Power Tool Batteries

Discussion in 'Tool Talk' started by screwfix.peter, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. screwfix.peter

    screwfix.peter Administrator Staff Member


    We are looking for your thoughts on power tools.

    When buying tools how important are batteries which are supplied with the product.

    1, Does the amount of batteries supplied with the product affect your purchase decision.

    2, How important is the battery size, i.e. 1.5Ah/3Ah/4Ah etc

    We look forward to your feedback

  2. ibanezman

    ibanezman Member

    I'm a DIYer so the battery power is less important to me than getting value for money. If a drill came with a spare battery for less than I could buy another, I'd be tempted to pay more but get better value. Even as a DIYer though, I like having two batteries.
  3. Fat Tony

    Fat Tony New Member

    As an employer with several tradesman working for me I buy into a system. Therfore I buy only Makita Li-ion tools and batteries.
  4. teabreak

    teabreak Screwfix Select

    I would not buy any tool with just one battery because the price of replacements is a total rip off!
    I have found it cheaper to buy a second Bosch drill with two batteries, than to replace the ones on my existing drill, total madness.
    I do shy away from deals that look good, but when you read the small print the batteries are only 1.2 -1.5 ah, I would prefer 2 or above.
  5. Greg Walker

    Greg Walker New Member

    Definately, I don't particularly look at the Ah on the batteries, but I do make sure that when I compare prices on drills, usually screwfix are only cheaper because you supply less batteries with the drill.
  6. petertheplumber

    petertheplumber New Member

    I stick to quality cordless only with a basic drill, and I won't buy one with less than 2 batteries, and at least 2.6Ahr.18v. 110v or 230v for any other tool since they last longer than cordless and the batteries. most cordless are considered a luxury since the cords are cheaper and usually last longer. But cord gets in the way.
  7. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    i always buy batteries that charge in around 1hr nothing more nothing less this is for a 2ah battery too quick reduces the battery life to slow need more batteries for the same run time
    always buy middle to maximum amp hour capacity  in the range yes cost is important
    if you can get 3x2hr batts or 2x3hr for the same price if i had no other batteries i would go for the 3 batts for greatest flexibility
    now in general li-ion give you 20-40% greater run time from the same ah over nicads this is part because they are more efficent at converting the capacity and also have the abillity to part charge at will
    for this reason a 1,5ah li-ion will equal a 1.8-2.1ah nicad

    i would also never buy any tool with a limited selection off tools to fit the batteries[at least 5 if more will follow later]
  8. I use makita 18v lithium for everything, the quality in my opinion is superb.

    1.) I have 3 betteries and 2 chargers from an original deal, so buy everything else bare. The batteries cost a lot so no point in having more than I need.

    2.) I stick with 18V so everything works with the same batteries, I never really look at the Ah .
  9. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    You also have to remember that a fast charge battery will probably have a shorter lifetime than a slow charge battery, and a fast charge is more likely to suffer a dead cell or two more quickly.

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  10. Andrew_W

    Andrew_W New Member

    The amount of batteries definitely affects my purchasing decision as the amount I use my cordless means I need a battery constantly on charge! Drilling steel is quite hard work for a cordless so a third battery is better as I almost always flatten the second battery before the first is charged! I wouldn't say I look much at the Ah I'm usually more concerned with a good price for the voltage, rightly or wrongly!
  11. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    Interesting Andrew. But think, if you used 3Ah batteries instead of 1.5Ah batteries, your first battery might be charged before your second runs out(if 1 hour charge). Saving=1 battery.

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  12. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    another thing to keep in mind is the first 40% off charge will give you around 60-70% power/ah but you can only do it with li-ionn and nmh
    so you could start the day with 2 flat batteries charge one for 10 mins whilst you set up and just keep swapping batteries as you need them
    assuming its a 1 hour charge 10 mins as 1/6th off the charge time should give you around 1/3 charge

    the only downside is if the batteriesand charger are heavily used and heat up requiring  a cooling time this may reduce the advantage
  13. 1 answer:  If I am buying a new item which isn't compatible with Bosch Blue 18v li, The amount of batteries would be an issue. If I'm thinking of buying Bosch I have enough in which case I'd buy a bare unit.
    2 answer:  Anything less than 2.6ah in a battery won't catch my attention. Batteries over 3ah normally last long enough to charge the previous one. I'd only have a 1.5ah battery if someone I know was chucking in the tools and retiring!

    I agee with HandyAndy,

    I would never use batteries less than 3ah, I use Bosch professional tools and the air cooled charger normally does an empty battery in 20-30mins. I Have three 3ah batteries and never needed more.

    BAPSMAN New Member

    I am new to this forum. so HI.

    heres a bit about me firstly.I am a maintenace engineer/ builder on a large 57 acre site (200+ buildings) so I am a busy lad!  I have to say that my cordless is probably the busiest tool on my box ( and I cover a lot of trades from carpentry to electrical to engineering).   I also have been flying model aricraft for years which have used *rechargable* batteries for years.  I am a qualified electrician and I *dabble* in electronics.....  *Jack of all trades* as they say..

    So FIRST UP...

    IMPORTANT NOTES ( FOR THE DIYer firstly)....

    Ni-Cad  ( Nickel Cadmium) batteries have *memory effect8  Ie. if you only use half a charge or so every time you use it.. the beatter *remembers* this and it will, after time only give you half the power output.  They need "Cycling" ( discharging)  down to 1.2 Volts per cell every 3-6 months latest! or the cells will be damaged.  ( this is impossible to accurately test as the batteries in drill etc are sealed).  If you dont use it often it WILL DIE ON THE SHELF!
    In Short.. DONT BUY Ni-Cad cordless tools unless you are going to use it regularly!!
    If you DO use it regularly then Ni-Cads are okay but.... You NEED to think about "memory effect" and use the battery FULLY. And charge it fully too ( no *Part charges, they hate that)...

    Ni-Mi (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries are much more forgiving. They give pretty good performance and have no memory effect and you can part charge them.
    Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) Batteries are the best on the market at the moment ( unless we start useing Lo-Poly batteries! )
    They give much better performance ( will hold max output much longer than Ni-Mi) charge faster etc.....  They just soak up abuse and neglect!

    So I guess you can see, if you want something to last, fgo Ni-Mi as a minimum.  If yo uwant GOOD performance, go Li-ion.

    Lastly, battery size.

    I'll keep this short but basically.  The AMPAGE is the POWER (energy store size, or "grunt", if you like)  of the battery and the VOLTAGE is the speed at which it can be delivered ( in VERY simple terms).

    So the AMPAGE and VOLTAGE are BOTH VERY imortant. 

    Remember that these tools use electric motors. As such they  (electirc motors) deliver maximum power at high speeds, as you load the motor, the power consumption increases and , if you cannot maintane the RPM of the motor the power output falls off expnentially with the reduction of rpm on the motor due to load / drag.   The power CONSUMPTION also increases greatly too.

    So Ideally you need speed  (VOLTS) and AMP ( POWER /GRUNT).


    Ask me what I use?

    I have two cordless drills and a cordless SDSplus ( and planer/ circular saw Etc..).  I have on old Hitachi NiMi 18 volt 3 A/Hr cordless that is YEARS old.. I had two actually, but wore them out. So I made one good one from the two! :)

    Main workhorse is now the DeWalt XR range Li-Ion (DCD 925L2 XRP). I run just TWO batteries which are 18Volt 3 A/Hr. and I can work it hard ALL DAY!!  The batteries charge in one hour easily.  They have in built protection agains over-discharging ( this hurts ANY battery).  they are lighter than any other battery.  They have huge amounts of grunt too! ( I have just used mine to mix up 8 bags of self levelling compound too.  Heavy load for prolonged period... NO PROBLEM).  
    No memory effect,  part charge / fast charge no problem.

    By the way, I DO like De-Walt but I dont just buy it for the name. A LOT of their gear IS VERY good, but pricey! ( you get what you pay for).  The planer is the bees knees!  But, I wouldnt have the planer/thicknesser for a gift Its AWFUL!   and SOME of the other stuff isnt as good as the price or the name should suggest. do you homework before you buy.  if you only use a tool occasionally , then go for a cheapr brand ( with a GOOD Ni-Mi or  Li-Ion BATTERY/s)

    If you can afford it, go Li-Ion. If not, go for Ni-Mi . After that..??  See if you can stretch to 18volt 3 AH ( ideal for most people).  If not then go 18 volt - 1.5 Ah.
    Or, for light occasional use, go 12 volt 1.5 Ah ( but remember to let that little motor spin! ).

    So there we are ( PHEW! ).:eek:

    I hope this helps you understand what youre loking for and what you want/ need.

    BAPSMAN New Member

    Wow I went a bit over the top there!    Sorry if its a bit *war and peace*.   Time for bed!
  16. screwfix.peter

    screwfix.peter Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you for your thoughts so far.

    What peoples routine on charging batteries as both a DIY and a Trade user.

  17. I have 3 batteries for 2 of us. We have one on charge while the other 2 are in use and then swap it as one goes empty. Usually works out, the makita lithium ions only take about 30 minutes to charge.
  18. itchyspanner

    itchyspanner Member

    i think offering tools with both no, 1 and 2 batterys is a good idea, as screwfix does currently. Some want to purchase an extra tool but already have other tools in the range so a cheaper alternative with no or only one battery appeals if they already have a few batterys with other tools. offering a discount on extra batterys when brought with a tool is a good idea, i offten buy a tool with 3 or 4 batterys.

    i normally have 6 to 8 batterysmin  for my cordless tools set at any one time, i dont charge batterys at work, i charge at home. I do think battery prices are to high for what they are to make. Most use samsung ot sony cells that are not that expensive, there is a good prift markup im assuming. My milwaukee m28 batts cost me £130 approx. if i had the spare time im sure i could make me one for alot less. :)
  19. snezza31

    snezza31 New Member


    I needed a couple of replacement Milwaukee V28 batteries recently and found a company that does them for less than 1/2 that price.

    They are refurbished packs with Panasonic cells fitted to them and have a higher Ah rating than original.

    I would post a link up but the moderators will probably delete it.

  20. surfermick

    surfermick New Member

    im a one man band and two batteries keepsme going, mylast was a 2.6 ah and i now have a 1.5 ah, both did/do the job intended as the recharged battery is always ready when needed, the only drawback is the extra stops with the smaller battery and thats only a proble if im off the ground and cant get a lead up there for the charger.

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