Milwaukee Steps It Up With New M18 6.0Ah And 9.Ah Battery Packs
I attended Milwaukee’s new product event last week, and loved seeing all of the updates and features that were engineered into their new 2nd-generation M18 Fuel drills and 2nd-gen M18 Fuel impact driver and compact impact wrenches. There are a lot of finer details in my coverage of those products that you are unlikely to find anywhere else, so check out those links!
Another exciting part of the event was seeing that there are 2 new higher capacity battery packs coming out – a new M18 6.0Ah Li-ion battery pack that shares the same M18 XC form factor as previous high capacity batteries, and a new High Demand9.0Ah Li-ion battery pack.
In the tour of Milwaukee’s headquarters, we stopped by “the battery lab.” It was an impressive sight, and I really wanted to wander away from the group to take a closer look at the test stations. Later, I was asked by a Milwaukee manager if I saw the “battery explosion” room, and I cried inside a little.
What I did notice at the battery test lab was that Milwaukee takes their battery testing very seriously. They were testing banks of their own batteries, and also banks of competitors’ batteries, with chargers, batteries, and connected load simulators (I’m assuming they had these) set to create as realistic battery cycling as you can get on a test bench.
With their latest Li-ion battery packs, Milwaukee doesn’t care about being first, they care about being the best.
The new 6.0Ah battery pack is the same form factor as other M18 XC Li-ion battery packs, but with higher capacity.
And then there’s their new monster of a 9.0Ah battery pack. The new High Demandbattery pack is engineered to fuel heavy duty tools for longer.
In a talk with a Milwaukee product director, it was made clear that the 9.0Ah battery pack could very well deliver more than 2X the runtime of a 5.0Ah battery pack. How is that possible, if the numbers say that a 9.0Ah battery pack should only provide 80% more runtime than a 5.0Ah battery pack?
Well, in one test, involving two M18 Fuel Super Hawgs, the 9.0Ah outlasted the 5.0Ah battery by quite a bit. At one point, the 5.0Ah battery wasn’t out of juice, it had overheated, activating an auto-shutoff protection circuit.
Compact battery packs have a total of 5 cells (5 x 3.6V = 18V). XC battery packs have double channels, meaning 5 series of 2 batteries in parallel, for the same 18V voltage but double the capacity. These new High Demand battery packs have 6 series of 3 batteries in parallel, and so you get 3x the capacity, if the same battery cells are used for all 3 form factors.
If this is starting to get confusing, all you really need to know is that the 9.0Ah is bigger and longer-lasting.
Here’s how it compares to compact and XC battery packs.
The 9.0Ah battery pack is taller than the XC 6.0Ah battery pack, but not by as much as I had assumed it would. I believe the cells are staggered, making the battery pack a little longer. But that’s the tradeoff – it’s taller, but not a lot taller, and longer to make up for it. It’s the same width as all other M18 battery packs.
When the 9.0Ah battery is connected to a tool, you could hardly tell the difference.
It sticks out and down a little further, but I think most users will simply get used to it.
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