Milwaukee has officially announced their new Milwaukee M18 Fuel backpack vacuum, which we previewed at their NPS18 media event, including more details and specs.
They are calling this a 3-in-1 vacuum because there are three ways to carry it: a removable harness, a handle, and an integrated hook. The vacuum can be worn like a backpack, but with a click of a button you can remove the harness and carry it around by the handle. Finally, the hook can be used to hang the vacuum on ladders, scaffolding, or any 2x lumber.
Let’s look at the relevant specs:
- Brushless motor
- Cyclonic design
- 25 minutes on high, 40 minutes on low (with 9.0 Ah battery)
- 15.25 pounds
- 55 CFM
- 76″ water lift
- 159 air Watts
- 76 dB(A)
- 1 gallon capacity
- HEPA Filter
- 25″ – 40″ extension wand
- Onboard accessory storage
The “power” specifications stated above may lead to some confusion. Max CFM and max water lift specs are not measured at the same time. Milwaukee does give an air Watts spec though, which is defined as (CFM * inches of water)/8.5.
Doing the math, if you are at a pressure of 30″ of water lift, you’ll ideally get closer to 45 CFM, but in reality it’s probably lower.
Milwaukee says that the vacuum can run for up to 25 minutes on high and over 40 on low when paired with a 9.0 Ah battery. You can see above that the battery compartment can surely handle a 12.0 Ah battery and probably an even larger battery if Milwaukee decides to make one.
The vacuum can handle drywall dust, concrete dust, wood/metal shavings, and most other debris you’d expect a vacuum could. Speaking of concrete dust, Milwaukee partnered with Industrial Hygiene Sciences, LLC to test the vacuum for specific OSHA applications and durations (PDF link).
Above is a closer look at the hook, which retracts into the vacuum when it’s not needed. There’s also a strap connected to it, presumably to prevent the vacuum from accidentally being knocked off. Also notice the on-board extension wand storage.
Speaking of storage, here’s a better shot of how the accessories store on the vacuum. The crevice tool and the dust extraction adapter have spaces on the lower backpack harness.
From pre-order pages, it looks like the M18 Fuel backpack vacuum is going to come with the vacuum, HEPA filter, flexible hose, telescoping extension wand, floor tool, crevice tool, and dust extraction adapter. You can either buy the bare tool (0885-20) for $299, or the kit (0885-21HD) with 9.0Ah battery and rapid charger for $449.
Milwaukee will also sell replacement HEPA Filters (49-90-1963) and a 9′ accessory hose (49-90-1964).
Available: Sept. 2018
Price: $299 for the bare tool, $449 for the kit
First off, let’s link to their official video, which, between the marketing and testimonials, shows several aspects of the vacuum’s operation. I’ll start the link at 15 seconds in to bypass some of the marketing.
At first you can see the floor tool and the crevice tool being used, and then they show how the wand extends. They also show how you can use the vacuum as a backpack, how the harness is removed, and several different scenarios where you could hang it up. Around 53 seconds they show the filter being replaced, the canister being emptied, and the canister replaced into the vacuum. You can stop watching after that.
My first impression of the vacuum at NPS was how quiet it was, but the 76dBA noise spec is not very interesting without a distance. I heard it with my own ears though and I suspect it’s in that range about a meter away. We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on one to put this to the test.
Stuart’s Note: It’s not just Ben, I was also extremely surprised about how quiet the vacuum was. It was not at all as noisy or shrill and most of the vacuums I’ve used before.
I’m really interested how well this vacuum will handle carpets. In their video they show somebody using the vacuum with a crevice tool over low pile carpet. One problem I’ve had with other cordless vacs is they don’t have enough suction to dislodge sawdust from carpets. This is a particular nuisance for me because I have to clean up the sawdust I track on my carpeted basement stairs after I’ve been in and out of my shop. I’ve only ever had any luck getting the stuck sawdust out with a corded vacuum.