Milwaukee’s New Red Lithium Batteries

Red Lithium is Milwaukee’s name for their new M12 (12V) Li-Ion batteries. Red Lithium means 40% longer run-time, 20% higher speed, 20% more torque, 50% more charge cycles per battery and much greater durability in cold weather.

Our Power Tools manager took home a new Red Lithium drill kit and tested it against Milwaukee’s older 12V system. He set his deep freeze to -17ºC and stuck one of their new 12V Red Lithium and one of their older batteries fully charged in it. 9 hours later, the older battery was dead where the Red Lithium plugged in and drilled away. For people in colder areas of the country, this is HUGE, or if we get another cold spell like we did a couple years ago. The cold weather problem is what has prevented a lot of people from using lithium ion, until now. The good news is that the new batteries won’t cost you any more than the older ones and Milwaukee is bringing them to market in what is called a rolling release. This means that a lot of the tools already out are now shipping with Red Lithium batteries. So far, we have seen them in the 12V 3/8” Drill (2410-22) and sporadically in a couple other products. With Milwaukee’s breadth of 12V tools paired with this new battery technology, they are really on top of the 12V category. It will be interesting to see how other power tool companies tackle the hurdle Milwaukee has put in front of their technologies.

Summary of Red Lithium advantages:


  • 40% Longer run-time
  • 20% Higher speed
  • 20% More torque


  • Operates down to 0ºF/-18ºC
  • 20% Cooler
  • 50% More recharge cycles
  • No memory effect