Milwaukee M12 Heated AXIS Vest

Milwaukee M12 Heated AXIS Vest 203B-20 Review

I’ve personally never been a vest guy­­– I just never liked the way they look on me. Recently, my wife bought me a flannel shirt along with a complementing vest, and told me to wear the vest! Unable to find a way out of this, I tried out the vest. To my surprise, I actually liked it– namely because it kept my core warm without the excess layers, allowing me to move more freely. So here I am – reviewing the Milwaukee M12 Heated AXIS Vest.

Milwaukee Heated Gear

This year marked Milwaukee’s ninth season of heated gear– and they continue to add new Heated Gear products to their collection. Milwaukee’s newest additions to the Heated Gear line are the M12 Heated AXIS Jackets and Vests. Having a newfound appreciation for vests, I decided I was ready to test the Milwaukee M12 Heated AXIS Vest.

Upgraded Heating

While I focused my review on the AXIS vest, it’s important to note that allof Milwaukee’s heated gear has been upgraded with faster heating technology and garment improvements. They achieved this through upgraded firmware and electronics.

Benefits of a Vest

When choosing layers for outdoor work in colder temperatures, people often overlook the benefits of a vest. A vest can take the place of heavy jackets, without sacrificing warmth, while still offering increased limb range of motion.

Heating the Body’s Core

Vests provide more warmth than most people realize, and even help keep your extremities warm. The human body’s core temperature is 98.6° (37° C), and the skin’s temperature is around 92° F (33° C). When your core temperature starts to drop, the body reduces blood flow to your extremities, increasing blood flow to the core in attempt to protect your organs. By keeping your core insulated and warm, blood flow remains constant to your extremities– keeping them warmer.

Heating Elements

The Axis vest and jacket distribute heat across the body’s core areas. The heating elements are constructed from carbon-fiber heating elements that are woven in between the exterior materials and thermal insulating liner. Such construction allows the heating elements to generate and maintain heat, reducing the need for bulkier layers.

Three heat settings (high, medium, low) allow the user to select the desired temperature for varying weather conditions. The “high” setting produces a red glowing logo, “medium” a White glowing logo and “low” a blue colored logo.

Heating Runtime

On previous M12 versions, the heat-up time was 8 minutes. These new versions cut that heat time down to 2.5 minutes! Also new this year: all jackets ship with the NEW M12™ Compact Charger and Power Source (aka travel charger)

M12 Heated Toughshell Jackets (packaged with 2.0ah battery)

  • 8 hours low
  • 5 hours medium
  • 3 hours high

M12 Heated Hoodies (packaged with 1.5ah battery)

  • 6 hours low
  • 3.5 hours medium
  • 2 hours high

M12 Heated AXIS Jackets (packaged with 2.0 battery)

  • 8 hours low
  • 5 hours medium
  • 3 hours high

M12 Heated AXIS Vests (packaged with 1.5 battery)

  • 6 hours low
  • 3.5 hours medium
  • 2 hours high

Clothing Construction

The AXIS line uses a Ripstop Polyester, which provides a lightweight, compressible design that can be used as an outer shell or a mid-layer. It also provides protection the from wind and rain.

Note – All M12™ Heated Jackets, Hoodies and Hand Warmers are fully machine washable and dryable for extended use.

Quick Heat Function

Powered by M12 Battery, a new Quick-Heat function allows users to feel the heat 3X faster, distributing heat to the chest and back of the AXIS vest.

Wearing the AXIS Vest

The AXIS vest is soft, flexible and comfortable. Other noteworthy features are the zippers– which are both quality and functional. The pockets provide enough storage for a hat and gloves – which is important to me.

The vest fits snug enough to keep the heat in and also fits underneath an outer shell layer.

With the heat function, I’ve found that I do not need to wear heavier clothing to warm up or get started in the morning. Typically, I would bundle up until I got my temperature up and then shed layers. I found myself using the high heat setting on the Axis vest heat to warm up in the morning and lowered it as I got moving, oftentimes even turning it off.

AXIS Clothing Sizes

Available in Men’s and Women’s sizes, each will ship with the M12™ Compact Charger and Portable Power Source

  • M12™ Heated AXIS™ Jackets and Vests – NEW!
  • M12™ Heated AXIS™ Jacket (203B-20 Bare & 203B-21 Kit): Sizes S-3X
  • M12™ Women’s Heated AXIS™ Jacket (233B-20 Bare & 233B-21 Kit): Sizes S-2X
  • M12™ Heated AXIS™ Vest (303B-20 Bare & 303B-21 Kit): Sizes S-3X
  • M12™ Women’s Heated AXIS™ Vest (333B-20 Bare & 333B-21 Kit): Sizes S-2X


Heated vests eliminate the need for bulky layers of clothing when temperatures begin to drop. A vest is especially helpful when you are engaged in activities where you need a full range of motion and want to stay warm. I really like the Milwaukee M12 Heated AXIS Vest and can see myself using it to stay warm on my jobsites.

About the author

Rob Robillard

Robert Robillard is a remodeler, general contractor, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business located in Concord, Massachusetts, and serves as the Editor of Tool Box Buzz and founding editor of A Concord Carpenter . Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review - Tool and Product Review - Video Channel, , where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the remodeling industry. The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob Robillard

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