Before choosing a cordless tool (or multiple cordless tools), you need to consider the battery. Since many batteries and tools can be used together, you can buy a small number of batteries that will operate a large number of tools. This is why it’s crucial to determine your battery before selecting your tools. You can then buy tools without batteries, saving money and preventing yourself from accumulating an unmanageable number of batteries and chargers.
The right battery platform for you will be one that will power all the tools you need and make them feel right in your hands. Voltage, charge time, weight and price are just a few of the areas you’ll need to consider prior to making your choice.
Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) batteries are much more affordable than Li-Ion batteries and can give you a high number of charge/discharge cycles if properly maintained, but have to be completely discharged prior to recharging to avoid losing run time. Most modern chargers will take care of this for you, discharging the battery prior to recharging it. These batteries perform well in low temperatures, but also lose their charge when sitting for long periods of time.
Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries aren’t as prevalent as they used to be (simultaneous advances in Li-Ion batteries bumped Ni-MH from consideration), but are still used in large rechargeable battery systems like laser levels. Lighter and less toxic than Ni-Cd batteries, Ni-MH also have a higher capacity and are less prone to memory loss. Ni-MH batteries are more affordable—and heavier—than Li-Ion batteries.
Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries aren’t necessarily the best available battery, despite popular belief. They aren’t more powerful than Ni-Cd or Ni-MH batteries, but can rather pack more voltage into the same weight. For instance, a 12V Ni-CD battery will likely weigh more than an 18V Li-Ion battery. Li-Ion batteries stay charged no matter how long they sit and run on full power until the battery dies.
Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Red batteries are patented by Milwaukee, which is currently the only producer of these batteries. Milwaukee says the batteries run longer, with more power and in lower temperatures than conventional Li-Ion batteries, and can be recharged 50% more times. The batteries fit all Milwaukee’s current tools.
Use our exclusive tool-comparison engine in the bar below to compare batteries. If you're unsure what to look for, read our full article on how to choose a cordless battery platform.
Rockwell takes the time to tell us what makes their products so great and what separates them from their competitors. Craig tells us that customer service and lifetime warranties on their batteries are a big part of that
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