Hitachi has come out with a new compact 18V 3.0Ah Li-ion battery pack. I believe this is the first professional cordless power tool brand to come out with a compact pack of this size. Most other brands have topped out at 2.5Ah.
This isn’t huge news. Some brands have come out with 6.0Ah high capacity packs, others are working on higher capacity battery packs using a different base cell form factor, for higher performance.
But I believe this is the first time I’ve seen the 3.0Ah cells used in a compact battery pack.
You’ll spend more on a compact 3.0Ah pack than a high capacity 3.0Ah pack. And that compact pack might not be as capable when powering high powered tools.
A high capacity battery pack has 2 sets of batteries, raising the amount of power a tool motor can draw. A compact battery pack has 1 set of batteries, and while still very capable, the power ceiling will be lower. This is true for most brands, and I’m assuming it’s true for Hitachi as well.
When paired with a compact drill, LED worklight, or a heavy duty tool used for lighter duty tasks, you should likely see comparable runtime to a 3.0Ah high capacity battery pack, or 2x the runtime of a compact 1.5Ah pack. Again, this is based on my understanding of 18V battery pack engineering and technologies.
Bottom line: With these new packs you get higher battery capacity and longer runtime, but without the size and weight of a higher capacity battery pack.
$100 for 1 $39 each
ETA: September 2016
Buy Now(3.0Ah battery via Amazon)
I was looking forward to compact 3.0 for M18 or 20v Max but, not only have I not seen any announcements, I also worry about voltage drop and lower discharge rates compared to the 2.0 cells. 6.0 have double the cells to mitigate this issue, I don’t believe 3.0 compacts with 5 cells will power a circular saw or reciprocating saw as well as a 3.0 10 cell pack, so higher capacity compact packs are less appealing.
M12 is a different story. The compact 3.0 is appealing for heated hoodies and jackets.
And let me guess: like every other Hitachi battery, there is no battery life indicator on it to be found. This is becoming beyond frustrating as I think Hitachi is now the only power tool brand along with Porter-Cable and Black and Decker to not have indicator lights on their batteries. What’s the story?
Hitachi has to be the most frustrating power tool company, maybe even moreso than Bosch. They come out with some incredibly innovative and even class-leading power tools and accessories, but they don’t bother with battery gauges and most of their premium offerings stay overseas. It’s a shame as their tools offer superb ergonomics and power.
Exactly. Had it not been for their stubborn tendency to neglect the US market (and the idiotic lack of a battery gauge) I would have expanded my Hitachi collection. The other thing that really got on my nerves was their maintaining two separate and incompatible 18V li-ion lines at the same damned time – one with legacy compatible “post top” batteries, and another with me-too “slide top” batteries. Eventually, I gave my collection of 4 Hitachi tools to a family member, and switched out to another brand. It’s a crying shame because Hitachi has had some very nice innovations, including a microprocessor controlled pulse driver.
I hear you! Hitachi really got my hopes up this past year with some really nice new products, like their excellent Bluetooth radio, brushless oscillating tools, a brushless grinder, and a variety of innovative work lights. Then they came out with some truly top-of-the-field, industry-leading brushless tools (such as their most-powerful in the field hammer drill, and an impact driver that rated best in-class in a competition that included the latest from Milwaukee, DeWalt, and Makita’s most recent offerings) and…nothing whatsoever over here. Their marketing is non-existent and their Facebook page here in the states reflects just how far behind they are. They’re proudly showing off their US brushed products that are roughly on par with Porter-Cable’s 20v Max line…give me a break. And it can’t be emphasize enough…
A frustrated US tool owner.
Hitachi has been putting the battery life indicator on the tools themselves for quite awhile… My brushless drill, jigsaw, grinder, and impact all have it.
For what it’s worth, my hitachi tools continue to impress me. I build high end automation equipment and machine tools which requires a broad range of tasks for my tools. I bought my first hitachi 18v slide lithium drill over 5 years ago and continued to buy hitachi since.
I’ve used Milwaukee and Dewalt quite extensively. Dewalt is one you can’t really go wrong, but I’ve found myself disappointed with power and chucks with the Dewalts. Milwaukee Fuel series makes me salivate and I’ve always had it in my head that when/if my hitachi tools disappoint I would switch to red. I even have the 46″ Milwaukee tool chest combo that would match.
I’m half surprised that hasn’t happened. I purchased the big DS18DBL brushless to take over daily duty from my 5 year old DS18DSAL hitachi. Supposedly a lighter duty drill, I still find myself reaching for that thing. Gobs of power in such a small package and insanely tough.
Just before I purchased the larger hammer drill, I was faced with a task that would require a cool down period at least a few times for any drill you cared not to burn up. Knowing I was in the market for a new drill and was curious how much abuse my aging hitachi could take, I pushed it through the whole job. It got to the point that the drill was so hot, I could no longer hold it wearing my utility gloves. After switching to a fresh battery and thicker gloves, I kept going. By the time was finished, the glue that holds the green rubber to the case had failed; it was HOT! But no smoke, and only a very faint burning smell and a small loss of power. After cooling down, I pulled the brushes (original) and they still had plenty of life. I glued the rubber back on and it was as strong as ever. Truly the most impressive thing I’ve seen with power tool.
” Truly the most impressive thing I’ve seen with power tool.” Not so fast my friend, my Hitachi dh24pc3 was diving for aprox. 7 – 8 hours due to a small flood in my hometown… I regrease it and is still strong till this day, starting to show his age, small grease leaks; but definetelly a champion… That was 8 years ago…
Too bad a bunch of tools never made it here… Im forced to buy a ton of bosch stuff these days…
Im in the same boat, hitachi and bosch just forgot this continent completely, actually I am in Mexico… So much innovation in other markets and nothing here, NADA…
Without a battery charge level indicator, I would not even take into consideration, buying Hitachi tools!
Looks like Hitachi will start offering 18V 5.0 Ah battery packs soon!
I thought they were out a while ago, and Hitachi also offers 6.0Ah.
I don’t know when 5.0Ah came out, but it’s referenced in the manual for the charger that was bundled with the drill kit mentioned last year, when 6.0Ah was introduced:
The 3.0 came out years ago, like over 5 years, so it’s not a stretch to believe they’ve halved the size in that period. In fact, this is a half of the 6.0 battery that has been recently released, and definitely outperforms the 5.0 which I have a few of. I really like the idea of extra capacity. I recently added a 2.5 in the smaller case size, and I love it. The compact 3.0 will be perfect for the line trimmer IMO. I have the 2.5 on mine at present, and it works fine, but the extra capacity would never hurt. As far as battery level goes, I just run them out, as I always have spares fully charged. I never check the battery level meter, it’s gimmick for people with too much time on their hands!