Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuums
M18 FUEL 6-9-12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuums
Milwaukee is expanding its cordless vacuum options with an M18 FUEL 6-gallon single-battery, 9-gallon dual-battery, and 12-gallon dual-battery wet/dry vacuums. The Tool Box Buzz crew was invited to the unveiling of these new Milwaukee wet/dry vacuums, and we got a chance to try them out, sucking up and cleaning on different materials and debris. Also pictured below are Milwaukee’s new line of Air-Tip universal wet/dry vacuum accessories. We also had a chance to try them out and the preview article can be found here.
What impressed me the most is that they improved on common pain points and frustrations centered around vacuums and vacuum accessory durability issues, and produced their version of an easier-to-use, trade-focused solution. Improvements were made to the hoses, connections, latches, and wheels – all common areas vacuum failure areas.
Milwaukee claims that these cordless vacuums can compete and outperform 3.5 to 4.25 Peak HP corded wet/dry vacuums. I can’t speak to that, but I did use the vacuum on several materials and was impressed with the upgrades and suction power.
Testing The Milwaukee Wet/Dry Vacuums
The first test I did was vacuum up sand, a lot of sand, and it worked great. I then plunged the hose to the bottom of the sand bucket and sucked sand until I was finally able to clog the hose. To be clear, I would never do this to a vacuum in the field, I know better. But as a tool reviewer, I was curious to see how powerful this vac was. In a job site environment, I would modulate the nozzle while listening to the vacuum suction and the motor does not go hog-wild into a sand pile as I did.
After the sand test, I did the same thing with sawdust and pink fiberglass insulation with no issues. The last test was on 1-1/4” drywall screws. The vacuum WILL suck up the screws, but you do need to hold the nozzle on the floor to create a suction seal. None of my corded vacuums work this well.
The vacuums have interchangeable vacuum tanks, motorheads, and carts. A user can easily exchange motorheads for more powerful suction, or to larger or smaller tanks to vary holding capacities. The carts, cartridge filters, accessories, and of course the M18 batteries are compatible and interchangeable.
All three vacuums have a top handle that is well contracted and folds flat when not in use.
Runtime and Battery Usage
These vacuums all have a low and high-power switch located on the front of the motorhead. Of course, using the vacuum on low power mode will increase runtime, but who really does that? I don’t – I’m a foot-to-the-floor and-go kind of guy.
Both the 9 and12 gallon dual-battery vacuums require and draw from the simultaneous use of two M18 High Output batteries.
The 9 -12 gallon dual-battery vacuums, on max power mode, both deliver up to 34 minutes of continuous cleaning time (up to 1,600 ft²) and up to 49 minutes (up to 1,800 ft²) on low power mode. What I found even more interesting than runtime minutes was how much material they actually collected/picked up on a battery charge.
- 6-gallon: 170 lbs. of debris per charge [tested with 12 Ah battery]
- 9-gallon: 190 lbs. of debris
- 12-gallon: 210 lbs. of debris
To get these numbers Milwaukee defined the materials vacuumed as “light-debris” and classified it as some drywall dust, sawdust, and auger-bit wood shavings. Either way, you look at it, that’s a lot of capacity – not to mention it comes out to 8-14 tank changes. [depending on the tank size]
Corded Powerhead Vacuum
Milwaukee has plans to release an AC corded powerhead to cover users wanting to plug in.
Milwaukee Wet/Dry Vacuum Offerings
There are three vacuums with 4 options on this tool release, they are:
- 6-gallon vacuum comes as a bare tool
- 9-gallon vacuum comes as a bare tool
- 9-gallon vacuum with  8 Ah high-output batteries and a dual bay rapid charger
- 12-gallon comes with  12Ah high-output batteries and a dual bay rapid charger
Milwaukee Wet/Dry Vacuum Carts | Two Options
Both vacuum carts are compatible with all three vacuums. I found both carts to move and roll easily.
The back of both carts features four different storage spaces for vacuum accessories. These vacuum accessory storage spaces fit 1-7/8″ and 2-1/2″ Milwaukee Accessories and AIR-TIP Trade Focused Vacuum Accessories. [We’ll talk more on the air-Tip stuff in our next video.]
The foot pedal on the front of the cart allows for the easy tank and vacuum removal, saving time and hassle when emptying the tank.
The standard cart has four independently swiveling and locking reinforced casters. The premium vacuum cart has two independently swiveling and locking reinforced casters in the front and two large wheels on the back and is easy to move around. Additionally, it has a 3-position adjustable push handle to comfortably move the vacuum around the job site.
Hose and Adapter
The standard 9-foot hose has a two-part reinforced design and is super durable and twist locks in place. It is crush, tear, and twist-resistant, and has been built with anti-static material, a plus with fine dust. A 16-foot accessory hose is also available.
I messed around with the hose by pulling and pushing the vacuum with someone sitting on it – and was impressed with how strong it was, and how well it retains its shape and flexibility.
The vacuum comes with two extension wands, a crevice tool, a floor utility nozzle, a 9-foot hose, and a high-efficiency filter.
A hose adapter kit [sold separately] is also available and has three-step adapters allowing you to connect different diameter vacuum hoses and accessories. Each adapter is marked with the diameters it connects between directly on the tool for easy identification. The kit includes three pieces:
- 2-1/2″ to 1-7/8″ Accessory Adapter,
- 2-1/2″ to 2-1/2″-1-7/8″ Hose Adapter
- 1-7/8″ to 1-7/8″ Hose Adapter
Drain Plug | Drain Plug Accessory
The vacuum has a 2-inch drain plug at the bottom of the tank. Milwaukee also offers a drain plug accessory that has two options with a drain cap that allows for draining the tank.
The large drain cap is compatible with our 6, 9, and 12 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuums. The smaller cap can be removed to attach a water hose. It also allows for a smaller diameter drain, making debris disposal less messy, helping avoid splashing.
Filter and Bag Accessories
The cartridge filters on these vacuums are easily secure and removed with a quarter-turn design, which is way easier and less messy than the flexible rubber attachments or the screw and nylon t-nut attachments. [that nut always gets lost]
The HEPA filter captures 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 microns such as concrete dust, sawdust, and drywall dust. This filter is dry cleanable and washable with water.
The high-efficiency filter captures 99% of all particles greater than 0.5 microns for fine dust collection, ensuring dust and microparticle collection of debris such as sawdust, drywall dust, and wood/metal shavings. This filter is also dry cleanable and washable with water when necessary.
Foam Wet Filter
The foam wet filter allows water through but deflects and stops debris from getting into the motor, protecting the motor from debris, and increasing the tool life. This filter is also washable.
The fleece bags come in 3 sizes to fit the vacuums and can be used in conjunction with any of the dry cartridge filters. The fleece bags have a 98.5% filter efficiency, act as a pre-filter to prolong filter life, and are easy to dispose of with the pull tab to prevent dust from escaping. The fleece bags will be sold in pairs of 5 for:
- $30 for a 6-gallon vacuum
- $35 for a 9-gallon vacuum
- $40 for a 12-gallon vacuum
Objective Data vs. Table 1 Compliance
The vacuums are compliant with the OSHA silica regulation, via objective data, not table 1. Milwaukee will be providing documentation in the coming months. If you’re interested in this, I suggest you reference OSHA’s website to be safe. 1926.1153 – Respirable crystalline silica. | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov) You can see in 1926.1153(b) where it describes objective data.
Milwaukee Wet/Dry Vacuum and Accessories | Prices
I found the first offering of vacuums to be competitively priced. Milwaukee also has a slew of nozzle and brush accessories, that I’ll list in the Tool Box Buzz article. Below is a list of prices on the item I discussed:
Milwaukee Wet/Dry Vacuum
- 6-gallon vacuum – $249.00
- 9-gallon vacuum – $299.00
- 9-gallon vacuum kitted – $699.00
- 2-gallon vacuum kitted – $799.00
Milwaukee Wet/Dry Vacuum Tanks
- 6 Gallon wet/dry tank – $79.00
- 9 Gallon wet/dry tank – $89.00
- 12 Gallon wet/dry tank – $99.00
Milwaukee Wet/Dry Vacuum Carts
- Standard vacuum Cart – $79.00
- Premium Cart- $149.00
Milwaukee We/Dry Vacuum Motorheads
- Vacuum Motor Heads 6-gallon $189.00, and the 9 and 12-gallon heads are $199.00
Milwaukee Wet/Dry Filter and Fleece Bags
- HEPA Filter – $30.00
- Fleece bags – $30.00
Overall, I’m super impressed with the new vacuums and am looking forward to using them on our job sites. So, before I get inundated with questions, let’s address what these vacuums are missing because I’m sure you’ll comment on this.
This vacuum launch is focusing on improving wet/dry vacuums, not dust extractors. So yes, there is no BlueTooth power-on option, no self-cleaning filter mechanism, no powered tool outlet no Packout integration, and no charging option. All the things that I too love in a dust extractor, but don’t really need in a wet/dry vacuum.
The vacuums do have lanyard-like lash attachments for an accessory bag. I can see Milwaukee making a Packout attachment to this allowing us to stack Packout on top of the vacuum. Time will tell! At a minimum, they need Bluetooth power on/off the option to keep with the whole cordless theme.
Well, rest assured that Milwaukee IS working on some of these as we speak. My guess is that many of these wish list items will significantly increase the cost of these units and may not make it to production – in time we’ll see.
One thing we know about Milwaukee is that they’re already listening to our comments, watching how we use the vacuums and planning their next step, and forward-thinking designs.
In the next video, I’ll cover the AirTip vacuum accessories that Milwaukee launched with the vacuums.
Milwaukee M18 Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuums Video
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