Dewalt has come out with a new 20V Max USB power adapter and charger kit, model DCB094K, featuring two-way USB-C PD charging.
USB-C PD, with PD meaning Power Delivery, is what enables this Dewalt 20V Max battery adapter to charge modern electronic devices from smartphones to laptops.
The big deal about USB-C PD is that it can charge a much broader range of devices than previous USB standards. But, that’s not all that’s special about this Dewalt adapter kit.
What You Get
The Dewalt DCB094K kit includes:
- DCB094 charging adapter
- 65W AC charger
- 100W charging cable (USB-C on both ends)
Dual Functionality – Dewalt Charger & USB Charging
You can use the DCB094 as a USB power adapter, turning any Dewalt 20V Max or FlexVolt battery into a portable power bank. And, with the included – or industry standard – accessories, you can use the adapter as a Dewalt 20V Max power tool battery charger.
Right now, that’s just what I’m doing. I have the Dewalt power adapter connected to and charging a Dewalt PowerStack battery. (This creates the most compact portable battery bank configuration possible.)
You can use lower power AC charging adapters as well – I tested the adapter with a 20W USB-C smartphone charger, and it seemed to work just fine, albeit slowly.
USB and Battery Charging Rates
The charging adapter has two ports – a USB-A port, and a USB-C PD input and output port.
The USB-A port is rated at 12W max – that’s 2.4A at 5V – and the USB-C PD port is rated at 3A at 5-15V and 5A at 20V. The battery port input and output are rated at 6A at 20V.
- USB-A Output: 2.4A at 5V
- USB-C Output: 3A at 5-15V, 5A at 20V
- Battery Port Input: 6A at 20V
- Battery Port Output: 6A at 20V
To take advantage of the adapter’s fastest Dewalt battery charging rate, you’ll need a higher wattage AC power brick than the included 65W adapter. A 100W AC charger (or higher) should work well.
I assumed that the included 65W charging adapter signified a balance between cost and capabilities, but there’s more to it.
We asked Dewalt about this, and here’s what they said:
We chose to kit with a 65W AC power supply due to the user feedback we received in regard to their acceptance of size, portability, and overall value of the kit in terms of MSRP. We will continue to evaluate smaller 100W offerings for future configurations of this kit to increase the charge rate for battery charging.
This seems fair to me. The 65W adapter is larger than smartphone and tablet chargers, but still what I would consider easily portable.
With the included adapter, Dewalt 20V Max batteries can be charged at a rate of 3.25A.
When using the included components, the adapter can recharge a Dewalt 20V Max 2.0Ah battery in about 40 minutes, and a 5Ah battery in about 90 minutes. When using a 100W power supply (not included), the adapter can charge a Dewalt 20V Max 5Ah battery in around 60 minutes.
I should mention that the included AC adapter creates a buzzing sound when plugged into one of my surge protectors, but this doesn’t happen with wall outlets or some of the other surge protectors and power strips I tested it with. The same surge protector makes other sounds with different transformers, but I felt this was still worth sharing.
Technical Details & Compatibility
From the user manual:
USB Type C Supports:
- Source – Power Delivery 3.0, Qualcomm QC3.0/2.0, Samsung AFC, BC 1.2
- Sink – BC 1.2, Apple charging, PD 3.0
- USB Type C can sink or source up to 100W
USB Type A Supports:
- BC 1.2, Apple FastCharge, Samsung FastCharge (AFC)
- Output only, USB Type A is capable of 12W
The LED indicators are clear and simple, with different light patterns to convey the state of charge and operational status.
There’s no battery capacity gauge, and so it might be best to use battery packs with built-in indicators. All Dewalt 20V Max batteries, aside from their 1.3Ah and 1.5Ah batteries, have built-in charge indicators.
Stage 1 Charging, with flashing red light, indicates that the connected Dewalt 20V Max battery is being charged.
Stage 2 Charging, with a solid red light on the left and flashing red light on the right, indicates that the connected Dewalt 20V Max battery has been charged to at least 80%.
Both LEDs are solid red when the connected battery is fully charged.
The Convenience of USB-C PD and Two-Way Charging
I am now of the firm belief that all future cordless power tool brands’ USB adapters should feature USB-C PD.
I’ve tested the adapter as a Dewalt battery charger, and it works great. I like that everything is nice and compact, and that I can use other USB-C chargers in a pinch if needed.
The adapter charges my smartphone and tablet without hiccup. I don’t have a USB-C-chargeable laptop yet, and so I have not been able to test that aspect.
I unintentionally tested the adapter’s durability a couple of times. I wouldn’t drop it off a ladder with a battery attached, but it seems durable enough for everyday use.
Here’s what really won me over. My camera is quite power-hungry, and spare batteries are pricey. I started looking at USB power banks as well as photo/video battery packs, to use in place of a wall adapter. Photo/video battery packs are expensive, especially compared to the watt-hour ratings you get from power tool batteries, and would require improvisation for belt-carry. Very few have USB-C ports, and so that would mean additional converters and adapters.
I have an older USB battery bank. It charges my phone just fine, but it’s doesn’t have any USB-C outputs. USB battery banks and portable chargers aren’t terribly expensive, but I’m not very interested in buying a new one.
I checked my camera’s specs sheet, and it can be connected to a USB-C PD source capable of delivering 9V and 3A. Perfect.
The 2.4A USB-A port is okay for charging devices that don’t support or require USB-C or PD charging. But, that’s 12W whereas my camera requires 27W.
I didn’t think I needed USB-C PD charging yet – I considered it a convenience, but not a necessity. But now, it’s a feature I’m really glad to have.
USB-C PD Charging Direction
What happens if you have two USB-C devices that are both capable of two-way charging? Which device charges the other?
The power direction when plugged into portable power (inclusive of another DCB094 with battery installed) is completely random. You can disconnect and reconnect the cable until you get your desired direction of power.
I really like that the Dewalt DCB094 can serve as a two-way charger. I can charge or power whatever device needs it, and then easily recharge the Dewalt battery with a USB-C PD AC power brick.
The belt clip places the adapter in a comfortable position. If you move around a lot, the screw-hole mount allows for a safety cord.
The kit comes with a ~40″ (1m) 100W USB-C cable, and this size which works well for most of my needs. I will likely complement it with a 6ft 100Ws cable.
One thing to be aware of is that USB charging adapters like this can have a vampiric drain. I forgot about an adapter once, and unintentionally left it connected to a battery for a while. When I came across it months later, the battery was fully drained. This might not be the case here; the battery adapter that slowly drained my battery had a built-in fuel gauge, which the DCB094 does not (nor does it really need one in my opinion).
I thought I’d like to see an on/off power switch, but there doesn’t seem to be room for one, and I’m happier with the adapter’s compact size. Besides, I’ve gotten into the habit of disconnecting power adapters when they’re not actively being used.
So far, I am extremely pleased with the features and performance of Dewalt’s new USB-C PD charging adapter. Maybe part of that has to do with how this finally opened my eyes to the modern charging standard. I now hope every power tool brand follows in Dewalt’s footsteps with similar compact USB charging accessories of their own.
This is a great portable battery bank adapter, and I am also really liking its charging capabilities.
Pricing and Availability
The DCB094K kit is priced at $99.99. At this time, the adapter is only available as part of the kit, with a 1-meter (~40-inch) 100W USB-C cable and 65W AC adapter.
Launched in May 2022
Thank you to Dewalt for providing the test sample for review.