Best Product – New Milwaukee PACKOUT VACUUM – Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum 0970-20

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout Vac
  • Model 0970-20
  • Brushless Motor
  • 2.5 gal Capacity
  • Wet/Dry Pickup
  • HEPA Filter
  • ETA Oct 2020

The new Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout-compatible cordless wet/dry vacuum is here! I mean this figuratively for you, but literally for me. We’ll have a hands-on post for you shortly.

Many of you have expressed interest in a Milwaukee cordless Packout vacuum, ever since their Packout line of modular tool boxes and organizers launched.


Frankly, I didn’t think we’d see one, and I maintained this opinion for a long time. Surely a Packout-compatible vacuum would be too large and heavy to be practical and mobile, right?

Earlier this year, Milwaukee announced a new half-width Packout tool box, and at the end of my preview post, I wrote:

Is it me, or does this look like the perfect size and shape for a Milwaukee Packout cordless vacuum?

This is the perfect form factor for a compact M18 Fuel cordless vacuum!

Take a look:

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout-Compatible Vacuum!

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum in a Tool Box Stack

The new vacuum (0970-20) will be sold as a bare tool.

With the new Milwaukee Packout vac on the right side of a Packout tool box stack, you have access to the power switch and hose.

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum 0970-20 Used While Stacked with Tool Boxes

Meaning, not only can new Milwaukee Packout vacuum connect to your tool box tower, it can still be operated without having to take anything down. Just be sure to insert a battery before attaching anything on top.

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum 0970-20 Accessories

The Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout vacuum comes with a crevice nozzle, wide nozzle, power tool adapter, and washable wet/dry filter, and all of these attachments can be stored in the lid compartment.

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum 0970-20 Application Example

It has a large folding handle, for easy carrying.

Aside from the Packout tool box connectivity, which is a big deal for many, there are some compelling advantages for all users.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout Vacuum Benefits

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum Mobility

Milwaukee boasts that it allows for UNMATCHED MOBILITY, for less downtime.

No longer will your kit look like this:

Milwaukee Packout Tool Box Stack with Vacuum in a Box

Read Also: Do You Want Milwaukee to Make a Packout-Compatible Cordless Vacuum?

I spotted this setup when shopping at a local retail store last year. There were technicians working on the front-end system, and their entire kit was neatly contained within Milwaukee Packout tool boxes, a half-width tool bag, and a slim organizer, except for a small corded wet/dry vac placed in a tote bin on top of everything.

This new Packout vacuum gives you options – you could hand-carry it to your destination, or connect it to other Packout system products.

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum Suction Power

It also boasts up to 60% MORE SUCTION. Sounds good to me.

Milwaukee Packout Vacuum 0970-20 Quieter

Speaking of sound, the new Packout vacuum operates with an 87 dB(A) noise level, which is said to be quieter than corded competitors.

Less noise in a portable vacuum is always welcome.

A Closer Look at the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout Vacuum

We spoke with Milwaukee’s product managers about their new Packout vacuum, and they talked about what went into its design and how it will benefit users.

First, it is notable that the Packout is the product of everything Milwaukee’s cordless vacuum team has learned and developed over years. From a technology standpoint, this vac represents their best effort, with nothing held back.

For the M18 Fuel Packout vacuum, Milwaukee Tool listened to their users and their very many requests.

More Performance means faster cleanup. Compared to the popular 0880-20 cordless vacuum (which I own and love using), the new Packout vacuum delivers approximately 20-30% higher motor performance with respect to suction power.

Thanks to its more efficient brushless motor, the Packout vacuum delivers a boost in runtime and power.

Two Speed Settings means you can choose between maximum power and performance or a lower power mode for lower noise and longer runtime.

Optional Collection Bags means you can opt for less downtime and to keep your filter cleaner between washings.

Why Should You Care?

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout Vacuum 0970-20 vs 0880-20 Cordless Vac

What surprises me is that the new Milwaukee Packout vac isn’t anywhere near the size I originally envisioned – it’s much more compact and very portable.

Here, shown next to my 0880-20 cordless vac (right), you can see that the Packout vacuum (left) is larger, but not significantly so. It’s as tall as 3 standard Milwaukee organizers.

Portability is important. I still see contractors who are running all cordless tools, but then they lug a small shop vacuum and extension cord from their truck. Or worse – they deem it too inconvenient to clean up after their work and leave a mess behind.

Even if you don’t care about the Packout connection options, this vac is comfortable to move by itself. I think it would be an excellent standalone vac, and the Packout mounting options might come in handy down the road.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout Vacuum Front Controls

Perhaps the best feature, in my opinion, is the 2-speed switch.

There are a lot of times when I don’t need maximum suction power. Whether it’s for the lower noise, longer runtime, or task-dependent, I really like having a lower speed and performance option.

Milwaukee’s 0880 cordless vac can deliver 18 minutes of runtime on an XC 5.0Ah battery. The new Packout vacuum can deliver 19 minutes of runtime at high power mode using the same battery.

With an HD 9.0Ah battery, the 0880 will deliver 32 minutes of runtime. With an XC 8.0Ah High Output battery – and keep in mind the difference in battery charge capacity – the Packout vacuum will deliver ~31 minutes of runtime. At the lower power setting, the Packout vac will run for up to 50 minutes.

These are early specs and are subject to change, with the point being that the new Packout vacuum is more powerful than the 0880 vac – as well as competing cordless and corded options – but without sacrificing runtime in the least.

I should also note that the photos here are of a pre-production sample, and so the final appearance might be a little different – mainly the surface texture of the plastic and things like that.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout Vacuum Specs

  • 50 CFM air volume
  • 47″ sealed suction in water
  • 87 dB(A) sound power level
  • 2.5 gallons canister capacity
  • 1-1/4″ inlet diameter
  • 12.8″ height x 17.1″ length x 10.5″ width
  • Weighs 11.3 lbs
  • 5-year tool warranty

The bare tool (0970-20) includes: M18 FUEL PACKOUT 2.5 Gallon Wet/Dry Vacuum, Flexible Hose, HEPA Filter, Crevice Tool, Utility Nozzle, Vacuum Power Tool Adapter.

Batteries are sold separately.

Milwaukee M18 Fuel Packout Vacuum Accessories

  • Replacement wet/dry HEPA filter: 49-90-1900
  • 3pc fleece dust bags: 49-90-2016
  • Foam wet filter: 49-90-2015
  • Round brush tool: 49-90-2017
  • Vacuum power tool adapter (included): 49-90-2018

The nice thing about the filter, if you ask me, is that it’s shared between different Milwaukee cordless vacuums, and so you’re assured wide availability. I never liked having to play the “which filter fit my vac??”game with other brands’ products.

Where to Buy?

The following retailers have set up Pipeline landing pages where you can view all of the new tools after they’re announced, and preorder when available.

Buy Now via CPO Tools
Buy Now via Tool Nut
Buy Now via Acme Tools

The Packout vacuum will start shipping 10/15/2020, pricing TBA.