Yesterday we introduced the new Dewalt FlexVolt system, which includes numerous tools and accessories centered around a brand new convertible battery pack.
We have more in-depth Dewalt FlexVolt coverage in the works, but I wanted to take the time to answer many of the questions you asked in the preview post’s comments section, and some of the ones I had come up with.
How Does it Work?
Natively, FlexVolt batteries are 20V Max battery packs, with a 6Ah charge capacity. It’ll work as a higher capacity pack.
Here’s some info you might not read about anywhere else: Since there are 3 sets of cells run in parallel, these packs should be less heavily taxed in heavy duty applications, meaning they should run cooler. Because of this, under certain conditions, the same charge capacity in a 6Ah FlexVolt battery might provide for more runtime than combined 6Ah of capacity in smaller battery packs.
When connected to a Dewalt 60V Max tool, or as part of a pair inserted into a 120V Max tool, the battery pack configuration will change. There’s a mechanical switch that will connect the battery cells in series, leading to combined voltage of 60V Max (54V nominally), with a total charge capacity of 2.0Ah.
How Will 60V Max Tool Runtime Be with 2.0Ah?
With higher voltage motors, there is greater efficiency and lower losses, and so you should see decent tool runtime. Don’t get hung up on the numbers.
What About 40V Max Outdoor Power Tools?
Dewalt will continue to develop the 40V Max lineup. That line will continue to be targeted towards landscapers and other frequent and heavy OPE (outdoor power equipment) users who might not be interested in the other power tool lineups.
FlexVolt will NOT be compatible with these tools.
40V Max battery packs are larger and packed with more cells, having been designed especially for outdoor power tools.
How Much Will it Cost?
My initial guestimate was off. I believe I was given a price target of $150 for a FlexVolt 6.0Ah battery pack, maybe less even. We’ll have pricing details soon.
How Good Are the 60V Max Brushless Power Tools?
Really, really good. I tested a couple of them, and the power was amazing.
How Big Are the 60V Max Brushless Power Tools?
This was a big question I had, and the answer is simple: I didn’t have 20V Max tools to compare them to, but there were some cordless tools and a competitor’s tools. I found that the 60V Max brushless circular saw and the reciprocating saw were quite manageable, and perhaps just a smidge larger than 20V Max tools.
This was a huge surprise for me. I had been anticipating larger tools, but found the size of the 60V Max tools to be quite welcoming.
20V Max and 60V Max Tool Compatibility
Dewalt FlexVolt battery packs will work in 20V Max, 60V Max, and 120V Max tools.
Dewalt 20V Max battery packs will NOT work in 60V Max or 120V Max tools.
Why Only 6.0Ah and not 9.0Ah?
Simple – the 3.0Ah cells presently available for 9.0Ah packs are not as capable as the 2.0Ah cells that make up the 6.0Ah pack.
A tool wouldn’t be able to draw the same power from a 9.0Ah pack that’s configured as a 60V Max 3.0Ah pack.
Dewalt IS coming out with a new 20V Max 6.0Ah pack, and a 9.0Ah FlexVolt pack, and they will feature a new battery form factor that can deliver high performance.
How Will 60V Max Tools Perform Against the Best Competitors’ 18/20V Tools
We’re going to have to do some more hands-on testing, as well as comparison testing, but I think they will compare very favorably in terms of power, and admirably in terms of runtime.
I tested the circular saw and recip saw, and liked the feel of unwavering power behind the cuts.
What About Brushless 20V Max Saws?
They’re on the roadmap! Dewalt’s plans might change, but right now, 20V Max saws are in development.
But, for those of you hoping for brushless saws for their power and greater cutting capacity, you’ll want to check out the FlexVolt tools. I imagine that 20V Max versions will focus more on size and runtime. In other words, I’m nearly convinced that any 20V Max brushless circular saw will be 6-1/2″, with 7-1/4″ reserved for the FlexVolt tool.
What About a 20V Max Corded Power Adapter?
The new FlexVolt 120V Max tools – 2 12-inch miter saws as of right now – can be run off of a pair of 60V Max batteries, but they will also ship with an AC adapter.
So will there be a comparable 20V Max corded power adapter that some users have been hopeful for?
No. I discussed the underlying technology with several Dewalt engineers, and there are too many challenges for such an adapter to be a reality right now. I was given the impression that it’s not an impossibility, but it’s not something they’re focusing on right now.
Milwaukee seems to have chosen better technology instead of more power.
Both technologies are great. If I had to choose a better one, I would point towards Dewalt. More on this in a separate post.
Will I Need a New Charger?
No! You can charge FlexVolt batteries in your existing Dewalt 20V Max chargers. There will be a new fast charger coming out to help speed things up. I don’t have charge time specs right now, but will try to get them for you soon.
More Voltage is Just Marketing BS?
No. Some brands and critics might have you believe that 60V Max (54V nominally) is just Dewalt playing a numbers game. A FlexVolt battery has the same power potential at 20V Max and 6.0Ah as it is when configured to 60V Max and 2.0Ah. But 60V Max tools have different motors designed around the higher voltage.
At higher voltages, less current draw is needed to achieve the same power output, and this will mean greater efficiency and lower losses.
60V Max is about building more powerful and more capable tools.
Where can we find a list of all the new tools?
These are the new FlexVolt tools that will be launching in the USA:
- Brushless 7-1/4″ Circular Saw, DCS575
- 4-1/2″ – 6″ Grinder, DCG414 (Amazon Listing)
- Reciprocating Saw, DCS388
- 1/2″ VSR Stud and Joist Drill, DCD460 (Amazon Listing)
- 8-1/4″ Cordless Table Saw, DCS7485
- 12″ Fixed Head Compound Miter Saw, DHS716
- 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw, DHS790
What type of Lithium cell they are using?
The same 18650 sized cells are used in the FlexVolt 6.0Ah pack. There will also be a new 20V Max 6.0Ah pack, and a FlexVolt 9.0Ah pack that are built using 20700 form factor cells. 20700 sized cells are larger and capable of delivering more power than 18650 sized cells of the same charge capacity.
What’s the Downside?
Umm… none that I can think of yet.
Please keep the great questions coming!