Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer Review

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Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer Model 2416-22XC

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Model number: 2416-22XC
Price: $299
Power source: M12 Batteries
Weight: 3.9 pounds

Rotary Hammer or Hammer Drill? A lot of people use the terms interchangeably but they’re a bit different. Rotary Hammers use electro-pneumatic action to deliver the blows where as a hammer drill uses metal cams. Rotary Hammers are the standard for the construction industry for heavy-duty concrete/masonry drill applications because of their smooth power delivery. The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer is really smooth on the power delivery as well despite being smaller than most Hammer Drills.

Tool is about the size of a man's hand

Tool is about the size of a man’s hand

First Impression

When I first opened the case for the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer I was amazed at how small it was. In fact the very first thing I did was snap a pic on my phone and then sent a text to my dad (a Commercial GC). It’s roughly the size of my hand as you can see in the photo. With the small size comes low weight too, only 3.9 pounds. Compared to a Hilti TE 15 the Milwaukee is less than half the weight.

In Use

The first job I used this tool on was moving an electrical circuit. Electricians do this all the time. A branch circuit mounted to concrete block or plank needs to be moved for a remodel job but the catch is that the power is shutoff. Cordless powered rotary is about the only tool that will get it done unless you run extension cords. I was reusing all the parts from the current circuit but just needed to move some of the boxes so that they end up in the right place in the coming cabinetry. The M12 handled it easily. In fact I was almost disappointed when the task was done because it was so fast. I’m pretty sure the new M12 4.0 Ah packs have black magic inside them. 12V tools have come so far in the last 5 years.

Brushless Motor

The Fuel designation means that this tool is running one of Milwaukee’s new brushless motors. A brushless motor essentially flips the coils and magnets around. Now the magnets are mounted on the shaft and the coils are stationary. Brushes are no longer needed to transfer electricity to the armature. This means that a motor runs more efficient and cooler but requires more brains to do it. It adds more cost but the power gains and longevity of the motor are worth it.

Better Batteries

The Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer comes in two forms, bare tool and kit form. The kit comes with two of the new M12 4.0 Ah batteries. These batteries are the latest iteration of the REDLITHIUM packs and they have almost 3 times the juice that the old 1.5 Ah batteries have. When this is paired with the rotary hammer’s onboard electronics and brushless motor, the runtime is quite extended.

What I love

The weight and power of this tool can’t be beat. Nothing on the market even comes close right now. You would have to step up to 18V but those tools are much heavier. Considering that most holes drilled in concrete are 5/8″ or less, this tool is perfect.

Needs bit storage.

Needs bit storage.

The SDS Plus chuck means there are a ton of available bits too. The batteries and brushless motor are amazing as well. Seriously, it’s like black magic.

What Could Be Better

I have no complaints about the tool. It’s amazing. The case on the other hand could be better. It’s tough and durable but offers no storage for bits. On all my rotary hammers I like to store the bits with the tool. Hilti has always had generous bit storage in their cases and I wish this case did too. Also, Bosch (LBoxx) and Dewalt (Tough System) have stackable case systems now. The Fuel line is just itching for some pro-level stackable cases too.

Who Is This Tool For

Three letters. M-E-P. If you’re a mechanical, electrical or plumbing contractor and you don’t have this tool in your kit, what are you waiting for?

Light weight equals less fatigue when working overhead

Light weight equals less fatigue when working overhead

If you do work of any kind overhead, like above an acoustical ceiling, this thing was made for you. Shoulder injuries from overhead work happen too often now days especially with the aging workforce. Any tool that can reduce even one injury pays for itself in a day. Using a lighter but just as capable tool also raises productivity. A less fatigued worker is a safer and faster worker.

Not just MEP can benefit from this tool though. If you’re pinning concrete forms to the footing down in a hole, hauling an extension cord behind you can be a real pain. It gets hung up on clumps of dirt or vertical rebar coming out of the footing. It is way easier to line up the form on your chalk line with one hand and use this rotary hammer to drill with the other hand. Many larger rotary hammers are tough to handle one handed but this tool feels natural just like holding a drill/driver.

Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer

About the author

Jeff Williams

Contributing Editor Jeff Williams is a carpenter for a commercial General Contractor specializing in concrete, steel, and wood buildings. Jeff comes from a long line of contractors. His parents started a commercial General Contracting firm many years ago and it has afforded him life-long, hands-on learning opportunities from rough and fine carpentry all the way to structural steel and concrete. Jeff has a Construction Management degree and loves the thrill of coordinating and successfully managing large jobs from start to finish. Inspired by the difficulties sometimes encountered to complete punch lists his motto is, "Work hard until the job is done."


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  1. Matt

    Great article Jeff. My only comment is I have one, and can store bits no problem in that big pocket in the bottom. I can keep about 10 bits in there. Otherwise, I echo all of the comments!

    1. Jeff Williams

      That’s where I put them now (and the depth stop slot) but the issue with that is when I get the auxiliary handle and stop that spot is where the handle goes. Not that this tool needs a handle but I use depth stops all the time.

  2. […] like I mentioned in the Milwaukee M12 Fuel Rotary Hammer review, I think Milwaukee needs to come out with a modular case system like Bosch, Dewalt, or Festool […]

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