The ultimate in polishers has got to be one that has a brushless motor and battery (cordless) power. As the name suggests, this Milwaukee 180mm 18V Brushless Cordless Polisher has all that and more. Supplied in large carrycase, it comes with everything you need to get started with polishing and rectifying paint problems. Except for a bottle of car polish and color restorer, of course.

There is however, a price to pay for all of this, but is it worth the money?

RRP: $223.78, buy it here / £166.80, buy it here.

Milwaukee polisher - what's in the box?

What’s in the box?

You get a lot of accessories if you buy the bundle. These include a plastic D-shaped handle, two batteries, a charger, backing pad, two sponge pads and polishing bonnet. A bare body is also available if you already have the 18V battery and charger.

This polisher is supplied in a sturdy plastic carrycase that’s the size of a small suitcase. It takes up a lot of room, but the polisher can be left part-assembled inside the box, removing the battery and backing pad. So it’s easy to grab and start using almost straight away.

This Milwaukee polisher is advertised as being 180mm in diameter. However, the supplied backing pad, two sponges and polishing bonnet all range between 125mm and 160mm.

The two 18V 5Ah batteries supplied with this kit take a little under one hour to fully recharge. A set of four indicator lights on each battery displays the state of charge. Press a small button on the battery and they light up.

Milwaukee polisher on display

Tech spec

As expected from this sort of price, this polisher has a brushless motor. It also has an electronic brake. So, when the trigger is released to switch off the motor, it doesn’t slow down under its own speed. Instead, it stops progressively within a second or two and you can feel the motor being stopped.

With six speed settings, a rotary dial on the top of the body switches between them. It’s only labelled with values for 800rpm, 1,200rpm, 1,600rpm and 2,000rpm. Yet it’s easy to figure out what the speeds are in between.

A two-stage trigger starts the motor spinning. The first stage sees the motor spin at a speed slower than what has been selected. It’s not a progressive start-up, but an instant surge of half-power. Squeeze the trigger a little more and the motor will instantly get up to its selected speed.

There’s no lock for the trigger so you have to keep it pressed. There is, however, a lock for preventing the trigger from being accidentally pulled.

Using the Milwaukee car polisher

Using the Milwaukee 180mm 18V brushless cordless polisher

The supplied hook and loop backing pad is wound on to the motor’s spindle. It can be locked by pressing a button on the top of the polisher’s body. Alternatively, gripping the flats on the unthreaded section of the spindle with a 17mm open-ended spanner will lock it.

Despite the diameter of the sponge pads and polishing bonnet were less than 180mm, I found them easy to work with. I could maneuver them across paintwork, whether it was when applying a color restorer or buffing polish. And the polisher only weighs 4.8lb (2.2kg), so it’s light and agile. It’s not too noisy, but my test model did have a high-pitched whine.

I asked my local bodyshop to try this polisher because they already use a similar mains-powered model. They found it similar to theirs and very easy to use.

Using Milwaukee car polisher on a BMW


You get what you pay for in this case. Your car’s paintwork is probably expensive to respray, so does it deserve a good-quality polisher? Only you can decide, but if you want a polisher that the professionals would be happy using, this one is worth considering.

If you already have a selection of 18V-powered Milwaukee cordless tools, then a bare polisher body is quite cheap. Otherwise, the bundle I tested is expensive, but you get a lot for your money.

See how it stacks up against its rivals in my machine polisher group test.