Dewalt recently announced their PowerStack 5Ah battery, DCBP520, which is compatible with all of the brand’s 20V Max cordless power tools and chargers.
The new PowerStack 5Ah battery features Li-ion pouch cells, similar to the brand’s PowerStack 1.7Ah battery, and so it seems natural to compare the two.
Dewalt PowerStack 1.7Ah Battery: Compared to the DCB203 (2Ah) battery, the PowerStack 1.7Ah battery delivers 50% more power while being 25% more compact and weighing 15% less.
Dewalt PowerStack 5Ah Battery: Compared to the DCB205 (5Ah) battery, the PowerStack 5Ah battery delivers 50% more work per charge.
Both batteries are said to deliver 2X the lifespan, based on charge cycles, vs. cylindrical cell batteries (DCB203, DCB205).
The PowerStack 1.7Ah battery was developed to be compact and light weight, whereas the PowerStack 5Ah battery was developed with power and efficiency in mind.
Dewalt has said that the PowerStack 5Ah battery can tackle more demanding construction applications compared to the 1.7Ah.
So, which should you choose, and when?
I have come to really enjoy using the PowerStack 1.7Ah battery with many very different types of Dewalt 20V Max cordless power tools.
I have used the PowerStack 1.7Ah battery with compact drills, impact drivers, impact wrenches, Atomic-series circular and reciprocating saws, and also woodworking-focused tools such as the brushless sander and router.
It serves well for quick tasks, and prolonged use in lighter duty or more compact tools.
I added a single PowerStack 5Ah battery into my kit, and found that it works well with all 20V Max cordless power tools.
The PowerStack 5Ah battery can deliver longer runtime compared to the 1.7Ah battery.
Even though the PowerStack 1.7Ah battery is 50% more powerful than the compact 2.0Ah battery (DCB203), the PowerStack 5Ah battery can deliver 50% more power compared to the 5Ah battery (DCB205).
As the DCB205 battery is engineered with 10x 18650 Li-ion cells, it is capable of greater power deliver than the DCB203 battery, which is engineered with 5x 18650 cells.
While both PowerStack batteries, 1.7Ah and 5Ah, are engineered with 5x Li-ion pouch cells, the 5Ah battery is going to be capable of greater power delivery than the 1.7Ah battery.
Based on my testing so far, the PowerStack 5Ah battery is the ideal match for heavier duty tools, such as angle grinders, larger rotary hammers, 7-1/4″ circular saws, blowers, and other tools where runtime or power are the priority.
I sought out thinking there would be tools and tasks clearly matched to the PowerStack compact 1.7Ah battery, and others that are better matched to the PowerStack 5Ah battery.
However, the difference really comes down to intent. Do I want a more compact and lighter battery? Or would the tool or task benefit more from higher power and longer runtime?
For my uses, these two battery sizes could replace all of my 20V Max cylindrical cell cordless power tool batteries from 1.3Ah to 8Ah. In theory, I might still use cylindrical cell 8Ah batteries for longer runtime, but in practice I tend to reach for FlexVolt 9Ah batteries for more demanding and longer power-draining tasks.
What I have found is that the compact PowerStack battery is a great substitute for traditional cylindrical cell compact batteries, and even higher capacity batteries where I need higher power delivery but not necessarily the longer runtime.
The PowerStack 5Ah battery, on the other hand, performed well with any and every 20V Max cordless power tool I tested it with. It seems to pick up perfectly where the 1.7Ah battery leaves off.