In 2 recent comments to our Upgrade Path from Dewalt 18V Cordless Tools? discussion post, reader made mention of an upcoming 20V Max to 18V XRP adapter that allows Dewalt’s current slide-style Li-ion battery packs to be used with their previous generation of 18V post-style tools.
We asked Dewalt about whether this, and are still waiting to hear back.
Bill, wrote in his comment:
I just spoke with rep today at Ganahl lumber and he told they will be releasing a new adapter for 18 to 20 volt. Can’t wait because I need new batteries but I’ll make due until release.
Pat, more recently said:
As of yesterday, talking to Dewalt’s R&D department of technology they are coming out in January 2016 with an adapter to use the new 20 volt batteries on all 18 volt tools.
So that’s two separate reader accounts that a Dewalt 20V Max and 18V battery pack adapter is coming. This would allow you to use your new Dewalt 20V Max Li-ion battery packs with your older 18V tools. It doesn’t look like the reverse is true, which is okay. If you’re buying new Dewalt 20V Max cordless power tools, you’re not going to want to use them with low capacity and time-worn NiCad battery packs.
If true, there are going to be very happy and very angry Dewalt users. One group of users is going to be thrilled that they can bring new life to their much-loved Dewalt 18V cordless power tools. 20V Max Li-ion battery packs offer greater capacity, which means longer runtime, and they might even offer better performance.
The other group of users will be those who made upgrade from Dewalt 18V tools to Dewalt’s 20V Max lineup, or perhaps a different brand’s 18V-class cordless power tool platform. I imagine that some are going to be quite upset that Dewalt waited so long to release such an adapter. Why now and not 4-1/2 years ago?
There are lots of users whose 18V and 18V XRP tools are still kicking, and so I would expect there to be strong demand for the rumored 20V Max battery adapter.
I’m going to give Dewalt the benefit of the doubt and assume that, if this 18V to 20V Max adapter is on the way to market, it was engineered in response to user’s needs and requests. If the plan all along was to delay the adapter until a few years after the 20V Max launch, that’s going to make compelled 20V Max adopters, or those who abandoned their 18V tools, even more unhappy.
It has been 2 years since we discussed whether Dewalt would be phasing out their 18V tools and batteries. If this rumored 18V to 20V Max battery adapter is imminent, then that might be a good indication that Dewalt plans to help change 18V users to their 20V Max lineup.
When it comes time to replace aged 18V batteries, a user could then buy a 20V Max Li-ion battery packs. Then when it comes time to replace a tool, or buy something new, an 18V user could buy a 20V Max tool and be able to use the same battery.
This would be great for users, and it makes one wonder why Dewalt didn’t come out with this when they launched their 20V Max lineup years ago. Perhaps at the time they couldn’t produce 20V Max batteries in sufficient projected numbers? Maybe there was a technical limitation as I had assumed, that Dewalt just now managed to overcome? Or maybe they simply didn’t want to, from a marketing standpoint, as that might have slowed sales of 20V Max tools.
Now, with there being very many new innovations to the Dewalt 20V Max cordless power tool platform, an 18V to 20V Max adapter seems like the perfect way to get 18V holdouts to migrate towards the 20V Max lineup. This could help keep users planted in Dewalt’s platform, instead of seeing them upgrading and rooting into Milwaukee’s M18 platform.
Milwaukee has become Dewalt’s most serious competition, and not just in the USA. Perhaps this new 18V to 20V Max adapter is a way to help stem the number of users shifting their loyalty from yellow to red.
After all this thinking aloud, I have all but convinced myself that Dewalt really is planning to finally release an 18V to 20V Max battery adapter. We’re waiting to hear back from Dewalt, and if they can’t share any official details just yet, we only have to wait a few months to see if the predicted January 2016 launch is accurate.