What are the best batteries and chargers for power tools?

Published : 02/13/2023 17:35:21
Categories : Mister Worker , Professional working tools guide

Power Tools Batteries and Chargers

Every cordless tool needs a battery to function. But not all batteries are the same. Before choosing the right power tool for your collection, you need to know about power tool batteries. The task you are performing and how often you use the tool will make a difference. 

It should be noted that there is no such thing as a universal battery charger for power tools. To help maintain loyalty, every manufacturer creates its own batteries and chargers. While voltage and amps can be the same, small details make it impossible for one brand of batteries to fit into a different brand’s tools.

Power tool batteries come in different voltages and amps. If you have a large drill or jigsaw, you will want a powerful battery to go with it. Lower voltages can be useful for smaller tools. While volts tell you how much power a battery can deliver, amps tell you how long the battery will last. The higher the amps, the longer the battery will last. As it can take several hours to charge a battery, if you need to use it continuously, you’ll want a higher amp battery and a spare one. 

Features to consider in a power tool battery

If you’re ready to purchase your next power tool, then you need to consider the following battery characteristics before you make your final choice. 

Volts and battery power

This is the most important aspect of any power tool battery. You can choose the best manufacturer of power tools. But if you pair it with their lowest quality battery, you’re going to be left wishing you had chosen differently.

The basic rule is that more power is better. That’s why you need to look at the volts. The most modern power tools are rated at 18V or 20V but it should be noted that some tools require more power. These can be supplied with dedicated batteries, or some manufacturers allow you to use two of their regular batteries to power the tool. This is a good option if you only use the high-powered tool occasionally, you can simply borrow the battery from other electric tools. 

Amp-hour ratings and battery runtimes

As mentioned, the higher the amp the longer the runtime of the battery. In most cases, this makes buying higher amp batteries the most logical choice. Of course, higher amp batteries are more expensive, larger, and heavier. You’ll need to consider this when choosing a battery.

Is a higher Ah battery better?

In general, the answer to the question “is a higher battery better?” is yes. However, if you’re going to work in tight spaces or the weight of the cordless tool is a concern, you may find that the smaller and lighter low amp batteries are a better option. The disadvantage is that you’ll probably need two or three of them to ensure you can always use your tool. 

What type of batteries are used in power tools? 

Almost all power tools now use lithium-ion batteries, referred to as Li-ion. This is more expensive than the older batteries, which were either nickel and cadmium or nickel and a metal hybrid. Furthermore, Li-ion batteries are more durable and will provide the same level of power until they are empty. On the other hand, nickel-based batteries tend to lose power and cause your tool to work slower as the battery loses power.

Li-ion batteries can be found in a vast array of voltages, from 12-36V and the amps can be as little as 1.2Ah or as high as 9Ah.

What are the best rechargeable batteries for power tools?

As previously mentioned, Li-ion batteries are the most common option in modern power tools. You may be asking yourself: “are lithium batteries better for power tools?”. The simple answer is yes. But it can help to take a look at the pros and cons of the most used batteries for power tools.

Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries

Advantages of this type of battery:

  • Very easy to recharge
  • Use standard sizes making it easier to swap brands
  • Cheap

Disadvantages of Nickel Cadmium batteries:

  • Made with toxic metal 
  • Must be fully discharged and recharged regularly
  • Lower power offering than Li-ion

Nickel Metal Hydride (Nimh) batteries

Advantages of this type of battery:

  • Fast recharging
  • Standard sizing, so better for compatibility
  • Relatively cheap

Disadvantages of Nickel Metal Hydride batteries:

  • More powerful than Nicd but still less than Li-ion
  • Tendency to discharge by themselves
  • Not that durable

Lithium Ion (Li-ion)

Advantages of this type of battery:

  • Powerful
  • Lightweight
  • Don’t lose power in use
  • No maintenance required
  • Long-lasting
  • Environmentally friendly

Disadvantages of Li-Ion batteries:

  • Expensive
  • Need built-in protection against overcharging and overheating

Power tool battery shapes

There are three common shapes of cordless power tool batteries. The specific style you get will depend on the brand of tool you choose and the tool itself:

  • Pod: the pod is one of the most common types of power tool batteries. It is designed as a block with a piece that extends to slide into the power tool. It’s generally the largest style of battery and offers the longest duration;
  • Stick: the stick style is small, slim and simply slides into your tool, making it almost invisible. But it is smaller and holds less charge;
  • Slide: the slide tends to work in a similar way to the pod except that it needs to be slid into your tool to ensure proper connectivity.

It should be noted that the different shapes of batteries have very little effect on how powerful the tool is. In some cases, the shape is adopted simply to make it harder to use another brand of battery in your tool. In other cases, the shape affects the balance and feel of your power tool. That’s why you should think about it before you buy. 

Battery platforms

The battery platform is often referred to as a system. In most modern power tools, the platform is the same across all products in their range. That means the same battery can be used in multiple tools. If you have two or three batteries for one product range, then you can save money on additional tools by buying just the tool. 

Top-selling product within power tool batteries

Stanley batteries

Power tools with batteries are exceptionally popular. That’s not surprising as they are incredibly practical. If you want to invest in a good-quality power tool, first of all you better know which batteries are among the best selling options:

  • DeWalt DCB184b-XJ - 18v 2.0ah xr li-ion battery pack: This battery offers 18V and 2.0Ah. It is considered one of the best DeWalt batteries, as it offers Bluetooth connectivity, allowing the battery status to be viewed from an app on the phone. In addition, it features an LED on the battery that indicates the current charge level;
  • DeWalt DCB115P2-QW - starter kit 18v xr 5.0ah: the DeWalt 5-amp battery takes approximately eight hours to charge but lasts an impressive three hours. This starter pack includes two batteries and a charger, effectively allowing you to work all day without losing power as the Li-ion battery delivers the same performance until it’s discharged;
  • Facom CL3.BA1850 - 18v 5.0ah li-ion battery: this battery range looks chunkier than DeWalt’s offering. But it offers the same 18V and 5Ah of power, effectively giving three hours of constant use.  The LED on the battery pack  shows charge status and the rubber coating reduces abrasion problems. It is worth noting that this battery pack is compatible with both Facom and DeWalt tools;
  • Stanley SFMCB206-XJ - 18v - 6.0 ah lithium battery: Stanley 18V 6Ah battery is one of the largest on the market. It offers approximately 4 hours of continuous service, although this will depend on the wattage of the tool you are using. It can be used with any of the latest generation FATMAX tools;
  • Stanley SFNCB6025-XJ - 54v - 2.5ah lithium battery: The Stanley 54V lithium-ion battery is designed to work with Stanley's range of garden products. It offers an impressive 54V and 2.5Ah power, allowing you to use your garden tools for several hours. It is sufficient to complete most jobs. It also offers a built-in LED charge status light, letting you know how much power is left. It can be recharged in just 1.5 hours.

General considerations on power tools batteries

It is worth taking a moment to consider some general considerations about power tool batteries. A recurring question among professionals intent on purchasing batteries is the following: "Can you use different batteries in power tools?". The short answer is no. Each brand of cordless power tool has developed specific battery platforms for their line of tools with different voltages. As power tool batteries have evolved, using the wrong type of battery can cause problems if inserted in the wrong tool, compromising the performance of both the battery and the tool.

Today it is possible to interchange batteries between those of the same brand and voltage, even with different ampere-hours, but it is still not possible to use batteries of one brand in tools of another. In order for the tool to work well and not get damaged, it is strongly recommended to make sure you are using the right battery, and each manufacturer has its own method for identifying the correct compatibility. That’s why you need to carefully consider which tools and batteries are right for you before you start investing. 

The exact length of time a power tool battery will last depends on the amount you use it. Three years is generally considered a good guideline. However, since the use to which it is put has an influence, it is good to know that a lithium-ion battery can generally last 300-500 charges, while a nickel battery can last up to 1,000 charges.

Can I charge an 18V battery with a 20V charger?

Yes, it is possible, as the electronics, motors and cells are better. However, the voltage delivered is exactly the same as an 18 V tool.

How do you bring a power tool battery back to life?

First, you have to insert the discharged battery into the tool's charger to see if it starts charging. If so, leave it on charge for one hour or until the process is fully completed. If it does not charge, repeat the starting procedure, but this time leave it plugged into the car charger for 10 to 12 seconds.

What is the best way to store power tool batteries?

To store batteries at their best and keep them at peak performance, the following tips should be observed.

  • Store and charge batteries in a cool, dry place. 
  • Avoid exposing batteries to liquids, oils or extreme temperatures. 
  • Clean batteries with a clean, slightly damp cloth. It is strongly discouraged to clean them using solvents. 

If the battery no longer holds a charge, take it to a service center near you for quick, free as well as safe disposal.

Battery chargers

Dewalt batteries and chargers

It is important to point out that the battery can only store a limited amount of energy and when it runs out, it must be recharged. The battery charger is an essential part of your battery and power tool. But it should be noted that there are different types:

  • Slow: this is the cheapest type of charger and generally works with nickel-based batteries. It can take up to 16 hours to recharge your battery;
  • Regular: regular chargers deliver a higher voltage to recharge the battery faster. They can generally recharge a battery in 3-6 hours;
  • Fast: if you’re using your power tool a lot then you’ll want the fast recharger. It is the most expensive but delivers the highest voltage and can recharge your battery in as little as one hour.

How does a power tool battery charger work?

Battery chargers for cordless power tools work by using mains electricity and filling the discharged battery with energy.

The charger is connected to the electricity supply and the battery is inserted into the charger. It then transforms the power from the mains into a suitable level for the battery and feeds the electricity in. This is stored in the battery until your power tool needs to use it. Most chargers have built-in protection to ensure the charger stops when the battery is full.

Should power tool batteries be left on the charger?

The power tool batteries should not be left on the charger because they could overheat. If the charger or battery has built-in protection, this will not be a problem.

However, unless the tool's instructions specifically state to store the battery on the charger, we recommend removing it when charging is complete. Overcharging can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan, and not all chargers will automatically switch off.

Are all drill chargers the same?

No. Each brand of cordless power tools has designated battery platforms specific to their line of tools with different voltages. Now, it may be possible to interchange batteries between the same brand and voltage even with different ampere-hours.

Top-selling product within power tool chargers

There are plenty of options on the market- for power tool chargers. But the following are certainly some of the best currently available. 

  • DeWalt DCB104-QW - 12-18v xr 8a 4 port fast charger: if you have a DeWalt tool and battery then you need to make sure they are always ready to be used. That’s why this DeWalt 4 port fast charger is the best option. It can charge four 18V batteries at the same time, recharging 9Ah batteries in just 75 minutes and 12Ah in under two hours. The cord wraps around the charger to prevent trip hazards and it can be easily clipped onto your DeWalt toolbox;
  • Stanley SFMCB14-QW - quick charger 18V: this Stanley quick charger can be used with Stanley 18V or 20V systems. It will recharge a 2Ah battery in just 30 minutes and a 4Ah in one hour. It has built-in safety protection and LED charge status to ensure you know when your battery is ready to use;
  • Festool 201135 - rapid charger TCL 6,0AH: This is a high-performance lithium-ion battery charger that charges your tool's batteries quickly and fully. Furthermore, its useful LED display shows the residual battery life and charging status. This charger has a compact size, non-bulky, for convenient, easy storage. In addition, it is equipped with  an extremely safe cord holder;
  • DeWalt - quick charger 18V-54V 12A: this DeWalt battery charger is designed to recharge your high-powered batteries fast. It’s perfect if you have the DeWalt Garden range and can charge a 12Ah battery in less than 1.5 hours.  The charger includes a charging status LED and has a built-in cooling system to maximize charging speed;
  • Stanley SFMCB24-qw - dual battery charger 18V: Stanley offers the SFMCB24-QW as a dual charger, allowing two batteries to be charged simultaneously. It works with Stanley 18V batteries and can charge a range of other devices via the integrated USB port. It offers standard charging and not fast charging. This means that the 2Ah battery could take up to 14.5 hours to recharge.

If you would like to get further information about batteries, then we recommend you to read this additional article about DeWalt batteries. Take a look also at the most useful DeWalt tools, in order to be better informed about power tools and their features. 

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