Milwaukee is known for creating reliable tools that are built to last. Over the years they have greatly expanded their product lines to bring you the most powerful, fastest, and longest lasting tools on the market. Their M18 FUEL line does just that, but what actually sets it apart from the competition–or their own other models? The Milwaukee FUEL range has a few unique features that distinguish them from their regular brushless tool models, and thanks to Milwaukee’s continued innovation over the years, their M18 FUEL tools are now a necessity on most jobsites.

Brushed vs. Brushless Motors

Milwaukee M18 Brushed Motor

First thing’s first, what are brushed and brushless motors? The general operating principle of brushed and brushless motors is similar, but they generate different outputs. With brushed motors, carbon brushes are used to transfer energy through the motor by sending an electromagnetic force through a commutator in the center of the motor. The electromagnetic force generated by these parts rotates a set of magnets to generate power. Brushless motors, as the name suggests, do not have brushes. They use magnets and copper windings to generate positive and negative polarity changes that are shared by a computerized circuit board. This creates a push-pull effect to generate motion without friction.

M18 POWERSTATE Brushless Motor

Brushless tools are considered “smarter” tools because the tool adjusts according to the task and resistance levels. Say, for example, you are using a brushless drill to drive screws into a softer surface. The tool will sense the lack of resistance and only use the necessary amount of charge for the task. Brushless tools are better overall than brushed motors in terms of performance, energy use, battery life, and safety.

Brushless motors also have fewer parts, leaving less room for malfunctions and repair issues. They offer more power with less heat and require less energy when operating, which saves battery life. Brushless tools also create less vibrations, giving you more control over the tool even at a higher RPM. They do tend to run about 40% more expensive than brushed tools, but you get what you pay for in terms of safety, ease of use, and longevity of the tool.

The main difference between the Milwaukee FUEL line and regular brushless tools is the level of torque and drive power. The FUEL range is considered the best of their brushless power tools. FUEL tools have all the benefits of brushless motor technology paired with the most power possible. Look at it this way: all FUEL tools have brushless motors, but not all of Milwaukee’s brushless motor options have the power that the POWERSTATE brushless motor delivers to the FUEL tools.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL tools have the advanced technology of a brushless motor combined with the POWERSTATE technology, REDLITHIUM batteries, and Redlink PLUS intelligence. The POWERSTATE brushless motor claims to offer 4x more power than competitive models, while still being a more compact and longer lasting option. The FUEL line is contractor-grade and offers better vibration control and water/heat protection so that professional users who use these tools all day long get top-of-the-line performance.

Which Should You Choose?

Milwaukee’s FUEL tools are going to be the latest and greatest you can find in terms of brushless motors. You will really see a big difference in performance with their newer FUEL tools when used with the High Output Batteries if you’re looking for an extra boost in power. If you want a cheaper tool for a minor task or just to have around the house, brushed M18 tools will get the job done, but if you’re a serious tool user working on more high-demand projects, it might be worth it to opt for a brushless or M18 FUEL model. As far as we’re concerned, brushed tools are at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of performance, so we really wouldn’t recommend these for our customers. If you’re on the fence still–just go with the FUEL tools. They’re the direction the entire industry is headed in and they’ll provide the best performance and control for a variety of projects.

Want to learn more about the Milwaukee FUEL and brushless tool options available at Ohio Power Tool? Give us a call at 800-242-4424, email us at, or leave a comment below for assistance. We’re always happy to help! To be the first to know about new products and deals, subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us on social media!