Cordless Drill Battery Replacement – NiCD vs. NiMH vs. Li-Ion

For cordless power tools, batteries are very important. That is their juice, their life source. However, with the continuous innovation of technology, we see more and more versions that are “supposedly better” than the other earlier battery types. This may be true in some cases, but all battery types have advantages and disadvantages.

When you are on the lookout for a power tool battery, look for some specific details about it. These include runtime, life cycle, volts, and amp-hour rating. Obviously, some types have a higher power output than others.

To help you with your decision, also think about what you will use it for. Will you need high power for heavy-duty applications? A powerful tool may not be optimal for lighter applications. It may cause more damage because of too much power. Anyway, here is a quick rundown of battery types you can choose from.

NiCD (Nickel-Cadmium)

NiCD batteries are cheap, but they are tough. They may have a reputation because of the “memory effect,” but you should give this kind of battery a chance. They are the oldest type of batteries, but they are still widely used until today. These batteries have a long lifecycle, and they also have high resistance to high and low temperatures.

However, periodic maintenance needs to be done so the battery can last for its full lifetime. They self-discharge, but they can also be recharged fast. They can also be bad for the environment, and it is required that they are recycled properly. They may reduce their capacity after a while, but they can maintain output power even at a low charge.

Features:

  • Long lifecycle at around 1,000 charges
  • Can handle extreme temperatures
  • Powerful when used in power tools
  • Very cheap
  • Self-discharges but recharges fast

NiMH (Nickel-Metal Hydride)

NiMH batteries are an improvement compared to NiCD batteries. They have twice or thrice more energy capacity and only have a little bit of the memory effect. They are a little more expensive than NiCD, but considering the improvements, they are definitely worth the price.

They do not have high resistance to high and low temperatures, but they have a higher energy density. They have a slightly shorter lifecycle, but they have a less negative impact on the environment. This type of battery needs to be stored and maintained properly, or else it would have a much shorter lifecycle that it originally had.

Features:

  • Needs proper storage and maintenance for a longer lifecycle
  • Little memory effect
  • Less harmful to the environment
  • High energy capacity
  • Fast self-discharge but also fast recharging

Li-Ion (Lithium-Ion)

This one is the most expensive out of the three and is also the most recent type. Being the newest, they have significant improvements over the previous two. They may have the shortest lifecycle, but they are the most lightweight and have the highest energy capacity. They do not have the memory effect, but heat is a threat to them.

Maintenance will not be a problem because they do not require to be periodically discharged. However, when in use, the power they produce decreases, so the device also decreases its performance. They have very little to no discharge rate at all, and they do not have a negative impact on the environment.

Features:

  • Little to no discharge rate
  • Highest energy capacity
  • Does not require to be maintained
  • Has no memory effect
  • Can be charged 300-500 times

Popular Cordless Drill Batteries For Sale

Power tool companies now offer a wide range of cordless power tools. With that, they sell extra batteries, and some even made their own improvements to their battery types.

1. DEWALT Cordless Drill Battery

The DEWALT DCB205-2 has a 20V MAX capacity and is powerful at 5.0 Ah. The company claims that it is 60% more capable than other 20V batteries. This can be compatible to use for tools in the 20V MAX line. It is covered in plastic and is very lightweight. It is easy to transport this battery in case you need it.

This one has a 3-LED fuel gauge system that indicates if you still have enough or are already low on charge. Using this battery on your power tools gives less downtime. They have no memory effect and have almost zero self-discharge rate.

2. Makita Cordless Drill Battery

The Makita BL1850-B is and 18V 5.0 Ah lithium-ion battery. They have a 65% more runtime than other batteries in a single charge. It will only take around 45 minutes to recharge this one. It is ready-to-use even after a long downtime because it does not self-discharge. It also has a battery fuel indicator.

This battery is compatible with any 18V LXT tools. It has also been improved to be able to withstand extreme temperatures. The tools you can use this for should have the Star Symbol or yellow battery receivers.

3. BLACK-DECKER Cordless Drill Battery

The BLACK-DECKER LBXR2020-OPE is a 20V 2.0 Ah lithium-ion battery pack. It is compatible with other 20V tools in the BLACK-DECKER line. It is very powerful it can even be used on a leaf blower. They do have a high-energy capacity for better performance and shorter downtime.

4. Bosch Cordless Drill Battery

The Bosch BAT622 is an 18V 6.0Ah battery that comes with a 2.0 Ah battery. It is compatible with other 18V tools and chargers. This one also provides more runtime to get more work done on one charge. Since this is a lithium-ion battery, heat is the enemy. The housing and ribbing of this battery keeps it cooler.

5. Milwaukee Cordless Drill Battery

Milwaukee made an innovation in their Li-Ion batteries. This battery is designed to have better performance, electronics, and construction. They are able to withstand heavy-duty applications while giving you its optimum power output. It also reduces the damages it may receive when dropped or from vibrations.

The Milwaukee 48-11-1850 M18 Redlithium 5.0 Ah battery pack is managed by REDLINK Intelligence. This is Milwaukee’s way to protect the battery from being abused. Cold temperatures will also not be a problem.

6. Porter-Cable Cordless Drill Battery

The Powerextra batteries for Porter Cable tools have a professional level of standard. It has longer battery life and it provides better compatibility, longer run-time, more safety and stability. Powerextra keeps your Porter Cable 18V cordless drills work like new again! It is an excellent replacement for standard batteries. It charges really fast and discharges slow.

Conclusion

While most people disregard the type of batteries our tools and equipment use, it is helpful and ultimately more fulfilling to know the differences of each brand. Though certain products use a particular type of battery, when we know how one differs from the next, we will be able to tell whether that purchase will be well worth it or not. At the end of the day, it is really about knowing what your needs are and what you need the tool for that would spell the difference in preferring either of the NiCD, NiMH, or Li-Ion types.

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