Interchangeability among power tools and batteries is complicated because you can’t trust the manufacturers to tell you the truth. Every answer they provide is corrupted by their desire to maximize their profits.
However, the guidance your fellow consumers provide is equally sketchy because their anecdotes are unreliable. This makes interchangeability dangerous. If you’re still determined to find interchangeable batteries for your Milwaukee tools, the following will help you:
Which Brands Are Compatible With Milwaukee?
- Ryobi – No
- Dewalt – Sometimes
- Craftsman – No
- Black + Decker – No
- Skil – No
- Ridgid – No
- Hart – No
- Worx – No
- Makita – No
- Bosch – No
- Kobalt – No
As you can see, Milwaukee doesn’t have many compatible brands. In fact, the experts you consult will question Milwaukee’s compatibility with Dewalt.
Why Does Compatibility Matter?
Compatibility matters because it allows consumers to cut costs. For instance, what happens when you buy Ryobi, Dewalt, and Milwaukee tools? Compatibility between these brands would enable you to apply the same battery pack to all three devices.
The same thing will happen if you replace a Dewalt drill with its Milwaukee counterpart. Compatibility between the two brands would enable you to insert the Dewalt battery in the Milwaukee drill.
Unfortunately, that isn’t an option. These days, replacing a Dewalt drill with a Milwaukee tool means buying a Milwaukee battery to go with it, which consumers hate. They routinely complain about the exorbitant costs associated with purchasing a battery for each brand.
This trend benefits manufacturers by allowing them to trap consumers within a particular brand. For instance, any contractor that buys a Milwaukee saw has no choice but to pair it with Milwaukee accessories, which increases the manufacturer’s profits.
What Do Manufacturers Say?
Manufacturers are quite adamant about this issue. They prohibit consumers from interchanging their tools with batteries from a different brand. In fact, doing so will void your warranty. The rationale isn’t difficult to understand.
If Milwaukee created highly compatible tools, they would encourage you to buy batteries from other companies, which would hurt their financial objectives. Therefore, you can’t expect them to recommend compatible batteries from external brands.
You have one exception. You can interchange batteries from within the same brand. For instance, you can successfully insert a Milwaukee cordless drill’s battery into Milwaukee circular saws and impact drivers.
Milwaukee’s M18 batteries can work with multiple Milwaukee M18 tools. You don’t have to limit an M18 battery to a specific Milwaukee tool. This is not unique to Milwaukee. It is common practice for one battery pack to work with several tools within the same product line under the same brand.
This approach allows manufacturers to tackle the complaint mentioned above regarding the high costs associated with using tools from different bands. Brands like Milwaukee want to reduce your expenditure without pushing you into the arms of a rival company.
However, this has limits. For instance, don’t expect every M18 battery to work with every M18 tool. Consult the manufacturer about this issue if you need clarification. Unlike questions about compatibility with other brands, you can trust Milwaukee to answer queries regarding compatibility within their brand.
Keep in mind that Milwaukee’s M18 batteries come in various size categories. CP battery packs (5 Li-ion cells) are newer and more compact. XC packs (10 Li-ion cells) promise an extended capacity. HD battery packs (15 Li-ion cells) offer an impressive runtime.
Which category do you want? Clearly, you can’t pair a Milwaukee M18 battery with any random Milwaukee tool. While interchangeability within the same brand is permissible, it can also lead to disastrous results if you select the wrong battery.
Is Compatibility Dangerous?
Yes, compatibility is dangerous, although many consumers will argue otherwise. You have three primary concerns:
- The manufacturer may void your warranty for using a battery from a different brand in your Milwaukee tools.
- You may damage a power tool by forcefully pairing it with a battery from a different brand when the size, shape, and mounting systems vary. The battery is unlikely to survive.
- You can’t trust the technology in a battery from a different brand to meet a Milwaukee power tool’s requirements. Manufacturers use proprietary technology to create batteries that optimize a particular power tool’s operations. Using those batteries in power tools for which they were not intended may lower the performance.
Many consumers have successfully interchanged battery and power tool brands without causing harm. However, you can’t trust such anecdotes. First of all, you can’t verify their authenticity. Secondly, such experiments may produce positive results in the short term only to saddle you with catastrophic consequences in the long term.
That being said, you can experiment. Find a compatible battery and add it to your Milwaukee tools in a safe environment. Record the results. This only works if you have the money to replace the power tools and batteries if they die in the process. Try to keep the following in mind during your experimentation:
- Make sure the battery can meet the power tool’s voltage requirements.
- The battery chemistry should match. Don’t add nickel-cadmium batteries to devices that use lithium-ion batteries.
- Match the size and shape. There is little point in buying a battery when the size is too large to enter the Milwaukee tool’s slot. Many manufacturers add distinct shapes and sizes to their batteries to prevent compatibility.
- Is the mounting system compatible? Can the battery latch onto the power tool?
Do The Origins Matter?
Not necessarily. Power tool brands keep merging. As a result, many power tools and batteries have the same parent company. However, that doesn’t mean you can interchange them. Milwaukee is a great example.
Their parent company is TTI, the same firm behind Hart, Vax, Ridgid, AEG, and Ryobi, to mention but a few. However, that doesn’t mean you can interchange these brands. First of all, TTI doesn’t necessarily own Ryobi and Ridgid.
Instead, they have licensed the names. Secondly, Hart tools are made in China. They don’t match the quality of Milwaukee’s products. Therefore, thinking that Milwaukee and Hart can work together would be a mistake.
These are just a few of the differences you will see if you scrutinize the many brands TTI owns. You can make an argument for batteries and tools emerging from the same factory. Those products are more likely to work with one another.
Does The Appearance Matter?
Like the origins, the appearance doesn’t necessarily matter. Many people interchange brands because they look alike on the surface. But a thorough investigation eventually reveals significant differences.
For instance, you might be forgiven for thinking that Milwaukee 12V and Bosch are the same, at least in terms of form factor. Aren’t their contacts similar? No, they are not. The design looks the same but the location changes.
Don’t allow superficial similarities to trick you into interchanging the wrong brands. Compare their attributes carefully before making a decision.
What About Adapters? Do They Work?
Yes, adapters work. These devices can bridge the gap between brands. For instance, on its own, a Makita battery won’t work in a Milwaukee power tool. However, adding an adapter to the equation allows a Makita battery to successfully operate a Milwaukee power tool.
Badaptor devices can take things a step further by allowing you to use older batteries with outdated styles and technologies in newer tools or vice versa (using newer battery types in ancient cordless tools). However, the practice has risks:
- Like conventional interchangeability, the use of adapters can void your warranty.
- Tool Rev worries that adapters will disrupt a battery’s communication with the power tool, disabling the electronic protection system, a mechanism that prevents overloading and overheating.
Your biggest concern is the adapter’s quality. The market has too many battery adapters. Most of them haven’t undergone sufficient testing. A low-quality adapter can destroy the battery and power tool.