At breakfast, a Milwaukee brand manager sat at our table, and started building our excitement for the day.
I don’t remember the exact context, but I vaguely remember myself and Ben chiming in with “voltage” when asked about higher tool power, or something of the sort. Forgive me, it’s been an exhausting day.
“Voltage isn’t everything.”
True. But to get to next-gen cordless power tool capabilities with M18 or other 18V-class battery packs, you’d need extreme thermal management and wires the size of my pinky finger. Right?
And then BOOM, we’re told that the next leap forward in the Milwaukee cordless power tools family was going to be M18 High Output battery packs and a new range of tools that can fully take advantage of them.
There was a lot going on at the NPS18 media event. New tools to demo, lots of photos to take, tons of questions to ask.
I made it my mission to understand the new High Output tech as thoroughly as possible.
First, the claims are bold. 100’s of amps? The tools and battery packs can handle peaks of hundreds of amps? I didn’t get a hard number, but was given the impression that the new Milwaukee M18 High Output tools and battery packs could handle extremely high power output.
There will be new M18 XC 6.0Ah battery, and an M18 HD 12.0Ah battery pack. Why not 8.0Ah XC battery? That’s one of the questions I forgot to ask.
There were several demos, pitting the new Milwaukee M18 High Output tools against competing offerings. In one demo, there was a corded circular saw, a competitors’ 60V Max cordless circular saw, and the new M18 Fuel circular saw. The M18 Fuel saw, paired with a High Output battery pack blew the others away.
Seeing is believing, or at least it’s a start.
How? How can they do this? How can an M18 battery pack power an M18 tool at a level that doesn’t seem possible?
We talked details, a few times, and here’s the gist of it: Milwaukee’s product designers and engineers paid extreme attention to all details.
I can’t tell you some of those details, as they could reveal too much to competitors. Seriously.
The details made sense. Small but significant optimizations stack together to get there, providing big benefits and potential. Maybe we can talk more about those details, but I’ll have to hold off a little.
The levels of power output that we were talking about are not possible with current generations of 18V-class battery packs and tools. So, Milwaukee designed new batteries and tools.
Why? Why not go to a 2-battery system? Because it can be clunky and unfriendly to users. 2 battery packs on the end of a saw? Angle grinder?
Go higher voltage? Milwaukee is seeking to save their users’ time and effort. So why put more time back into tool usage by introducing a new battery system that’s not fully compatible with M18?
See, I told you that full M18 compatibility was important to them!
You can use the new M18 High Output batteries with all M18 tools, unless there’s a physical incompatibility.
You can use M18 XC battery packs in the new heaviest duty cordless tools. We talked a little about performance, but the bottom line is that you can use other battery packs together with the current breed of High Output M18 Fuel tools.
I saw it with my own 2 eyes. We paired several of the new M18 Fuel tools with both battery types, and there were few perceivable differences..
Tool performance will depend on the application, but you CAN use a non-High Output battery packs in the new breed of highest performance tools.
I cannot even begin to think about the potential this brings. Milwaukee is keeping other battery form factor options on the table, but for M18 High Output, this is just the start.
They made a VERY compelling case for the new M18 High Output battery packs, and the new Fuel brushless power tools designed to take advantage of their superior power delivery ceiling.
Here’s how the new battery packs compare in size against other M18 batteries.
With these new releases, Milwaukee has defied our expectations, bending conventional engineering limitations and outright breaking our assumptions. I was impressed with what I saw, and are excited not just for these new launches, but for what the next year or two (or more) of added developments that will follow in their wake.
Prepare to be impressed.