A short time ago Bosch began converting their 18 volt cordless batteries over to the new 3.0Ah HC batteries which have been shipping with their Second Generation Drills. The new batteries not only bump Ah rating from 2.6 to 3.0 but also lower the cold temperature working range to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, a big step for lithium ion. Another new feature we were very excited about was the 3 light battery gauge which can be very handy when you have a mess of the same batteries. But the important question that stuck in our mind was does this really provide that much longer run time?
When it comes to battery run time it can be very tricky to truly compare apples to apples, if you are drilling holes or cutting wood it seems like there could be a little room for variation in materials, user style, accessories, size of hole, etc. For the Bosch 18V FatPack battery however we have a terrific benchmark in the Bosch Power Box PB360S Review where we know the exact settings and life of the battery for several different trials.
The Bosch HC FatPack battery lasted 4 hours 26 minutes (level 18, same EQ settings), which was truly amazing for us as the standard FatPack only got 2 hours 43 minutes in the previous test. It was in fact the same kickball tournament from the original test and pretty much all the other variable were identical. It seems amazing (unbelievable) to us, which is why we are planning to repeat the test for the new battery this week. That being said, we are pretty confident having been within ear shot the entire time, the radio was doing its job and we only used a single battery for the whole day’s activities. How does this equate to battery runtime in a cordless drill or jigsaw, we can’t say for sure but our guess is it can only be a good thing. One slightly disturbing thing did happen however when we first put the new battery on the Power Box it did not work. After a momentary freak out, we plugged the Power Box into our truck inverter and it came on again and no further problems switching batteries.