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
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.