What’s your take on 3rd party Li-ion battery packs for your cordless tools? Someone asked this not too long ago, but I can’t find the email in my inbox (sorry!).
Power tool battery packs are expensive. It’s often an inevitability that, if you want a replacement or spare battery pack, it’ll cost you. As with laptops, digital cameras, and other electronic devices, 3rd party batteries are available.
But should you buy them? Would you buy one? Have you bought one?
I wouldn’t. I also wouldn’t buy 3rd party branded battery for my cameras, despite the many reviews.
If you search for [power tool brand] 18V replacement battery, or 12V, or 20V Max, you’ll find plenty of generic battery packs from brands you’ve never heard of.
My hesitation is born from the understanding of what often goes into a Li-ion battery pack.
First, there are often premium battery cells. Compact 18V-size battery packs have 5 cells, higher capacity battery packs have 10 cells. Power tool brands often use the highest-rated 18650 Li-ion battery cells on the market, and they don’t come cheap.
Second, brands spend a lot of time and effort in designing their battery pack cases with a major goals in mind – protecting cells and increasing longevity. This could be from the elements, over-current conditions, over-depletion, or heat.
One brand even has an explosion-proof testing room where they push battery cells and packs to their absolute limits.
Even if a 3rd party replacement battery company uses the same premium cells with the same rating, what kind of protection do they build into their battery packs?
With all the recent news of hoverboards (you know, those self-balancing 2-wheel Segway-like scooter toys) catching fire during charging from unidentified causes, I am even more reluctant to ever consider 3rd party battery brands.
Maybe I’ve been brainwashed from one too many media events, but power tool brands design and manufacture battery packs for high performance, with no shortcuts. Can the same be said about replacement battery companies, or are they designing (I use that word loosely) and manufacturing replacement batteries to be as cheap and appealing to your budget as possible?
I would not entertain the idea of pairing my power tools with off-brand replacement batteries. But that’s just me.
What’s your take on off-brand replacement battery packs?
I once tried an aftermarket 18v makita battery for my drill. It did not work well. I ended up sending it back for a refund after a very short time period. I don’t think I will be buying any aftermarket batteries again unless a reputable company begins to make them.
well I have bought many Ryobi 2 pks at xmas time and other times they run them,the last ones I bought 1 lasted less than 30 days and home depot would not take t back because of the date code on the battery they only warrant them 30days then your stuck with the crap. I think the circuit board goes bad and takes a couple of the with it. Well I found a 6.0 mnh on ebay for $37 a 6.0 a HD $119 30 day warranted.The one on ebay 45 day money back and a year so I bought 2 about 3 months a the are great,I won’t buy another from HD
An interesting question – and I think many of us would like to learn from other’s experience on this question. I’ve always bought LiIon batteries that were purportedly from the Manufacturer (Makita and Milwaukee for the most part). When I was buying for a business we often bought our spare batteries in bulk to save money. While these were advertised as being directly from the manufacturer – and we bought from manufacturer-authorized reputable dealers – they sometimes came in bulk – not clamshell-pack packaging – which was a bit disquieting. We did buy aftermarket – remanufactured NiCad batteries for older tools – where the manufacturer was no longer offering new stock. But – with LiIon batteries – we were always a bit concerned about the fire potential from thermal runaway in bad (contaminated) cells. I’m not sure if this is a real or widespread problem – but a few scattered stories in the news about battery fires – seem to continue to pop up. It’s also hard for me to tell if name-brand battery packs are any better in this regard then generic ones – but for a business – I wouldn’t want the fire marshal to tell me that a cheap no-name battery was the cause of my fire.
same can be said about buying generic cell phone batteries. Do a quick search on Amazon and read some of the reviews about forged or copy cat batteries for Samsung devices. You will see quite a few have blown up or caught on fire with supporting pictures as evidence. Im like the author and will go out of my way to buy only OEM batteries as I don’t want my device, much less my house burning up!
While pro tool brands definitely put more care into their battery packs, there’s a healthy profit margin there too. I don’t see why someone couldn’t come out with quality 3rd party battery packs at reasonable prices. The cells are a standard part, the control circuitry is relatively standardized, and the really tricky part is good charging circuitry – which is frequently built into the charger. It really comes down to whether they build the control electronics into the power pack (like ryobi) or into the tool (not sure who does this, possibly Bosch for their 12v tools)
For $10 a pack savings I’ll probably stick to brand name though.
It is tempting especially if your not buying into a tool line your not going to use often. I got a bare Makita cordless sander I would like to use, but I have no Makita tools or batteries, so it pretty much just sits in a box waiting till I buy a kit if it ever happens. This is when the 3rd party battery though kicks in, but it never happens because of the liability if anything does go wrong. If a brands battery burns my house down they will be held liable for it some off shored made in China battery pack not as much. I will say in another situation is if you have old Nicad tools that are hard to find OEM battery packs for or are extremely expensive. One nice thing about Ryobi is the 2 for 99 battery deals they run on the big tool buying holidays. It defiantly helps with buying additional battery packs.
I’ve used generic cellphone replacement batteries with decent results, but would never use generic for my tools nor my camera gear. Too much risk, voided warranties, etc.
Now – please do tell about that picture at the top of this post….did I miss a post about Milwaukee putting out 6.0 and 9.0 M18 batteries? Please say yes…and when?
Nevermind – found the post I’d missed. Looking forward to that 9.0 next month! Hope they are on schedule. Thanks as always for your informative posts!
Be aware that generic tool packs tend not to have thermal cutouts built in to them. I learned this working at a battery store some time ago. I’m referring to NiCd and Nimh packs-LiIon are likely different.
Never used a generic power tool battery, but I did get a generic battery for my old laptop. It was 20% of the cost of a new OEM battery, but only worked for less than a year.
I bought an off-brand battery for my MacBook. After a few months it swelled up and popped out of the bottom of the laptop.
Are you sure they are 3rd party? by some definitions that means someone completely unrelated to the production of the Original product.
To that end – how about batteries made by the company that makes the Original product. or as I understand it the 2nd party. Sure there are agreements from TTI, Stanley BD and whomever to prevent them from selling to the same market.
So who actually makes these batteries? Also the actual cells in them are made by what, 3 companies at most – all of whom I’m familiar with are in China, Korea, and Taiwan.
My bigger concern is what’s in the pack that makes it special. IE the circuitry – Is all the protection for over current, over volt, temp and etc all in the battery or is it housed in the tool and the charger? Now I haven’t cracked one open but it appears to me that the SBD flavor seems to be all housed in the tools and the chargers.
If the battery is dumb – and I think most basic ones are – then knockoff batteries wouldn’t be that bad. cell quality might not be the same, but if they worked for a week – they’d probably work for a year.
batteries are gradually becoming disposable/recyclable commodities these days.
as long as the aftermarket battery is sealed decently – uses reasonable cells it should be fine. but manage your expectations – it won’t last as long, probably, it might not have the same run time. but if it’s 1/2 the price, it might not be a bad deal.
I had to buy one for my old milwaukee 14.4 volt drill a few years ago – and they worked just fine. It was NiMH, which is a bit different but again the battery was dumb. temp sensor, and + and -. All controls were in the tool and the charger.
For my camera and non-smart phones in the past? I’ve always bought knock off batteries. When a factory replacement costs $50 to $75 for a battery you can buy two for $10, I’m not going to line a brand’s pocket (I’m looking at you Canon). I’ve only ever had one battery that didn’t perform as good as the brand battery, but in that case it was one of the 2 for $10 deals and the other battery is fine.
The replacement Canon battery we bought for our SLR performed better than the Canon at one fifth the price. Also the Canon battery is failing and the off brand is still going strong and we bought them at approx the same time.
I have little fear of overheating or exploding if a camera because these are really low drain applications. The phone batteries I’ve purchases were for feature phones. I’ve never owned a smart phone with a replaceable battery. I might start to worry about higher current drain in this case, but I have replaced the battery in my iPod touch with an aftermarket one and it also was fine.
I also don’t think these little camera and phone batteries have anything but a temp sensor in the battery pack. They have three contacts and one of them it marked T. I think the iPod battery I replaced only had two wires.
Also FWIW, when I’ve purchased off brand batteries I’ve always done my research, like made sure the seller has a lot of volume, has good ratings, and read the reviews. I know things like that can be faked, but there are usually tell tale signs the reviews aren’t up to snuff.
I asked Stuart this question a while ago about tool batteries, I didn’t know if any of my experience would translate to high amp draw applications and wanted the advice of somebody who knew about power tool batteries.
I was looking at half price M12 batteries. At this point I’m not sure if its worth it when I know the brand batteries go on sale and cut that price gap significantly.
I often use eBay sourced off brand batteries with usually good results, especially for my Dyson DC16 vacuum. I also have Batteries Plus rebuild my NiCad battery packets with more powerful cells for about the same cost of factory models.
Just a simple battery cell replacement would be quite easy, if you’ve ever cracked a pack open. I wouldn’t buy a knockoff because I’ve seen the crappy batteries that come in ‘replacement’ laptop battery packs. But, I WOULD replace them myself, it doesn’t look that hard, just depends on what cell they use, and how easy it is to put the pack back together, hopefully with the least super glue possible.
You can get either Samsung INR-18650-25R cells (2500mAh, 35A discharge rated) or Panasonic NCR18650B (3400mAh, 5A discharge) for about $5 each. So with a pack with only 5 cells, you’d be looking at $25 in just batteries. And unless you get batteries with tabs already spot welded on, you need a spot welder or, if you’re very experienced and feeling lucky, a soldering iron. Soldering to a lithium-ion battery is dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, the things like to explode if mistreated…
FWIW, I purchased some INR-18650-25R cells, mailed them to a semi-local shop that owns a spot welding machine and they whipped me up some fresh 5-cell 18 volt batteries for my Metabo stuff for pretty cheap. The batteries I found on Ebay for about 2 bucks a pop and the spot welding was just 10 bucks and the cost of shipping both ways. I’m pretty sure you can do better than 5 bucks per battery if you look around hard enough. Even if you just bought in bulk from a big name brand, you could probably get a lower price.
Yes this is what I do. Put a load (resistor) across each charged cell and check the voltage. Then replace the bad cells with Good Ones. You’ll have to solder the cells in.
Original OEM only ,longest lasting, best price/quality + warranty. ( power tool li-ion battery)
Bought a month ago 3 no name digital camera batteries from china , ebay,all from different big stores. ( fresh,made less than 1/2 year ago) but the batteries will not hold a charge (max 1-2days) ,very very high self-discharge.
With reservations… YES. I’ve had some negative to OK results with after market batteries. But IMHO the market may be maturing and ready/ripe for a credible after market supplier to surface and provide quality technically competitive batteries to OEM batteries at a reduced price. When this happens I’ll be a customer (unless the OEM reduce battery prices significantly).
bought an M12 off brand battery for my milwaukee. Charged it and used it on the M12 rotary tool with cutoff wheel on 0.125″ cold rolled steel (relatively cheap stuff) and the battery died about a 1/3 of the way through.
I got out a genuine M12 battery and it chugged through 2 cuts of the same piece of steel and then it only dropped 1 bar on the battery strength.
Never buying a cheap battery again for my tools….
Were they the same amp hours? You have to check that stuff before you buy it you know.
I’m using 2 aftermarket LI batteries in my Nikon D-80. They’ve been in it for a year and a half and have performed very well. The 2 batteries were $39.00 and the Nikon’s were $180.00 . No doubt the Nikon batteries are premium quality, I’ll most likely use Nikon on the next go around.
If I could not afford the OEM batteries in my power tools I would save up and still purchase the OEM batteries. Power tools get hard use and I wouldn’t trust the generics in that application.
define cheap. aside from my other rant . If the thing is less than 1/2 the price of the OE battery it’s more than likely garbage to start with. I wouldn’t buy a 10 dollar battery for my cell phone either.
I mean there is something to be said for moderate costs associated.
Never had any issues with 3rd party batteries for multiple cameras but I’d be leery of ones for power tools. Vastly different types of cells and protection circuitry required.
I think 3rd party batteries are an affordable option if you know what you are looking for. Compare amps, volts, etc….and especially fit. I have been satisfied with my most of my 3rd party batteries for my electronics. As far as power tools go, I found some Dewalt knock offs on Ebay. They were just OK. They didn’t perform as well as the one good battery that I had left but still better than all the dead ones. This leaves me to another point. I now have a Ridgid combo kit so I don’t have to worry about dead batteries like the rest of the brands. I have also noticed that each Ridgid battery has its own battery guage so you don’t actually have to pop it onto the tool and check it. You can find out the charge level of each battery before you put it onto the tool which is really nice for those of us that work on ladders or hanging off rafters.
If the tool company’s didn’t rip us off, maybe we wouldn’t buy 3rd party battery’s it’s simple economics, the battery’s are way to exspenive, I have Panasonic cordles, and the battery’s are just to exspenive,
There is certainly room for quality 3rd party Li-ion batteries at the prices the major brands charge for them, when purchased separately. When we look at the prices of the batteries when included in a kit, they are probably about 40% less than separately, as are the bare tools.
Lithium Ion batteries, in general, have become much cheaper to manufacture over that last several years, and will continue to do so for some years, but less so for tool batteries. Tool batteries cost about 4 times as much as car batteries for instance, per watt/hour. So, I expect them to become cheaper as well.
There are lots of OEM batteries available on Craigslist, usually from kits that get broken down. Still not as competitively priced as they could be, but probably better than going the third party route.
When buying new batteries i’ve found that i can usually get a better deal when buying a kit. For example buy the Drill/impact combo, keep the batteries and charger then sell the drills unused on craigslist and i can get the batteries for sometimes half price than buying them solo.
but to answer the question, i would not trust a off brand tool battery. Maybe if it was a nicad but the li-on’s are too volatile and explosive if done wrong.
That may be the cheapest way to get good batteries. Most tools are bought by DIYs, and they usually do not need to have a large stock of batteries just sitting idle and losing capacity (they should keep them partly charged and in a fridge), so buying a bare tool on craigslist is the best way for them to go.
I think your advice only applies to NiCd batteries, right?
Who buys drills without batteries?
I’ve used off-brand replacement batteries in my cell phones with no issues. However, I would not want to void the lifetime warranty on my Ridgid 18v power tools so, no I would not use 3rd party batteries.
mike aka Fazzman
Ive never used el cheapo batteries in anything. when i reach for something that is battery powered i want to know it will do the job,there are ways to save money buying batteries and such,most people just dont have the patience.
Heck just looking at the outside of cheaper batteries is enough to make one cringe,you get what you pay for,yall can have the junk ones 😉
wad your money up & throw it out in the street, same difference.
I agree, pretty much yes, except money on the street won’t burn your place down as often as crappy Chinese batteries will. Even high cost/quality OEM packs have troubles, so why try knock-offs?
If you go to Primecell (http://www.primecell.com/) I think you’ll stand an excellent chance of getting as good or better packs than your OEMs (outside of Li-Ion anyway).
Their explanation concerning Li-Ion packs – and their not doing them – is pretty good (http://www.primecell.com/qli-Ion.htm).
I’d imagine the only remotely safe place to get knockoff batteries would be on Amazon, where a manufacturer with plenty of good reviews could be a good bet. I’ve had an acquaintance say that the knockoffs served him well.
It makes sense that a knockoff would be a decent bet, given that many OEMs build in China to begin with.
That said, the experiences we’ve all had with Harbor Freight and a few others show that not all Chinese manufactured tools are created equal.
Rather than say “oh, its Chinese crud” or “I bought 8 knockoffs and they all work fine”, though, I’d like to see an examination of what the real differences are. This would involve a teardown and probably some component testing/analysis.
No way. Not worth the risk of it blowing up my tools
It’s an interesting question but the main problem is that these outsourced 3rd party battery makers for thr most part (China) don’t have to go through thr same certifications and safety measures. Their responsibility ends at making thr battery and any issues beyond that i.e. compatibility problems, catching fire, etc is generally shifted to the tools fault. That’s why most manufacturers do everything possible to prevent you from using 3rd party batteries. Things like encryption keys and firmware which communicates with the tool or electronics which verify if it’s a valid official battery and if not refuses to work. That Milwaukee red technology in the battery isn’t just about keeping the battery from overloading, it’s also about verifying that battery is a legit Milwaukee produced battery and refusing to run if thr keys don’t match.
Heck, I just ran into an issue with my friend’s BMW which now aparently requires a BMW branded battery which is locked with a BMW vendor gpg key to prevent you from using anything but an official BMW branded/certified signed car battery.
complete hijack – what model and year bimmer? how is the battery connected?
I think I know what you’re going for here and I’ll say you’re a lot nicer about it than I usually am when situations like this pop up. The GPG key was a nice touch, though.
I should have left out the side story about my friend because it does take away from the rest of my comment which I know to be occurring in other battery technology.
At any rate, your right its not a GPG key or anything fancy. I asked my friend more about it and he’s the one that exaggerated. So I’ll take it on the nose for that one for relaying my idiot friend’s stories. For one the battery is slightly proprietary, I haven’t seen it, but apparently there is a different or longer venting required and its slightly irregular different size than you’d normally find, but I’m sure some tubing and finagling you can get one to fit.
However, the main issue after researching it further, and what my “friend” was trying to explain is that in the BMW 335 he had (he’s since sold it Im not sure if the new one he has is the same way) if the car detects a failed battery or issue with it, the computer needs to be reset by one of their technicians and told that a “new” battery is installed if replaced. Its also required to enact a “register battery renewal” procedure anytime the battery is replaced. Of course this is going to require some specialized scan tool or interface only the dealer/certified bmw mechanic is likely to have.
Its more than just resetting, I believe they actually enter in the milage, date, serial number perhaps, etc. The reason why? The car apparently moderates the charging in relation to both the type and the age of the battery you enter. Basically there is a system in the computer that controls the alternator. When the battery is replaced, the computer really needs to know because it doesn’t charge a fresh battery the same way it charges an older battery. What’s more, this computer needs to know if you’ve updated a vehicle from a conventional battery to an AGM type; it charges the AGM differently than a traditional battery. At least thats what the dealer is going to tell you. If thats total bunk, I have no idea. You can read forums of people who successfully replace it with no issues at all, and others that have strange problems afterwards trying to do it on their own including a severely decreased life of the replacement battery due to the adjustment of the charging by the computer. If the car detects a “problem” with the battery though and you don’t reset it it will remain giving you the error until you tell it you replaced it by resetting the system.
I think its a load of crap really, but they gotta justify the close to $400 charge ($200 battery + $200 service / labor) they charged him to replace a battery and make any road bumps preventing you from working on your own car. Anyway I’m not a BMW mechanic so this is just what I read and what the dealer is likely going to say.
a lot of newer cars have a battery monitor system – hell my POS pontiac has one. and it monitors the battery output and it’s internal resistance and uses those parameters along with some others to vary the output of the alternator so as to reduce engine load and thus save some fuel. What they do is set the parameter list for standard plate or AGM as the internal resistance values differ. This is true and the difference actually does not bother the car at all. or well it shouldn’t.
I agree, I just find that by locking down the computer with some proprietary scan/reset tool is just an underhanded crap way of preventing you from working on your own car and forcing these kinds of nickel and dime services. Theres no reason the “register battery renewal” shouldn’t just be a menu option in iDrive or at least a standard customer reset option. But with all those computer controlled and locked services, we are all pretty familiar with this trend of locking out the owner from doing anything on his own and for free.
If I knew who the manufacturer of the cells were, absolutely. Cheap, no-name Chinese junk? Absolutely not!
Battery packs are akin to ink cartridges in printers. They don’t really cost that much to manufacture, but I’d imagine that the OEMs make quite a pretty penny on selling replacement batteries, given what they sell some of the tools for in kit form. I’d guess if there was a source of quality Li-Ion battery cells out there that could be used to rebuild OEM packs or make 3rd party replacements, it would put some downward pressure on OEM battery prices.
Until then, I look for OEM batteries on sale/clearance and when they all give out, I weigh the cost of replacements vs buying a new tool. Sad that they do that, but like most manufacturers these days, they’re more interested in creating return sales than manufacturing something that someone can keep running forever. Chances are by the time my batteries give out Milwaukee will have changed their battery system again, leaving me with no option but to buy either extremely overpriced NOS OEM batteries or take a chance with dubious quality 3rd party replacements.
I would buy after market price and test it against. The orginal battery came with the power tools. If its good as it then its a keeper. Don’t let the aftermarket name fool you.
Recently i bought a Ryobi 18v P108 4ah battery Brand new. upon first use. $#!+ smoked after 5 min of use.. luckly didnt damage my impact driver.
I helped a Milwaukee employee get his tire fixed on the side of the highway. In return he gave me Milwaukee m18 9.0 XC battery I use it for my m18 fuel Rotary/Hammer drill and that thing runs like a beast and last forever so my point is I would use the Milwaukee m18 9.0 battery for the hopefully soon to come cordless miter saw the Fuel Rotary/hammer drill and big products that will need tons of amperage. And I would use the lower lighter amperage with the drill driver, impact driver Ect.
Is there any truth to the rumor about some brands devices knowing the serial number of the packs that have been attached to it? I was recently just about to buy some no-name ebay replacements for my makita 18v drill and impact driver as the originals had finally started to die. I read somewhere that no-name batteries would void the warranty on the drills and that they could tell if any un-authorized packs were plugged in (just like the nonsense that printer companies do with printing cartridges). I decided to wait until black Friday in the event that I came across a deal or if I wanted to switch platforms all together. I lucked out at home depot and got 2 new batteries for 99 and that seemed fair enough. If I had not come across that deal then I would certainly have tried some generic ones.
It sure seems crazy when the consumable (or are rechargeables semi-consumables) is more than the cost of the device after just a year or two.
Other than the newer Milwaukee ONE KEY system and I don’t know what data that passes back and forth to the tool – I would suggest no there is no data sent back.
IE looking at most batteries there is no data connection between the battery and the tool. yes there are more pins on some batteries those are for load balance between cell clusters (IE the sets that are run in parallel). On no pack I’ve looked at, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Ridgid, Makita, have I found a data like connection and I highly doubt they are passing back info on the load balance or the high current connection points.
The newer systems with the BT from Dewalt or the ONE Key thing from milwaukee – I’m not so sure. but I could see how easily that could be implemented. even then it’s probably not battery serial number as much as it is coded connection key.
Good point Nathan. I kinda suspected that as well. They do have circuitry to balance charging the cells intelligently, I doubt they would add the extra cost of some sort of serial number/validation code unless they were sure it would pay off in the log run based on a cost benefit analysis of the additional parts in the battery pack vs loss of sales to third parties.
In the end I suspect they prefer to spend the money making newer and better lines and tools and keep us all on the upgrade path every few years.
Tried a couple of different aftermarket DeWalt pod style batts. The first brand were good for 3 or 4 months then they started to run out of juice faster and faster. Pretty soon they would only go about 15 minutes on a full charge. Replaced those with what looked like authentic batts that turned out to be counterfeit. They ran great until the plastic that houses the batteries started to break apart.
Ever since then I only use authentic batteries. The quality you get with the real deal batteries is worth the cost.
I wouldn’t use knock off batteries. Just about all manufacturers void their warranties if they find out you’ve been using them. I wouldn’t risk damaging my tool either just to save money.
Typically you can buy a genuine tool battery off Ebay for close to half the price.
Think about a Makita 18v battery. It has 2 banks in series of five 18650 cells in parallel. Compare the cost of 10 decent quailty cells (Sony or Samsung) to that of an OEM pack and often the hack is more expensive. What does that tell you about the kak they are putting in the after market packs?
As someone who has been to China and seen knock-off batteries being made. Hell no! It’s not worth the risk for power tools or phones or computers.
did you happen to see how the OE batteries are made?
I’m also hesitant of after market batteries, that said I’m quite invested in Porter Cable’s tool line up, I have however picked up some Black & Decker 2.0 ah batteries and slightly modified them to fit my tools. Since they are both SDB brands and made in the same place I have full faith in trouble free performance. I have used my modded batteries in a BD lawn blower and worked as expected. I catch the BD batteries on sale form time to time that are less than half the price of the 1.5 ah PC ones.
I purchased some “ExpertPower” batteries for my Makita tools over at Amazon. They have pretty good reviews and for me, so far they have been working great.
Based on OE battery replacement pricing, when you purchase a new kit, $20 is for the actual tool, charger, case, packing and such and the other $240 is for the 2 batteries.
The first off-brand rechargeable I recall buying was for my then-new Nokia phone more than a decade ago. The Kiosk seller told me it would be a much better battery than the OEM, which I doubted, but the price was right.
It was a MUCH better battery than the original.
Since then, I’ve had off-brand batteries for laptops, phones, a previous 14.4V NiCad system, and other things. Some have been good, bad, indifferent, a few awesome.
If you don’t want to deal with that uncertainty, and don’t mind paying more, sticking with OEM is a good plan, too.
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I’d be happy to use generic batteries if the things were identical to the original….but the sad fact is the Chinese only do the minimum required to make the batteries, any product, look the same even though they are not.
Never ever ever will I let a generic battery touch my cordless tools. It’s not worth the savings. They fail sooner. They don’t have the same protection (redlink/ Star) they void warranties. Oem batteries are not that expensive if you play your cards right. I buy the kits and sell off the tools. I’m sitting on 10 5.0 Makita batteries with the gauges for very little money from parting out the kits.
No. Not worth the risk of damaging my tools
I use the red brand and the tool/battery protection is built into the circuitry in the battery.
Batteries are a consumable, they don’t last forever. I cant see why people complain. It’s easy….when they die, buy new ones.
The 18650 batteries (18mm diameter x 65mm long) that are inside the packs may only come from a handful of manufacturers (Panasonic from Japan are my favorite), but the protection circuitry and balance on the low cost ones are unacceptable. They may be balanced well enough to survive for a few charges before dying, but if the protection circuitry is not good, they pose a serious fire hazard. Additionally, if you see a high amp hour rating for a low price non-brand, be suspicious. It’s inexpensive to recycle older technology (I.e. Lower mah capacity) 18650 batteries from old laptop or tool batteries and repackage them as something that they are not.
Bottom line – you can not afford to save money on a battery pack
No, please do not.
I purchased#3 m12 and#4 m18 from Amazon, and eBay and they do not have the power, nor the life, of the same (3ah) of oem.
Now they will not charge.
I have mixed reviews. I bought a 9.6v makita stick battery, I’m not sure if the tool itself just didnt have much power or the battery but needless to say i don’t use it much. now on the other hand i have m12 and makita 18v lithium batteries and they are perfectly fine by me, So much so the m12 looks so similar I don’t even know when I’m cycling through.
Never ever would I buy one. I did once and after a month of moderate use the battery would not hold a charge. So I took it back and the clerk said he had a lot of these returned. So I would not.
So guys, how do we find goo 3rd market brand batteries? Where can a person find a list of companies? If they are uniformaly produced we could then compare them to OEM- but now it’s guess and guess again. and yes they are trying to keep us from fixing our own possesions! ” ifixir.com” is devoted to fighting that trend. If you want to fix it yourself– try ifixit first. They have free manuals etc to help and accept manuals from items too.
“If you search for [power tool brand] 18V replacement battery, or 12V, or 20V Max, you’ll find plenty of generic battery packs from brands you’ve never heard of.” Look at Amazon and other online marketplaces.
If you’re talking about cells, most pro grade battery packs use 18650 cell sizes with 20-25A+ current draw ratings.
Also, this isn’t about preventing users from “fixing” their own tools. Battery packs are consumable items that have a finite number of recharging cycles before they should be replaced.
Not sure if this was mentioned here, since I didn’t have time to read all of the replies, but last year for BF I bought two Milwaukee 4 amp hour batteries for $99. This year they were selling two 3 amp hour batteries for $129. Three amp hour batteries are now selling for $99 each. Is this going to be a new trend we see, where they start ramping up the price of lesser batteries to more than it costs to buy a tool itself? This is concerning, especially since I believe batteries, like smart phones, are engineered to expire after a certain amount of use (unless I simply don’t understand technology and batteries naturally wear down after use).
If the cost of batteries keeps going up, and manufacturers keep designing tools so that you have to replace an entire motor housing instead of just brushes, do you think consumers will move back to corded, and much cheaper, tools?
Battery performance deteriorates with use, and sometimes with time, but this is not engineered into the batteries, it is inherent to the technology.
Cordless tools are most definitely going to remain popular.
I remember seeing fires started by cheap aftermarket batteries and chargers for cell phones years ago. Why would I trust that kind of quality for my high dollar, high drain power tools?
I have bought and used many third party packs and have had some bad but mostly great results first of all most of the great results were third party packs built here in the US . I use porter cable 18v and 19.2 cordless I have bought 4 lithum packs for the 18v set and they have outlasted out performed the oems by far they do not get hot and seem to charge faster than the oem’s . the 19.2 packs which are NiCad are a different story the first two I bought were junk they both bummed out in short order but recently I purchased 2 modded packs which used high amp batteries 4.0 verse the oem of 1.5 all I can say is wow it like I have a new drill and with a circular saw the big amp eater I have cut all day with out a second charging but time will tell how long they last . lets be honest all the cells come from china or korea how they are put together and quality control are the important part
I have used the same brand Power tools for years but hate the batteries sold but
the manufacture batteries they lose power and have short life span even over short period I recently took the plunge and bought off brand battieries I did do my research I brought American assembled with protected cells well I bought one first with a rating twice of my oem with great success except about a month into it I pushed the battery to the max cutting red oak till the tool and battery were hot bing battery went and would not accept a charge I sent it back and found I had burnt the safety they replaced it and had it back to me in 2 days I was happy I ended up buying 3 and 7 months later all are still going strong with a long holding charge and by far a longer lasting battery and I do abuse them I work in oak and black walnut mostly and I am more than satisfied with the results but I also saw a lot of bad cells out there that have issued poor to dangerous results I spend appox 40 percent less on the batteries I purchased and they have out lasted oem by at the least by double
I purchased a 6 piece set (sawsall, drill, flashlight, circ saw, jigsaw, vacuum) of the older blue 18v Ryobi tools for 90 bucks at Goodwill. It came with only 1 battery. I was able to get two of the 4 hour lith batteries for 35 bucks (for both shipped) on ebay and a charger for another 15.
If I were buying a brand new set or the tools I use were my bread and butter I might actually have purchased the warrantied batteries but for a set so cheap they just aren’t worth it.
Plus the generics have worked just fine for me so far.
My Makita 9,6v still work after 20 years, reason for which I brought another one second hand.
Having two working sites, I brought several different brands cordless screwdrivers, they all died after a year or two.
Conclusion: Assuming performance may be better, life span is seriously reduced in newer cordless drills.
I bought 2 3rd party battery off amazon for my milwaukee cordless wrench s year ago. I’ve had no problems
I have used 4 unbranded Makita 2ah and 3 ah Makita’s from Masione and totally unbranded from China been going well for at least 4 years. Never had a problem with them. They were about 35% of an original. I say they are worth having especially for a handyman (doubt they would last like the originals if you used and recharged every day.) I buy the original Makita’s on special.
I am willing to bet that Milwaukee does not make batteries, but buy them according to their spec.
I’ve bought off brand batteries for my Dewalt and they were fine and lasted as long as the Dewalt brand !! Cost at that time was 59.00 as opposed to 70.00 .
You guys realize that all these tool companies are produced in China or Malaysia right ? How many different battery factories do you think are in China? I mean I’ve seen generic store brand items like oil,milk ,tortillas, washer fluid ,peanut butter ,jelly etc roll off the same line in the factory from the same huge batch and split conveyed belts to get packaged in 3 different brands names . Im gonna take the risk and buy the cheaper batteries and assume they are also produced the same but package with a different name on it.
They are NOT produced the same.
Remember all the hoverboard fires from a few years ago? That was because brands didn’t adhere to any safety standards.
Go to Amazon. How many of those “replacement battery” brands have actual websites? Maybe some of those knockoffs are safe, but which ones? It’s not worth the risk.