Milwaukee has announced a new RedLithium USB 3.0Ah battery (48-11-2131), which provides up to 20% greater charge capacity compared to their existing 2.5Ah battery (48-11-2130).
A 20% boost in runtime seems like a small upgrade, but can be very meaningful to users, especially considering the types of products currently available as part of the Milwaukee RedLithium USB cordless tools and lighting system:
- USB Rechargeable 700L Flashlight
- USB Rechargeable Low-Profile Headlamp
- USB Rechargeable Pivoting Flashlight
- USB Rechargeable ROVER Pivoting Flood Light
- USB Rechargeable Hard Hat Headlamp
- USB Rechargeable ROVER Pocket Flood Light
- USB Rechargeable BEACON Hard Hat Light
- USB Rechargeable Heated Gloves
- REDSTICK Digital Levels w/ PIN-POINT Measurement
The USB Rechargeable part might seem redundant (I copied the list from Milwaukee press materials), but emphasizes the dual-charging capability of these batteries. You can charge the battery in-tool, or in a separate charger.
Let’s consider the 700L LED flashlight. When operated at high power, it delivers 700 lumens for up to 4.5 hours. At low, it can deliver 100 lumens for up to 16 hours. That’s all with the existing 2.5Ah battery.
An up to 20% bump-up in runtime would in theory upgrade the 700L’s runtime to up to 5.4 hours on high, and up to 19.2 hours on low. That would up to nearly an hour longer runtime at high brightness mode, or more than three additional hours at low brightness.
Recharging the new battery should take a little longer as well, but so far I haven’t heard or experienced any concerns or disappointments with RedLithium USB charging speeds.
Milwaukee priced the new RedLithium USB 3.0Ah battery at $24, compared to the $19 price of the existing 2.5Ah battery. This corresponds to an up to 20% boost in runtime at ~26% greater cost, which seems to be a close enough balance.
At this time, it looks like the 3.0Ah battery option is an optional accessory, and so the 2.5Ah battery should still be available at its lower price. I also wouldn’t expect to see any of the current kit bundles or configurations change. We’re double-checking with Milwaukee just to be certain.
I wonder if we’ll hear about any more RedLithium USB launches this year. If allowed to guess, I would say that Milwaukee’s momentum makes that a strong possibility. What kinds of RedLithium USB tools, accessories, or additional lighting products might take advantage of the up to 20% increase in charge capacity this 3.0Ah battery brings to the table?
Then again, even in the absence of any expanded offerings, 20% longer runtime would still be a boon for RedLithium USB flashlight and headlamp users.
ETA: May 2020
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Note: It does look like the 2.5Ah battery is out of stock at several retailers, but it does not appear to be discontinued at this time.
5 Reasons Milwaukee RedLithium USB LED Flashlights are Awesome
The gloves look nice, socks or insoles would be awesome. Amazon is full of cheap imported rechargeable socks with bad reviews. Maybe more of a simple heat pad with wire to battery that you could clip in place. So you could put pad where you get cold (in shoes, back of neck, other gloves, stocking cap, maybe even my sore lower back?). Probably too far out of their main target.
Oh great, now I need to buy more batteries! The 2.5 batts have decent runtime for me in my flashlights but I still want these 3.0s! Haha. At least the price is fair.
Buy 18650 batteries, and heard lamps. Let these sit on the shelf, this is a bad product that should be stricken from the red catalog. Olight is a good version of this https://www.olightstore.com/
Nitcore is another one. both are pro-grade tools at pro-grade price, made to stand up to use. I have had both of these for years. When the gloves came out I took a long look at them, but for 2.5 heated jackets money, I though they might be a little expensive. I hoped they would deliver more, but I am a no.
Just because it’s not right for YOU, that doesn’t mean it’s not right for others.
The RedLithium USB lighting products are an option. Users who want something more customizable can always seek out other products and 18650 battery systems.
Which 18650 batteries? Which charger? Uh-oh, your buddy borrowed your battery and never gave it back. You need a replacement today – where can you buy an 18650 battery locally?
There are pros and cons to both approaches. Ultimately, the more options there are to suit different needs and wants, the better.
They are the same batteries, red lithium are 18650s except they cost more.
Not exactly, RedLithium USB aren’t just wrapped 18650 cells, they’re encased and with redirected contacts.
It doesn’t matter that RedLithium USB batteries are built with 18650 cells. My point is that you can buy RedLithium USB batteries at Home Depot and other suppliers that carry Milwaukee RedLithium products.
With RedLithium USB, you don’t have to research max current discharge specs or charging specs in order to match a capable-enough battery to the device in question.
As I said, there are pros and cons to both options.
I know it can be tough, but try to be open to and understand the benefits for users who don’t share in your preference for bare 18650 cell-based worklights.
No offense, but I think you may a little too attached to this red lithium idea. You seem to be taking any criticisms of these products almost as a personal affront. The argument that others are making is completely valid (overpriced and proprietary).
The argument that you are making is also completely valid (simplified and straight forward design for consumers).
I get both arguments, but you seem to be highly against everyone else’s opinion when it comes to anyone’s dislike to these Milwaukee 18650’s. Your replies come across as almost hostile in the way you disagree with others.
I feel you may have read too many LED light forums where they all say there is only “ONE” charger that is good enough and only Samsung or LG cells are worthy. They tend to act like anything else is a literal bomb that will kill you and your family as soon as you go to bed.
18650’s are really not much more difficult than every other rechargeable battery, just stick with reputable brands. These should be good for most people.
Decent battery review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMZuHMlRw_0
I am a huge Milwaukee fanboy and my garage is a sea of red, but I still think these red-lithium’s are too expensive and proprietary for most users.
I would enjoy a write-up/review/opinion piece from you if you’d compare these to legit 18650’s (value, convenience, accessibility). Maybe it can be used as a reference later vs trying to make a point to individuals that say the same thing every time.
I wouldn’t say I’m too attached to the products, it just gets frustrating after a while to encounter strong bias or preferential-based comments such as “this is a bad product that should be stricken from the red catalog” that are borne from strong personal preferences.
RedLithium USB is not a bad product. Bad for them? Sure. But to say it’s simply bad for everyone and shouldn’t exist?
Their other part, that followed my comment, could be misleading (perhaps not by intent, but in how it could be interpreted), and I felt compelled to clarify.
I really didn’t anticipate this discussion coming up today, but I guess I should prepare for it anytime I post about RedLithium USB.
The comparison between RedLithium USB and discrete 18650 systems gets messy fast. While there are some overlapping solutions, there are also unique ones.
The monetary cost of entry is lower for *some* 18650-based LED flashlights, but the time and effort cost is much higher. 18650-based lighting products can carry different power requirements, resulting in a need for knowledgeable matching between device and 18650 cell. Olight, for example, has different requirements for different lights, and cheaper lower-drain cells aren’t going to cut it.
I haven’t bought into 18650 lighting just yet, as my needs are met by the abundance of flashlights and headlamps I already have. Once I find something that will better suit my needs or wants, I absolutely wouldn’t hesitate to buy one.
At this time, you can buy a RedLithium USB rover pocket flood light for $60, including a battery, and it’s eligible for a free USB charger and extra battery. So that’s the light with its internal charger, (2) batteries, and an external charger that doubles as a battery bank, for $60. Olight doesn’t make anything similar, but if you want a starter kit, a well-regarded LED flashlight like the S2R Baton II is priced at $70, with an extra battery priced at $15. Getting started with Nitecore would cost ~$85 at the least. A Fenix starter combo would cost ~$90. These are from quick looks at brand pages and Amazon.
I’ll give a comparison post some thought as to how I could/would approach it – thanks! But at this time, that probably won’t happen until/if I try a couple of brands and options out. I have been looking for a better 18650 charger (I bought something back in November that takes high-drain 18650 cells and the included charger is junky), and so perhaps that’ll be a good place to start.
Not really the same batteries as Stuart has pointed out. In fact, I agree with you that O Light makes some great lights, but even some of those have proprietary 18650 cells that can be directly charged using a micro-USB cable.
Raw 18650 cells aren’t something that most people should be working with. It is way too easy to screw something up and burn your house down. I’ve watched lots of videos of people underestimating how much energy they store and how difficult they are to deal with once there is a thermal runaway.
I didn’t interpret your original post as harshly as others seem to have. Everyone can decide on their own if a product is right for them. Having more options is better. Some people want the convenience that Milwaukee (and others) offer and some people want to DIY their own flashlights with ultra powerful LEDs that can light rubbish on fire.
Yeah just because you don’t like them or they don’t work for you does not make them bad and users should not buy them. Your not the one making the product and it’s not your company. I have many of the Milwaukee flashlights, headlamps, work lights and heated gear that uses these batteries and they work great for my needs. Yeah I also have gear that uses 18650 batteries and have chargers and tons of extra batteries and guess what I like having both options. Plus using these keeps my girl friend from taking my charger batteries and using them in her dive light witch I hardly ever get back due to the once wanting to keep them or her loosing them. With these I know they will be ready when I need them. So instead of telling people these are bad and or these suck and shouldn’t buy them why don’t you try educating the difference both pros and cons and let the user decide what works best for their application.
I wish Milwaukee had waited, or could have planned for 21700 batteries in the devices. I know lights aren’t high-drain, but seems they could have used the batteries for other tools that would benefit from 21700. Like a new screw-gun based off it (i might shed a tear when my 4v Craftsman dies).
While we might eventually see other RedLithium USB tools and devices, I don’t think we’ll see anything that requires the greater power delivery of 21700 cells. The focus has been on personal lighting, and I think that’s still the plan.
21700 sounds great until you have the additional weight and protrusion on your head. I have the AAA based Milwaukee headlamps and they are good enough for me, but i can see why one would need the lithium type. I have bare cell products but I agree with being able to but at HD, returns and warranty at HD
You read it here first… Milwaukee RedLithium USB HD!!! A 21700 based platform that allows older batteries to work with the new tools with an adapter, but not the other way around. USB Type-C based for faster charging times.
Like it or not, it’s coming. The larger form factor won’t work well with headlamps and gloves, so the new platform will co-exist with the original.
Not only do 21700 support higher power delivery, but also 30% more capacity. 4.0, 5.0 (now) and 6.0+ cells (soon) will be available. Since these products will be low-draw (less than 1C), no issues with overheating the batteries. Two in series will deliver more power for screwdrivers and H.O. flashlights.
21700 are larger in size but give no benefit to a flashlight I can use a 2amp battery with 18650 cells and use a flexvolt 9amp battery with 21700 cells on my Dewalt flashlight and the flashlight is the same brightness with both
How come we can’t reply to Chris or Stuart above? I don’t see a reply button.
There’s a maximum number of “children” threads that can be created as part of a reply chain. Otherwise, with too many you end up with narrow and extremely hard to read columns as everything ends up indented too far.
What I do in this situation is reply to the last possible comment post, and then it simply adds it to the end of that thread in a linear and non-indented manner. You should always see the “reply” option if you scroll up a bit.
Yeah, Stuart, you did come off a little harsh in your first response. I agree with what you said. But the addidge is, not what, but how we say things. When I get a little perturbed or heated, I find myself writing a response on a word doc and letting it sit for a while. Then I read the person’s initial response again, and read my response to him again, and start making a few word changes here and there so as not to lose the message and try to convey what I am trying to actually say.
But I still dig the review, thanks for keeping us informed on the new stuff.
I wasn’t trying to offend you. I am a Red super fan, I follow a lot of your reviews, then order. So it was more a sense of frustration with Milwaukee, that my comments came from. When M12 came out they designed tools that the battery system worked with at an astonishing rate, same with M18. Good battery (18650s inside), great tools, then incremental improvement.
As an aside I am still waiting for a redesign of the M18 Multi tool.
Then the M12 went through upgrades. When the Redlithium system came out I had high hopes for it Ryobi had a similar system and had quite a few tools in the system, I hoped this was where Redlithium was headed (updated versions, with good UI). They havn’t had many tools released at all.
Other than the $279 gloves I thought were perplexing. I bought Dakine ski gloves last year $60 (inner liner glove, Gortex outer thinsulate insulation, heater pocket that I never used. There were at least 6 other brands that had similar feature sets all for the same price. This glove represents the market M4s glove is a fantasy, at least price wise. Like I said I use a LOT of Milwaukee. There are no Redlithium chargers on M18/M12 or the M12 only charger (also not M4). Many of my M12 lights have USB out, I have used these to charge phones and tablets but I am not likely to use a Redlithium accessory battery, the lights are not designed to the price point, (in my opinion) The Olight I carry daily has 2000 lumen, for the same price the Milwaukee offers at most is 700. I don’t think this is comparable. The LEDs in the Redlithium are probably at least 4 year old tech. I LOVE all of my Milwaukee tools, heated gear radios, lights, vacuums, and Packouts. But sadly I am a pass on Redlithium and also M4.
My vote is for heated boot liners. I only want heat at the toes (my heels never get cold). Sell them in 2-3 different trim-to-fit sizes with a printed outline showing how far you can trim to avoid cutting into the heating elements.
This is a fail with the current gloves. I don’t need the palm heated, IT”S MY FINGERS THAT GET COLD!!! Yes there is some heat in the fingers, but for me, heating the palms/backs of my hands is an absolute waste of time. I understand the theory that blood flows to your fingers, but that’s a poor excuse for not putting the heat where it’s needed.
I agree. Fingers get cold faster and need heat more than palms
I have several high power lights that run on 18650 cells. For the small, single cell lights, that 18650 form factor is hard to beat.
Last year I picked up a Zebralight SC700 that runs off a single 21700. It’s a little too big for EDC in a pocket but does work well as a bike helmet light or handlebar light (TwoFish LockBlock holds it fine). It’s not noticeably heavier on the helmet but it’s definitely brighter, great for a downhill segment. The light and mount get tossed into my camelbak for any ride that has a chance of getting back after dark.
Favorite charger is the XTAR Rocket SV2 because it charges almost everything. Ni-MH AA eneloops, 18650, 21700, etc. After picking up two of these, my other chargers rarely get used.