For those unaware, Milwaukee has been not-so-quietly expanding their line of cordless vacuums. From wet/dry models to cordless vacuums focused on dust removal and shop cleanup, Milwaukee has both 12V and 18V options to conveniently keep your workspace spotless.
If you’re looking for a powerful vacuum to keep your workspace neat and tidy, you can’t go wrong with a Milwaukee cordless vacuum. The brand has been expanding their line of cordless vacuums and they’ve got a wide variety of models to get you started. From a Milwaukee backpack vacuum to a wet/dry model, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Not sure where to get started? No worries, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best Milwaukee cordless vacuums. Before we discuss each of them in greater detail, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of these cordless vacuums, its various constructions, and some things that you’d need to consider when making your purchase.
How We Tested Each Vacuum
Over a period of two months, we tried out more than a dozen, using them on our hardwood floors, carpets, and rugs, and in our homes full of pets, kids, and adults of varying messiness, judging each based on the following criteria:
- Cleaning Power: How well does the vacuum pick up crumbs, pet hair, dust, and other debris? Does it work better on one surface than another? Or does it work equally well on hardwood floors and shaggy carpets? Is it effective at giving thick rugs a deep cleaning?
- Ease of Use: Is the vacuum too heavy to carry around or is it light and easy to use? If it has wheels, do they get stuck or do they smoothly roll and pivot around? Can it get into small nooks and crannies like under the couch or behind furniture? If the vacuum is battery-powered, does one charge last long enough for a full cleaning? If it has a cord, does the cord get in the way when vacuuming? Is the cord long enough to vacuum a large area without having to plug it in somewhere else? What are the ergonomics of the handle like? Is it comfortable to hold?
- Maintenance/Durability: Is the vacuum easy to clean? If it uses bags or filters, how long will a single one last? Or if the bags are washable, is that easy to do? If the vacuum is bagless, is it easy to fully clean and empty?
- Extras/Accessories: If the vacuum comes with any accessories (like a brush attachment or upholstery nozzle), how do they work? Do they help clean areas you wouldn’t be able to without them? If the vacuum has any extra cleaning modes or features, what are they and how do they work?
What to Look for in a Vacuum
Bagged vs. Bagless
While bagged vacuum cleaners were the mainstay of the cleaning world for decades, many new vacuum cleaners are bagless. This means you won’t need to buy and replace the bag inside your vacuum cleaner regularly. Instead, you’ll just need to empty the dust collection canister into your trash can and occasionally wash it out. The downside to bagless vacuums is you’ll have to open up a dusty, dirty bin over a trash can, which can result in some dust escaping back out.
Bagged vacuum cleaners, on the other hand, collect everything into an easy-to-dispose-of bag that can simply be tossed in the trash. However, as the bag fills you may notice a reduction in suction. Plus, you’ll have the recurring cost of purchasing new vacuum bags—and sometimes they can be hard to track down for older, discontinued models of vacuum cleaners.
If you’ve ever pushed around a vacuum cleaner for an extended cleaning session or lugged it up and down a flight of stairs, you know that the weight of a vacuum matters. It can be a pain to push and pull a heavy vacuum cleaner. Fortunately, many vacuum cleaners are designed to weigh less and be more nimble than the unwieldy machines that first entered home cleaning closets decades ago.
Upright vacuums tend to weigh the most—but they often have wide floorheads, more powerful motors, and larger dust bags to account for the added weight. Many upright vacuums weigh between 12 and 18 pounds, with some models weighing less or more. Canister vacuums vary widely in terms of weight. Some lightweight models barely tip the scale to 8 pounds, while others that offer performance and features to rival upright vacuums can weigh as much as 18 or 20 pounds. Cordless and stick vacuum cleaners are generally the most lightweight vacuums available. Intended for lighter cleaning, these vacuums are meant to be easy to pick up for spot cleaning or light duty vacuuming. They typically weigh between 3 and 7 pounds.
The presence—or absence—of a brush roll on a vacuum cleaner may determine what type of flooring it’s best suited for. Vacuums with no brush roll are good for hardwood floors or tile flooring because the stiff fibers of the brush roll may scratch the finish on your flooring or send dirt in all directions. Alternatively, some vacuums with a brush roll offer the ability to turn the rotation of the brush off—making it safe for use on hardwood floors and more effective on any type of hard surface flooring.
When it comes to plush carpeting, the brush roll gently agitates the carpet fibers to lift surface-level dirt along with debris at deeper layers—including dust, dander, and pet hair that may have settled into the carpet. And while most brush rolls will have no problem accomplishing this task on flat weave or low-pile carpet, medium-to-high pile rugs may require an adjustable pile height setting to ensure that the fibers of the rug won’t get tangled in the brush roll or stifle the suction coming from the nozzle.
Many vacuums are equipped with a filtration system intended to trap fine particles of dust and dander that might otherwise be released with the exhaust of the vacuum cleaner. Some filters are washable, making them an affordable, easy-to-maintain choice. These are usually made of a sponge-like material that rinses easily and air dries quickly. Other filters are more paper-like in appearance and must be replaced on a schedule (usually every 6 months or so) to maintain effectiveness.
The gold standard in vacuum filtration is a HEPA filter, which stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. These ultra-fine filters will trap the tiniest of particles—as small as 0.3 microns in the case of true HEPA filters.1 A HEPA filtration system can be a major plus for anyone looking to reduce dust, dander, pollen, and other small particles in their home. HEPA filters will usually need to be replaced on a schedule to maintain their filtration capabilities, but a few newer versions offer the advantage of being washable.
Accessories and Warranties
Once you pick your perfect vacuum cleaner, make sure it’s equipped with the right accessories to complete your cleaning package. Many additional tools are available to make the most of your vacuum’s suction power. Sometimes these are included with the purchase of your vacuum, but other times you may need to purchase them separately. Items such as crevice tools, extension wands, and upholstery brushes will come in handy when you are trying to deep clean your home.
Some of the most popular cleaning accessories for vacuums are pet-related cleaning tools. These include nozzle attachments with grippy surfaces, fine-tooth combs, or stiff brushes to extract pet hair from your furniture upholstery, drapes, and more.
Our Top Picks: 5 Best Milwaukee Vacuums For 2021
Below are 5 highly-rated and recommended Milwaukee vacuums. Read on to find the one that you’ve been looking for.
1. Milwaukee 0970-20 M18 FUEL PACKOUT Lithium-Ion Brushless 2.5 Gallon Cordless Wet/Dry Vacuum
The Milwaukee 0970-20 M18 FUEL PACKOUT 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum combines the utility of a shop vac with the mobility the PACKOUT Modular Storage System provides. This portable wet/dry shop vac delivers 50 CFM and 47 in. of suction from its brushless motor, tackling most common jobsite debris.
Rated at only 87 decibels, this cordless vacuum is up to 2X quieter than other wet/dry vacs. The HEPA filter captures even the smallest particles, meeting OSHA objective data compliance for silica dust management. Fully compatable with the PACKOUT Modular Storage System, the interlocking cleats make transport on and off the jobsite a breeze.
The included crevice tool and wide utility nozzle store onboard to ensure they are always handy. Delivering 30 minutes of runtime on high and over 50 minutes on low while using a REDLITHIUM HIGH OUTPUT XC8.0 battery (not included), this vac is ideal for quick wet and dry spot cleanup applications.
- POWERSTATE brushless motor delivers 50 CFM and 47 in. of water lift, outperforming 18V vacuums by up to 60%
- Rated at 87 dB(A), this vacuum is up to 2X quieter than 18V vacuums
- Capable of tackling both wet and dry clean-up tasks
- Includes built in blower port
- Onboard storage for flexible hose and all accessories
- Provides over 50 minutes of continuous runtime on low or 30 minutes on high when paired with an M18 HIGH OUTPUT REDLITHIUM XC8.0 battery
- Part of the PACKOUT Modular Storage System
- Compatible with all M18 REDLITHIUM battery packs
2. Milwaukee 0850-20 12V Li-Ion Vacuum
The M12 Compact Lithium-Ion Vacuum provides more power to clean anywhere. A high-performance motor delivers maximum suction for a wide range of construction materials, such as wood chips and metal shavings.
With up to 29 minutes of run-time on a single charge (REDLITHIUM XC 4.0 Ah Battery Sold Separately), the M12 Compact Lithium-Ion Vacuum can be used for spot clean-up or large area vacuuming. It comes with a utility nozzle, crevice tool and extension wand for maximum application versatility and is built to withstand job site conditions.
- High-performance motor delivers 34 CFM for use on wide range of materials
- Versatile attachments allow for small to large area clean-up
- Best-in-class run time, with 29 minutes on a single charge using REDLITHIUM XC 4.0 Ah batteries (Sold Separately)
- Clear viewing window makes it easy to see canister fill level
- Reusable 42 pleat filter
- Lock-on switch reduces user fatigue during extended use
- Part of the M12 System of over 90 tools
3. Milwaukee 0882-20 M18 18V Cordless Lithium-Ion Compact Vacuum
The M18 Compact Vacuum provides users with the most powerful and adaptable handheld cleanup tool. A high performance motor creates best in class suction for cleanup of drywall dust, wood/metal shavings, and common jobsite debris.
With a unique handheld design, the M18 Compact Vacuum can be used in a wide variety of orientations and applications across the jobsite. For added versatility, the 0882-20 comes with 2 extension wands, 4 ft. flexible hose, crevice tool, floor tool, and removable HEPA filter. A clear view and easy to empty canister provides added convenience.
As a part of the M18 System of tools, it is powered by REDLITHIUM battery packs, which deliver up to 25 minutes of run time on a XC5.0 battery pack and 43 minutes of runtime on a HIGH DEMAND 9.0 Battery Pack.
- High performance motor creates best in class suction for cleanup of drywall dust, wood/metal shavings, and common jobsite debris
- With unique handle you can be used in a wide variety of orientations and applications across the jobsite
- Powered by REDLITHIUM battery packs, which deliver up to 25 minutes of run time on a XC5.0 battery pack and 43 minutes of runtime on a HIGH DEMAND 9.0 Battery Pack
4. Milwaukee 0940-20 M18 FUEL Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Compact Vacuum
The Milwaukee 0940-20 M18 FUEL Compact Vacuum is the most versatile jobsite cleanup tool on site. This small portable shop vac transforms to suit the task at hand, allowing users to quickly change from handheld to upright vacuum. The brushless motor delivers 32 CFM of suction, while the exclusive 2-stage debris canister separates large debris from fine particles, ensuring more sustained suction.
A HEPA filter pairs with a foam pre-filter to capture the smallest particles. This compact vacuum includes 5 attachments: a utility tool, brush tool, crevice tool, floor tool, and powered floor tool optimized for carpet. An extension wand and flexible hose can pair with the attachments to clean those hard to reach places. Compatible with all M18 REDLITHIUM batteries, this cordless vacuum meets the needs of the professional contractor.
- 50% more sustained suction helps users clean faster
- Removable, bagless 2-stage, 0.25 gallon debris canister separates large debris from small particles
- Canister can be emptied while attached to or removed from vac
- Flexible hose and extension wand help users clean at ground level, waist level and overhead
- Onboard accessory holder keeps attachments close by
- Washable certified HEPA filter plus foam pre-filter catches small particles
- Two speed high/low switch adjusts power to the task at hand
- Utility tool, crevice tool and brush tool help the vac adapt to various cleaning tasks
- The powered floor attachment tackles cleanup duty on carpeted floors, while the standard floor attachment is best suited for hard surfaces
- Compatible with all M18 REDLITHIUM battery packs
5. Milwaukee 0885-20 M18 FUEL Brushless Lithium-Ion Cordless 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum
The M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum brings unmatched performance, portability, and versatility to the jobsite cleanup category. A POWERSTATE Brushless Motor and cyclonic technology delivers up to 2X more suction than the competition, allowing users to clean up drywall dust, concrete dust, wood/metal shavings and other common jobsite debris quicker and more efficiently.
A quick release removable harness with an integrated canister hook allows users to wear, hang, and carry the product for ultimate cleaning versatility on any jobsite. At only 76 dBA, the vacuum is up to 3X quieter than a traditional jobsite vacuum, allowing for quiet operation in occupied spaces. As a part of the M18 System of tools, it is powered by REDLITHIUM battery packs, which deliver up to 25 minutes of run time on a HIGH DEMAND 9.0 Battery Pack in high mode, and over 40+ minutes of run time in low mode.
For added convenience, the 0885-20 empties debris at the click of button, reducing downtime when the canister is full and allowing users to get back to the task at hand. Whether you are doing spot, area, or final cleanups, the M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum can go anywhere on any jobsite to complete countless cleanup tasks.
- POWERSTATE Brushless Motor: Long life, quiet operation, and up to 2X suction compared to traditional job site vacs
- OSHA Compliance Solution: Objective data complaint dust management solution for specific applications and durations to meet Occupational Health & Safety
- Cyclonic Technology: Powerful suction, long filter life, and easy-empty bag less debris collection
- On-board storage for flexible hose, telescoping extension wand, floor tool, and crevice tool
- High / Low switch
- Dry vacuum
- REDLINK PLUS Intelligence: Ensures optimal performance and maintains compatibility across the entire M18 System
- Administration (OSHA) regulation on respirable crystalline silica dust.
- Removable harness, integrated canister hook and handle for max versatility
- Certified HEPA filter
- 1-gallon debris collection capacity
- Compatible with all M18 batteries
Does Milwaukee make a vacuum cleaner?
While Milwaukee specializes in cordless vacuums, larger corded models with brushless motors exist. They’re lightweight and built for hard and carpeted floors. The company’s shop vacuums are more massive, having wheels at the bottom and corded motors.
How long do Milwaukee vacuums last?
All of Milwaukee’s power tools, including vacuums, are automatically registered for warranty after they’re purchased. The corded vacuums contain a date code that specifies when the warranty period expires. In any case, a Milwaukee vacuum should last for years after the warranty is over. The batteries would likely have to be switched long before the vacuum itself. However, they’re relatively easy and inexpensive to find.
Is the Milwaukee backpack vacuum worth it?
The Milwaukee M18 Fuel 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum is great for quickly cleaning up, especially on your final cleanup at the end of the job. It won’t fully replace your wet/dry vac since it’s not rated for wet messes.
Can you suck up water with Milwaukee vacuum?
Though it’s dubbed the Milwaukee “M18” Wet/Dry Vacuum, it actually operates off either an M18 (18V) lithium-ion battery or the company’s older 18V Ni-Cad batteries. Both will provide enough power to suck up wet or dry material into the onboard 2 gallon storage tank.