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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Advantages of this type of battery:
Disadvantages of Nickel Cadmium batteries:
Advantages of this type of battery:
Disadvantages of Nickel Metal Hydride batteries:
Advantages of this type of battery:
Disadvantages of Li-Ion batteries:
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
To store batteries at their best and keep them at peak performance, the following tips should be observed.
If the battery no longer holds a charge, take it to a service center near you for quick, free as well as safe disposal.
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:
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.
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.
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.
There are plenty of options on the market- for power tool chargers. But the following are certainly some of the best currently available.
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.