Milwaukee M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum 0885-20 Review
Milwaukee 0885-20 M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum
Model number: 0885-20
Price: $ 368.00
Power source: 18 volt cordless
We took a look at the Milwaukee M18 FUEL Backpack Vacuum 0885-20. Milwaukee calls it a 3-in-1 vacuum because there are three ways to carry it:
- A removable harness
- A handle
- An integrated hook
Job-site dust can be a big deal. Dust can affect your personal health or your companies professional image. As a remodeling contractor, we work hard at keeping dust out of occupied homes we work on. As a result, we use our vacuums for spot, and area cleanups, as well as use them to collect dust at its source.
More and more cordless vacuums are popping up these days from tool companies, which leads to the following questions:
- Is the cordless vacuum as good as a corded one?
- How long will the cordless vacuum cleaner run for?
- How does it clean?
- Will it be quiet and easy to use?
- Should I buy it?
The vacuum is a DRY vacuum and is set up to be worn like a backpack, and easily transforms, with a click of a button, to a hand-carry handle. Finally, the hook can be used to hang the vacuum on ladders, scaffolding, or any 2x lumber. The crevice tool and the dust extraction adapter have spaces on the lower backpack harness.
When the backpack harness is removed the Milwaukee 0885-20 M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum can be carried vertically with a top handle.
The hook is located at the top portion of the vacuum and retracts into the vacuum when it’s not needed. There’s also a strap connected to it, presumably to prevent the vacuum from accidentally being knocked off a ladder or lift. It hangs easily with an extendable hook on lifts and scaffolding for common tasks like overhead concrete drilling.
Milwaukee Job Site Research
“During our job-site research, we found that users are still relying on bulky, cumbersome, and corded vacuums to complete almost every clean-up task, regardless of the environment. In many situations, they are limited by the cord and sheer size of the vacuums, highlighting the need for a vacuum that has the versatility to go anywhere on the job-site to clean up a wide range of materials quickly and efficiently,” said David Mobarak, Product Manager for Milwaukee Tool.
“It is from this research that the M18 FUEL™ 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum was born. This new solution combines our advanced cordless technology with an adaptable design, providing users with a vacuum that can tackle a wide array of clean-up tasks.”
Weight and Maneuver-ability
The Milwaukee 0885-20 M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum weighs 15.3-pounds as a bare tool. Adding as 9 Ah battery adds 2.5 lbs and a 12 Ah battery 3.5 lbs. It is easily carried on your back, and maneuverable. One learning point, we noted, when wearing this as a backpack was to be spatially cognizant of hitting finished work with the protruding canister protruding from your back. This is especially true when working around finished trim, walls, or cabinets.
Fit and Finish
The fit and finish of the Milwaukee 0885-20 M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum is excellent. The hose is of excellent quality and durable, as is the telescoping and accessory sweep. The wand extends from 25 to 40 inches.
A smartly-designed, pivoting-hinge protects the hose where it comes out of the vac housing. We feel that this pivot hinge is functional and will be crucial when hanging or using the vac on a personnel lift and moving around with the hose.
The vacuum hose is an accordion-style hose and stretches from 18″ to 6-feet with no negative effects. Most vacuum hoses are unwieldy, but this one bends nicely and retracts to its original position nicely. Kinks are a major failure of vac hoses, over time, and this hose was designed to avoid that.
The vacuum works off of cyclonic technology, one thing we noticed on this vacuum was the number of rubber seals it has, at the debris canister, and filter section. These seals are the “secret sauce” that allows the vac to maintain is cyclonic-action and maintain suction-efficiency. Leaks and losing seal, are the biggest killers to CFM and vacuum efficiency.
Powered by an M18 REDLITHIUM™ HD 9.0™ battery pack, the vacuum has a run-time of up to 25 minutes on High mode and more than 40 minutes on Low. It will run for approximately 35 minutes on high and 55 minutes on low with a 12.0 Ah battery.
We measured the decibels of these vacuums and compared it the Milwaukee stated 76 dBA, we recorded 74 dBA as a max. at user ear height.
Decibels are not the only story, while designing this tool Milwaukee also looked at the frequency of the noise of the vacuum. This is evident when you listen to the vacuum running in an occupied space – it’s quieter and not annoying to hear.
On-Board Accessory Storage
While cleaning, I found myself using the bungee cords on the backpack harness, to keep the crevice tool captured and in reach. There are some small nuances to this vac that you might miss if you’re not looking closely, or don’t read the directions, like me. There are a small hole and clip on the same side of the power switch that is designed to store the expanding wand. An integrated belt clip relief allows the hose to be secured for storage. On-board storage for flexible hose, telescoping extension wand, floor tool, and crevice tool makes using and storing the tool easy.
We noted that the High / Low switch is easily operated by your left hand, which lends itself to most users being right-handed and will hold the wand in their dominant hand. This vacuum unit is compatible with all M18™ batteries. You do need to remove the backpack in order to change batteries.
The vacuum uses a HEPA filter with 99.97% efficiency at .3 microns.
This vacuum was designed for and can handle drywall dust, concrete dust, wood/metal shavings, we noted that the vacuum suction is OK, not great. What I mean by that is the vacuum will not pick up larger chunks of drywall or small 1-1/4″ drywall screws.
I will note that this is probably the most powerful and certainly quietest CORDLESS vacuum I’ve used or tested. It is rated for 55CFM, has 76″ of water lift, and 159 air watts.
At our shop, we measured and received a 72″ water lift. We tested the water lift at the end of the hose with a partially used filter.
We would equate this vac on par with a 6 gallon corded shop vac, NOT a larger 12-14 gallon RIDGID vac and is thus better suited for smaller clean-ups, not demo work.
While NOT a true dust extractor, there is NO filter cleaning mechanism, this vac could be VERY useful as a supplemental or small dust extractor for drilling applications.
OSHA Table 1 Complaint
The vacuum comes with silica specific attachment adapter. This adapter is something that Milwaukee will start including on all their dust-related tools. Currently, the adapter is designed to work with the following tools/accessories:
- 5317DE SDS MAX Dust extraction attachment
- 5318DE SDS MAX Chisel boot
- 5216DE Universal SDS Plus drill attachment/hammer drill
Joining Milwaukee’s robust portfolio of safer and more versatile silica dust management solutions that help address the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) regulation on respirable crystalline silica dust, the 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum is an objective data complaint about specific applications and duration.
Milwaukee partnered with Industrial Hygiene Sciences, LLC to test the vacuum for specific OSHA applications and duration (PDF links below).
Milwaukee M18 FUEL Backpack Vacuum – How Well Does It Clean?
We used this vacuum on a large build / remodel project that we are working on.
Swapping between the floor sweep and crevice tool was easy and intuitive. The floor sweep attachment has an integrated rubber squeegee which I found pushed or pulled sawdust backward and left a small pile behind. This necessitates the user having to go back over the pile. The purpose of this rubber sweep is to keep the suction intact but when going over large quantities of dust you may have to make two or more sweeps to catch it all. Once we figured this out we adjusted and planned for it.
Milwaukee did optimize the floor sweep design by raising the housing, 2-3 mm inward, near the wheels. This was done to give better clearance [preventing a log jam] as sawdust and other debris entered the hose orifice. This vacuum has been optimized for hard surfaces but still works well on tight weave carpets.
Emptying the Vacuum Bin
The vacuum canister is clear and allows full visibility to the user. The canister has a capacity of 1-gallon and features an easy-empty bag-less design. What I mean by this is the debris bin can be emptied in seconds at the touch of a button.
There are three major PLUSES to having a bag-less vacuum:
- Cheap – you won’t have to spend any money on purchasing replacement dust-bags
- Visibility – clear canister exterior lets you see exactly what you’re picking up which could be particularly handy for making sure you don’t accidentally suck up valuable small objects
- Easy to maintain – thanks to the visibility you’ll be able to easily see when the canister is full and in need of emptying
The negative to not having a bag, is you will need to tap off, vacuum or replace your HEPA filter more often.
The most important improvement Milwaukee can make to this tool is to give it corded shop vac suction. Milwaukee also offers a longer 9-foot hose as an accessory. I see this as a MUST if you’re going to be working off of a ladder, staging, lift, or MRO type repair cart. Additionally, a brush attachment would be helpful for cleaning the dust of baseboards, trim, windows, radiator fins, and other intricate non-floor surfaces.
Lastly, while this has nothing to do with the backpack unit, I’d love to see Milwaukee look into a Packout style vacuum.
Milwaukee Backpack Vacuum Specifications and Features
- 55 CFM
- 76″ Water Lift
- 159 Air Watts
- Removable Harness with Integrated Canister Hook
- Decibels: 76 dB(A)
- 1 Gallon capacity
- OSHA objective data compliance for select silica dust-producing applications
- 25″ to 40″ telescoping extension wand
- Clear view canister window
- On-board accessory storage
- Width 8.43″
- Length 10.2″
- Height 22″
- Weight 15.3 lbs [bare tool]
Milwaukee M18 FUEL Backpack Vacuum Price
The Milwaukee 0885-20 M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum will sell as a bare tool for $299.00 and kitted for $449.00 the kit comes with a 9.0 Ah battery and rapid charger. Milwaukee will also sell replacement HEPA Filters (49-90-1963) for $25.00 and a 9′ accessory vac hose for $35.00
- M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum
- HEPA Filter
- Flexible Hose
- Telescoping Extension Wand
- Floor Tool
- Crevice Tool
- Dust Extraction Adapter
- Replacement Dry HEPA Filter: Model #: 49-90-1963
Yes, I Would Buy This Vacuum?
Overall Impression – Milwaukee M18 FUEL Backpack Vacuum
Whether doing on-the-spot, larger area, or final cleanups, this Milwaukee vacuum is a great idea and useful tool. While not as as powerful as a corded vacuum cleaner, cutting the cord is hugely useful and convenient. It is especially useful for doing quick spot cleans whenever you need it. Not being tethered to a cord means cleaning takes less time and is easier to use on stairs. Today’s job-sites are cutting the cord and this vacuum is one more tool in your cordless bag of tricks.
Milwaukee M18 FUEL 3-in-1 Backpack Vacuum Video Review
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