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New Milwaukee M18 Compact Brushless Drills are Packed with Upgrades

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Milwaukee has announced new M18 compact brushless drills – a drill/driver (3601) and a hammer drill (3602).

The new Milwaukee cordless drills are said to be designed for the needs and applications of the service trades, as well as the residential electrician, plumber, remodeler, and HVAC technician.

In other words, they’re compact cordless drills for pros and demanding users.

Milwaukee says that their newest generation of compact brushless drills deliver more capability and faster applications while measuring more than 3/4″ shorter compared to previous generations to improve access in tight applications and reduce fatigue.

Translation: they’re smaller and more powerful.

Milwaukee M18 Compact Brushless Drill 3601 with Screwdriving Bit in Cabinet

The new Milwaukee M18 compact brushless drill features a 1/2″ chuck and delivers up to 550 lbs max torque.

Milwaukee M18 Compact Brushless Drill 3601 and Hammer Drill 3602

The 3601 drill measures 5.7″ long, and the 3602 hammer drill 5.8 inches.

Milwaukee M18 Compact Brushless Drill 3601 2-Battery Kit

Both drills will be available as bare tools and in 2-battery kits. Milwaukee’s product images also show both models in single battery promotional kits, and with other battery sizes (such as the hammer drill with an XC 4Ah battery).

Features & Specs

  • 1/2″ keyless chuck
  • All-metal chuck and gearcase
  • 550 in-lbs max torque
  • 0-550/0-1700 RPM
  • Length: 5.7″ (drill), 5.8″ (hammer drill
  • Weighs 2.3 lbs (tool-only)
  • Weighs 3.2 lbs with 2Ah battery

Pricing and Availability


  • 3601-20 bare tool – $139
  • 3601-21P 1-battery kit – $169
  • 3601-22CT – 2-battery kit (2Ah) – $199

Hammer Drill

  • 3602-20 bare tool – $149
  • 3602-22CT – 2-battery kit (2Ah) – $219

Combo Kit

  • 3692-22CT – 2-battery kit (2Ah) with 3601 drill and 3650 impact driver – $239

ETA: August 2023

How do They Compare?

The outgoing compact brushless drill/driver, model 2801, delivers 500 in-lbs max torque and has 0-500 and 0-1800 speed ranges. The new models are slightly faster in the low end (550 vs 500 RPM), and slightly slower in the high end (1700 vs 1800 RPM).

This does have the potential for higher application speeds where higher torque is needed, but also slightly slower low torque high-speed applications. The differences are small enough that we can’t get the full picture from on-paper technical specs.

The compact drill length has been shrunk from 6.5″ to 5.7″, a reduction of about 12.3%. That’s a substantial difference.

It’s also slightly lighter, at 2.3 lbs compared to 2.45 lbs, for new and older tool-only cordless drills, respectively.

We also have for the first time an M18 compact brushless hammer drill. There is a brushless hammer drill (2902) that’s a step down from the M18 Fuel model, but it’s not anywhere as compact as this model. That brushless model delivers 725 in-lbs max torque, measures 7″ long, and weighs 3.05 lbs without battery.

Compared to the 2902, the new 3603 compact brushless hammer drill is not as powerful but is considerably smaller and lighter.

Milwaukee M18 Compact Brushless Drill 3601 Features and Specs

The new model Milwaukee M18 brushless drills also have a new mechanical clutch, for “wider range of torque settings and improved fastening performance.” They also sport a new chuck design for “improved bit retention and increased durability.”

Overall, they look to be quite the upgrade over the outgoing model.

I’m a bit surprised that Milwaukee didn’t follow the trend and call this a subcompact cordless power tool, but its specs seem to do enough talking.


To sum things up, Milwaukee is updating their M18 compact brushless drill and launching an all-new compact brushless hammer drill.

The drills deliver a bump-up in max torque, and a faster max low speed and slower max high speed compared to the outgoing model. I feel that the slightly lower max high speed spec is a reasonable tradeoff considering the significant reduction in tool length.

The next-generation M18 cordless drills are looking competitive and compelling. Let’s hope that the singly battery promo kits (3601-21P and potentially 3602-21P) are as attractively priced as the 2801-21P, which typically had a holiday season “special buy” price of $99.

It has been around 5 years since Milwaukee updated their M18 compact brushless drill, and it looks like the wait was worth it.

There are also new impact drivers – we’ll have more on them soon.