M12 Fuel Orbital Detail Sander Review

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M12 FUEL Orbital Detail Sander Model – 2531-20

M12 Fuel Orbital Detail Sander

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Model number: 2531-20
Price: $149.00
Power source: 12v Lithium Ion
Weight: 1.35 Lbs
Gone are the days of having to use the oscillating multi-tool with a sanding attachment to get into those tight-to-fit areas! Milwaukee tool has designed a new M12 Fuel Orbital Detail Sander and we are super excited to share this review with you!

The Milwaukee M12 line has over 100 solutions and still growing as we speak! They also have come out with new High Output batteries which we will cover in a review on the site shortly!

M12 FUEL Orbital Detail Sander |New to the World

The M12 Fuel Orbital Detail Sander is “new to the world! These are the first ones of their kind on the market! We recently got to use this sander at Milwaukee’s Pipeline media event! A media event that unveiled several woodworking tools, hand tools, lighting solutions and new updated high output batteries. Our first impressions of this sander at the show was “finally the answer to manual hand sanding is here!” Thinking the “mesh pad looks like a home plate in baseball, this sander could be the home run we have been waiting for!”

M12 Orbital Sander

This sander is not designed to replace your larger sanders, it’s designed to complement them. This sander is perfect for precision sanding details! Applications like sanding stain-grade finished materials, minor surface sanding, contoured edges like stair bull nose, mitered casing joints, and also corner knockdowns!

M12 FUEL Orbital Detail Sander | Specifications

•LED Work Light
•Variable Speed Trigger
•Lock-On Button
•4-Mode Speed Select
•14,000 Max RPM
•Bare Tool Weight: 1.35lbs

Sands 2X Faster

According to Milwaukee, this Orbital Detail Sander provides the power to remove material up to 2x faster than traditional hand sanding solutions. Its orbital sanding motion avoids scratches and gouges at a precise removal rate. The ergonomic design allows for more access to tight corners and contours, for more precise sanding.

M12 Orbital Sander | Lightweight & Maneuverability

Weighing in at 1.3lbs bare tool this sander is a featherweight! The vibration is minimal which will reduce fatigue and the awful feeling you get in your hands after using a sander for a long time. This tool is very compact and it’s fits into my tool pouch nicely when doing detailed trim work where there is sanding required.

Using the M12 Detail Sander

We have been using the M12 Detail Sander on several projects on the job site as well as in the shop making custom signs. Here is how we have put it through the paces over the couple months.

Window Trim

Window trim off just a small faction can be noticeable. The old saying ” Do your best and caulk the rest” shouldn’t apply to finish carpentry. The M12 Detail sander is perfect for knocking down the small imperfections of window and door trim after installation.

Detail Sanding – Entertainment Center Top

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While driving home one day, I noticed an entertainment center on my road that an elderly neighbor was throwing away. I thought this would be a cool project to fix up and stain the top to match a recent stained mudroom bench and custom washer and dryer top. Using the M12 Detail Sander on the sides and an random orbital sander on the top, the old paint and whatever else that was sticky on the top was removed.

Custom Sign Making

My wife runs a small custom sign making business and I am always in the shop sanding pine wood for her. This detail sander is perfect for knocking down the edges of the pine.

Speed Settings

The M12 Orbital Detail Sander features a variable speed trigger and four different speed modes allowing for more precision sanding. Speed modes offer ultimate control when working across a wide variety of materials. The detailing sander’s variable-speed trigger has a lock-on button or simple push and hold while operating it. The M12 Orbital Detail Sander also has a super bright LED Work Light but unless you are working in the dark, it does not really provide much benefit.

  • Speed 1 – 4000 –  8,000
  • Speed 2 – 4000 – 10,000
  • Speed 3 – 4000 – 12,000
  • Speed 4 – 4000 – 14,000

Milwaukee | Mesh Sanding Sheets

Additionally, Milwaukee offers its brand-new mesh sanding sheets, which are made specifically for use with the M12 FUEL orbital detail sander.  These sheets are coated with strong cutting grains and according to Milwaukee’s Product Managers, they last up to 12 times longer than regular sandpaper. Standard sandpaper tends to clog easily, but Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheets’ open weave design enables users to shake, vacuum, blow, or rinse them clean to avoid material buildup for repeated use and longer life.

M12 Detail Sander SheetsAvailable in 7 Grit Types:

  • 80 Grit Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheet 12pk + Pad Saver
  • 120 Grit Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheet 12pk + Pad Saver
  • 150 Grit Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheet 12pk + Pad Saver
  • 180 Grit Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheet 12pk + Pad Saver
  • 220 Grit Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheet 12pk + Pad Saver
  • 320 Grit Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheet 12pk + Pad Saver
  • 400 Grit Milwaukee Mesh Sanding Sheet 12pk + Pad Saver



As remodeling contractors, we always need sanding. Sanding may not be in our daily repertoire but it’s a common task. As mentioned before this Milwaukee M12 Orbital Detail Sander will not replace your larger sander, however, it will replace the sandpaper that you always reach for when you want to knock that edge down or feel that small uneven patch on the stair tread you just installed! If you are on the M12 platform, this is an absolute no-brainer, but if you’re not it’s something that we HIGHLY recommend looking at!

M12 Fuel Orbital Detail Sander

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About the author

Scott Arnold

Contributing Editor Scott Arnold is the owner of Scott Arnold Remodeling LLC out of Waltham MA. Custom decks, fireplace makeovers, kitchens and bathrooms, Scott enjoys the frame to finish concept. Scott will share his perspective on tools as carpenter and remodeler here and on AConcordCarpenter.com

@scottarnold34Scott Arnold

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1 Comment

  1. Tom

    Best tool I own for maintaining the finish on yachts. I wish it had been around when i started 52 years ago. It works perfectly.

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