Porphyre wrote in to request a deeper look at cordless power tool batteries, particularly their weights, power, and runtime.
Howdy. Idea for an article here. It’s not ‘sexy’ but a comparison article detailing different manufacturers’ battery offerings would be interesting. I’ve been searching online for something like that, but haven’t found it.
I’m thinking different classes of battery (9v, 14v 18/192v) and show the different offerings (nicad, lion, lion extra life), then show the weight and rated amp hours. Maybe throw in any manufacturer supplied info such as runtime or “screws driven”.
I was looking for this because of Craftsman’s recently release 4ah Lion ‘XCP’ battery. Dang thing costs $99. I can get 3 NiCads for that. I was trying to see how light it was, but CMan’s website was a little contradictory.
Anyway, I think it’d be cool to see a comparo chart… Milwaukee, Dewalt, Makita, Ryobi, Craftsman, etc. Maybe one manufacturer’s 18v batteries are consistently 6oz lighter than another’s??
I am always eager for reader requests, ideas, and suggestions, but I cannot always answer each one positively. This is one of those times when I cannot grant a reader’s request. After explaining in an email why I couldn’t do as the reader requested, I decided to post my initial response here:
To be frank, if I did put together such a comparison, it would be immensely difficult to maintain, and information would be difficult to verify. I put together a battery Ah rating and charging time comparison less than a year ago, and some of the information is already outdated.
Battery weights can potentially change between generations and even manufacturing batches without notice, as brands sometimes upgrade capacities and electronics without making any announcements.
Battery runtime is also impossible to provide, as there are too many influential factors. Batteries’ amp-hour ratings are tool-independent, and should give a good sense of comparative runtime. For the same tool and identical usage pattern, a 3.0Ah battery should provider greater runtime than a 2.0Ah battery.
Read More: What does Ah mean?
The only way runtime could be measured is if I created a way to consistently and repeatedly drain each battery pack, but even there are so many variables that I wouldn’t be able or willing to stand by any data such testing would produce.
Regarding battery chemistry comparisons, all brands have been moving past NiCd batteries, with even Ryobi and Craftsman offering “budget” Li-ion battery pack offerings. These days there is very little interest in discussion of NiCd battery packs in the power tool industry.
In general, the weight differences between the brand’s 12V Max, 18V, and 20V Max battery packs should be comparable to others in their class. There might be some differences due to battery housing cases or added electronics, but there shouldn’t be any difference between like-class and like-size battery packs.
If I worked out a chart showing the weights of major brand’s battery packs, the result would be a bunch of numbers that don’t really tell you much. There are few conclusions that could be made from such data.
Regarding Craftsman’s C3 batteries, I can’t dig up details about their NiCd battery’s charge capacity, but I know it’s a lot lower than the 4.0Ah of their XCP battery. Craftsman does have 1.3Ah and 2.6Ah Li-ion batteries, but if you want 4.0Ah in a single pack the XCP looks to be the only option.
According to Sears product descriptions, the NiCd battery weighs 2 lbs and so does the XCP 4.0Ah battery. I don’t trust these numbers, as they could be the “package” weight and not product weight, but Li-ion chemistry batteries are lighter in weight than NiCd batteries of similar charge size. It would not be unreasonable for a 4.0Ah Li-ion battery pack to weigh the same as a 2.6Ah or even 2.0Ah NiCd battery pack.