If you buy something through our links, ToolGuyd might earn an affiliate commission.
Let’s cut to the point – I am all but convinced that Milwaukee Tool will be coming out with a new M18 subcompact cordless drill later on in 2021.
This is just a prediction/theory, but hear me out and then let me know if you think I’m wrong or wrong.
And, if there will be a new Milwaukee M18 SubCompact cordless drill, there will likely be other tools as well, such as a new impact driver at the least.
Reason #1: Milwaukee Needs a SubCompact Cordless Drill
It can be argued that Milwaukee’s M12 cordless power tool system is their subcompact cordless power tool system.
But, as popular as the M12 cordless system might be, a lot of users still prefer 18V/20V Max-class cordless power tools.
If there’s an M12 brushless drill kit for $99 and a Dewalt 20V Max brushless drill kit next to it, also priced at $99, which do you think will sell better?
As compact as Milwaukee’s M12 cordless drills might be, competing 18V systems have become much more competitive.
Milwaukee now has quite a few stubby impact drivers, and so they understand the importance of size.
Reason #2: Milwaukee SubCompact Cordless Tools Would Follow the Trend
Yes, I know – Milwaukee Tool prefers to be disruptive and innovative. But, there’s no reason why they cannot follow a trend in their own way.
Right now, we’re seeing a push towards smaller and lighter tools.
Consider the new Ryobi 18V HP brushless cordless power tool lineup. These tools are smaller and lighter than other Ryobi offerings.
While brands are still competing to see who can make the most powerful cordless power tools, they’re also starting to compete on the other side of things. Who can provide for the most comfortable and user-friendly experience?
Ridgid is also coming out with new compact brushless power tools.
Makita has a limited selection of SubCompact 18V cordless tools, and Dewalt has a growing selection of 20V Max Atomic tools.
Reason #3: It’s Almost Time for a Refresh
Milwaukee’s 2701 compact cordless drill came out in early 2015, and their 2801 compact cordless drill came out in late 2018. We’re not quite due for an updated model, but it wouldn’t be too surprising if one came early.
There’s nothing wrong with the M18 compact brushless drill/driver, and it’s actually a very good model, but its biggest selling point is that it’s a great bargain during the holiday shopping seasons.
(There’s no comparable brushless impact driver, and there’s definitely room for one.)
I feel bad putting it this way, given the risk my stance could be misinterpreted, but the current M18 compact brushless drill/driver is unremarkable.
If a tool is unremarkable, especially when compared to competing options, it’s going to be a strong candidate for a redesign.
Reason #4: Brushless Motor Tech Advanced in Recent Years
It has only been 2-1/2 years since Milwaukee’s most recent compact brushless drill came out, but brushless motor tech had advanced since then.
When Father’s Day rolls around in a couple of months, every single power tool brand is going to have compact brushless 18V drill kits on sale for the season. The same situation will be repeated next winter.
Why buy the Milwaukee over the competition? Well, maybe it will be bundled with a Packout tool box. The 2.0Ah compact battery is always a nice touch, given that some competing kits will instead come with 1.5Ah (or worse 1.3Ah) battery packs.
Even if current brushless motor tech isn’t very different from what Milwaukee has already been using in their compact drills, the price point has dropped enough to where there’s competition at every turn.
Milwaukee has recently come out with new M18 compact impact wrenches, and they’re incredibly compact. I don’t think it’s hard to imagine that they can they now make an even more compact brushless drill.
Would You Buy One?
Would you buy a more compact M18 brushless drill from Milwaukee?
If enough of you answer positively, well, this could be reason number 5.
Do You Agree?
I’m of the believe that Milwaukee can build a more compact brushless drill than they currently offer, and that it could potentially drop later this year.
Do you agree? Or am I off-base and Milwaukee doesn’t need any more M18 drill/drivers?
What Does SubCompact Actually Mean?
Frankly, subcompact is just a marketing term brands use to describe their most compact and lightest weight cordless drills and other power tools.
Subcompact cordless power tools are simply scaled down, with respect to power, performance, size, and weight.
What if Milwaukee’s subcompact cordless drill is an M12 or M12 Fuel model?
Given the competitive landscape these days, it seems possible for Milwaukee to finally retire their brushed motor M12 and M18 cordless drills, replacing them with subcompact brushless models.
If Milwaukee replaced their M18 brushed cordless drill with a “subcompact” model, they would maintain their logical tiered drill/driver lineup. Or perhaps the compact brushless might replace the entry-priced brushed drill, with the subcompact model taking its place.
Predicting the launch of a subcompact drill is one thing, understanding its positioning within Milwaukee’s lineup is a bit more difficult.
Handy Milwaukee M18 Cordless Drill/Driver Comparison Chart (2021)