Milwaukee Power Tools Australia.

Milwaukee Tools

America’s Most Popular Cordless Power Tool Brand

Milwaukee Power Tools

For nearly 100 years, Milwaukee Tools has been at the forefront of power tool innovation, design, and creativity.

Working alongside industry pros, the brand has developed high-end units that focus on the needs of real trade users — combining traditional methods with unique technological solutions.

Its electrical power tools can withstand hardcore use, while delivering accurate and effortless user operation — whether in the building, carpentry, electrical, or plumbing spheres.

However, behind the undoubted reputation of excellence, there lurks a background of overwhelming ambition, tragedy, and a perhaps blurred approach to the truth.

This complete guide to Milwaukee Tool reveals the real facts behind the premium image — detailing the actual quality and performance of its products, while exposing the real story behind the brand’s origins.

Milwaukee Tools Drill Driver Australia.

Milwaukee’s History

An automotive legend, a drill, a fire, and a slice of opportunism — the ingredients that make the Milwaukee story.

Henry Ford and National Cash Register

In 1918, car manufacturing maestro Henry Ford needed an improved drill for his Model T production. Increasingly frustrated by the industry standard, two-handed, hefty, and time-consuming quarter-inch machine — he offered significant rewards to any fabricator, engineer, or inventor who could solve the issue.

A.H. Petersen — a young, eager, and ambitious manufacturer — presented the motor vehicle guru with his new creation, the five-pound Hole Shooter drill. Lightweight and with novel one-handed operation, this machine could handle the brawn required to deal with automotive work. Henry Ford made Petersen a rich man.

Yet, while A.H. Petersen was bathing in his newly earned wealth, the Ohio-born Albert F. Siebert was looking for a new opportunity.

Increasingly disappointed by his salesman position at National Cash Register — one can only assume when you’ve seen one cash register, you’ve seen them all — he applied for a position with the newly formed A. H. Petersen Manufacturing Company.

Impressed by Siebert’s enthusiasm, Petersen offered him immediate employment as the company’s sales manager — tasked with expanding the market for the unique Hole Shooter drill.

For two years, these two young upstarts worked side by side. With sales booming, life was amazing — they thought nothing could go wrong.

Of course, it soon turned into an unmitigated disaster.

Milwaukee Tools Reciprocating Saw.

Fire and Opportunity

In 1923, the A. H. Petersen Manufacturing Company’s factory burned to the ground.

Arson? Electrical fault? Or employee negligence?

The mystery remains unsolved. But, what is known is that lacking sufficient insurance — and, for that matter, without a premises to produce anything — the company entered bankruptcy.

Petersen, downhearted, beaten, and emotionally destroyed by seeing his beloved company close — declared himself out of the drill manufacturing game.

Siebert, however, wasn’t a man to give up as easily.

Seizing the opportunity, he purchased the company’s remaining — i.e. those not reduced to ashes — assets. Resolving to continue the production of the Hole Shooter, Siebert founded the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company in 1924.

Expansion and Innovation

For its first few infant years, the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company continued the production and sale of the Hole Shooter, while branching into the repair and restoration of third-party tools.

However, Siebert was a man with ambition and wasn’t going to simply keep this status quo.

While repairing other manufacturers’ tools — he tasked his engineers to detail how the units worked, what components they used, and how they could be improved. Furthermore, his sales reps — visiting a multitude of factories every day to push the Hole Shooter drill — asked labourers and managers about the type of power tools they required, and what was missing or under-utilised in the machinery arena.

Drawing on all this information, the Milwaukee Electric Tool Company rapidly expanded its power tool catalogue — delivering innovative products the market demanded and functioning more efficiently than their competitors.

Over the following years, its remarkable innovation included:

  • World’s first 0.5-inch right-angle drill (1949).
  • The exceptional Sawzall Recip Saw (1951) — still retailed today.
  • World’s first joist and stud drill, the Hole Hawg (1970).
  • First tool manufacturer to use lithium cells in cordless products (2005).
  • Ice-Hardened (2008) — cryogenics to increase part durability.

Milwaukee Today

In 2005, Milwaukee was sold to the Hong-Kong based Techtronic Industries Company Limited (TTI) — although much of its management remains within the United States.

Renowned for its durable and professional-grade tools, Milwaukee Electric Tool employs 5.5k employees, and boasts an annual turnover of around $8 billion (2021).

Milwaukee Tools Impact Driver.

Who Makes Milwaukee Power Tools?

Milwaukee is as all-American as apple pie — assuming the apples come from Berlin, the pastry from Shenzhen, and the sugar from Chippewa Falls.

To be fair in some ways, it could be considered a US company. It was founded by guys from Ohio and Wisconsin, its headquarters are in Brookfield, WI, has factories in Olive Branch, Greenwood, and Jackson, and remains America’s largest supplier of cordless power tools.

But when it comes to actual manufacturing, it’s a total potpourri.

Production is spread across Europe, China, and indeed, the United States. While there’s a strong element of crossover, generally speaking:

  • Sawzall, Hole Dozer, Step-drill bits, and bi-metal saws are made in the USA.
  • Most cordless tools, batteries, chargers, and Bluetooth tech are manufactured in China.
  • Corded hammer drills and some components are made in Germany.

Furthermore, Milwaukee tools may contain parts from other brands.

A few inquisitive — some would say obsessed — tool fanatics have disassembled Milwaukee tools and found they share some common components from Rigid, Ryobi, and Dirt Devil brands. This isn’t surprising, considering the owners of Milwaukee Electric Tool — the TTI Group — also own these companies.

Milwaukee Tools Planer.

Quality of Milwaukee Tool Products

Despite their hybrid manufacture, Milwaukee’s power tools are considered by both trade professionals and prosumers to be reassuringly high-grade.

Built to withstand hardcore use, the brand works with trade professionals to fully comprehend the issues faced by users and the stresses and strains placed on the power tools in on-site conditions.

Insisting on utilising only premium-grade components and materials, the brand follows extensive quality control alongside both in-house and field testing — ensuring that their machines not only provide a rewarding and time-efficient user experience, but also stand up to the rigours of pro application.

Backed by an experienced and knowledgeable customer service team and promising a vast catalogue of replacement components — you have the peace of mind knowing your power tool promises reassuring longevity.

Milwaukee Electric Tool Warranty

As the brand’s tools are carefully engineered and manufactured with durable components, Milwaukee provides generous warranties reflecting the robustness of their machines.

However, always read the small print.

Not only are there important exclusions that may void the guarantee, but also geographical anomalies — with the length and protection provided by the warranty varying from country to country.

The following detail refers only to Milwaukee power tools Australia — if you reside elsewhere in the world, check with your local Milwaukee supplier or on the official website.

Three Months

  • Cutting blades.
  • Hole saw blades.
  • Concrete drilling bits.
  • Chucks.
  • Brushes and O-rings.
  • Bearings and seals.

One Year

  • Testing and measuring equipment.
  • Bluetooth speakers and radios.

Two Years

  • Lithium-ion cells.
  • Battery chargers.
  • Red lithium laser levels.
  • Max Fuel tools.
  • Max Fuel chargers and batteries.

Three Years

  • Mains cord power tools.
  • Cordless garden tools.
  • Heat guns.
  • Compressors.
  • Impact wrenches.
  • Nail guns.
  • M12 laser levels.

Five Years

  • Cordless lithium-ion tools.
  • Vacuums (some are three years, check your particular model).

There are some crucial exceptions, so don’t run the risk of voiding your warranty by ignoring the following exclusions. You’re not covered if:

  • Repairs are made by persons other than Milwaukee, Techtronic Industries Australia Pty Ltd (TTI), or an authorised service centre.
  • Fault or damage arises from a reason other than normal wear and tear.
  • The tool isn’t used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • The machine is subject to abuse, neglect, or accidentally damaged.
  • The tool has been modified.
  • Damage occurs due to rust, water ingress, or fire.

For a more detailed breakdown of what is, and what’s not, covered — check out the full Australia Milwaukee warranty. If you need to make a claim, contact the support line.

Milwaukkee Multi Tool.

Milwaukee Power Tool Range

Although Milwaukee’s formative years were characterised by the manufacture and retail of a single product — the five-pound Hole Shooter — the brand now boasts a catalogue of more than 500 tools and 3000 accessories.

While by no means exhaustive, its Australian range features:

Power Tools

  • Drills — drivers, hammer, rotary, magnetic, and right-angle.
  • Fastening — impacts, screwdrivers, riveters, nailers, and staplers.
  • Saws — circular, jigs, reciprocators, mitres, chop, and table.
  • Planers and sanders.
  • Angle, die-grinders and shears.
  • Cleaning — vacuums, blowers, and dust extractors.

Plumbing Specialist

  • Pipe inspectors.
  • Pipe threaders.
  • Press tools.
  • Drain cleaners.
  • Water pumps.

Electrical Specialist

  • Crimpers.
  • Hydraulic pumps.
  • Wire cutters.
  • Cable feeders.

Measuring and Testing

  • Distance measuring tools.
  • Volt detectors.
  • Heat testing tools.
  • Inspection cameras.
  • Lasers.

Accessories and Sundries

  • Lighting — torches, headlamps, work lamps, and workshop.
  • Entertainment — radios and speakers.
  • Batteries and chargers.
  • Spare parts and components.
  • Clothing.
  • Belts, backpacks, and harnesses.
Milwaukee Batteries Australia.

Milwaukee Battery Types and Sizes

With just two Milwaukee battery formats — the M12 and M18 — using and purchasing the correct cell format seems initially straightforward.

But naturally, nothing is ever that simple.

Milwaukee M18 vs Milwaukee M12

First, the easy part.

Small, compact and subcompact tools use the M12 battery — with a 12-volt output, they drive over 100 different machines, such as wrenches, drill drivers, work lamps and ratchets.

The Milwaukee M18 format powers in excess of 300 machines — its 18 volts of brawn driving more powerful equipment, including hammer drills, circular saws, and angle grinders.

These two formats are not interchangeable — M12 cells will only work with M12 tools, and M18 batteries only function with M18 machines.

Now for the fun part.

Redlithium CP, XC, and HO

In addition to Milwaukee batteries being emblazoned with either M12 or M18 — they also include the word Redlithium, a two-character abbreviation (or sometimes full words), and a number.

Don’t worry about the Redlithium part. This is Milwaukee’s trademarked system that promises a lighter weight, more running time, and increased protection against water ingress when compared to traditional NiCd batteries.

The two capital letters denote the application type for the battery:

  • CP — Compact, for light projects.
  • XC — Extended Capacity, for medium-intensity jobs.
  • HO — High Output, for lengthy, energy-demanding projects.

These abbreviations are followed by two digits that indicate the Ah (amp-hour) rating.

Hence, you can purchase both M12 and M18 cells as:

  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM CP 1.5 — 1.5 amp hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM CP 2.0 — 2 amp-hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM CP 3.0 — 3 amp-hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM XC 4.0 — 4 amp-hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM XC 5.0 — 5 amp-hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM XC 6.0 — 6 amp-hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM XC 8.0 — 8 amp-hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM HO 9.0 — 9 amp-hours.
  • Milwaukee REDLITHIUM HO 12.0 — 12 amp-hours.

Whether you opt for an HO 12.0 or CP 1.5 battery, as long as they are prefixed by M12 — they will work with any M12 model. The same applies to cells with the M18 moniker.

Milwaukee Electric Tools Website

Catering to professionals and prosumers worldwide, Milwaukee Electric Tool has a plethora of geographically focused websites — including specific URL addresses for the USA, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, the UK, and 18 different European countries.

Here in Australia, the website address is

Always ensure you head to the Australian site — well, assuming you live in Australia — as this carries all the region’s available products, together with an area-focused warranty, service centre, and authorised dealer information.

Site navigation is straightforward, with drop-downs and sub-menus leading to your product(s) of interest. In addition to tool type, there are also project categories — such as electrical, carpentry, concrete, and plumbing.

The Downsides of Milwaukee Electric Tool’s Products

Praised by prosumers, professional users, and industry experts for their longevity, durability, and ease of use — pleasingly, there are few downsides to Milwaukee’s products.

Perhaps the only criticism that repeatedly occurs in online forums and trade reviews is Milwaukee’s somewhat cloudy approach to origin, background, and identity.

There’s a heavy emphasis in the company’s marketing blurb about the brand being named after a Wisconsin city, founded by Americans, and having its head office in Brookfield, USA — hinting towards the tools being all-American products.

Which isn’t exactly true.

With worldwide manufacturing facilities, including in China, the heritage of your power tools is never certain. And, for some consumers, the distance components may have traversed across the globe might raise carbon footprint concerns.

That said, by taking advantage of international efficiencies and labour costs — this globalisation allows Milwaukee to provide seriously high-end machines at a relatively affordable price for their premium units.

Right Angle Drill Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Electric Tool Conclusion

Renowned for durability and relentless commitment to innovation — Milwaukee Power Tools are the choice of the serious prosumer and dedicated trade user.

With a specialised team of in-house designers and working directly with in-the-field professional contractors — it delivers impressive machines that confer intuitive operation combined with on-site robustness.

Providing lengthy warranties, an industry-leading customer service team, and a vast catalogue of spare parts — its high-end units address every sphere from plumbing and electrical through to construction and measuring.

Sure, its lithium-cell line-up is slightly overcomplicated, and the feature-dense machines may be challenging for the inexperienced operative.

However, for reliable, trade-grade units with a hint of Americana — I suggest checking out the Milwaukee Tools range.

Milwaukee Circular Saw.

Milwaukee Electric Tool FAQs

What Is Milwaukee REDLINK?

This is a trademarked system developed by Milwaukee that provides seamless communication between the cell, charger, and power tool. Using smart technology, it’s designed to elongate battery life and enhance machine performance, by preventing overdischarge, overheating, and overloading.

What Is Milwaukee FUEL?

The FUEL moniker indicates that a power tool features three premium Milwaukee product features:

  • REDLITHIUM cells — more efficient and durable than standard NiCd batteries.
  • REDLINK tech — boosting battery life and performance.
  • POWERSTATE — the machine houses a brushless motor.

Where Can I Buy Milwaukee Tools in Australia?

You can purchase Milwaukee power tools from a plethora of sites online. You can also obtain these high-end units from authorised dealers — which ensures that your warranty is valid.

Are Milwaukee Tools Any Good?

Yes! Extensive in-house and on-site testing combined with innovation and an insistence on high-quality components mean that Milwaukee power tools deliver reliability and durability.

Where Are Milwaukee Electric Tools Made?

Production of Milwaukee’s corded and cordless tools is spread across manufacturing facilities in Germany, China, and the USA.

What Are Milwaukee Tools Best Known For?

Undoubtedly, Milwaukee Electric Tool is most renowned for its famous Sawzall — the world’s most famous reciprocating saw. First hitting the market in 1951, the name has become a generic trademark for all recip saws.

Who Should Buy Milwaukee Power Tools?

Robust, brawny, and technologically advanced, Milwaukee units are ideal for the craftsperson, trade professional, and serious DIYer.

What Are the Milwaukee Battery Types and Sizes?

Milwaukee tools use two lithium battery sizes — the M12 (12-volt) and M18 (18-volt). These two categories are further broken down into CP, XC, and HO — which denote the suitability of the battery for light, medium, and hard intensity use.


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