It’s no big secret that I’m very interested in Lithium-ion batteries and their technological advances. That obsession also involves chargers that give these batteries life. Typically, battery chargers—even those which are multi-voltage or which feature more than one slot or socket for multiple batteries—will only charge batteries in sequence. This was the case with the Milwaukee M18 Six Pack sequential battery charger we reviewed last year. The sheer amount of current required to recharge these batteries makes high demands on the electronics and technology requirements of these devices and limits what they can do. The Milwaukee Rapid Charger Station 48-59-1807 seems to have scored a massive win by charging three—yes three—batteries at a time, with three more available in the chute. That means that the new Milwaukee Rapid Charger can be loaded up with six batteries, and charge three of them at a time. For anyone owning Milwaukee M12 and M18 cordless tools: That. Is. Awesome.
Milwaukee Rapid Charger Station Features
Aside from holding three M12 batteries and three M18 batteries, the Milwaukee Rapid Charger Station (48-59-1807) does a lot more to distinguish itself from the competition—and even Milwaukee’s other excellent battery chargers. For one, it combines M12 and M18 battery charging. That’s a great design choice because most Pro users are going to utilize a combination of these tools for what they do—it’s hard not to since Milwaukee provides one of the largest (if not the largest 12V tool system in the industry). And while Milwaukee has made great strides in combining their systems by providing M18 and M12 multivoltage chargers with most of their M18 tools, this charger takes that to the next level.
I mounted the Milwaukee Rapid Charger Station on a 2×4 positioned on the wall of my work shed. This was accomplished easily thanks to the wall mount guides that let you pinpoint and mark exactly where you need to place your screws to mount the charger. While many may want to bring this to the jobsite for rapid charging on-site, wall-mounting it allowed me to ensure that I also had my tools at-the-ready while working out of my small shop. It took just a few minutes, and I had everything ready to go. What’s more, I found that it mounted quite securely to just a single 2×4—and I could, if needed, simply lift it off and take it with me to a jobsite to give me quick charges on the road. That’s a great dual-use application that many may find very useful.
As mentioned earlier the Milwaukee Rapid Charger Station charges three batteries at once. It will do them in the order they are inserted, one per M12/M18 set. That means it will charge any of the following combinations:
- 3 x M18
- 3 x M12
- 2 x M18 + M12
- 2 x M12 + M18
Of course, that’s just the initial pass. After the first battery in an M18/M12 set is charged, the next battery kicks in. In this way you can set up 6 batteries at once and get them fully charged in no time.
In addition to the flexibility of charging three batteries at once, the Milwaukee Rapid Charger charges each battery up to 40% faster thanks to Milwaukee’s Rapid Charge technology (hence the name). Since the device includes the company’s proprietary RedLink Intelligence monitoring, the Milwaukee Rapid Charger communicates directly with each battery pack to make sure it is correctly charged, temperature status is monitored, and each pack’s life is extended for optimal performance. Finally, a pass-through plug means that you don’t lose an outlet when you plug in this charging station. For anyone using this charger in a smaller area, or with limited access to power, this will be a great and helpful feature indeed.
Battery Charging Display
There are some clues on the Milwaukee Rapid Charger itself as to what’s going on with the battery at any given moment. Here is a brief chart that reveals the temperature and charging status based on the LED light readout beside each battery:
|Lithium-ion Battery Charging Display|
|Battery Pack Temperature||Red Charger Indicator Light||Charging Status|
The Milwaukee Rapid Charger is…well, rapid. It can charge anywhere from one to three M18 XC battery packs in right around 37 minutes (give or take 3-5 minutes by our reckoning and stopwatches). Since it does three at once, that time is the same whether you’re charging a single battery pack or three at once. On any other Milwaukee charger, these packs take roughly an hour to charge. Do the math, and you can see that Milwaukee just shaved around 38% off your charging time—and tripled your efficiency to boot. Looking at it another way, it charges three M18 batteries in almost 1/5 the time it would take to do the same with a single combination charger.
There’s simply no way to express how much better this charger is over a standard Milwaukee dual-voltage charger. Since there’s no reason to charge a premium for advanced fast-charging on every tool, you get a basic but capable charger with every M18 and M12 kit you purchase. This dedicated Milwaukee 6-battery Rapid Charger, however, provides a way for Pros to dedicate some budget to increasing their bottom line by eliminating the downtime of recharging batteries.
After having used it to charge dozens of batteries, I can attest that this might be one of the handiest accessories you can own if you’re on the Milwaukee M12 and/or M18 platform. At around $169, this can only save you money—don’t pass this one up!