Troy has been using Dewalt 18V tools for years, but the tools and batteries are starting to go. He’s in the same situation as others, and wrote in looking for advice.
Like I’m sure a lot of your readers, I bought one of the DeWalt 18V multi-tool packages several years back. I’ve now reached the point where some of the tools are dying (like the drill) and the batteries don’t keep a charge, or I like some of the newer specialty tools.
My question for you is: what is the best way to go about upgrading and replacing without buying EVERYTHING new? Can I just start replacing the broken tools with 20V Li-ion versions? Are the batteries and tools interchangeable? Is it a good idea?
I would appreciate any insight!
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If you’re in the same situation as Troy, you’re not going to like this answer. Unfortunately, the only option is to buy everything new. Dewalt’s “20V Max” cordless power tool line is not at all compatible with their 18V line, except for their multi-port vacuum.
There currently are not any official battery or tool adapters, and there are unlikely to be any conversion adapters later on.
The bright side is that, since Dewalt 18V cordless tool users are faced with having to buy everything new, they could shop around and decide which brand’s battery platform to buy into. A lot of readers have made the switch from Dewalt to Milwaukee’s M18 lineup, but Dewalt’s 20V Max offerings have become reasonably competitive.
To spread the cost around you could always buy individual tools as they break, starting perhaps with a drill/driver kit. But if your batteries are starting to go as well, a kit might be a better option. Keep in mind that the basic kits have saws with reduced features. If that matters to you, you would have to look at the premium kits or individual kits and bare tools.
Dewalt’s 20V Max tool selection is not as vast as their 18V line, but they’re adding new tools every so often and coming out with exclusive offerings such as their brushless oscillating tool and brushless framing nailers.
Having to upgrade from Dewalt’s 18V platform to a completely new Li-ion system, rather than simply being able to upgrade to latest generation tools and batteries as needed, is not the happiest situation to be in. The need to upgrade everything could be delayed with the purchase of new 18V batteries and replacement or upgraded tools as needed, but that’s just postponing the inevitable need for a complete upgrade. In my opinion, the money would be better spent on new Li-ion tools and batteries.