Nat TaylorBlog, Web Design & East Boston

Interchangeable Power Tool Batteries

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I recently learned of the awesome new reality that power tool batteries are now somewhat interchangeable.

The DeWalt drill I got a decade ago is an awesome tool that always exceeds my requirements, but recently one of the batteries got weak and since I’m so cheap I fretted for months about what to do. The drill uses 18V NiMH batteries which are inferior to Li-ion and there is a newer 20V Li-ion product line, so was I really going to dig myself deeper hole of old technology? And what about the other tools I want? I really didn’t want multiple batteries and chargers and such. This prompted me to begin Googling which lead me to four amazing discoveries:

  1. Lithium-ion batteries that are compatible with 18V DeWalt tools exist, and
  2. 20V to 18V battery adapters exist, and
  3. Ryobi to DeWalt battery adapters exist, and
  4. There’s a buyers market for used 18V DeWalt tools

Li-ion batteries for my existing tools means I don’t need to upgrade to the 20V Li-ion right away to get the benefits of Li-ion. Battery adapters means that I can piecemeal upgrade my tools, and that I can mix-and-match brands. And the buyers’ market means that I can get tools at a heavy discount!

So here I am in tool nirvana. I went from a drill I liked with only 1 battery, and now $230 later I have:

  1. Pair of 5Ah 18V Li-ion batteries ($40)
  2. 18V cordless circular saw
  3. 18V cordless metal-cutting circular saw
  4. 18V cordless reciprocating saw
  5. 18V cordless jigsaw
  6. 18V cordless grinder
  7. 18V cordless shopvac
  8. 18V cordless flashlight

I think I got a great deal, but I am most pleased by the fact that if and when I want to get a 20V tool all I need to do is plunk down $15 for a battery adapter and then my entire 18V toolset can share the new battery. Then once I do, I could plunk down another $15 and be fully compatible with the Ryobi 20V line.

The interchangeability seems like a huge step forward.

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