By Wayne Cormier
I’m a builder/re-modeler with over 35 years experience in the trade. As a contractor it is essential to have the right tools for the job. They help increase productivity and save money on labor cost. If a tool can save me time it takes to do a job I’m all for it. I’ve become sort of a tool guru for all the years of using them and pride myself in having the best.
I recently had the chance to review the Milwaukee M12 FUEL ½” Drill/Driver on my job sites.
Finding The Right Tool
I was in the process of researching the different 12volts on the market to buy for my company. I ‘m very happy with my 18volts but felt it was time to purchase one of the new 12volts. The technology is advancing where the new 12 volts are just as good as the older 18volts if not better. Having a drill that is lighter and smaller has its advantages over the larger drills, especially for finish work and working in confined spaces.
The M12 fuel drill/driver came in a hard plastic case with charger and two batteries, one 2.0Ah and one XC 4.0 battery. Everything fit well in case and was easy to remove. The M12 fuel drill comes with a ½” key-less chuck so l know it will use all my bits. The batteries fit nicely into the charge port and took full charge in about 50 minutes. The batteries slide into the handle of the drill and two tabs on side of battery lock into place. Belt hook comes installed and can be mounted on either side of tool.
Testing The Milwaukee M12 Fuel ½ Inch Drill/Driver
On the Job:
The M12 fuel DRILL first day on the job was a custom kitchen we were installing. We used the drill to pre-drill and install screws for the frames of the cabinets. A lot of screw manufactures recommend drills over impacts to install there specialty screws.
I definitely enjoyed using this drill, so much so that it’s been the only drill that I used for the whole job. I used it for everything from hanging cabinets, installing door hardware, drilling holes for plumbing pipes and installing some 4” screws into a wall we were building.
The M12 fuel is only 2.6 lbs. so roughly half that of the larger M18 drills. This makes a big difference when using a drill all day. The drill also fit nicely into my tool pouch and I didn’t mind hanging the M12 off my belt for long periods. The drill fit beautifully into my hand and has a nice rubber grip. Fit and finish was superb and everything about this drill showed exceptional quality.
Every time you press the trigger the battery indicator comes on located on the top side of the drill, (great idea!) And the LED light below the chuck comes on. The clutch adjusting ring worked very smoothly and set the screws with no effort.
The drill has a low and high speed for the different applications. It handled all the drilling applications we had on the job and was able to handle 2” hole-saws with no problem. Any larger hole-saws I would recommend drills with auxiliary side handles.
Removing batteries was ok, but I felt it should be easier to remove. Everyone on the crew wanted to try the drill so I finally relented and let my son Derek try it. I also let the designer use it to adjust some doors. Both were very happy with the drills performance and size.
- Drill Bits- 2” hole saw, ¾” self-feed bit, ¾” spade bit, # 3 screw tip
- Screws- Twenty two (#12) Stainless steel 2 ½”
- Lumber- 2×6 SYP, 2×3 SYP, 1×8 pine
- l screwed a 2×6 onto the 1×8 pine board using #12 s/s screws.
- Then l drilled 22 holes with the ¾” self-feed bit thru the 2×6 and 1×8 pine board.
- l drilled (8) holes into the 1×8, using the 2” hole-saw. I figured by now the test would be finished, (due to the battery losing power) but half the battery life still remained.
- I then installed a 2×3 on its side and drilled another (12) holes using the ¾” spade bit.
- In the last hole the spade bit made it about ¾ of the way before the drill stopped.
The M12 drill was released from 3 ft. , 6 ft. and 8 ft. onto the concrete floor two times at each height to see how well the drill would hold up to abuse on the job. no visibly injury was observed and the drill still worked as good as new.
this drill is awesome and on par with many 18 volt drills BUT at half the weight! I would like to see Milwaukee improve on the gripping surface where you press to remove the battery.
Bio: Wayne Cormier is a state certified building contractor in Florida. He has 35 years of experience in the design, building, and remodeling of residential and commercial properties.