In late 2021, Hilti invited Pro Tool Reviews and a couple dozen of its “closest friends” to Switzerland. We attended the world debut of both Hilti Nuron battery technology (Note: Nuron, not Neuron) and updated power tools. Releasing around 70 tools at the event—mostly featuring brushless motors—the launch was one of the largest we’d seen since we started covering power tools in 2008. Hilti Nuron power tools and batteries use a combination of 22V and 2 x 22V configurations to tackle both handheld and larger power tools and equipment.
If that weren’t enough, Hilti let us know they expect to announce even more cordless power tools in the following 12 months that take advantage of Nuron battery technology.
What Is Hilti Nuron?
First thing’s first—what is Hilti Nuron? Is it a battery? Does it reflect Hilti technology? Is it a line of tools? Does it signify some sort of smart integration? Yes. Yes to all of that. Spelled without an ‘e’ (unlike neuron cells found within the nervous system), Hilti Nuron battery technology still deals a lot with data transmission—primarily between the tool, battery, charger, and the cloud.
At the heart of Hilti Nuron lies an overall level of innovation that is—dare we say—more than overdue. Hilti has long made some pretty impressive power tools for concrete demolition, coring, and cutting. Many of their handheld cordless power tools still use brushed motors.
Nuron—as a battery technology and a new line of compatible power tools—presents a huge update to the entire Hilti line. Nuron technology delivers the potential for these tools to operate cordlessly with a practical amount of both runtime and power. For Hilti, Nuron is a completely new 22V battery platform that serves as the foundation for all these new tools. These redesigned cordless tools cover (and support) all kinds of jobs—from light-duty drilling tools to heavy-duty concrete breakers.
Nuron technology also provides connectivity never before possible with last-gen Hilti products. From the way their batteries store information to how everything connects in the cloud is different. We’ll try to cover all of it for you in this article.
Hilti Nuron Battery Technology
At the heart of Hilti Nuron battery technology lies four (or so) different battery packs. A majority of the Hilti Nuron batteries use 21700 (2170) cells exclusively and individually generate 22V in various capacities. Used in pairs, Hilti Nuron tools can generate even more power with a lower overall current draw. That translates into an easier load for products like power cutters, demo hammers, and more.
Hilti even updated how the battery indicators work on these new packs. Most notably—the state of charge stays lit up the entire time a tool is being used. That’s right—you no longer have to press a button on the battery to see the remaining charge level while you use a tool. Just pull the trigger. It makes sense since LED lights take almost no power at all to operate. We’re surprised no one else has done this (that we’re aware of).
If you want to do a quick check of the Nuron battery’s state of health, Hilti lets you do that without going anywhere. Just press and hold for 3-4 seconds and the battery runs a self-check:
- Green – Everything is good
- Yellow (flashing) – Battery pack is too hot, too cold, or overloaded
- Red – Indicates a problem where the battery should probably be replaced
Four Different Hilti Nuron Batteries
- Compact B22 55-22 2.6 Ah/54.00 Wh pack (18650 cells) – $84
- Compact B22 85-22 4.0 Ah/85.32 Wh pack (21700 cells) – $114
- B22 170-22 8.0 Ah/170.64 Wh pack (21700 cells) – $174
- B22 255-22 12 Ah/256 Wh pack (21700 cells) – $204
Since both the Hilti Nuron 22V power tools and 2 x 22V tools use the same batteries, you have a large assortment of products operating off a single battery platform. This interchangeability ensures you can run all of your Hilti power tools more efficiently with fewer total batteries.
Clearly, you don’t want to place the rather large 12.0 Ah B22 255-22 pack in an impact driver! That large pack will, however, give you the best runtime for larger, high-power tools. Overall, Hilti delivers batteries for Value (2.6Ah), Portability (4.0Ah), Run-time (8.0Ah), and Power (12.0Ah). Take your pick, or rather, you may want to have several of each for your jobsite needs.
What Do the Stripes Mean on Hilti Nuron Battery Packs?
Observant folks may also note the presence of “stripes” on the side of the battery. A single stripe indicates the use of 21700 cells in a single series configuration. A dual-stripe battery, capable of more output, uses a series and/or parallel connection of cells to generate additional power and capacity. It also has an additional set of terminals (5-total, more-or-less halving the resistance to the cells in the pack).
How Do Hilti Nuron Batteries Differ from Existing 18V/22V Battery Packs?
A majority of the Hilti Nuron batteries utilize 21700 cells. These are larger and provide more power density over 18650 cells. That’s just the beginning, however. Hilti combines the new battery cells with a sophisticated managed heat system and updated connection interface. They also use much larger contact areas and thicker wires, and more efficient welds.
What does this mean? For starters, this lets Hilti Nuron tools draw more than 100 amps of power from these battery packs when necessary. That’s twice the current and power of their current 22V tools and more power than even Hilti 36V tools! In fact, these new packs can deliver a higher current than 120V 15A corded mains.
Another big difference comes down to how the batteries collect and send tool and operation data automatically.
Are New Hilti Nuron Batteries Compatible with Older 22V Power Tools?
Not directly, no. Many of the older 22V Hilti tools feature brushed motors. New Nuron tools represent advanced technology across the board. Their hope is that consumers will upgrade and update quickly.
However, while Hilti anticipates a quick transition and migration, they do have a BA-22 battery adapter to mate new Nuron batteries with older tools. The downside is that it’s the size of one of their 2.6Ah battery packs. That means a rather clunky interface if you want to use the new battery packs on older tools. It does, however, give you an option in the event you want to keep an older tool going while you upgrade in other areas first.
Hilti Nuron Battery Chargers and Smart Technology
Hilti has three battery chargers rated at 4-, 6-, and 8-amps respectively:
- C 4-22 charger (91W/3.61A output)
- C 6-22 charger (241W/9.6A output)
- Hilti C 8-22 charger
For reference, the Hilti C 8-22 charger will recharge its largest ~12Ah pack in around 35 minutes. That’s very quick.
Now let’s move on to the “Smart” technology we referenced earlier. All Hilti Nuron tools generate data that gets stored on the Nuron batteries. From there it can be sent securely to the cloud during the charging process—without any operator interaction. The battery charger features a global SIM and 3G cellular connection that automatically updates the data during the battery charging process. If the network isn’t active, the charger retrieves the data and then uploads it when it next comes online.
Each battery can also store multiple tools’ worth of data. The data collected includes information such as tool usage, charging location, “last seen” info, and battery state-of-health. This info can create an alert if action is needed immediately. You can also access alerts via the Hilti ON!Track software platform using either the mobile or desktop app.
The charger also reports battery health for automatic battery replacement when needed. That last one perked up our ears. Given the right maintenance plan, Hilti can actually anticipate a battery failure and replace it in advance of the customer even knowing they have a need. You can also avoid the presence of “idle tools”, saving your company from buying and leasing tools unnecessarily.
Hilti Nuron Health and Safety Features
Hilti has already introduced anti-torque control (ATC), ANSI-tested tethers, and advanced dust control.
With Hilti Nuron technology, they wanted to do more than just make a new battery. This included innovative solutions like moving active torque control into their cutting tools. They added SenseTech technology—essentially capacitance-sensing grips on angle grinders. These serve as “dead man” switches and automatically stop the grinder if your hand leaves contact with the tool. We have more on these features below.
Hilti looked at ergonomics, weight, and durability when designing their new line of Nuron tools. Let’s take a look at some key products we got our hands on during their event.
Hilti TE 2000-22 Breaker Hammer
The Hilti TE 2000-22 Breaker Hammer made quick work of a concrete slab. Powered by a pair of 22V Nuron batteries, the TE 2000-22 packed a punch and seemed to have enough runtime to get a good amount of work done. With only a 35 minute recharge time on the packs using their 8-amp charger, a few sets of batteries might keep you from having to use air or a cord for most small-scope demo work.
Hilti DSH 600-22 Power Cutter
We next tested the 14-inch Hilti DSH 600-22 power cutter cutting concrete slabs, blocks, and even stacks of 1-inch rebar. Also powered by a pair of 22V Nuron batteries, the DSH 600-22 looked and felt like a gas cutter. Using a nice rocking motion, Ben from ToolBoxBuzz.com cut through a 16-inch section of a 4-inch slab in around 45 seconds.
Not to be outdone, TBB’s Rob Robillard took a turn slicing through a piece of 1-inch #8 rebar in just 15 seconds. Later, we took the saw through four pieces at once. It cuts smoothly, and the weight feels very manageable.
Hilti Nuron Cordless 22V Power Tools Round-up
SR 4-22 One-Handed Reciprocating Saw
We took the SR 4-22 one-handed reciprocating saw and used it in a variety of applications—including some overhead cutting. The saw felt nimble (if a bit familiar) and it cut very quickly. Hilti needed an updated 18V version to their SR 2-A12 12V recip saw, and this model shows enough juice to warrant an upgrade.
SC 30WR-22 Track Saw
The Hilti SC 30WR-22 Track Saw got just a little bit of attention at the event in Switzerland. We took it through a few paces, cutting through sheets of what looked to be the European equivalent of 13-ply birch and similar materials.
It cut smoothly and with plenty of power. The track seemed easy to use and was available in multiple sizes (along with connectors for additional length options). It “stuck” securely to the material as well, so it didn’t drift during the cut.
It doesn’t provide nearly the dust collection you’ll find on products from Festool or Mafell, but it serves as a nice replacement for a table saw in the field for contractors.
Hilti SC 30WL-22 Rear Handle Saw
The Hilti SC 30WL-22 Rear Handle Saw also did well and uses a helical drive system as best we can tell (not worm drive) to deliver tons of torque to the blade for cutting multiple sheets of plywood, OSB, or HDF/MDF board.
This saw features a side-mounted battery that stays out of your way and puts the weight more forward—we liked that. It also has a plastic rafter hook and a somewhat thin (but wide) front handle. The front light really does a good job illuminating the cut line. Overall, this Nuron battery-powered saw should be a great rear-handle contender.
AG 4S-22 Angle Grinder
The AG 4S-22 Angle Grinder includes an updated 3D ATC (Automatic Torque Control) system. This actually switches off the tool and activates the disc brake when there is sudden, uncontrolled movement in any direction. 3D ATC also includes the Hilti SensTech system. This uses a sensor to detect when the operator’s hand is removed. If that happens, the tool engages the electric brake. That melds—for the first time—the safety of a paddle switch grinder with the convenience of a lock-on slide switch.
We tested both systems in several different ways and multiple times to see if we could trip it up. It works very consistently and intuitively—even while wearing gloves.
Cutters and RLS/ProPress Crimpers for Plumbing and Electrical
Hilti showed us a ton of new cutting and crimping tools that should appeal to those in the plumbing and electrical trades. They support (at least) RLS and ProPress crimping heads, and we were able to test out these tools on-site.
More Hilti Tools…60 or More
Of course, we saw a LOT more Hilti tools—too many to list here. Check out the photos below if you want a quick glimpse before we start reviewing and previewing select models as they become available to us.
Hilti EXO-01 Exoskeleton Suit
We managed to steal away for a bit and try on the Hilti EXO-01 Exoskeleton Suit. It operates without any batteries, so it wasn’t part of the Nuron launch. While this wasn’t part of the official tour, we wanted to see what all the fuss was about…and, honestly, I really wanted to finally try one on!
With a retail price of $1,599, I can now say that this would be well worth the expense for anyone doing lots of repetitive overhead work. It will save your body all sorts of strain and stress and can keep you working longer. And by “longer” I mean years longer, not just putting in more hours in a day.
We’ve run into folks who have trashed their bodies over the years—doing work that made sense while they were young—but which ended up causing damage years later. Products like the EXO-01 from Hilti can put a stop to that. It also costs a lot less than back or elbow surgery!
Final Thoughts on Hilti Nuron Battery and Tool Technology
Hilti Nuron tools and batteries launch on Jan 12, 2022, in Canada and the USA with shipments beginning in March. Hilti will proactively discuss and offer support services to customers who decide to implement Nuron. The global rollout will continue throughout 2022.
This doesn’t feel like just another battery platform. It’s much larger. Hilti plans to go all-in, using their sales platform to help transition customers to the new platform from existing tools. By 2023 they hope to be ready for a global launch.
Visit the Hilti website for more information.