We’ve talked about Dewalt’s new POWER DETECT 20V Max cordless power tools a couple of times now, and we’ve learned more about the new tech and which batteries will deliver the most benefits.
See Also: Dewalt Announces Power Detect cordless power tools
Here’s a list of the new tools, with links to our posts about them:
- DCS574W1 Brushless Circular Saw Kit
- DCS368W1 Brushless Reciprocating Saw Kit
- DCD998W1 Brushless Hammer Drill Kit
- DCG415W1 Brushless Angle Grinder Kit
In a nutshell, “Power Detect” is a feature of select Dewalt cordless power tools (20V Max) that results in improved power and performance when the tools are paired with specific higher-performing batteries.
We had some questions for Dewalt, and here’s what they said:
(Some of the questions have been edited for easier readability.)
Which Dewalt cordless power tool batteries will provide the biggest performance boost?
The 20V MAX 8.0Ah Battery (DCB208) offers the highest level of performance with these tools, which is why we are launching these in kits.
Read Also: New Dewalt 20V Max 8.0Ah Cordless Power Tool Battery
What happens if lower capacity batteries are used? How does performance compare to predecessor models?
That said, the tools will work with other 20V MAX batteries, just at varying levels of performance. When paired with 20V MAX 5.0Ah Batteries (DCB205), a user can expect similar power levels to existing XR tools today, the 6.0Ah Battery (DCB206) is a step up from that.
Does this mean that the 9.0Ah and 12.0Ah FlexVolt batteries will provide performance on-par with the 8.0Ah? Will the FlexVolt 6.0Ah perform as well as the XR 6.0Ah?
That is correct on both points.
Are Power Detect tools replacing existing tools?
No, these will not replace their predecessors.
Will bare tools be available?
Bare tool options will likely be available late this year or early 2021.
What “components” or types of components are upgraded in the tools aside from the motors?
We’ve enhanced the motor controls for the brushless motors via software to provide the improvement.
So, in my understanding, the 20V Max 8Ah battery delivers the biggest boost in tool performance, and FlexVolt 9Ah and 12Ah batteries should deliver similar results.
When Dewalt says the Power Detect tools will deliver “up to xy% more power,” it’s with these batteries.
Lower capacity batteries, up to 5.0Ah, provide comparable performance as predecessor models paired with the same batteries. The difference will be the new Dewalt Power Detect reciprocating saw, which is a brand new 20V Max brushless reciprocating saw design, presumed to be adapted from the FlexVolt saw of similar design. That tool is said to operate with up to 44% more power when an 8Ah battery is used compared to a 5Ah battery.
There’s a middle-ground of performance, where a 20V Max 6Ah battery or FlexVolt 6Ah battery delivers greater performance than the lower capacity batteries, but not as big of a boost as with the ≥8Ah batteries.
We can’t quantify what a step up in performance means, but it’s good to know that Dewalt’s 6Ah batteries do provide some performance benefit, just not as much as the 8Ah batteries or FlexVolt batteries of higher charge capacity.
It’s also reassuring that we should expect to see baseline performance when the tools are paired with ≤5Ah batteries, or at least 3Ah to 5Ah batteries. We didn’t ask how these tools would perform with Dewalt’s compact batteries, but I would assume that the 3Ah and 4Ah compact batteries might perform comparable to the larger 10-cell packs.
Buy Now: Circular Saw Kit via Acme Tools
Buy Now: Reciprocating Saw Kit via Acme Tools
Buy Now: Hammer Drill Kit via Acme Tools
Buy Now: Angle Grinder Kit via Acme Tools
I want max power all the time, no throttling, dont care what battery is in the tool.
Sure, I can understand that. You’ll probably want to look at the FlexVolt tools, although there’s no FlexVolt hammer drill (yet?).
I don’t believe they ever will, not unless they come out with a compact flexvolt battery. It’s been 4 years now and they’ve only gone up in ah not down.
I was wondering if they’d ever do this… But I noticed the biggest problem with flexvolt is the dropoff in power once it loses a bar. I find myself grabbing a Makita variable speed angle grinder (with a dewalt battery adapter) 95% of the time these days.
You cant make the flexvolt batteries any pyisically smaller. You need 15 Li-Ion cells to get the 54V (3.6 x 15) that a flexvolt tool needs. The 6AH flexvolt battery is as small as you can realistially make a 54V battery. As for the OP thats a just not a realistic request. Some batteries can put out more power than others. Unless you limit a tools power to match the weakest battery in the range, there will always be a difference in perfromace when switching between different batteries.
Then buy the non-“power detect” model and enjoy its max power…
That’s all great as these tools give people who don’t want to get into flexvolt more power and I can see dewalt expanding this tech into other tools as well.
That being said will someone please ask dewalt when of if they will be coming out with some 12v tools to compete with millwakee and makita, like ratchets, grinders, small 1/2″ impact ECT..
TBH I don’t think they feel it’s worthwhile. They released the core 12v tools, but don’t seem interested in R&D and marketing for the 12v segment. Maybe they’ll gauge the reception of the new 12v brushless tools and go from there.
IMHO, Milwaukee will always be on top because of the profile of their batteries. It hides the bulk of the batteries allowing it to feel more compact. The only way Makita and DeWalt will gain market share is to overhaul it’s design.
Milwaukee is just Ryobi on speed.
Makita has great stuff that nobody knows about, because it’s not in big box stores.
It’s like the Movie: Alita.
If you try to be an independent studio… You can have the biggest and best filmmakers make a movie that nobody ever hears about because it’s not run by a studio that owns tv networks, and cable TV utilities, and Edison/ge, and your entire family.
To clarify makita is in Depot, but you’d never know about their variable speed angle grinders, the xdt16, or the hydraulic oil impulse driver…unless you’ve done your research.
Michael, try getting ahold of Dewalt on all of their social media platforms and start asking for the tools you want. If we all did that they might listen.
I’m reluctant to say that this new news is disappointing. I’m wondering now if these new XR batteries are actually 21700 cells or 20700 cells? And all Dewalt is doing is dialing back the cutoff point for overload in the software. Yes because you get more energy and a consistent flow of that energy because the newer cells are not working as hard, but really, not upgrading the motor, good lord.
Back in 2016 when Flex volt came out, it was being marketed to give more power to your existing 20v tool and opening the door to even more tools in 60v, but for the average carpenter, they’re not going to make a 60v jig, multi tool, impact or planer, etc.
To me they’re back pedaling and charging team yellow for whole new tools, while only tinkering with the electronics, 🙁
This makes me more confident in the decision I made back in 2016 when I was transitioning from electric and went with Red
You don’t make any sense. More research is needed on your part.
The new batteries are 21700 cells as well.
Originally they were gonna go with 20700 cells but decided to go 21700 because of Tesla decided on the 21700 and the 20700 cells might become too costly. The performance of the two two cells is almost identical
The original DCB206 6Ah XR and DCB609 9Ah FlexVolt did use 20700 cells. They switched to 21700 cells in mid-late 2018 I believe. And now they all use 21700 cells.
Wonder if you could swap the electronics of the power detect into existing tools. The grinder looks identical to the current one. They basically said it’s just software. Maybe there’s a way to rip the new software and reflash current tools.
The motors are said to be upgraded as well.
My apologies Stuart, I don’t recall reading that in the post.
“The new tools also feature upgraded motors and components compared to their predecessors and durable housings”
It’s right in the press release.
I don’t get the negativity, everyone always wants more powerful tools. When I gotta run a big lag screw I put a double stack battery on my impact as it is, this isn’t much different than that from a user stand point. It’s a very similar thing to what Ridgid has done with their Octane tools.
Sometimes you just give up and use old fashioned muscle power. I remember a call complaining that they guys could not break some (well rusted) big nuts free on our travelling crane. The guys were trying to use a 1 inch drive pneumatic impact gun and a socket. When I got to the plant – I rummaged around for a slugging wrench and a sledge hammer. It was easy after that. If we had to do the job regularly – we’d might have bought a hydraulic wrench – but old style tools got he job done.
I order a 14 piece dewalt tool set on 12/12/2019
For 69.99….I never received the tools …it is now 3/6/2020….and all they ever reply to my compliance is we will get back to u in 2 day that been going on for 3 months now ….the web sight is a scam…dont buy it it’s to g.j ood to be true
Check your credit card statements carefully. We have warned against “too good to be true” scam retailers several times now.
In a nutshell power detect is flexvolt
No. FlexVolt changes the voltage based on the tool, hence the name. Power Detect just allows certain tools to draw a bit more current.
@Big Richard, Thanks for the clarification, I did not see the article till you pointed it out.
But, is it not what the tools companies have been doing along, meaning the tools and batteries have always been communicating with one another? The tool knows the battery doesn’t have the energy to give and the battery knows it can’t deliver what is being asked of it, so they shut down.
So to sum up, they’re upgrading their motors and using the lastest cells. Dewalts not the first and won’t be the last. This is a good thing for their 20v users.
This seems troublesome, too many different options brushed/brushless/flexvolt/power detect…
Reminds me of the US car manufacturers esp GM. Pontiac, olds, Hummer, Saturn, Geo gone
When Henry Ford was selling only the Model-T – a good and affordable utilitarian car for its time – GM learned that they could compete by offering options that had both style and substance differences. The Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Cadillac – were lined up from top to bottom – with the Chevy meant to compete with Ford – and the others to offer real or perceived buying options. Then in the 1950’s – when American car production dominated the world, the big 3 all thought that the more dealers you had pitching and selling different cars the more that you would sell overall. That was true because of pent-up and new demand in the post-WWII era. Then came the late ’60’s into the 1970’s when some really poor cars were being made (anyone remember the Chevy Vega) in the US – and competition from Japan starting to heat up. Soon GM had the idea that you could make a Cadillac Cimarron on the Chevy line – with just some different trim. The distinction between lines got blurred, the buying public got wise and maybe because of this – or for other reasons too – started buying more European luxury cars.
I don’t know if this Dewalt thing is exactly analogous – but SBD probably should not confuse – or worse disgust – their buyers so much that their sales leader loses its position. I’m reminded that the Oldsmobile Cutlass was once GM’s best selling car – and now (as you note) the Oldsmobile brand is part of the “dustbin of history”.
Kinda bummed I need to go to an 8ah to get the bennifits of more power. On 20v I have “standardized” on 5ah and 2ah compacts. I have no use for 8ah 20v more on that later. I find the powe to weight(size) of the 5ah best for me. Balence and weight of tool + battery seems to be ideal. Probably becasue for a longtime 5ah was the “high capacity” battery and alot of the legacy 20v tools were designed around it.
Conversely if I use one of my flexvolt batteries when I think extended run time is warrented for a task I now get extra power out of the 20v platform in these new tools.
Not sure I would pay a huge premium for this feature but its a “nice to have” thing. Its sort of like “7/8’s the power of flexvolt* on 20v” **I thought I heard they upped the power on the new flexvolt tools as well. So its 7/8’s the power of “old” flexvolt? My head is about to explode lol.
As I mentioned I have flexvolt for extended run situations. 6ah and 9ah. I still don’t see the appeal of the 6ah or 8ah 20v only. The flexvolt 6 and 9ah are the same physical size but are cheaper and can be used in flexvolt.
The 6Ah and 8Ah 20v are not the same size as the 6Ah or 9ah FlexVolt. Both the 6Ah and 8Ah 20v are 10 cell packs, the Flexvolt packs are 15 cells. So FlexVolt packs are 50% larger than the 20v high capacity packs.
The 10x 21700 cell 20v packs are very similar in size to the 6.0 FlexVolt with 15x 18650. Surprisingly similar. The 21700 FlexVolt packs are massive in comparison.
They’re close-ish. Compared the 6Ah FlexVolt, the 6Ah XR is slightly wider and longer, but also quite a bit shorter in height. It also is about 1/4 pound lighter. They are likely close volume wise, but to me the XR seems “smaller” than the FlexVolt.
Why is there so much hate for Dewalt on this website? This is exactly what Milwaukee has been doing for years with their different lines of 18v battery (XC, HD, High Output, etc). Dewalt was already kinda doing this, but with the new larger 20v packs they are stepping up their game and doing what Milwaukee does. With these new 20v packs they can pull more current so to not burn up small packs, they dial back the performance if you run a small pack. No different than what Milwaukee does. If you put an XC pack in the new circ saw or chainsaw, it runs terrible, because surprise, they are using battery power detection. I really don’t get the hate for Dewalt. Milwaukee does it – genius. Dewalt does it – they are ruining the power tool world…smh.
I have been wondering the same thing. Whatever DeWalt comes up with, everybody whines about it. Then they tell how Milwaukee is way better even though they have been doing the exactly same thing even before DeWalt. Bosch has the same system too with their special batteries, and nobody whines about having to use different batteries to get the max power from their tools. I am pretty sure that if DeWalt had gone the same route as Makita by just using simple 18650 cell 18V batteries and making dual battery tools, people would have whined about them not using higher capacity batteries.
Milwaukee is good at marketing. They have a cult, fanboy following…kinda like apple products. Give some free tools to YouTube personalities *COUGH vcg *COUGH and they’ll do all the marketing you ever need. I think the new term for the people that are convincing the masses is “influencers.” Those fanboys then flood the forums and comment sections praising the gospel of Milwaukee.
a bit off topic but, why are they not making the grinders variable speed these days? Easiest thing in the world to make a dc tool variable. Wire wheels and cups shed a bit when operating at full speeds,so I find myself going back to air powered tools when I want not to be impaled .
Great point. Wire brushes often run at very different max RPM than abrasives of the same diameter, and variable speed makes a huge difference in versatility if you change out wheels between jobs. For corded tools we usually keep a different wheel on each grinder and swap them out to save time, but fora cordless tool that might be used in an installation job you don’t want to be lugging around 2-3 grinders with you, so this makes a ton of sense.
Ever the pessimist, I look at it the other way around. If you don’t use the big batteries, you don’t get the benefits of the tool that come with the weight and price penalty. When Makita first came out with lithiums, a lot of their tools required the 3 amp over the 1.5s. It was easy to snap off a tab so a 1.5 would fit a tool designed for a 3, but there was a drop in performance. I don’t see much difference in concept with the new Dewalts.
So are the tools actually different or they just have smart batteries now?
So how do these new tools know what capacity battery there hooked to?
is there physical notches in the batteries or do they use a digital serial
buss to communicate to the tool?
One of the terminals on the battery is used for identifying it. I think they just read the resistance from it and based on that they know which battery is inserted.
I use my 996 which is almost brand new with a 6amp 60v I want the best of the best is it worth it to upgrade to the power detect? thank you!!
If you want the best of the best Dewalt has to offer, then yes.
Is it worth it? Well… since you don’t have a need for it, but rather a want, you could/should wait for a promo that will hopefully soften the price a little bit.
The price is unlikely to go up from its launch price, and so there’s no harm in waiting a little bit.
If your kit is so “almost brand new” that you can return it, you might want to do so. But, unless you want “best of the best,” the 996 drill and impact driver kit is a better value, or at least it gives you more for the same $279..
To further bridge the gap between 20v MAX and FLEXVOLT users, now you have another option, FLEXVOLT Advantage:
Same concept as Power Detect, but using exclusively FLEXVOLT batteries. I assume it is geared towards HD and other FLEXVOLT dealers. Power is basically the same as Power Detect, still quite a bit less than their true FLEXTVOLT brethren. The drill has a completely new form factor/design. The big thing is that they are “Tool Connect™ Chip Ready: Chip pocket accepts Tool Connect™ Chip DCE042 and connects with Tool Connect™ Site Manager app for easy asset management on the jobsite. (DCE042 sold separately)”.
Also, these are being sold as bare tools, where as Power Detect currently is only available in kits.
It’s been over a year and a half, but they finally introduced another Power Detect tool.
Still surprised they did not do a Power Detect air compressor, like they did with FlexVolt Advantage (on a related note, they are however doing a FlexVolt Advantage model of this stud and joist drill). Now they just need a 10″ sliding dual bevel miter in both/either platform.