M12 Heated AXIS vs. M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL Milwaukee Heated Vest

Each Milwaukee heated vest will provide you a wide assortment of benefits. But which one is the best option for you?


As a construction worker, you know that nothing is worse than being cold on your jobsite. After all, once you become chilled, it’s extremely difficult to overcome all of the discomforts associated with low body temperatures.

Thankfully, as technology continues to advance, more and more heated workwear items are becoming readily available. Recently, one type of heated workwear item has steadily gained popularity on jobsites around the world though: vests. The primary reason? They’ll help you remain warm for hours on end without being overly bulky, allowing you to wear more layers whenever necessary.

Although Milwaukee is primarily known for its hand and power tools, it has recognized the significance—and likely continuous popularity—of heated vests. Currently, the manufacturer offers two types of heated vests to choose from: the M12 Heated AXIS and the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL.

To determine which one is potentially the most ideal for you, IRONPROS analyzed the benefits of each, resulting in the following conclusions.

Interior Lining: M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL

Unlike the M12 Heated AXIS, the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL has an interior lining, which enhances its ability to transfer heat to your chest, one of its two heating zones. As a result, your chest will be heated quickly, time after time, leading to long-term comfort as you conduct your job tasks in cold, wet conditions. Due to this lining, the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL stands out from the M12 Heated AXIS, when it comes to interior heat.

Kit Options: M12 Heated AXIS

However, the M12 Heated AXIS provides an option that the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL doesn’t—the ability to purchase it as a kit offering. By buying the M12 Heated AXIS Kit, you’ll acquire an M12 REDLITHIUM CP2.0 Battery and an M12 Lithium-ion Battery Charger, along with the vest itself and an M12 Battery Holder. Consequently, you won’t have to worry about purchasing the battery or battery charger separately, thereby saving you time so that you can focus on other tasks instead. Of equal importance, you may save some money too, as separate purchases of each item might cost more money than the kit itself.

Weight: M12 Heated AXIS

Furthermore, the M12 Heated AXIS only weighs 1.9 pounds, compared to the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL, which weighs 2.1 pounds. Although this slight weight difference may not appear to be noteworthy at first glance, it certainly can be if you’re wearing a few layers of clothes and carrying a toolbelt or other items. Aside from its slight weight reduction, the M12 Heated AXIS is longer and wider than the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL, leading to more flexibility, concerning its size and how many workers can wear it.

Protection from Tears: M12 Heated AXIS

Comprised of AXIS Ripstop polyester fabric, the M12 Heated AXIS, in turn, minimizes—if not completely prevents—the likelihood of tears spreading if it happens to rip in any spot. By substantially reducing or even preventing tear spreads, you’ll be able to maintain heat within the vest, ensuring you remain fully protected from whichever elements you’re encountering outside. Additionally, the vest will retain its full form, as it won’t have any missing pieces or holes, enabling it to warm your chest and back as well as it did when you first purchased it.

Stretchability: M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL

On the other hand, M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL is more stretchable than the M12 Heated AXIS, as it’s comprised of 90% polyester and 10% spandex. Compared to the M12 Heated AXIS, which is comprised of 100% polyester, the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL will enable you to move around more easily on your jobsite, whether you have to bend, kneel or stretch regularly. And, as you know, the more flexibility you can have while working, especially as you wear multiple layers, the more likely you are to achieve high productivity.


Although there are certainly some key differences between the M12 Heated AXIS and the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL, both of the offerings are quite similar to one another, too. For example, they both have Quick Heat functionalities, which enable them to heat up three times faster than many other vests can. Featuring a one-touch LED controller that has three heat settings (Low, Medium and High) each vest will allow you place its battery in either its front or back pocket as well, resulting in long-term comfort.

Offering four pockets, wind and water resistance and six sizes to choose from (small to 3X), each vest can operate for up to 8 hours at a time, due to its battery. Finally, you’ll never have to worry about damaging your M12 Heated AXIS or M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL vest, as they can both be cleaned in your washer and dryer.

Winner: M12 Heated AXIS

Without question, both of these vests are great options, as either of them will provide you the protection you need, especially in the midst of winter. You’ll be fully guarded from the elements, while receiving plenty of storage space, long run times and variety, concerning sizes.

Despite the wide array of similarities between the two vests, the M12 Heated AXIS stands out from the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL, if ever so slightly. First, it’s slightly lighter, while offering more flexibility, concerning how many people can wear it, due to its increased length and width, than the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL does. Second, it prevents the spread of tears, leading to durability and longer lifespans. And third, since it’s available as a kit, the M12 Heated AXIS provides a couple more benefits than the M12 Heated TOUGHSHELL offers.

But don’t take our word for it only. Please conduct your own research and choose the vest that’s the most ideal for you, your jobsites and your unique requirements. You’ll likely be very pleased with either option!

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