Milwaukee Tool has issued a brief announcement, that an M18 FUEL 21″ self-propelled mower is on the way!
Additional details and imagery are pending.
Here’s what happened – a retail store updated their signage, and there was a new Milwaukee cordless mower featured in the signage materials. As you can imagine, someone took a photo with their phone and the image then circulated via social media, prompting Milwaukee to issue a rare pre-announcement statement.
Here’s the important part:
the M18 FUEL™ 21” Self-Propelled Mower is coming! This new addition to our growing lineup of Outdoor Power Equipment will be launching in 2022.
What we know so far is that Milwaukee Tool is coming out with a mower, it has a 21″ deck, it’s self-propelled, and they are estimating a 2022 launch.
Is it powered by (1) M18 battery, or (2)? What’s the runtime like? Power? Will there be other models? All this and more will be answered in a couple of months.
…Quik-Lok attachments. They lost me for cutting grass, but I would like to ditch my Ryobi Expand-it, if Milwaukee got the common sense to release more attachments. Not like they are reinventing the wheel on those.
That is unless they come out with a zero turn rider, but I imagine that will be MX platform.
I’d like to see what’s “unmatched” about this mower beyond the scale of Milwaukee’s marketing hype. Seriously, I cannot be excited about a high power tool like a lawnmower that runs on 18V.
Milwaukee will eventually learn that big powerful tools need big powerful batteries. Oh, right, Milwaukee already knows this because they released the MX lineup. So why isn’t this an MX tool?
Cost. MX is already stratospherically expensive and there’s no way Joe/Jane homeowner is going to fork out $2-3k for an MX mower. They have an affordable 18V platform, an extremely expensive 72V platform for pros, and nothing in-between.
I’m curious to see how this mower performs, but I’m not expecting much.
philip s john
Exactly. Huge mistake at 18v for so many HO tools. They know they need a higher voltage between 18 and 70. Milw HO is the worst performing brand… where all the rest of m18 is near best.
Agreed. 18v, premium priced large Outdoor Power Equipment is going to just be an embarrassment for Milwaukee. This decision was likely not made by the engineering department.
Agree 100% I really love the quick loc Line trimmer, hedge trimmer and pole saw but cant understand why they didnt make a small tiller attachment.
because small handheld tillers are utterly pointless, and huge power consumers.
Maybe it will be Packout ready. Enable you to mount the Packout radio & Packout cooler on the mower. I wonder when a manufacturer will release a robot mower, which can run 24 hours a day? I think John Deere has one for the European market.
I don’t know about Milwaukee, but both EGO and Ryobi are working on robot mowers. 56V and 40V respectively.
Husqvarna has had a robot mower for years.
Disney Epcot had one 15+ years ago when I went.
I’m excited about this. I was hoping for this to be one of the big things last year.
In addition to this, I would love a brush-cutter attachment for the cordless trimmer. My hands and arms go numb running a gas powered weed eater to clear brush.
Would have loved this years ago, but pretty happy with my Ego 56V system. I kind of hate having three battery systems (Ego mower/edger; Greenworks every other garden tool; Milwaukee) but that’s life, I guess.
philip s john
If this runs on a single battery at 18v… you dont want this unless your yard is small and cut regularly. The issue for Milwaukee is battery compatibility from 18v to a higher voltage. For example if you have Milwaukee hand tools. They are 18v and for the mower you would need 2 12 amp bats. So one is on the charger… that’s if you care if lawn is half cut.
Considering it looks like a single battery (I think?), maybe a better question would be: Are they coming out with a super high capacity M18 battery, like DeWalt’s 15Ah monster? Maybe even higher?
I might be incorrect but the M18 6.0 HO and 8.0 HO share the same battery housing. I wouldn’t be surprised then if we see a 16.0 in the same housing as the 12.0. Although it might have cooling issues then. Also both the Packout vacuum and the chainsaw have room for a larger battery than the 12.0.
I’ve wondered if they actually have a larger battery in the works, or if they’re just future-proofing. Back when the 12.0 came out, I seem to remember Milwaukee launching a trade-in program where you could upgrade some tools at no cost to a version with a larger battery compartment. My guess is that program cost them a pretty penny, and they want to avoid that cost again by leaving even more room for batteries than should ever be necessary.
@Branden, you are correct about the 6.0Ah and 8.0Ah sharing the same housing, as they use 10 of the same size 21700 cells, just 3000mAh and 4000mAh respectively. The 12.0Ah uses 15 of the 4000mAh cells, the same cells the 8.0Ah uses. In order to make a 16.0Ah battery, it would either need to use 20 of those same cells making it 25% larger than the 12.0Ah, or to be the same size use 15 5333mAh 21700 cells. The latter don’t exist as far as I know.
There are 5000mAh cells, however. DeWalt uses 5000mAh 21700 cells in its 10.0Ah, but that battery is physically larger than their other 21700 batteries, because the 5000mAh cells require extra cooling tech to operate effectively. So, Milwaukee could make a 15 cell 15.0Ah battery with those 5000mAh cells, but it would almost certainly be larger than the 12.0Ah due to the cooling needed. Or they can follow DeWalt and make a 30 cell 18650 based 15.0Ah.
That looks like a pretty good-sized air intake on the front of that mower running to the main housing, which we usually don’t see on electric mowers at all, so that does line up with having to meet extra cooling needs. Which makes sense because at only 18V it’s going to have to run at about 2 to 3 times the current to match the power output of a 56 or 40V system.
That is the optional “Ram Air” version. They are also offering a higher end model with a spoiler, ground effects and premium wheels.
The Dewalt 15amp has 21700 cells
While I have not physically disassembled one to confirm, a DeWalt product engineer verified to me it was 30 18650s. That’s all unofficial, but based on its size I believe it.
philip s john
It a great question… but still would not perform or help Milwaukee HO tools. I know this because it doesn’t take much to trip these tools out from high heat using a 12 amph battery. This is why all the other brands have higher voltage brushess. Milwaukee stays true to 18 compatible even though battery size and users can be very different. Ex a HO 3 amph battery does nothing in the 9 in grinder or mower. A user who has small m18 hand tools and large 9 inch grinder… has alot invested already . doesn’t mind 2 lines for more volts.
only thing I’ve ever tripped out on high heat was using chainsaw on 2 foot old maple branches. Which is beyond it’s use case…
Just bought a Makita to replace an old gas mower that finally couldn’t be fixed. Love the electric. I guess I would have preferred the Milwaukee, as I have mostly bought into their battery system. However, I wanted a basic mower that was not self propelled and this Milwaukee looks like it will be quite pricey with all of the bells and whistles.
I got the craftsman v60 when they were closing them out at Lowes. For $125 you could not go wrong (v60 5AH battery). Got the 16″ chainsaw with 2.5AH battery. It is so much easier to have the boys (12 an 14 at the time) cut the grass with an electric rather than a gas mower. Only have 3 gas engines left, all a gift from dad after he passed 5 yrs ago. Walk behind tiller from lowes from 40+ years ago(Put a new HF engine on it two years ago after the piston finally gave out), power washer and a 8hp sears leaf grinder that dad modified to make compost. The expand-it Ryobi with tiller attachment is the best tool so far. I use it with 9AH 18v batteries and it last 30 minutes or more.
I’m skeptical, and it will all come down to how this mower is powered.
In my opinion 5 horsepower is marginal for a mower of this size if self-propelled. That’s approximately 3700 watts. The MX battery can handle that. The M18 batteries? Not in my opinion. They have already proven themselves to overheat when used in the bigger handheld power tools that are roughly half as powerful as this mower would need to be. If it’s MX or some kind of multiple M18 solution it could work. If it just takes one M18 batt I’m not even going to give it a sideways glance.
It’s going to come down to the runtime – if the runtime is long enough for it to easily fill the bag, then I’ll consider it good enough (especially if it comes with two batteries).
Most of Milwaukee’s other OPE seems to do good, but not great in most comparison tests I’ve seen. They always like to be the most powerful, longest running etc, etc. But have struggled quite a bit with their OPE. I think their insistance on sticking with 18v for everything will eventually prove to be short sighted.
I don’t have any gripes with the other Milwaukee OPE, I think the key difference here is simply the amount of power involved. An M18 battery has no problem taking on an application that might have had a small gas engine or ran off an extension cord like most string trimmers, hedge trimmers, blowers, or small chainsaws. But something like a self-propelled mower is in a whole different power category, and I don’t think it’s going to perform anywhere close to acceptably on M18 unless it takes multiple batts. Likewise I don’t see M18 being viable for larger brushcutters or pro model chainsaws either.
It takes thirty minutes to mow my lawn. Half of it is edging, and the rest is pushing a reel mower around. Doesn’t look like that is changing.
I would love to see some innovation for smaller lawns. American OPE is overkill for lots of people and $2300 for a scaled down commercial reel mower (with a Greenworks battery) is far too much in its own way.
I have similar needs and I got the 24V Kobalt brushless outdoor tools (string trimmer, blower and hedge trimmer) and the 40V mower. I woudln’t consider any of it overkill, its all right sized for smaller lawns. I can mow my lawn 2-3 times per charge, and the other tools share batteries so I can just swap around as needed. I’ve never had to stop work to wait for a battery to charge, I always finish up. My priority was light weight tools that are balanced, felt like many of the Dewalt and Ryobi systems had batteries that were very heavy and made one side of the tool significantly heavier than the other.
If they use a single battery the mower is gonna suck just like their chainsaw which overheats their 12amp battery so just imagine a mower which takes a lot more power to run I don’t care if they make a lager 15amp battery
it only overheats if you push it harder than you should. Have I done it? Yes. Did I blame the tool for the fact I was using it like my big Husqy? no. That was my fault.
It needs to have 2 battery slots so it can auto shift if/when needed, I’ve been waiting for this, now hurry up! Also should have single point height adjustment, steel deck, mulch, bag and side discharge, easily foldable. That’ll be a good start.
If it holds two batteries, it will probably be purely for runtime, and not add additional power.
The more I look at this the worse the numbers look.
A low-end self propelled gas mower has a 5 HP gas engine, or roughly 3700 watts.
The biggest M18 battery that I know of is 12 ah. 18 volts x 12 ah = 216 watt-hours per battery. So let’s assume for the sake of discussion that this mower is HALF the power of a gas model (1850 watts), and that it has two M18 12 AH batteries. 432 watt-hours / 1850 watts = 0.23 hours. That’s less than 15 minutes run time on two M18 batts–and remember we’re assuming only half the power of a gas mower. If it were the same power as a basic 5 HP gas mower it wouldn’t even run 7 minutes on two 12A batts. And all of this is ignoring the fact that the larger M18 batteries tend to overheat under high current draw.
I have 2 12ah batteries and have never had a thermal overload. Just saying everyone’s experience is different.
It depends on the tool being used. I’ve never had overload issues using their drills, impact drivers, sawzall, or nailers for example. I absolutely have with circular saws, 9″ abrasive cutoff saw, and angle grinders. I also had a curious experience with a stud-and-joist drill: when using selfeed bits for plumbing or electrical work I never had any issues. But when I tried using a large, long, ship auger to drill holes in an oak stump that was a different story, it would overheat after 3-4 few holes. I suspect the overload happens when one uses a high-power tool for a fairly long period of time without an opportunity for cooling, while tools like a drill or a circ saw tend to be used for a few seconds followed by a period of “off” time where the battery can cool down before they are used again.
Unfortunately a lawnmower falls into the former category: not only is it a very high power tool, but it is also consistently highly loaded. It’s not like a drill/driver where you set it down often, a mower is constantly chugging along without opportunity for breaks.
Now they could easily put some kind of cooling fan in the mower, that could go a long way to address overheating issues, but that’s really just icing on the cake at that point. Even if we ignore overheating concerns the expected runtime is abysmal, and that’s even assuming *half* the power of a cheap gas mower.
Let’s say they came out with 20A batts and we maintain the assumption that it’s only half as powerful as a basic gas mower: 18v x 20 A = 360 watt-hours each battery
x2 batteries = 720 watt-hours total
/1850 watts = .389 hours = 23 minutes
So even if they came out with brand new (and surely expensive) batteries the runtime and power numbers still look miserable.
I agree with you in principle, but the fact is we do not know how much power these mowers actually draw. I have the DeWalt 21″ self-propelled mower, and it is powered by 360Wh of juice (2x10Ah), and I get wayyy more than 23 minutes of use you estimate. I have about 12,500sq ft of actual lawn, and it takes me around 40 minutes to mow, and when I am done I still have 2 bars left when the grass is dry. When I was first testing/reviewing the mower I was even able to do it on 2x6Ah batteries, and that’s only 216Wh (same as the M18 12.0Ah).
If it is indeed a single battery mower and they do not release a higher Ah battery, I would be willing to bet the 12.0Ah is enough juice for around 35 minutes runtime and 1/4 acre (10,000sqft) on a well maintained lawn. Heat will definitely be an issue though. A 2x system would certainly be better, but I don’t know if Milwaukee is ready to cross that bridge yet.
You’re 100% correct that we don’t know how powerful the mower is. They could certainly have some tricks up their sleeve to improve runtime. It might be strictly a bag model without the power to mulch. It might have a relatively slow speed so as to reduce the load on the motor, and so on. But I think we know enough to say that it probably won’t perform all that well because whatever they do to increase runtime must, mathematically, also lower its power which was already disappointing to begin with under my assumption.
Personally I find a 5HP mower to be underperforming, so even if this thing cranked out a full 3700 watts (double the estimates in my math) I still wouldn’t be very happy with it. And there’s no way it’s going to be close to that. If they’re trying to get a longer runtime then their only option is to make the tool even less powerful in an attempt to do so. If anything it will likely be less powerful than my “half a gas mower” estimate.
Now of course people’s mowing needs vary greatly by the area of their yard and its conditions. Some grass is a lot tougher than other kinds, some people have small yards that can be mowed in 10 minutes while others need riders or perhaps even a tractor. It may well be adequate for a lot of people but it in no way will match a standard 5HP mower if it’s running on one or two M18 batteries.
Ego is one of the better cordless mowers and they use a 56v 5.0ah battery in their 21″ mower with a advertised 45 minute run time that’s 280 watt-hours. A 16ah 18v battery could produce more watt-hours than that (288) so while the 12ah battery currently available doesn’t quite cut it I definitely think a larger battery will be introduced that will push the mower specs into a competitive runtime. It’s absolutely achievable and I highly doubt Milwaukee is going to introduce something that is subpar.
For the homeowner the lawn mower is often the first piece of OPE they purchase which leads them to other OPE within that battery platform. Milwaukee understands this very well. It can be categorized as a “gateway” tool, just like the drill, only for OPE. Clearly doable, and a very important “tool” to get right, I’m hoping the long delay in introducing a mower from Milwaukee was to ensure when they did it would be a hit or homerun for them. So hearing they are deep into the prototyping, testing means they think they can produce that product. After all, this isn’t some small after thought from a marginal company.
I wonder about the “gateway” aspect just because of the prices. From my armchair, I would have guessed the string trimmers would be most people’s first OPE purchase. Plus, battery-powered handheld OPE seems more advantageous.
I certainly like not starting and stopping, maintaining or refueling my chainsaw or blower and its nice to have less noise. Sure, you get those same advantages with a mower, but a mower probably doesn’t start and stop as often.
I also think that if a mower were the “drill” of OPE, Milwaukee would have started with it instead of releasing all the other stuff first.
I hope it takes two batteries, but if not I predict a new 20ah battery included. Four rows of 5ah cells. Probably the same size or smaller than the new Dewalt 15ah.
I’m heavily invested in M18 tools and have a bunch of batteries as well as their other OPE tools. I planned on jumping on the lawnmower as soon as it was announced but then Toro released both mowers and snow blowers that essentially are the chassis from the gas equivalent, just with an electric motor fitted. The cut quality of the Toro super recycler is too good to ignore and all reviews of their new 60v super recycler mower seem to indicate it’s much better than the other batter options.
Will be interested to see how the Milwaukee mower works in the real world. For me though it was too tempting to get the gas cut quality in a battery mower and I ordered the Toro this week. The icing on the cake was their single stage snow blower, which also receives a lot of praise. I ordered one of those as well just so that I’d get the better pricing on the kit with the battery. Now I’ll have two of their 60 volt 7.5 AH batteries. Very much looking forward to not having to service the carburetor every other year on the gas tools, despite always taking proper storage precautions. Especially the snow blower, a tool that in Chicago, may see 3 uses a year or have to be taken out once a week. Not to mention the noise reduction for those first thing in the morning or late in the evening uses.
They have to come up with a bigger battery, as their most powerful 12.0 isn’t enough even for the cut-off saw. It overheating fast and lasts for cutting 3-4 retaining wall blocks which is quite annoying. So it should be either two battery powerplant, one battery could be dedicated to run the mover and another one to run the blade, or they must have a larger capacity battery coming, which will not break the average Joe bank.
Are all of these different brand of battery powered self propelled mowers front wheel drive?
Yaaay! Another dinky cordless mower. Why are all these cordless mowers topping out at 21”? Does everyone have really small lawns? I wouldn’t be able to mow my lawn with a single charge and I live in suburbia. Call me when someone finally makes an adult version.
Seriously, though, why not make a 24” mower?
Power. The math just doesn’t work out. There’s not enough energy stored in M18 batteries to make a powerful enough mower with a reasonable runtime unless you slap several batteries in the mower at once and that’s just impractical.
I look at the current mower situation like the cordless drill situation 30 years ago–still in its infancy. Right now cordless mowers are wimpy compared to their traditional counterparts, but give it time and once we have bigger/better batteries electric mowers will outperform their traditional equivalents. We’re just not there yet.
For what it’s worth, I think Greenworks has introduced a 25″ cordless mower. I expect other brands to follow if it’s successful. If Ego were to come out with a 25″ or 28″ mower, I think that would convince me to make the switch to cordless.
Larger mowers are practical with bigger batteries. Greenworks uses 60 Volt batts IIRC, and Ego uses 56. The limiting factor with Milwaukee is the M18 size battery. Get rid of that (say with the MX platform, for example) and it becomes a lot more viable.
I’d caution you to look at all the specs though, not just width. A mower can be made wider, but travel at a slower forward speed. That makes it look at first glace as better than a narrower model while in reality the two would cut the exact same number of square feet of grass per charge. Power is a better measure of how much grass you can cut in a given time than width of the mower is.
Milwaukee might be using 2 18 volt batteries in series, now you have 36 volts.