By now, you have undoubtedly been made aware of the new Dewalt PowerStack battery, a 20V Max battery pack that’s engineered with lithium polymer pouch-style battery cells.
Dewalt has only released one PowerStack battery size so far – 1.7Ah – and it’s often described as delivering the power level of a traditionally-styled 5Ah battery.
It’s smaller than a 2Ah battery pack, and lighter too, but capable of higher power delivery.
Do I need one? No. Does anyone?
The batteries are pricey right now, with respect to the cost per amp hour of charge capacity.
The PowerStack battery does not deliver longer runtime than existing Dewalt 20V Max batteries. It also doesn’t provide next-level performance in power-hungry tools, at least compared to using any current Dewalt 20V Max battery 3Ah and up.
Few users will need this. That’s part of what makes this so interesting of a product launch, at least to me.
The battery does deliver substantial user experience benefits, however. It delivers mid-level power – by today’s standards – and in a package that is smaller and lighter than the next most-compact lighter duty batteries.
I have one on the way, as I purchased a Dewalt brushless jig saw bundle last month. (The retailer is still waiting on a delivery of PowerStack starter kits, and I’m told it should be arriving soon.)
I have not fully decided yet, but I might be buying another one or two, with another tool bundle promo.
The PowerStack battery is nice. I have one in-hand already – a media sample, thanks to Dewalt – and while it doesn’t deliver a mind-blowing experience, it’s quite nice.
If you’re working on something and expect to fully drain a 5Ah battery in a short time, this isn’t the best battery for the task. But if you’re using light or medium duty tools on different kinds of brief tasks, especially at-reach or overhead, you might appreciate the size and weight savings, and that there’s no compromise in power.
Oh, and it’s also said to deliver 2X the lifetime compared to the 20V Max 2Ah battery.
It’s a quality of life type of product that boosts the user experience in some way, at least if and when task-appropriate.
Judging from the state of the PowerStack promotional displays at my local home centers, where the batteries and starter kits have been cleared out, I’m guessing that a lot of others found the bundle offers as compelling as I do.
It feels strange for me to say this, but I would absolutely NOT buy a PowerStack battery at retail pricing right now, as – for me – the cost is too high compared to the benefits.
But, didn’t I just buy one? Technically, I bought a bare tool and am getting the battery for free as part of a promo starter kit. There’s also an offer where you buy a 2-pack and get a free bare tool. Some of the bare tools are the same price as the 2-pack, and so it’s almost like you’re getting half off the batteries and half off the tool.
Would I have purchased the jig saw right now if it were bundled with a different battery? No. There were plenty of great holiday season promos, but none of them drove me to a purchasing decision the way the PowerStack battery has.
Dewalt has been incredibly aggressive with their PowerStack battery launch, quickly introducing new kits, combo kits, and bare tool promotions. The waves from this, in my opinion, are going to impact the entire cordless power tool industry.
When I first learned of the Dewalt PowerStack battery, I thought it was an interesting product, although perhaps not a must-have upgrade. I still don’t think it’s a must-have. But if it’s bundled with brushless power tools for free (as with widely available promos right now), or included for a small premium, sign me up.
There are users who would definitely benefit from using the PowerStack battery. And, there will also be applications for which this battery would not be a good fit. (Maybe the next PowerStack battery launch might change that!)
I’m in the larger group of users in the middle, who could benefit from the size and space savings, but not enough to justify the cost.
Dewalt’s current promos are putting a lot of these batteries into our hands, and I have to say – I want more.
If I’m buying a more compact Dewalt cordless power tool, such as an Atomic series or brushless tool, I want more of these batteries. Maybe soon there will be a higher capacity battery that’s bundled with Dewalt’s heavier duty tools.
I have been covering the cordless power tool industry for well more than 10 years. First came Li-ion battery tech. Brands then raced to launch 5-cell and 10-cell batteries with higher charge capacities. Major brands launched higher capacity 15-cell batteries to power heavier duty tools. Then came the “high output” batteries.
Brushless motors, higher charge capacity batteries, larger batteries, and higher output battery tech all opened new doors. Dewalt’s PowerStack battery does not open new doors, at least not yet.
Dewalt says that “the power revolution is here.” I think that this still remains to be seen.
How might you end this statement: “You should buy this if…”? I would say: If smaller battery size and lighter weight is extremely important to you, and longer runtime and cost per charge capacity extremely unimportant.
It’s a luxury right now, and that’s okay.
This happens a lot in many other industries, especially consumer electronics, where new releases often serve user wants more than their needs, but it seems unusual for the cordless power tool industry. The PowerStack battery launch has been unlike any other.
I am very much impressed with how Dewalt pulled all this off, and I have the feeling that they’re not done yet. I would be very curious to know how many PowerStack batteries are now in Dewalt 20V Max users’ hands. While we might not be privy to such information, I would guarantee that it’s a far greater number than I would have anticipated when I first learned of the battery’s retail price points.
This is going to be an interesting year.