A Comparison of Milwaukee’s Advanced Battery Technology
The Milwaukee Tool offers two sizes of batteries: the Milwaukee M18 compact battery and the XC battery (extra capacity). But what sets them apart? It turns out there are some key differences.
Enhanced Performance and Portability
Compared to conventional 18V NiCd batteries, the M18 Li-Ion battery pack delivers extended runtime and is 40% lighter. Both batteries feature Milwaukee’s digital power management system, ensuring optimal battery life and runtime, while safeguarding the battery and tool in demanding field applications. With overload protection built into the battery, excessive current draw that could potentially damage the motor or overload the battery is prevented, setting a new standard for “smart” batteries.
To highlight the advancements made, each M18 Lithium-Ion battery is equipped with a temperature management system. This system maintains the battery within the ideal temperature range and monitors individual cell voltages, ensuring optimal charging and discharge. These features provide consumers with the reassurance that these batteries are not simply short-lived imposters. Additionally, the M18 battery incorporates built-in discharge protection, effectively addressing one of the main drawbacks of NiCd and NiMH batteries.
Every M18 battery, including the Compact and XC models, includes an integrated battery fuel gauge. This convenient feature comprises a small membrane button that activates up to 4 LED lights on the front of the battery, indicating the remaining runtime of the battery pack. If old NiCd batteries were like reliable compasses, then these Li-Ion batteries are the equivalent of a GPS.
The Smart M18 Compact Battery
With the plethora of technological advancements, it’s no wonder why we refer to these batteries as “smart.” One notable distinction is the presence of an extra raised molded detent on the compact battery, while the XC battery only has one. This design choice ensures that the Compact battery cannot be inserted into an incompatible tool.
For instance, attempting to use a Compact battery with the M18 SawZall is not possible. This safeguard protects the tool from potential damage caused by the motor compensating for insufficient power, while also enhancing the user experience. Imagine operating a power-hungry cordless tool at only half capacity – it just wouldn’t cut it!
This physical battery barrier, coupled with 5 electrical connection points (uncommon for DC powered devices), utilizes electronic components and sensors. These components enable a hybrid battery tool, such as a hammer, to identify which battery is in use and adjust the torque accordingly.
Full Compatibility with Milwaukee M18 Tools
According to Milwaukee, the M18 compact battery (48-11-1815) is specifically designed to work with the following tools (with the possibility of the list expanding as the company introduces more tools):
- 2601 – Cordless Drill/Driver
- 2602 – Cordless Hammer Drill/Driver
- 2632 – Wireless ProPEX Extension Tool
- 2650 – Cordless 1/4″ Hex Compact Impact Driver
- 2651 – Cordless 3/8″ Compact Impact Wrench
- 2652 – Cordless 1/2″ Compact Impact Wrench
- 2625 – Hackzall Cordless One-Handed Reciprocating Saw
- 2790 – Construction Site Radio
- 0880 – Cordless Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner
- 2735 – LED Work Light
- 2710 – AC/DC Wall and Vehicle Charger
- 49-24-0171 – Cordless Work Light
- 48-59-1801 – Li-Ion Battery Charger
However, it’s worth noting that each tool can run on an XC (48-11-1828) battery, which provides extra runtime and sometimes additional torque, particularly in Milwaukee’s line of impact drills. In essence, the differences matter, but the overall execution and concept remain impressive, showcasing Milwaukee Tool’s ingenuity in creating intelligent tools and batteries.