I could show you a huge montage of cordless power tools that are engineered with built-in rechargeable batteries, but I’m sure this one example does the trick. There are very many tools like this on the market, and in this post I will explain why a built-in battery can be a significant benefit rather than a “huge mistake” as some are inclined to believe.
Any time I post about a tool that has a built-in rechargeable battery, quite a few readers voice their strong distaste towards such design and engineering practices.
The main push-back stems from the fact that users cannot easily replace the built-in rechargeable batteries after they’re worn out after several years of use and charging cycles.
But, most detractors completely ignore the benefits of such tools.
1. They are less expensive
This is an inescapable truth – it’s far less expensive to design, engineer, and manufacture a cordless power tool with a built-in battery than a replacement battery, a special interface, and a separate charger.
Today’s small 4V-class cordless power tools and accessories sometimes don’t even come with a charger, they come with a standard USB charging port and a cord that you can use with existing power bricks.
It’s simpler and easier to engineer, and such tools will cost less to the end-user.
2. They are easier and simpler to maintain
Let’s be real. A lot of smaller 4V-class power tools and accessories are aimed at consumers with lower tool budgets. Consumers who aren’t heavy tool users like things quick, easy, and simple.
They don’t want battery docks, they don’t want to mess with battery cartridges, they want a one-piece tool that they can’t lose parts from.
3. They are smaller and lighter
Built-in batteries allow for tools to be designed and engineered differently than if a replaceable battery pack is used.
Even the slimmest and most compact 2-part system will take up more space than if the battery is sealed within a tool.
4. They are perfect for the target audience
If you point at a 4V-class cordless power tool and start firing off reasons why it’s a terrible design, well, that tool just isn’t for you.
Does a vegetarian walk into a steakhouse and complain about the paltry selection of vegetable dishes? Does someone looking for a rack of ribs walk into a soups and salad bar and complain about the lack of meaty entrees?
If you look at a 4V-class cordless power tool and list off reasons why it’s “terrible,” such as it being too weak, lacking in features, or poorly suited to a lifetime of use due to the built-in battery, there’s a very strong chance that it’s simply not for you.
Let’s say a cordless screwdriver is used on 20 separate occasions over the course of a year before needing to be recharged. Does that tool really need to be designed around its own battery system?
5. What’s the point of a one-tool battery system?
You can still buy Ryobi Tek4 batteries. But what about Craftsman V4? Nope.
For very few discrete tools, built-in batteries aren’t any less consumer-friendly than tools with replaceable batteries that won’t be supported after a few years anyway.
How many lower voltage power tool systems exist on the market today? There are reasons for that. If they were popular, don’t you think there would be more of them?
6. Some users will complain no matter what
Consider some of the few critics of Milwaukee’s RedLithium USB system. Milwaukee designed these tools, accessories, and batteries such that you can recharge the batteries in the tools themselves, and they also have separate chargers. Meaning, you can treat the batteries as built-in or swap fresh batteries in when you need it. Years from now when the batteries are best replaced, you can do that.
And yet, there are still complaints about the batteries being a non-standard proprietary format.
Li-ion batteries are nowhere near as ubiquitous as existing alkaline-sized batteries. Yes, they’re out there, but usually only in specialty or enthusiast products. Average consumers cannot be expected to have loose 18650-sized Li-ion battery cells and chargers around their home.
7. Tools can be good even if they’re not good for you
This is something that grinds my gears, and it’s not unique to the idea of cordless power tools with built-in batteries.
Products aren’t “garbage,” or “useless,” or “worthless junk” just because YOU don’t see the value in it.
Oh, I can absolutely see reasons against tools with built-in batteries, as I try to look at both sides of the coin for most tools that I post about. But it often seems that most tool critics are simply voicing their general distaste for specific brands or product categories.
Everyone has personal biases and leanings for or against certain tools, brands, or features. That’s normal. But what gets frustrating is when those personal biases and preferences are unfairly applied to undeserving products.
Is the product really bad, or just not a good fit for your use? It’s an extremely important distinction.
Who is this product good for?
Unless the answer is absolutely nobody, chances are it’s not a useless product, is it?
This wins the “Most Sententious Tool Post Of The Year” award.
I do find myself in the battery camp because once you use a higher quality tool it ruins you forever. I agree with your points though, but how many people reading your blog fall into the category you’ve described?
It would be interesting to know what demographics you reach in this tool family you’ve built.
It can be your experience with built in battery tools that either keeps you satisfied or pushes you towards the removable battery tool cmp.
For years, my wife used Gardena small built in battery garden tools – like their grass clippers and mini hedge trimmers. Then she started to complain that the tools seemed to run out of charge and that charging them up in the middle of some work was a big annoyance, When one died completely I looked around and there did not seem to be anything better – and repair did bot seem a wise investment. So I replaced it for her. Then a few years later when another one died – I saw a Makita LXT 18V alternative. Having plenty of Makita batteries – it seemed a no-brainer. Now she says that she would never go back to the fixed in-place batter tools. My take on all of this is that its nice to have options. And its even better if you can get educated so you understand your wants, needs and expectations such that you can decide among the options that might fit them best. I chuckle at some reviews on Amazon that complain about the performance of some item in an application that it was clearly unintended to accommodate. In the GC business – we used to say don’t use a hammer drill if you really need a rotohammer; dont expect a rotohammer to do what a pneumatic jackhammer can accomplish; don’t bring out a jackhammer if you really need a hoe-ram; and if the hoe-ram won’t do – then call in the rock drillers and blasting crew.
Thumbs up for the Craftsman V4 reference. I almost bought the V4 soldering iron a long time ago, and since then it seems the internet’s memory of that lineup has been wiped! The (Milwaukee M12 soldering iron is great, BTW).
The turnoff for me is if I have to enter a new system. I am drowning in chargers and batteries, so any time I need a new level of complexity I’m probably going to say no. I am already in the microusb charging system and the usb-c charging system, so tools that charge off that have zero complexity to add. I just got rid of a 4v black and decker driver that required a proprietary charger. If a tool uses usb I know it will never be orphaned, otherwise I won’t buy outside of systems I’m already in.
Same. I groan about the older devices I have that use Micro-USB. I utterly refuse to buy anything with built in batteries that uses anything other than USB-C… with one exception: I’ve had no luck finding rechargeable hair clippers that charge w USB-C!
If it’s going to cost more than a few bucks, it would be nice if it runs off a standard rechargeable cell as well that I might be able to change (18650, 20700 or 21700, or whatever)
I had a electric razor that i used as light clipper use. Strangely it worked on 5v but it had a proprietary charger. I was unhappy when i lost the charger and so i made a plug to adapt to USB and lo and behold, it charged just fine. It kills me that companies insist on proprietary stuff when of the shelf parts already exist for their product.
The issue for me isn’t whether it’s easy to swap discharged batteries for freshly charged. Or not.
The issue is replacing cells that have gone bad. Whether in a cell phone or iPad, a razor or a drill, or a swapable battery pack. There are two main problems with all of these: 1) Finding *reliable* replacement cells is a challenge, though it seems that the Chinese cells are a lot better these days, and 2) the cases are sealed up so that the whole thing can be a process that ends badly.
This is a big problem, to me anyway, across the spectrum of today’s tech.
tl;dr: I don’t mind internal batteries per se, but changing them makes me wish I had bought something with a cord instead.
I’m generally in the “built-in batteries are bad” camp, but recently bought an inspection camera with a built-in battery. Why? Because it was cheaper, more compact. My expected infrequent use probably means I’ll spend more time (over the useable life of the battery) making sure the battery is sufficiently charged for any unexpected use, than I will spend actually using the tool. It’s either that, or having to wait 2+ hours for the battery to charge when I need to use the tool. It would be much less maintenance effort if I were able to use a battery that’s part of a battery system I already use and maintain, but the price and compactness outweigh that in this case.
For me, this was a very timely post.
For someone who uses a power tool infrequently the better solution, IMHO, is that same tool but corded. Built-in, proprietary, non-serviceable batteries and infrequent use have never seemed to be a good mix..battery degrades, chargers gets lost, etc. I bet 80%+ of these low-end cordless tools are either discarded or unserviceable 12 months after purchase. I’m not hating on them, I just think that’s the reality. But if they are a good solution for someone, good for them.
This is a disposable tool that will end up in a landfill.
When the batteries stop holding a charge, the type of user that purchases this tool will not be the person that attempts to open it, de-solder the old batteries, find a replacement cell(s), and then solder them back in. It will go straight into the garbage.
It’s no different than the early rechargeable NiMH drills that didn’t have replaceable batteries, or the 80’s plastic homeowner grade corded tools that had non-replaceable brushes….I used to see them at countless garage sales, barely or not working.
In my mind, that’s case enough against them.
Good points all around. I prefer ratcheting screwdrivers for around the house tasks that this black and decker is targeted toward. I use a Williams USA ratcheting screwdriver which is one of my used tools. I also benefit from not being tied to batteries. If I need something more serious I would turn to my DeWalt 12v screwdriver or a drill driver.
I’m a half-and-half person. Some things, like certain classes of Flashlight, I don’t mind if people prefer the built-in rechargeable. They’re often well made for a specific purpose.
I have a far deeper detest of when WELL-ESTABLISHED Brands start making tools in this small-battery market. The Dremel products with sealed in batteries come to mind here. They barely made ANY use of their 8V Max line of batteries, yet they’re dropping down to 4 Volts because… It’s popular for Homeowners and New Users?
Okay, I’m sure it is popular with Homeowners and New Users… but why is it a Dremel product? Is it for me? No, but honestly, I don’t see how they’re Dremel either. Often, like the Versa cleaning/scrubbing tool, they’re a really good idea… Executed poorly (at least at launch)… now that there’s… 2 new scrubbing pads, and 3 shaft attachments? That’s a nice tool. It does nearly everything needed. But it’s missing some extra waterproofing, and the actual charging port is EXPOSED… That’s an electrical error waiting to happen! It genuinely would have been better as an 8 Volt Max or 12 Volt Max tool by the time you justify all the form factor stuff. This goes for the Dremel Lite USB Charged Rotary Tool… By the time you match up everything it’s meant for, with everything it does… Dremel has made better tools before. The 8050 comes to mind, with its slimmer design, and all-digital speed control, and front lighting system. That one was cradle-charged, and it’s already a better option than the Lite. “It doesn’t work with attachments” you say… well neither does the Lite. The attachments require more power to use, because they’re meant to be used at a faster speed. Step it up to something where it’s a genuine Dremel product… We’re talking the 8100 8 Volt Max tool. And by that time, you’re probably lamenting the fact that their Corded tools are all able to out-perform this particular model, the lite, and the 8050.
These are just examples of the 4Volt “Homeowner” class of tools being… quite underwhelming from a major brand like Dremel. The Milwaukee RedLithiums are a Hybrid system, correct? You can charge the batteries inside, or outside the tool? That’s an ideal situation. Zero downtime overcomes any issues with a lack of familiarity with the battery cell type. If anything, it WILL teach you how they work.
Black and Decker? Ryobi? These are known, and established, Homeowner BRANDS. There is nothing wrong with them doing the Homeowner class tools. It’s basically expected. Ryobi, yes, has an entire line (The One/One+ System) that rams it straight into the small contractor, or rennovator market. That’s fine too. But they have an established Homeowner line, where these enclosed battery tools belong naturally.
DeWALT? Dremel? Bosch? Stanley? Last I checked, they have sibling brands under their corporate parent companies, where “Homeowner” already fits perfectly. Why do the bigger, or other niches, NEED to jump on a bandwagon when their bread-and-butter products are already outselling the new “Homeowner” niche? At some point you have to tell the Marketing department to go home, because they’ve gone too far, and need to go take a nap or something to regain their senses.
I couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t bother me at all that Ryobi’s interchangeable head screwdriver, for example, has a built-in battery. That’s precisely the kind of tool where I think it makes sense.
I’m guilty of having multiple battery platforms already – yet I’m not eager to jump into another one without good cause – and it doesn’t make sense to me unless there’s a whole lineup of tools I can shop from. I would actually prefer a built-in battery in a platform like this.
If you’re worried about running out of power and having to replace the tool in a few years – it is probably not the right tool for you . Get a pro-version with replaceable batteries and better features.
These ~$40 tools that come with batteries fill a niche.
Dave the tool
I liked the Craftsman 4v reference also! I bought a handful of the screwdrivers (some with flashlights in the kits) and kept a few for myself and gave others away as gifts when they were clearanced out by Sears 6 or so years ago cheap! Basically they were Ryobi Tek4 tools rebadged for Craftsman. I keep one of the screwdrivers in tool box and one in the home. Use them all the time! Flashlight is dated but the wife loves hers so it stays. Still on the original set of 4v lithium replaceable batteries but knowing the Ryobi Tek4 are the same helps ease my thoughts as the Ryobi batteries are still avail. Great dual speed units with a clutch!
Environmentally: Throwaway tools ie those without replaceable batteries are just that…throwaway. Sure the manufacturers protect themselves by including tiny print on the tools or instructions that say don’t throw in trash but recycle because of the batteries but really… how many people actually recycle the units? Now times that by millions of the older NiCads units being thrown in the trash because the battery wore out but the tool was working fine. I’ve had quite a few battery dead but tool still works fine units in the NiCad era myself.
In summary lots of good comments, great article and some things to think about!
Years ago, before cordless tools hit their stride, I had a “Singer” cordless screwdriver. The Singer had a surprising amount of torque and I liked it and used it a hard.
However when the NiCad battery stopped taking a charge, it was just that – a throwaway tool, including the wall wart charger and case. It was, however, my introduction into the world of cordless tools…
us tool collectors are commonly the go-to person when someone else needs tools.. i routinely recommend lower budget brands and or tools with built in batteries for friends / family / coworkers…
they’re not going to use it as much as i am, just tired of using a manual screwdriver to put on outlet covers… a built in battery version of a powered driver is perfect for them.
i also don’t expect things like the one blade (shaver) to have a replaceable battery… or the rechargeable blower i use in my office.. For those things I’d much rather have a USB C rechargeable device than something that takes AAA’s…
I’m a DIYer that gets most of my work done with M12 Fuel drill and impact driver. Some work I use Ryobi’s 18V system for and that’s fine for the stuff I do. But if I’m just assembling a piece of flat pack furniture or replacing an outlet, I’ll grab the B&D rechargeable driver. It’s light, surprisingly torquey, and perfectly suited to the job.
I have a running joke with a relative of mine who works at a “Biscuit Container” Restaurant and Country Store. She once had an irate vegetarian customer who thought the country vegetables section of the menu was vegetarian. FYI Many items are such as green beans are flavored with bacon or other meat fats.
Koko The Talking Ape
I would be completely against built-in rechargeable batteries, but it turns out there are some applications where they really are better.
One is low-load, intermittent use, where the battery is never discharged more than a few percent. My electric toothbrush gets used at most 10 minutes a day, and is recharged constantly. In that situation, the battery will basically last forever (and it’s a nicad!) I know that because I used mine daily for 12 years. When I finally replaced it, it was because the switch was worn out. (My particular make, Sonicare, has no moving parts other than the switch and the head. The replacement heads have a shaft with a permanent magnet on the end that is inductively vibrated, with no physical contact; in effect they contain half of the motor.) According to the manual, the battery can last a few weeks without being recharged. I never once used even 1/20th of that capacity.
I can’t think of a single other item that is used like that.
Sure, there are reasons people like built-in rechargeable batteries, but they are bad reasons. The people who buy them are either short-sighted, ignorant, or have no other choice. They are cheaper up front, but in the long run, replaceable batteries will be cheaper, and also better tools. They can be smaller, but so can tools that just use disposable batteries. I would prefer those to tools with built-in batteries (and I’d use rechargeable Eneloops or something.) No size penalty, and probably even cheaper.
People who disagree with you are short sighted or ignorant… what about someone who has been using a shaver for almost 10 years with built-in battery? I have a Dremel that’s pistol grip style thats at least that old thats still going strong, and I doubt that it would be nearly as manageable if it accommodated removable batteries (nor have found the need for it).
I think it’s best to avoid opinions or statements like the one you offered, personally.
Koko The Talking Ape
Ah, so a shaver would be another case like my electric toothbrush, where built-in batteries actually do make sense. Your Dremel might be too. Cordless dremels don’t work for me personally, but if they work for you, then I believe you.
I would bet, though that having removable batteries wouldn’t add much bulk. As it is, the tool has a housing that contains the batteries. With removable batteries, it might just need an additional housing for the battery pack. Or it might not. It might just need a removable door to slide in AA or 14500 or 18650 batteries.
And sure, people can differ with me in all sorts of ways that don’t make them short-sighted or ignorant. They might like vanilla, and I like chocolate.
But not here. Tools with built-in batteries are cheaper, but not in the long run (with the few exceptions you and I have mentioned). So if you buy that tool because it’s cheaper, you are short-sighted, or ignorant, or both. They have no other real advantage, so it’s possible you buy one because of marketing, attractive colors, etc. Again, ignorant or short-sighted.
There are plenty of stories of people who tried tools with built-in batteries, then switched to tools with replaceable batteries. There are even a few such stories in the comments here. Those people learned from experience. I don’t know anybody who has gone the other way, do you?
You’re forgetting the rather large group of people who bought a built-in battery tool and never bought another of that type – either because it worked for them or because they didn’t really need it – in which case they saved money overall.
I hang equipment in datacenters, server rooms, and network closets. I used to use a 9v Makita drill. Then a 12v Dewalt. Then 18v. Then 20v.
Now, I have switched to using a little 4v Li-ion Black & Decker screwdriver with 6-inch long bits. Many other techs I work with have done the same. We have a DeWalt angled screwdriver with removable battery…the balance is terrible, and it can’t fit anywhere. Whoever designed it never had to use it all day while balancing things in a room where you shouldn’t be dropping things.
Having a small, lightweight tool that works well does not make me ignorant. It means I’m sensible. I have tried many tools from normal and ratcheting screwdrivers, Yankee screwdriver, up to $200 worth of drill/driver/battery.
Ever have to travel with a tool set? A 20v DeWalt drill is bulky, heavy, and a target for thieves, including other contractors in the building. My BDCS50C is “cute”. Nobody wants to steal it, because it looks like a toy. And, if it grows legs and walks away, I’m not crying about a 3-figure replacement cost. It’s 20 bucks. My missing flashlight or USB battery costs 2x or 4x the cost of my 4v screwdriver.
I think their fine I have two. A Ryobi stick screw driver I bough when a job went much longer then expected that involved removing covers held on by 60 flat head screws each. After the first day I went to HD down the street and bought the Ryobi and it’s been in my work travel kit ever since. Works fine for what it is.
The other is a skil auto sharp cutter (also made by Bosch and others over the years) Mine is well over a decade old still holds a charge fine and gets used about once a month mostly for breaking down cardboard, but I also found it useful when making some things out of plastic sheet material earlier this year.
For the screwdriver one with a removable battery might be more useful but in my case a charge lasts for a day of what I need it for so not really required. In the Skil I think a removable battery wouldn’t help at all.
There is zero excuse for this forced obsolescence and it honestly should be outlawed.
Several dozens of devices we own(ed) have been obsoleted simply due to the battery giving the ghost after 12-24 months; and they’re soldered-in & built-in in such a fashion that a repair / replacement is not feasible, because they’re not accessible. Cost prohibitive mailing & repair quotes – if a manufacturer even offers the service – mean you can’t send it in for repair. So you’re forced to take a stab at it, unless you want to just keep throwing stuff in the trash every month, six months, year.
I literally have many hundred dollars of tech gear sitting on the shelf in my office, waiting for a long winter week, so that maybe I can figure out what the unmarked battery actually is, or bypass it, recover some data, etc. fix the kitchen gadget, fix the bluetooth speaker, …
Times how many families in the state, country, world???
I say enough is enough with the disposable nature of tools, gadgets, appliances, …
We (the world) need to figure out better strategies for all the stuff that ends up in our landfills – or worse yet our water supply and oceans. While many corded electric tools may soldier on for generations with some TLC – that’s not likely to happen with most battery-powered tools – even those with removable/rechargeable batteries. Drive around most suburban neighborhoods ahead of trash collection – and you may see things like old TVs destined for the landfill. In our businesses we learned that most (if not all) cordless power tools had a finite life – were not economically serviceable at some point – and ended up in the dumpster behind the workout center. At least with the batteries we’d try to recycle them through our suppliers (and now you can do that at most Home Depots) – but I was never 100% sanguine about their ultimate fate. While tool replacement is a cost of doing business – the trashing of worn out ones seems like a terrible waste.
I’m reminded of a trip to India where we saw folks who earned their living (meager as it likely was) by repairing broken umbrellas – even the cheap kind you see in street trash bins on a windy/rainy day. It got you to think about how financially well off you were – but also about how some societies seem to be able to extend the useful life of items we take for granted as being trash.
Frank D’s first two sentences say it all.
A pretty good definition of junk/garbage/ crap, too.
Stuart – go into your blog dashboard and you’ll see that the majority of views and posts are from a tool with a built in battery 📱.
If the tool has a usb compatible charger and not some specific weird connector only seen in East Germany once in 1963, then we may have a fruitful relationship. Otherwise it can bounce out.
I’m not a radical lefty, “greener than thou” rabble rouser, but I hate the fact that we buy so much stuff that ends up in the landfill. I think we owe it to the future generations to at least try to throw away less plastic & things that can’t be reused or recycled.
For those reasons, I really dislike the integrated battery tools. That thing in the photo is going to last a year at most, live in the junk drawer for 5 more, then landfill.
On top of that, it probably doesn’t make enough torque to do a job that a simple screwdriver could easily do.
I’ve started spending Quite a bit more money on things and it is Scary how fast cheap junk ends up in the trash. $40 collapsible closet? Gone after a year. $400 Uline wire shelf closet? It’ll never die and if we need it no more it’ll be in the garage.
The built in battery tools have their place for those that prefer them, mostly homeowners.
I do prefer removable lithium ion batteries myself. However I would have purchased that Craftsman gyro power screwdriver if it had been 8V, I tried it and the 4V seemed underwhelming. I ended up getting the Dewalt 8V DCF682N1 screwdriver as a part of the Amazon $50 off $200 instead.
I do have the Skil LL932201 laser level which has a built in battery (micro USB). I love the thing, it was a great value, but I do wish it had a removable battery. It’s built in battery doesn’t last a super long time, it’s runtime is reasonable, but long. It takes a long time to recharge via 2 Amp USB. I’m also worried about how long that built in battery is going to last and what happens when it does finally die.
I wish Dewalt would come out with a similar 8V model for that battery, I would definitely buy it if they kept the price under at or under $150, possibly even at $200. I doubt they will ever do it though as I’m sure they would prefer people buy one of their 12V models.
I really can’t agree. Less expensive? I doubt it. They had to build the battery into the price. What if I already have batteries and want to use them? I’ve got several 18650 batteries in a drawer I already use for flashlights. That built-in battery is going to the trash when that tool dies and it could be the battery or tool that wore out. Cheaper to replace only what’s broken. I can’t see why the tool has to be bigger either. Some of my flashlights have built-in USB chargers. Micro USB chargers are everywhere. So ideally, they don’t need to stick another cord or transformer in with the tool either, further reducing cost.
I hate anything with built in batteries because I despise the throwaway culture we are in and I only own one or two items with integrated batteries because I couldn’t find a version I liked with replaceable ones. There are definitely benefits to the design of a integrated battery. However when the battery can’t hold much of a charge, the whole thing has to be taken to a recycling center and another would have to be purchased. Sadly how many people actually dispose of things properly? Wherever I can I buy stuff that runs off of my own rechargeable AA, AAA, 14500, RCR123, and 18650 batteries and I wish more things would run on such batteries that we can buy. Most of the items with built in batteries use the batteries I stated anyways. I understand manufacturers want to design around batteries they use so as to avoid customers using batteries of varying grades and performance which can result in problems with the item and dealing with warranty claims. I still think this would be a more sustainable option in my opinion while still receiving most of the benefit. Its not a perfect approach but I feel it is better. I refuse to support such a design because I feel it is too short sighted and its not the direction I wish to support. I don’t like tools being made with such a short life cycle in mind and it may cause tool companies to cater even more towards that way of thinking than they already do. Look at the way cars are designed these days. Thats where that kind of thinking gets us.
I think this is a reasoned, and reasonable, post. I work hard at not applying my needs, opinions, and preferences to other people’s choices. Essentially, I may quietly look down my nose at a product, but try to be mindful that everyone makes their own choices — for their own reasons. The only time I get vocal is when something is simply a bad deal. I get judgy when people buy something less capable, or lower quality for more money. But even then, people may make choices based on things other than value.
We always need to be mindful of individual needs and priorities. Having said all that, I definitely prefer replaceable power sources.
In an ideal situation, none of this entire conversation would be necessary if we had “Right To Repair” laws firmly in place, worldwide. Then a built-in battery that loses its capacity to hold a charge becomes a replaceable battery, whether the manufacturer likes it or not. Safe-Recycle systems for Fluorescent Lighting, Alcaline and Lithium based Batteries, and the odd cracked or damaged component, would be all the “Junk” we create. Even then, there are reclaimable elements to them that can be recycled as pure elements, and sold by the recycler to factories IN-COUNTRY, in order to reduce the total cost of buying those elements from overseas.
A Right-To-Repair world is a VERY Employed, VERY Efficient world. Propriety and Exclusivity only hurts the Consumer in the end. Either the Consumer has to spend Thousands instead of A Hundred or Less, or the Consumer lives in an area that is Economically suffering, because there is a lack of employment, and liquid economy in the country they live in.
I’m sorry if this crosses into the boundary of Politics, or some other forbidden topic… but it has to be said… We’re at a Tool Blog, as Tool Users, acting and interacting as a Community… The concept that a place like THIS has zero experience in taking apart, or repairing, a tool battery due to “Built In Obsolescence” is a concept not worth taking seriously. I know I can de-solder and re-solder things easily. I doubt I’m alone in that skillset. There are even sites like iFixit that sell kits for doing exactly this kind of work on devices. Right now the barrier is in patent law, where we can firmly be scolded by a manufacturer for doing our own work. Treating the end user like a moron is bad for everyone, even if there ARE a lot of morons out there. Humans in general are Tool Users… We should be shifting our Tool Use toward sustainability anyways, because the world needs us to do that. So, we can sit here and argue the merrits of a built in battery, and decry hating to throw away “junk” or we can speak up for a change in how the industry treats us. We’re not idiots. We’re the workforce in waiting. We’ve Crowdsourced so much in our lives, isn’t it about time we crowdsourced repair of simple tasks like swapping out internal batteries? Started demanding more rights from the companies we buy from, so we can extend our usage and loyalty?
This is why I am only half-and-half in the built-in-battery camp. Some brands that are using exchangeable batteries should stay in that lane, and not go homeowner. But those Homeowner brands should allow for the Right-To-Repair out of the box, so to speak.
This has nothing to do with “Right to Repair.”
If it doesn’t, it 100% should.
When is enough enough? with the fixed battery or even wall plug non-repairable, non-recyclable products?
I only use the Right to Repair as a reason to nullify the entire issue with built-in batteries. Right to Repair as a concept in general? No… It’s bigger than this article. But, the point of mentioning Right to Repair Laws here is basically a way that nullifies the argument between the two sides. ‘They’re Cheap!” “They’re Dead in a Year!” Right to Repair means YES! They’re Cheap! And if it dies in a YEAR, then you just open it up, desolder-resolder, charge, and you got another year out of it, maybe longer if you happened to buy a higher quality cell than the manufacturer did.
It renders the built-in battery to be replaceable, thus no longer an excuse.
When I was growing up Thorsten Veblen’s treatise: “The Theory of the Leisure Class” was still a popular read. I can’t help but think that the notions of conspicuous consumption and consumerism that he espoused still have something to do with our willingness to accept so many throw-away goods. But that seems to me to be only a part of the issue. If we were to believe the quip attributed to the then Patent Commissioner Charles Duell : “everything that needs to be invented has been invented” – then we would be living in a stagnant world. In a stagnant world we’d have no need to throw anything away – and like fixing up 1950s vintage cars in Cuba – we’d just repair everything until it was truly impossible to continue to do so. When Veblen and Duell were making their pronouncements it was 1899. So just think of all the new technology that has become available since then and the seemingly exponential growth in so many fields of endeavor – including those where we use tools to get things accomplished. So while planned obsolescence can contribute to what ends up in the landfill – and the difficulty/cost of repairing modern tools adds its measure – the advance of technology; many folks desire to constantly have the newest and best; and some folks need/proclivity to only consider first-cost all add to the equation. Meanwhile the Walker Turner Radial Arm Drill Press that sits in my shop has celebrated its diamond anniversary and still works (like some of those Cars in Cuba) nearly as well as the day it was made.