20V Max Vs 18V Batteries, Which Is More Powerful. Are drill batteries interchangeable

V Max Vs 18V Batteries, Which Is Powerful?

A lot of people tend to get confused when considering whether to buy the 18V or 20V drill. For most people the choice comes down to the one that seems to be more powerful. Of course 20v Max sounds like it packs a lot of power but the truth is that the 18v is just as powerful. Looking at the various similarities and differences between these products can be key to understanding what you get when you buy any of them.

A little background

Through the past few years there have been quite a number of batteries that have made it to the market. However, after some time of comparing these products a lot of experts agreed that the 18v battery line was giving the best performance. This was until the 20v max was unveiled. There have been quite a number of tests and opinions given by both experts and amateurs with no clear consensus having been reached today. Of course there is a group that believes the 18v still stands out while there is also another group that would bet all their savings on the 20v max product line. Regardless of the side of the debate you fall below are some of the things you need to keep in mind.

The truth about 18v vs 20v Batteries:

On taking apart any of these two batteries you will realize that they are designed in much the same way. They both have individual battery cells that are arranged in a group of 5 wired in a series. Every group of 5 cells is connected through a wire in a parallel arrangement. This is done to ensure that the battery has a significantly large number of amp hours. It is also done to guarantee that the battery has a good capacity in terms of watt hours.

A deeper look at these cells reveals that each one has two different voltage ratings namely nominal and maximum. Every one of the cells in a 18v or 20v battery has a nominal voltage rating of 3.6 volts which translates to 18 volts nominal when put together. Every one of the cells in an 18v or 20v battery has maximum rating of 4 volts which translates to maximum 20 volts when put together. In essence the manufacturers of the 18v battery makes use of the nominal rating while the manufacturers of the 20v max battery make use of the maximum rating. This is basically the main difference between these two products.

Having noted the above it is clear that both of these batteries produce the same amount of power. The only difference is in the way they are advertised or labeled with regards to cell ratings. Another significant difference is that 20v max batteries are common in the United states while 18v batteries are sold outside of the United states. However, a person using 18v batteries outside of the US is getting the same results as one that is using a 20v max battery within the country.

It is equally important to note that there are tools designed to work with 18v batteries while there are also a group of tools that are designed to work with 20v max batteries. This can present yet another argument with a number of people preferring to go for the 20v max tool because it sounds more powerful. The information below should help you choose the right tool with regards to drills.

v vs 20v drill – Which Should you Choose?

As mentioned above there is no real difference between the two battery types. However, there can be significant differences when it comes to the drills that use each type of the battery. To make the right choice you are advised to have a look at the following details.

The cost of the drill – the amount of money you are charged for a drill that uses an 18v battery can differ from the cost of the drill of a 20v max battery. Do not buy a drill simply because it indicates 20v max instead compare the rates of the various drills in the market and settle on the one that seems to be offered at a reasonable cost. A cheaper 18v drill can provide you with exceptional functionality while an expensive 20v max drill may not be as good as you may think.

Think about torque – regardless of the drill you pick one of the most important things for you to consider is the maximum torque you get. If the 18v drill provides higher torque you should go for it. On the other hand if the 20v drill offers better torque you should favor it over its competition. The higher the torque of a drill the better results you will get when drilling through hard surfaces.

Size and weight – the size and weight of a particular drill is another thing you need to consider before making a purchase. A 20v drill that is quite heavy may cause a lot of difficulties in the middle of a project. Not only are you likely to get tired of holding it in place you will also wear yourself down as you move from one point to another. It is advisable for you to pick a lighter 18v drill as it is likely to offer better results. When it comes to size it all depends on what you will be using your drill for. Those who use drills in narrow areas may have to buy products that are compact. On the other hand individuals who work in large spaces may have the freedom of choosing a drill of any size provided it meets their expectations.

Usability – one thing that makes a drill exceptional is its usability. In this case a good drill is one that features things like light indicators and sound notifications. These things make it possible for just about anyone to use. Differently colored lights can give information regarding the current settings and power available. It is wise for you to pick an 18v drill with these features rather than to go for a 20v max drill without them.

Brand matters – before you make any purchases take the time to learn about the various brands in the market. Create a list of with the most trustworthy names at the top. Use this list to sift through the various products in the market. Brands such as Makita and DeWALT are among the most established and reputable which is why you should go for their tools regardless of the voltage indication.

Accessories – to make work easier you should go for drills that can be used together with various accessories. This will make you get your projects done within a short time and with exceptional accuracy.

In summary 18v vs 20v max batteries

As you have learned there is no real difference between an 18v and 20v max battery except in marketing terms and place of use. Whether you buy the former or the latter the ultimate power you get at the end of the process is the same. A careful look at the tools that you are interested in purchasing is by far a better way to make the right decision instead of relying on the voltage that is indicated – have a look at some of the best cordless drill reviews we have written and find your perfect drill.

Are 20V batteries interchangeable? (Are they universal?)

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Asking whether 20V batteries are interchangeable is really asking a couple of questions. Firstly, whether you can fit a battery designed for one type of device into another. The second question is whether you can use one 20-Volt battery technology in place of another. We are going to answer both of these questions here.

So, are 20-Volt batteries interchangeable? It depends on the situation. You can easily switch battery technologies. However, you may not be able to fit a battery designed for one device into another.

Throughout the rest of this page, we are going to help you to determine whether you can switch your 20-Volt batteries with another set.

Can You Switch Ni-CAD batteries for Lithium-Ion Batteries?

As you may well know, Lithium-Ion batteries have a number of distinct advantages over Ni-CAD batteries. For example, they can last longer (they tend to have a higher AH), and they do not suffer from the memory effect.

As long as the Lithium-Ion battery has the same fitting as the Ni-CAD battery that you are replacing, then it is absolutely fine to do.

The thing that you are powering just wants power. It doesn’t really care where the power is coming from. In fact, the machine can’t tell the difference between a Ni-CAD and a Lithium-Ion battery. It just knows that it is getting power from a battery that has been plugged into it.

The only thing that you need to be aware of here is that battery chargers may not be compatible across the various battery technologies.

So, if you are going to be swapping out NI-CAD batteries for a Lithium-Ion battery, then you will want to double-check that the charger that you have is capable of charging your new batteries. However, if it has been purchased within the last few years, it probably will be.

Are 20-Volt Batteries Interchangeable Between Devices?

For the most part, no. They could potentially be, but they are not.

Most 20-Volt batteries are used in power tools. Batteries are often the most expensive part of any cordless tool. As a result, power tool manufacturers only want you to purchase their batteries. They do not want you to purchase cheaper batteries from other battery suppliers.

This means that even if the Voltage of the battery is going to be the same, the fitting won’t be the same. This means that you won’t be able to connect the battery to your tool.

As long as the battery has the same fitting as the one that you are going to replace, then you should be fine. 20-Volts is still 20-Volts. As we said in the previous section, the machine isn’t going to be particularly fussed about where the power is coming from. All it cares about is that it is getting the power that it needs to work.

Are 20-Volt Battery Cells Interchangeable?

We are going to say no, even though they potentially could be.

At the end of the day, a power cell in a 20-Volt battery is the same as a power cell in any other 20-Volt battery. In theory, you could open up a battery and switch the power cells around. However, it isn’t something that we would particularly recommend.

Batteries are a great deal more complicated than they were in the past. They have all sorts of electronics wired up inside of them, and battery chargers work in a very specific way.

There is a chance that if you swap the battery cells around, the new battery cell may not be compatible with the battery tech in the new battery. This means one of the cells won’t work. The battery may still be able to pump out a small amount of power, but it won’t be able to pump out all of the power that it needs.

Of course, it is also a huge amount of hassle swapping power cells around. It takes a lot of wiring, and you run the risk of doing something wrong. This could cause the battery to become damaged.

This is before you even factor in the fact that the new battery cell is going to be newer than the other battery cells. This means the new cell may hold more of a charge than the others inside of the battery.

So, while it is possible, don’t do it. It really isn’t going to benefit you in any way.

Can You Use 20-Volt Batteries As a Substitute For Another Voltage?

So, what about using a 20-Volt battery as a substitute for a battery of a lower Voltage?

Well, the same rules apply. If the fitting is the same, then it should work. However, in most cases, it isn’t really recommended.

If you swap an 18-Volt battery for a 20-Volt, this should be fine. The Voltage is close enough that it won’t be a massive problem.

If the battery you are replacing is 9 or 12-Volt, then don’t do it. The 20-Volt will be supplying too much power to the machine. This can drastically reduce the lifespan.

If you are looking to replace a battery larger than 20-Volts, then it may not work. This is because the 20-Volt battery won’t be able to supply enough power to keep the machine running properly. Again, you may find it works a little if the Voltages are similar (e.g. 20-Volt to 24-Volt), but if you were looking to replace a 40-Volt battery, you really have no chance.

Conclusion

For the most part, 20-Volt batteries are not universal. They could be universal, however since selling batteries is highly profitable for companies, they want to ensure that only their batteries are compatible with their devices so you have no alternative but to buy their product.

As long as the battery fittings are the same, you will find that battery technology is universal. So, if you want to upgrade your batteries to a newer technology e.g. Lithium-Ion, then you should have absolutely no issues with the upgrade. However, you may want to check to see whether your charger is compatible.

Are Bosch 18V Batteries Interchangeable With Other Brands?

Bosch is a juggernaut among power tool manufacturers. But some of their offerings are battery-powered, which is problematic because many consumers prefer brands with interchangeable batteries. They want to know that they can replace a battery from one brand with a battery from any other brand.

Are Bosch 18V Batteries Interchangeable?

Bosch 18V batteries can work with every tool in the same range, especially if the voltage matches. Bosch Battery Compatibility Chart

Battery Compatibility
DeWALT YES
DREMEL YES
MILWAUKEE NO
Makita YES
RYOBI YES
VARTA YES

This is not true for every single manufacturer. Some brands make batteries that can only work with specific tools. You cannot interchange them with batteries from other devices in the same range. I also have to warn you against using the wrong battery. Doing so could harm the battery, the tool, or both. You have to pair each battery with the device the manufacturer recommended. In some cases, you don’t have a choice. Some batteries have unique configurations that only match the compartments of specific tools. In other words, those batteries won’t fit the slots of any other device. This simplifies the process of matching the battery to the appropriate tool. But you don’t have to apply this rationale to chargers. Some batteries can only recharge when you connect them to specific chargers. But others are compatible with any charger from the same brand, so long as their configurations match.

Dremel – Is It Compatible?

Dremel and Bosch have identical chargers. This is a strong indicator that Bosch and Dremel batteries are similar.

But if you’re not convinced, look at this video

The Dremel and Bosch batteries he displays in the video are identical. He also shows that Dremel batteries can fit in Bosch power tools and vice versa.

Admittedly, the Dremel battery doesn’t go all the way into the Bosch tool. It has a corner that gets in the way. But you can cut the corner off. Naturally, this will repel some people because they don’t have the skill or patience to modify their batteries.

This attitude is not bad. Laypeople shouldn’t tamper with power tool batteries. Take your batteries to a technician and ask them to make the modifications.

The similarities between these two batteries are not a coincidence. The Dremel brand belongs to Bosch.

Milwaukee – Is It Compatible?

Bosch is not interchangeable with one another, unfortunately.

When you look at them, the batteries have a lot of similarities. But rotation on the battery pack makes Milwaukee and Bosch incompatible.

Both batteries emerge from the same factory. However, Bosch and Milwaukee added minor differences to prevent people from interchanging their batteries.

This makes sense. Bosch wants you to buy their batteries. They don’t want consumers to turn to Milwaukee when their Bosch batteries die. Milwaukee is the same. They lose money whenever you use batteries from other brands in their power tools.

Introducing those slight differences forces consumers to use Milwaukee batteries in Milwaukee tools.

Makita – Is It Compatible?

Makita and Bosch batteries are interchangeable.

You can use battery adapters that allow you to use Bosch batteries in Makita tools. This is a common solution to compatibility problems. An adaptor can bridge the gap if two battery brands are not interchangeable.

Varta – Is It Compatible?

Varta and Bosch batteries are practically the same. If you look at their specs, you will notice similar production technology and labels. The batteries are made from the same materials, and that is not a coincidence.

Brookfield Business Partners LP, which makes Varta, is also responsible for the production of the Bosch batteries you see in many cars. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which battery you choose. The results are the same.

This should put you at ease, especially if you’re tempted to interchange Bosch with Varta.

What To Look For If Bosch Battery Is Compatible With Other Brands or Not?

Your biggest concern is the voltage. Many experts will tell you that you can’t interchange batteries. First of all, manufacturers design batteries for use in specific devices.

It is not their intention to create batteries that can work in another brand’s power tools. You will occasionally find batteries that look alike because they came from the same factory.

However, that doesn’t mean you have the manufacturer’s permission to use those batteries in power tools from different brands.

First of all, some batteries look alike on the surface, but their contacts and configurations may vary significantly. In other words, they can only fit devices from a particular brand. You cannot apply them to tools made by different manufacturers.

Secondly, the size matters. If a battery is too large to fit in the slot of a different brand’s power tool, you cannot interchange those two brands. The shape presents the same challenge.

Thirdly, you have to keep technology in mind. Manufacturers use different raw materials and technologies to make their products. Therefore, just because two batteries look similar on the surface doesn’t mean they are interchangeable.

You may damage a power tool by inserting a battery from the wrong brand. That raises a question. How can you determine whether or not two batteries are interchangeable?

First, ensure they have the same size, shape, and contact configuration. If the two batteries cannot fit in one another’s power tools, there’s no point in interchanging them. They won’t work.

But this is the least of your worries. You cannot interchange batteries unless the voltage is the same. Some manufacturers include a list in the manual of a power tool that shows you all the compatible batteries.

However, this is rare. A manufacturer like Bosch does not want you to insert batteries from different brands into their drills. Therefore, they won’t tell you which batteries you can interchange with their products.

But you can find those lists on the internet. Don’t forget to check the warranty. You should listen if it warns you against using batteries from different brands. Otherwise, you will void your warranty.

Battery pack systems

Our ambitious goal in all of our efforts is the cordless construction site. This gives you maximum freedom whether you are driving in screws, drilling, sawing, grinding or cutting.

LiHD – a completely new dimension in technology:Our new LiHD battery technology is another quantum leap on your path to independence from the outlet. Our battery packs are fully reconceptualized, with high-performance cells delivering up to 67 percent more power and facilitating totally new applications.

100 % COMPATIBLE. NATURALLY.The key advantage for you: limitless compatibility! Since 2009, battery packs in each generation also fit all Metabo cordless machines in their volt class, and every Metabo charger charges all battery packs in the same size. And that’s the way it’s going to stay.With Metabo, you’ll be on the safe side for the future as well.

3 year battery pack warrantyThis unique Ultra-M technology permits us to grant you a 3-year warranty on all Li-Ion and LiHD battery packs.

18 Volt battery system

Systems with a future: The extensive 18 V battery product range from Metabo.

The future belongs to the 18 volt interface, which offers great power and an enormous range of solutions.100% compatible, naturally.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON THE USE OF LI-ION BATTERY PACKS FOR OUR CORDLESS TOOLS

Please only use the original battery packs/chargers provided by us or battery packs/chargers from our CAS partners. These are designed for use with our cordless tools and those of our CAS partners and ensure the best possible performance and safety.

We cannot provide any guarantee for the safety or performance of our tools if other battery packs/chargers besides original packs/chargers manufactured by us or our CAS partners are used. This also applies if the battery packs/chargers have been opened or modified from their original condition in any other manner.

The use of battery packs or chargers not manufactured by us or one of our CAS partners (third party battery packs and chargers) may result in significant safety risks, such as fire or explosion hazards.

In addition, please note that the use of third party systems will void all warranty and guarantee claims related to our products.

The Complete Cordless Tools Battery Guide

Ampere hours, voltage, Li-Ion, NiCd… all these are terms that you might hear thrown around when you are looking at purchasing a new cordless tool. But what do they all mean? How do you know when the salesperson has no idea what they are talking about and just wants the commission?

Well, let’s give you a bit of an education and go over the different battery types, ratings and everything else you need to know regarding batteries for cordless tools. That way you can be armed with all the info you need to make an informed decision.

How Battery Technology Has Improved

If you told a carpenter that you relied on nothing but a battery drill to do all your screwing and drilling jobs 15 years ago, they would have laughed at you. These days, cordless drills, nailguns and other such cordless tools are their most used devices.

Battery technology has improved vastly over the past decade, and in some cases, the tools that they power can perform just as well as a corded tool.

One of the main problems with batteries in the past was their ability to last the distance. There is nothing more annoying than having your battery run out of juice halfway through a job.

Modern-day Li-Ion batteries can provide power for extended periods of time, and also recharge quite quickly – making them a worthwhile investment.

Which Battery Type is the Best for Cordless Tools?

The cordless tool industry has grown exponentially since the release of the Li-ion battery, mainly because of the vast improvement over the other older battery types.

Yes, it is true that some of the other battery types listed in this article are outdated, but they do still have their uses and they are still sold with some cordless tools such as cordless lawn mowers, or grass shears.

The super quick answer: If you want the quick answer as to which battery type is best, then you will probably want to go with a Li-ion battery.

Of course, there are many other things to consider, if you want to learn a bit more then please keep reading.

Understanding Battery Capacity Specifications

When you are shopping for a cordless tool, you will notice that you are bombarded with different battery specifications.

The most common specifications that are all over the packaging and marketing materials are:

Well, surely it is easy right ?

Just choose the biggest numbers and you have the best battery?

While this seems like the obvious answer, it does depend on numerous factors… which we will look at.

Let’s quickly explain some of the most commonly used terms when it comes to cordless tool batteries.

Ampere-Hour (Ah)

What does Ah mean? What does it mean when the Ah or a battery is (X). These are some of the most common questions we get. And it actually isn’t that complicated.

Ah, or ampere-hour is the total amount of charge your battery can deliver in one hour. E.g. Under ideal conditions, a cordless lawn mower that continuously draws 2.0 amperes (amps) of current will drain the total charge of a 2.0Ah battery in 1 hour.

So by that logic, a 4.0Ah battery should last for 2 hours in the same electric mower. This is all assuming of course that the mower draws a constant 2.0A and that conditions are ideal for the battery – which never happens in the real world.

batteries, which, powerful, drill, interchangeable

There is another thing to consider here, and that is the fact that a 4.0Ah battery is not necessarily going to last twice as long as a 2.0Ah battery will. In some circumstances, it may actually last more than twice as long. It all depends on the type of battery, how it is wired up and the control circuitry in the battery itself.

But you can still use the basic reasoning mentioned here to roughly judge how long a battery might last.

So what does Ah mean on a battery? To put it simply, Ah is a measure of how much charge the battery can provide. A simple analogy would be the size of the fuel tank in a car.

Battery Voltage

The voltage (V) rating of a battery is a measurement of how much power that battery can provide.

To put this in very simple terms, the higher the voltage, the more powerful the battery. Some cordless devices require more power to run, so a cordless drill that is designed to drill through tough timber is going to need more power than a drill that is only designed to do light work.

batteries, which, powerful, drill, interchangeable

Yes, higher voltage generally means the tool is more powerful – but it also means more weight in the tool and these higher voltage tools also generally cost a lot more. It all comes down to choosing the right tool for the job, remember that bigger is not always better.

Memory Effect

The memory effect occurs when a battery is constantly partly drained, then charged without being allowed to fully discharge. The name comes from the fact that the battery remembers how much of its charge was drained before being charged and then uses the shorter charge period as its new capacity.

Not all batteries suffer from the memory effect.

Battery Cycle Life

Cycle life is a measurement of how many times a battery can be charged before losing the ability to retain energy.

For example, Li-Ion batteries in cordless tools generally have a cycle life of 300-500. So theoretically you could charge a Li-Ion battery at least 300 times before it would need to be replaced.

Self-discharge

After a cordless tool battery has been charged, if the battery is not used immediately it starts to slowly lose its charge. Some battery technologies have a much faster self-discharge rate than others.

Keep in mind that a faster self-discharge rate is not always bad – if your tools are never stored away for long periods between use then you probably won’t care about the self-discharge rate at all.

Self-discharge is measured in percentage of charge lost per month.

Deep-discharge

A deep discharge is allowing the battery to completely drain of energy through use. This can be problematic for some battery types (not all) and can severely reduce the batteries cycle life and capacity.

batteries, which, powerful, drill, interchangeable

On the flip side, there are some battery types that should periodically be allowed to deep discharge in order to maintain a healthy battery.

Cordless Tools Battery Types

Most guides that you read about cordless tools batteries will be focused mainly on Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) and that is with good reason. Li-Ion have become the go-to battery of choice for most cordless tool manufacturers. This is for a few reasons:

  • They provide a lot of power from a small battery (high energy density)
  • They can be recharged many times (high cycle life)
  • High capacity (Ah/Specific energy)
  • No memory effect

Before we go into too much detail, let’s take a quick visual look at the difference between the 4 main battery types.

We often get asked which batteries are better or which type is better.

Well, we have tried to make it simple to compare the different battery types with this handy image below.

Ok, that’s great – it looks pretty hey?

Maybe – but it does give us a few important insights into the battery types. From this info, we can take the following away:

  • For high current applications (digital cameras, high power torches etc.) NiMH is clearly the best choice. This is because NiMH batteries are capable of delivering a high burst of power when needed (the specific power number is huge).
  • But… The amount of power NiMH can actually store is lower than a Li-Ion battery.
  • Lead Acid and NiCd batteries are pretty much obsolete these days.

So the long and the short of it is: A Li-Ion battery is smaller and can provide a lower current for a much longer period than a NiMH battery. But a NiMH battery can deliver high bursts of current when needed.

Now we will dive a bit deeper into each battery type.

Nickle Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries

The Nickel Cadmium battery has a long history, in fact, it was first invented in 1899! Of course, it only started being mass produced in 1946 and it grew in popularity from there. They are generally outperformed by both NiMH and Li-Ion batteries but are still useful for some jobs today.

NiCd Batteries at a Glance

Cycle life: 1,000 chargesSelf-discharge: 10%Ah rating: 1.2Ah – 2.2Ah (low)

batteries, which, powerful, drill, interchangeable

NiCd Batteries Pros

  • Very cost effective
  • Robust and not easily damaged
  • Long life cycle – around 1,000 charges
  • High current flow

NiCd Battery Cons

  • Heavy compared to Li-Ion and NiMH
  • Low capacity (Ah)
  • Must be cool before being recharged
  • Regular deep discharge required
  • Very toxic and not environmentally friendly (contains cadmium)
  • Susceptible to memory effect

Nickle Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries

Brought into mass production in 1989, NiMH batteries are a much newer technology. They are an improvement on NiCd batteries in many ways, the main points being that they are less toxic to our environment when disposed of, and have significantly improved capacity (Ah). They do of course come with some downfalls which can be seen in the following sections.

NiMH Batteries at a Glance

Cycle life: loses capacity after around 600 cycles, although this can be improved upon if charged and stored correctlySelf-discharge: 13.9–70.6% at room temperatureAh rating: 2.2Ah – 3.0Ah (medium)

NiMH Batteries Pros

  • Capacity is higher than NiCd batteries
  • Costs less than Li-ion batteries
  • Cycle life can be greatly increased by storing and charging the batteries correctly
  • Safe for the environment
  • Can deliver large amounts of current to high powered devices (cameras, torches etc)

NiMH Batteries Cons

  • Sensitive to temperature and should only be stored and used when between 33 degrees F – 103 degrees F
  • Requires a deep discharge semi-regularly (every 2-3 months), but allowing NiMH batteries to continuously deep discharge will reduce the lifespan and reduce storage capacity
  • Lack of use over long periods of time can be detrimental to the batteries lifespan and capacity
  • When in use you should not let a NiMH battery fall below 70% capacity except when doing your maintenance deep discharge
  • Cost more than Ni-Cd batteries
  • Is susceptible to memory effect but can be reduced with proper charging. Memory effect is also reversible to a degree by carrying out a few proper charge/discharge cycles

Reconditioning NiMH Batteries

If your NiMH batteries have developed a memory effect or capacity has been reduced, then it is likely you can recondition them by following this guide.

Lithium-Ion Batteries (Li-Ion)

Entering commercial production in 1991, the newest technology in batteries for cordless tools is the Lithium-Ion battery (Li-Ion). As far as we are concerned, Li-Ion batteries are the best choice for cordless tools, whether it is a cordless lawn mower or a cordless drill.

Li-Ion batteries do not suffer from a memory effect and they are not affected by poor charging habits. Li-Ion batteries instead wear out over time due to age and use. The main downfall of this type of battery is the relatively short life cycle (

Li-Ion Batteries Pros

  • Very light-weight and small
  • Hold a large amount of energy
  • Self-discharge rate is very low at normal room temperatures
  • No memory effect
  • Very high capacity
  • Requires no maintenance

Li-Ion Batteries Cons

  • High temperatures during use or charging can cause the batteries to explode, although most feature adequate safety features to prevent this
  • High cost compared to other battery types
  • Is sensitive to heat and impact

Lead Acid Batteries

Lead-acid batteries are not commonly thought of when it comes to cordless tools, but they are still quite common in cordless lawn mowers so we have decided to give them a small section in this article.

The lead-acid battery was first put to commercial use in train carriages in 1859, it has obviously had multiple revisions and improvements since then but is still widely used today for a number of applications.

You will typically find these used as cordless lawn mower batteries and batteries for the starter motor in ride-on mowers. This is because these tools have much more room for a larger and heavier battery.

Lead Acid Batteries Cons

  • Loses significantly more capacity in cold weather than Li-ion
  • Worse for the environment than Li-ion due to much more mined material being required
  • Lose voltage slowly as they discharge resulting in less power
  • Lose the ability to be recharged if left discharged for too long
  • Very heavy

Charging Cordless Tool Batteries

In the past, you could mix and match different chargers with different rechargeable batteries. These days, most cordless tool batteries are designed to work with a specific charger, especially those with Li-Ion batteries. You will find that Lead Acid batteries can be charged in many different ways, but it is always best to follow the manufacturers instructions and use the charger that the manufacturer provided with the tool.

The Future Of Cordless Tool Batteries

If I could turn on my crystal ball and tell you exactly where battery technology was heading… I would! Unfortunately, my crystal ball is being repaired!

But, I can tell you what I do know and what some of the worlds most renowned battery experts know.

The truth is that at the moment, there is no magical battery technology being developed that will change the world. While there are some theories of technologies that MIGHT work – there really are no working models for the moment.

There is, however, lots of money being spent on improving Li-Ion battery tech. This is due to the rise of electric cars and stationary battery energy storage (for storing energy generated from wind and solar power). So we should see a new generation of Li-Ion batteries being developed that will slowly take over the market as manufacturing ramps up and costs come down.

Cordless Tool Battery FAQ

Q: Can you recondition power tool batteries?

A: Yes you can, there are a few ways to give your batteries new life. Some methods are mentioned in this post. Or you can completely rebuild your battery – although be very careful with this as it can be dangerous.

Q: How long do Li-Ion batteries last?

Li-Ion batteries have a cycle life of up to 1,900 cycles. Generally, the Li-Ion cells will last 2 – 3 years before needing to be replaced.

Q: How Long do Cordless Drill Batteries Last?

It really depends on the type of battery and how you use/store them. But a good rule of thumb is you can expect about 2-3 years out of most cordless drill battery types.

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