7” Milwaukee M18 FUEL Variable Speed Polisher

Milwaukee M18 Polisher Reflecting
Shop Tool Review
  • Power
  • Build Qality
  • Ergonomics
  • Value
  • Battery Endurance

Final Thoughts

The M18 Fuel battery is packed full of fuel, and the Milwaukee variable speed polisher delivers the power. If you are in the auto detailing business, I highly recommend the Milwaukee M18 fuel variable speed polisher.

It was a 1975 Chevy Camaro with Keystone Classic wheels and Cragar louvers covering the rear window. Forest Green paint and gloss black racing stripes reflecting the metallic sun; seeing that car was love at first sight. The love of cars is deep in my family heritage, and there is nothing I can do about it. Along with buying that Camaro, as a result my obsession with clean vehicles took root. Out of my garage started a detailing business that has provided for my family through thick and thin. Now, here I am, more than 30 years after starting Michael’s Auto Detailing, telling you about this Milwaukee M18 Fuel variable speed polisher.

From rubbing out Enamel paint jobs by hand, wet sand and polishing polyurethane, and even compounding boats, it’s fair to say that I have experience in most of the finishes covering our vehicles. I understand what it takes to polish a car, and I have seen power tools come and go over the decades. When Shop Tool Reviews said they had a cordless polisher they wanted me to try, my thoughts of failure were quite certain. Then, they told me it was a 7” Milwaukee variable speed polisher that could complete a full-size car on one battery. I was confident that even the best 18V wouldn’t stand a chance to accomplish this task.


Milwaukee M18 FUEL Variable Speed Polisher

Milwaukee M18 Polisher D HandleI’m no stranger to Milwaukee Tools, as there are several that take up residence in my toolboxes. It is also evident that cordless tools of other colors also live there.  I’m not a bleed-red Milwaukee kind of guy, and I truly don’t show loyalty to any particular brand or color. However, this Milwaukee variable speed polisher may cause me to swing the needle to their side for future purchases. At least, it has convinced me to have a look at what Red has to offer.

First Use

Our day consists mostly of detailing used cars for car dealers. Typically, these cars and trucks are on the higher-end of the resale value. We also have regular customers with luxury and sports cars. Darker cars, especially black, can easily get swirl marks in the finish from others using products and machines in the wrong manner. It just so happened that a black Range Rover showed up for a detail on the same day we received the Milwaukee variable speed polisher.  The truck’s finish was in rough shape, so this was a great opportunity to try out the M18 polisher.

Milwaukee M18 Polisher - Applying 3M Perfect-It

Milwaukee M18 Polisher RPM DialMy go-to polish for dark vehicles is 3M Perfect-it, so I added it to the foam pad on the Milwaukee. The first squeeze of the variable speed trigger surprised me a bit. It definitely has more of a hair-pin trigger than what I was used to. This is not necessarily a bad thing, rather just something that I needed to get used to. Two great features are the dial to select the max RPM and the variable trigger. Just by releasing the trigger a little, the pad runs slower than the selected RPM, allowing the user to dial in the perfect speed. Any seasoned detailer knows that the power and speed need to change as to the contour and area of the vehicle.

The power delivery is smooth and consistent. Squeeze the trigger fully and the Milwaukee M18 Fuel variable speed polisher never backs down. Just holding this polisher feels much more balanced than the typical corded polisher. At the same time, there is still plenty of weight out over the head to put natural pressure on the pad. This enables the user to just keep the polisher moving, and no need to add downward force. Most of all, the greatest feature is not having a cord; no longer do we need to throw the cord over our shoulder. No longer do we need to worry about that cord scratching a finish.

Toyota Super-White Test

Most cars today have at least a two-stage paint finish, a base-coat covered with a clear-coat finish. The clear coat protects that color pigment underneath, and when polishing, there is no colored residue left on the pad. There are some paint finishes that are still single-stage, in particular, Toyota’s Super White. Most of the cars/trucks with this Super White color start turning chalky with age. When polishing these finishes, the pad will start to fill up and get very sticky. We had a Toyota Camry in Super White arrive, so we tested the Milwaukee variable speed polisher on it. The finish on this Camry was very dull and chalky.

Milwaukee M18 Polisher Reflection

After a few passes on the top and hood, the pad started to fill up. We noticed the Milwaukee M18 fuel variable speed polisher start to labor a little, but it was never at a point where it couldn’t handle the job. It did however require a battery change after about 75% was completed. Once the car was completely polished, we used 1 full 5.0ah battery and half (2 bars) of another. This was another instance where I have been surprisingly impressed with the M18 polisher.

Milwaukee Variable Speed Polisher Kit Contents (2738-22P)

  • FUEL M18 7” Variable Speed Polisher (Tool Only) (2738-20)
  • 2 – REDLITHIUM M18 XC5.0 Extended Capacity Battery Pack (48-11-1850)
  • M18 & M12 Rapid Charger (48-59-1808)
  • Wool Cutting Pad – 7″
  • Yellow Foam Polishing Pad – 7″
  • Black Foam Finishing Pad – 7″
  • Backing Pad
  • 2 – Screen Cover (1 Extra, 1 is on the tool)
  • Side Handle
  • Bail Handle with (2) Bolts

Milwaukee Variable Speed Polisher


  • Voltage: 18V
  • Length: 19.8″
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs w/ 5.0 Battery
  • Polishing RPM: 0 – 2,200 RPM
  • Height: 3.31″
  • Width: 4.10″
  • Trigger Lock: On Off
  • Capacity: 7″
  • Tool Warranty: 5 Years

Wrapping Up

When I purchase tools, especially power-tools, the focus is on finding the best tool for the job, at the best value. Our most expensive resource is time. Our services are not cheap, but customers know their car’s finish will be the best, period. If a tool can save us time, even if somewhat expensive, we can recover this pretty quickly. I find myself picking up the Milwaukee M18 fuel variable speed polisher, simply because it is so easy to do so. Without pulling out an extension cord, I can do a quick polish on a car, or section of a car much faster. Saving time is making money in our business.


Milwaukee M18 Fuel Variable Speed PolisherThe M18 Fuel battery is packed full of fuel, and the Milwaukee variable speed polisher delivers the power. The 5.0 ah battery lasts long enough to complete a typical car. Even if the battery dies before completion, the second battery allows for quick battery changes, and the rapid charger makes for fast recharges. If you are in the auto detailing business, then I highly recommend the Milwaukee M18 fuel variable speed polisher.

To purchase the Milwaukee variable speed polisher, please click here.


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