Milwaukee M12 Toughshell Heated Jacket Kit

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Milwaukee M12 Toughshell Heated Jacket Review – Model 204G-20XL

Milwaukee M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL Jacket Kit

Manufacturer: Milwaukee
Model number: 204G-20XL
Price: $199.00
Power source: M12 Lithium Ion
Working and performing remodeling work in cold weather elements can be very uncomfortable. There is something about having that bone-chilling feeling that makes work miserable. Back in 2010 we published our first article about heated gear from Milwaukee, and still to this day some of the TBB crew still wear the Milwaukee M12 Toughshell Heated Jacket.

Milwaukee Heated Gear products use carbon fiber heating elements to generate and hold heat throughout core body areas, reducing the need for cumbersome layers. With the touch of a button, users of adjustable heat technology can adjust the heat level to suit changing conditions. Let’s take a closer look at the M12 Heated Jacket, Model 204G-20XL


Milwaukee 204G-20XL | Features and Specifications

    • Number of Heated Zones: 3
    • Heated Zone Locations: Back, Chest, and Pockets
    • Number of Pockets: 5
    • Power Type: M12 Lithium Ion
    • Estimated Run Time: 12hrs on low
    • Material: Polyester
    • Closure Style: Zip Up

Milwaukee 204G-20XL | First Impressions

First impressions are important, but I think longevity on a work jacket might be more critical. Our first impression of this M12 Heated Jacket was “man I don’t want to wear this jacket on the job site, it’s too nice.” Upon unboxing the jacket I instantly went to the zipper to check its function. I next checked the stretch of the materials and the seams for the quality of the stitch. While checking out these characteristics I also checked out the location of the battery and how comfortable it would be to wear it. Let’s break down these a little further.

On/Off Button

On the upper left side [outside] of the heated gear is where you’ll find the M12 power button. When looking at the picture above, if you press and hold the left button, which is to the left of the M12 logo, for around 2 seconds you will turn on the front zone and the rear zone. The LEDs will light up when the zones for the front and back are set to high. By hitting the power button, the temperature setting can be changed whenever you want. The temperature settings will cycle through with each press. Press and hold the power button for roughly 2 seconds to turn it off. The LEDs will stop shining. The button on the right [again looking at this picture] turns on the pocket zone.


One of the first things on a jacket to go is the zipper. The zipper does not make the jacket but it certainly can break it. There are a total of 5 zippered pockets and the main zipper, all of which have rugged zippers that operate smoothly. The plastic teeth interlock nicely. Poorly made zippers have teeth that can break, become misaligned, and seize up.

Heated Jacket | Battery Storage

The M12 battery is stored inside the jacket in a battery pass-through pocket.  It can be stored in either the front left pocket or the rear back area pocket. The M12 battery and port are really small so either pocket is comfortable depending on what you are doing. For example, when I was on a ladder leaning forward,  I prefer the battery to the rear part of the pocket. It was out of the way of my hips while leaning forward. But when I drive my truck, I moved it to the front and was able to comfortably sit and nothing digs into my back.


Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket | Performance

At the end of November the temperature is cold in the morning, brisk in the afternoon, and then back to cold during the evening and night.  We’ve been wearing this jacket at the job site,  evenings after work as an everyday jacket, and trying to stay warm as we hang holiday decorations at night. I’ve discovered that I don’t need to put on heavier clothing to warm up. Normally, I would start removing layers of clothing once I got warmer. I noticed that I used the heated jacket’s high heat setting to get warm then lowered it and often shut it off. When temperatures start to drop as we move more and more into winter, heated coats take the place of heavy layers of clothes for sure. While my previous statement about working in cold weather remains true, the M12 204G-20XL Heated Jacket makes it more manageable.

Milwaukee 204G-20XL | Mobility

Milwaukee states that the Toughshell fabric used in their coats has 80% more stretch than regular polyester. The fabric is resistant to wind and water. Furthermore, Milwaukee jackets have what they call Free Flex mobility. The shoulder seams and under-arm gussets are dropped to allow for Free Flex movement, considerably increasing the wearer’s range of motion. Fit and comfort are improved by adjustable cuffs. Additionally, it ran true to size. I often wear an XL in jackets, but this time instead of debating whether to order a larger size to allow for putting it over a long-sleeved or hooded sweatshirt I went with an XL. It was perfect!  The jacket was also long enough, because of the Drop-tail back and an extended waistline, to prevent riding up while working and stayed down when I was reaching or stretching. Thankfully no cold air down the backside for me.

Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket | Kit Components

The Milwaukee M12 Heated jacket comes sold as a kit or with the option to purchase just the bare jacket. The following are the M12 heated Jacket Kit components.

Milwaukee 204G-20XL | Heated Zones & Settings

This Milwaukee M12 Heated Jacket comes with 3 heated zones to keep you nice and warm. The zones are located on the chest, the back, and inside the pockets. There is also the one-touch LED indicator for low, medium, and high settings.

The thermal insulating lining and the outside materials are woven together to form the heating elements, which are made of carbon-fiber heating elements. Such a design eliminates the need for thicker layers by allowing the heating elements to produce and maintain heat.

Colors and Sizes Available

The Milwaukee M12 Toughshell jacket comes in several colors and sizes:

  • Model 204B – Black
  • Model 204G – Grey
  • Model 204R – Red
  • Model 204BL – Blue

Additionally, there are several sizes available for all colors. Size starts at Small and works up to Triple X [xxxl].

M12 204G-20XL | Room For Improvement

The only improvement we’d like to see be made would be dividing the front and rear pocket. Having the battery and charger moving around from front to back can be annoying. Having the pockets divided with the ability to let the cord through to either side would be nice and eliminate the incidental movement from back to front when bending over.

Charging Options | USB Port

The Milwaukee Heated Jacket uses the M12 Compact Charger and Power Source with the M12 battery to power the jacket. This power source can also power a USB cord to charge your personal devices.

Another nice feature is you can plug the battery and power source in and charge directly with the provided USB cord and USB block. This is a great option when you are driving in your warm vehicle and want to top the battery off or if you are not on the M12 platform and do not have an M12 charger. This eliminates the need to purchase another charger.

Milwaukee 204G-20XL |Overall Impression

From zipper to mobility to flex material, this jacket is designed with longevity in mind and the product team at Milwaukee continues to turn out quality heated work wear. This jacket is perfect for wearing on the job site but is also classy enough to wear as an everyday jacket. Full disclosure, I am not really a jacket person but I think that is going to change. I am ditching the extra hoody on cold days and just wearing this M12 Heated Jacket. We will say that if you are an outdoors person during the cold weather months then the M12 Heated Jacket is a must!

Milwaukee M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL Jacket Kit


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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

@scottarnold34Scott Arnold

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