Future of Cordless Power Tools, 5.0Ah and Beyond

Makita Cordless Bike

It looks like by the beginning of November both the Milwaukee 5.0Ah ($129) and Makita 5.0Ah ($119) batteries will have hit the market. Joining the like of Bosch 5.0Ah ($129), Metabo 5.2Ah ($133) and Dewalt 5.0Ah ($142) which are already available. In the race to build a better battery each manufacturer focuses on something a little different. Makita which was pretty late to the 4.0Ah party, launched only a few months ago, jumped right into the 5.0Ah game. They will bring the fastest charge time of the bunch promising a 45 minute total charge for 5.0Ah and couple that with the only duel slot 36V technology you’ve got some serious output to play with.

5Ah batteries

The Milwaukee on the other hand will take a bit longer, 110 minutes to fully charge at least until their rapid charge station is available in Q1 2015 (see video below). They are also working on improved durability holding up better to heat, shock and water that often kill the batteries long before they would die otherwise. Milwaukee is also claiming the highest total Watt Hours (Wh) output based on a 20A CC discharge test where Milwaukee 5.0 averaged 81.8 Wh, Dewalt 5.0 averaged 73.2 Wh and Makita 5.0 71.8 Wh. Again those are number from Milwaukee’s test we received at their launch event so take it for what it is.

What does a 5.0Ah battery mean to power tools in general? We’ve really passed the tipping point here, at this point lithium batteries can put out more power than your standard 15A 110v wall outlet. At 5.0Ah they can do it consistently for long enough to handle almost any tool that is highly portable you would want to run on standard electricity. What does that mean for the next couple of years of power tools, probably a lot of new products you would never imagine could be cordless.

M18 FUEL Miter Saw

Cordless Miter Saws – We would be shocked if all major tool brands don’t have a 10” cordless miter, possible even a 12” cordless miter saw out by end of 2016. These saws cut intermittently so even in heavy use we could see a 5.0Ah battery lasting several hours. We’d expect these to be high end slide or glide saws that could compete with any corded miter. Milwaukee President, Steve Richman already told a room of 80+ reporters we would see a Milwaukee cordless miter saw in 2015, plus an 8″ version was released in Europe this year soooo we think this prediction is a lock, at least for Milwaukee.

Cordless Table Saw – We would guess we will probably also see a cordless compact table saw like the Dewalt DWE7480 ($369) or Bosch GTS1031 ($399) soon as well but it may be a little longer before there’s something that can compete with a full size jobsite unit like a Bosch 4100-09 ($599). Often these stay on much longer than a miter saw and much more demanding cuts like ripping full sheets of plywood. Battery drain could be pretty quickly with one of these running nonstop but would also solve a lot of problems for guys in the field.

Cordless SDS-Max Drill

Cordless SDS-MAX Rotary Hammer Drill – Milwaukee recently proved they can make cordless SDS-Plus drills that can outperform their corded counterparts which is pretty impressive since historically Makita, Bosch and Dewalt have all done better in the rotary hammer arena than Milwaukee. The SDS-Max rotary hammer is going to be a highly demanding animal to take on as most of the time these will be used in continuous drilling or demolition applications both of which mean the tool will be running with few breaks. The need is there for larger cordless hammer drills as power on jobsites may not be easily accessible when these types of tools are needed the most. This is also one of the most common tools for professionals so the market for a solid solution would be a guaranteed home run!

Cordless Mag Drills – We’ve seen what we would call proof of concept “1.0 version” of cordless mag drills from Metabo and CS Unitec however these units are very expensive and have pretty limited capabilities. In our heads what would make a “2.0 versions” cordless mag drill may require a 2 battery solution where both batteries are connected. We would hope to see 1-1/2” drilling performance on par with corded Milwaukee 4270-21 ($919) or the Hougen HMD904 ($845) and ideally a cordless tool price in the $1000-$1600 range to win over mass appeal.

Dewalt Cordless Router

Cordless Trim Router – It’s a little surprising we have not already seen a cordless trim router. A couple years ago Makita, Dewalt, Porter-Cable all had big launched in the smaller router category and with the addition of plunge bases for these models as well as for the more popular Bosch Colt Router these smaller routers have become very common. While the larger routers for shop use may not make a lot of sense (we would still like to see it) for cordless, a compact unit used by remodelers and installers seems like it might be pretty convenient.

****UPDATED 8/15/2016 well finally came through we’ve got the first cordless trim router but from RIDGID. Check it out here.

 

Cordless 14" Cut Off Saw

Cordless 14” Cutoff Saw – Large heavy 14” gas powered cut off saws aren’t going to go away anytime soon and with Makita leading the charge to a 4-Stroke solution these will have their place for some time. We are however seeing many gas tools such as chainsaws and lawnmowers go cordless, this seems like the next logical step. Plus there are a lot of situations these saws need to be run indoors where gas is not an option. Currently a saw like the Bosch 1365 ($599) is a nice option for these applications but a cordless solution would be preferred in many cases. These are very similar motors to 7” and 9” grinders so once this base platform is developed we would probably see all these released together.

***** AFTER POSTING THIS I SEE THAT STHIL HAS A CORDLESS CUTOFF TOOL COMING TSA230 *****

Cordless Core Drills – The top of line handheld concrete core drills such as the Weka DK12 ($1599) or Eibenstock END 130 ($1266) are 3 speed units and can handle up to 3” cores by hand or 6” cores mounted in a stand. There are also less expensive import units in the $600 range which top out at 3” cores which might be the first step for cordless units. This is a very common tool for any electrician or plumber; both Milwaukee and Stanley Black & Decker have made core motors for larger stand mounted units for many years. Again these are commonly used on jobsites where power may not be readily available and use 13” standard drill depth bits which means a single hole could take 5-10 minutes with continuous higher amperage draw so it’ll need to be a pretty beefy unit.

Cordless 4-6 Gallon HEPA Vacuum – With all these new cordless solutions 1 limitation is dust collection, typically if you are going to go cordless you need a cordless dust collection solution as well or what’s the point. Currently there are 2 gallon cordless vacuums which work pretty good but you wouldn’t hook your miter saw to it or try to collect a lot of silica dust with it. There is really more of a need for a 4-6 gallon cordless unit with wheels and/or as a cordless backpack vac unit, ideally something that could do both. This would of course be a drain on the battery if it ran continuously so some way to have it turn on and off with the tool it’s collecting dust from would be huge bonus but not necessary.

Cordless Power Inverters – With so much juice readily accessible and the success of the power tool battery USB chargers it is not hard to imagine a power inverter (limited to perhaps 400W range) where you could plug your AC 110V devices in, similar to other DC power inverters. People already assume the Bosch Power Box PB360 ($199) can do this anyway, unfortunately the outlets on the side only work when plugged in.

If this inverter (and/or radio) could hold multiple batteries and charge them pretty quickly as well this would be a terrific solution for a wide range of situations like camping, tailgating, power outages, charging laptops, powering network device (heck maybe just build in a hotspot) and charging various other batteries for cell phones, walkie-talkies, laptops, cameras, etc. This might negate the need for additional items like the Makita cordless coffee maker (it already exists overseas) but in the long run would probably bring many more users to the platform.

This post is just for fun! We haven’t shared any special advanced knowledge or leaked info, in-fact we held back any info on items we do have specific advanced knowledge on (that were not shared in a public forum by a company’s president). Also there are plenty of things that currently exist in other countries like the Makita cordless bike featured above which we could easily make their way here as well. If any of these items aren’t available within the next few years however don’t get upset with us as all of these are very commonly requested cordless tools. We are hopeful the tool makers can figure out how to build them.

Bosch Cordless Beer Chiller

We would be shocked if all the cordless items above have not been at least mocked up and studied by every major brand… Heck at a recent event we were able to design the above Bosch beer chiller in just an hour working with their design team. Which brings us to the last prediction in cordless tools which we personally would love to see be released within the next year, a Cordless Refreshment Cooler like the one below.

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