Bosch just wrapped up their virtual media event, and there are some interesting new tools on the way, many of which we already posted introductory content for here on ToolGuyd.
Bosch Profactor, their next generation of cordless power tools product family was the spotlight of the event.
One of the things they said was about how they don’t want users to have to juggle multiple cordless power tool battery platforms on the jobsite.
That’s a good user-friendly goal, for one battery to fit all tools.
The quote isn’t exact, until I can review a recording of the virtual event, but “the same battery that powers your FREAK” can also work with the new Profactor tools.
The 4Ah CORE18V battery should be considered as “a spare tire to help you finish the job.” Bosch recommends their Profactor batteries to be used with Profactor tools.
The mention of the compact 4Ah as being akin to a “spare tire,” used in a pinch if needed, was repeated at the end of the segment.
The 12Ah battery is a “Profactor exclusive,” and the language suggested it’s only compatible with Profactor tools.
Profactor batteries are recommended for use with Profactor tools, as it unlocks their top performance.
The Bosch Profactor cordless power tools can be used with all of their 18V batteries, but it was emphasized that these tools are really optimized for the newer breed of higher performing CORE18V and Profactor batteries.
They repeated again that the 12Ah Profactor battery is exclusively for Profactor tools. This is “not a battery for your FREAK,” due to the size and weight.
The sweet spot is said to be the 8Ah Profactor battery.
From all this, it seems that users don’t have to juggle multiple battery systems, if they’re willing to fully upgrade to the newer Bosch CORE18V and Profactor batteries.
Otherwise, if you’ve got some Bosch 18V batteries that aren’t ideally recommended for the Profactor tools, and others that are like a “spare tire,” and then a Profactor-exclusive high capacity battery that Bosch suggests won’t work with their non-Profactor tools, won’t all that require some juggling and conscious user attention?
The reality is that you can’t just power any 18V cordless power tool with any 18V battery, but I got the feeling that Bosch was emphasizing their benefit over competing systems.
I can see why Bosch might emphasize “one platform” around CORE18V, but what about18V SlimPack and FatPack batteries, or the Profactor-exclusive 12Ah battery? Bosch isn’t moving entirely to CORE18V batteries, are they?
Bosch came out with a new 18V brushless FREAK impact kit in 2020, and also a new 18V brushless drill/driver. Those tools are kitted with 2.0Ah SlimPack batteries. Can you use that battery in Profactor tools? It was suggested that such a pairing would be less than ideal and maybe even recommended against. It was also suggested that the 12Ah Profactor-exclusive battery wouldn’t work here. Sure, the ergonomics would be way off, but does this mean it wouldn’t work in a pinch?
There are some compact tools, such as LED worklights, where a higher capacity battery provides runtime benefits without being burdensome. Will the 12Ah Profactor-exclusive battery not work here? Why?
Bosch discussed new ECO mode features that extend runtime, and they compared it to the automatic ECO mode that’s available in a lot of cars these days. This is an interesting feature that I was hoping to learn more about.
The runtime-extending effect makes sense, but I got the sense that the ECO mode isn’t automatic in these tools.
Some cars have a 6-cylinder engine that switches to a 4-cylinder mode to maximize gas mileage when full power isn’t needed. Other cars have engines that essentially turn off at red lights and when idling, to avoid burning gas when it’s not needed. There are these and other gas mileage-extending features in most modern cars.
But here, it’s not clear as to whether or not the ECO mode is a user-selectable option or if it’s toggled via automatic-sensing. Either way, is this a feature that users would be happy to pay a bigger premium for?
I had hoped for greater insights from the presentation. For example, Bosch touted that their cordless track saw is more compact that a competitor’s 2-battery system, but they didn’t talk about how it achieved this – with a smaller blade size – or the big question I was looking for – why the smaller blade size?
The virtual media event didn’t have any real product demonstrations, meaning there wasn’t any footage of the tools in action or compared against competing products.
Bosch says they didn’t want to follow competitors’ leads, but isn’t that what they did here? Milwaukee has M18 Fuel tools that work best with their High Output batteries, and Dewalt also has 20V Max PowerDetect tools that work better with their higher capacity batteries. There’s also Dewalt FlexVolt.
If the Bosch 12Ah Profactor Exclusive battery is in fact exclusive to Profactor tools, that’s unfortunate, but I can understand why. Milwaukee’s largest M18 batteries don’t fit all of their tools, but they’ve upgraded most to allow for it. Bosch might not want or be able to do that, and so maybe it’s easier to make the larger 12Ah battery exclusive to new Profactor tools.
The approach Dewalt has taken, their Flexvolt batteries can work with 20V Max cordless power tools, but 20V Max batteries won’t work with FlexVolt cordless power tools. This means that there are no “spare tire-like” batteries to limp through tasks, allowing FlexVolt tools to be designed exclusively around FlexVolt batteries.
Let me say this – the Bosch Profactor system of next-generation higher powered cordless power tools is interesting and definitely welcome. I wish I understood their approach a bit better, but maybe that just takes time.
Maybe now that they’ve officially launched the Profactor system, Bosch will be able to answering some of the questions I’ve asked and some new ones that have come up.
What questions do YOU have about the Bosch Profactor system?
Here’s some of our other Bosch Profactor tool coverage:
Also Launching Soon: