all the batteries I have. Additionally, I allowed the tool to cool for 3 hours between tests to ensure that heat would in no way manipulate the results. Anyway, on to the results.

The standard Lithium battery died after 21:06. The Red Lithium lasted 3:13 longer for a total run time of 24:19, an improvement of just under 15%. While it fell below Milwaukee's claim of up to 30% more run time, the Red-Lithium technology increased cost to the consumer 0% so I don't suppose I have any right to complain. Aside of run time, I did observe the tool running at a higher rpm with the Red-Lithium battery which was noticeable by the higher pitched sound coming from the tool. Again, these run times are no load times and based on my experience with the tool I'd feel comfortable saying that run time under intermittent load would be around half of the no load times. The only variable not addressed by this test is in regards to the extent that extra little kick of the Red-Lithium affects the amount of work able to be done per charge. I would have loved to throw an XC battery in the mix, but I've yet to get around to purchasing one. While it certainly isn't a perfect test, I do feel it accurately reflects the run time differences between the two. Feel free to share your thoughts.

24:19 21:06

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I have to admit that I was a bit surprised the Red Lithium didn't run in the 28 minute range, but as I was saying, it isn't like Milwaukee jacked the price up on the Red Lithium kits so I guess I have no right to complain.

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I think with Milwaukee sometimes it is not just about run time.It is also about how fast the tool completes the application, two drills for example may drill almost the same number of holes, but one of them may do it much more quickly e.g in a higher gear or with more r.p.m.

When you factor in the performance advantage between the old Milwaukee battery and new Milwaukee red lithium battery, it is the amps that can be pulled from it over a slightly longer period, effectively giving you a slightly more powerful tool, as well as a small improvement in run time. :)

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  • 1 month later...

Here's the low down, the tools themselves did not change between the regular M12 and M12 Red Lithium battery platforms. The only change was in the batteries. Even after the Red Lithiums came out there was a period when ordering a tool was a crap shoot as to which generation batteries would be included. However, from what I hear the kits with the previous generation batteries have pretty much been phased out. That being said, I would advise that if you plan to order a kit order it from a higher volume dealer like CPO Milwaukee or Ohio Power Tool while with a bare tool you would be just as well off ordering it from anywhere. As far as performance goes you will notice a little extra umph with the Red Lithiums. It's especially noticeable with your more power hungry tools like the M12 Jig saw and Multi-tool. I do not have the M12 impact but everyone I know that does speaks highly of it. When it comes to 12 volts you can't go wrong with Milwaukee. Hope this answers you question.

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As information, I typed it backwards in my review. The Jig saw came with the Red Lithium battery and the Inspection camera came with the regular Lithiums. The jig saw wasn't even released until mid-fall 2011 after the Red Lithiums had been out a bit. I apologize for the error.

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  • 6 months later...

They seriously do that!?! That is bull! I would be ripped at a retailer doing that to me! I love the review of power Conductor. I've now got all red lithiums for my M12 tools including one XC pack 3.0 that is. Absolutely love it. It would be nice to see Bosch come out with one too.

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Absolutely! Is that to say they will have an extended size battery? More Power! I will allow Bosch to redeem my shattered opinion of them if they come out with that extended battery. CHINOS!?!?!? SERIOUSLY BOSCH!!!! CHINOS!?!?!?!? Good God Almighty!!!!!! If Bosch does this, I'll give them their CONDITIONAL Man Card back!!!!!!

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  • 1 month later...

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