Batteries for portable electric tools buying guide

Batteries for portable electric tools buying guide
Guide written by:
Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

184 guides
Lithium-Ion, Nickel Cadmium (Ni-cd), Nickel Metal-Hydride (Ni-Mh):  the types of batteries differ in voltage, ampere/hours, battery life, and charging time. With a wide range of options available, tips for choosing the right battery are useful. Follow this buying guide for the best battery for you!

Important features

  • Nickel cadmium
  • Lithium-Ion
  • Nickel metal hydride
  • Voltage
  • Amperage hour

Which type of battery do I choose: Ni-cd, lithium-ion or Ni-Mh?

There are three main families of battery, however, we can happily maintain that the first as well the third are not commonly found on the cordless machines of any kinds. To get to the point, be aware that mid-range screwdrivers are all, or almost all, equipped with lithium-ion batteries.

Ni-Cd Battery

The nickel cadmium battery is the old generation par excellence. The battery is heavy and doesn’t always, but often has a long charging time. This type does experience a memory effect: if interrupt its charging progress, the component considers that it has reached to its full power and sets it as the end point for the next charge. If this happens repeatedly, you will be left with a battery that does not hold a charge. The nickel cadmium is found equipped with entry-level machines.
Recently, it is tending to be replaced in favour of lithium-ion batteries. It is also recommended to fully drain Ni-Cd batteries before recharging and do not leave them on chargers once they are fully charged. These batteries have a large number of charge cycles, giving them a longer lifetime.

Lithium-Ion Battery

Lithium-ion batteries are a must. These batteries are light, recharges quickly - an hour and a half on average - and does no experience memory effect. Lithium-Ion batteries restore everything they have in their bellies - or almost - until their last breath, which is treacherous if they do not have a charge indicator. The lithium-ion is being equipped with more and more tools as they become cheaper and easier to manufacture.

Ni-Mh Battery

Nickel metal hydride batteries are quite heavy, weighing even more than the Ni-Cd batteries, and have little memory effect. This type of battery has fewer charge cycles than nickel cadmium by as much as a third. Ni-Mh batteries remain uncommon today.
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How to determine the power and autonomy of a battery

The power and the run time of a battery are measured with voltage and ampere hours.
  • The current of a battery is expressed in ampere hours (Ah), this value directly influences the run time and the charging capacity of the battery. The higher the amperage, the longer your battery will last.
  • The voltage of a battery is expressed in volts (V) and quantifies the strength of the current the battery provides - more appropriately than simply calling it power. Thus, the higher the voltage, the greater the force the screwdriver will be able to deliver.
To choose a battery, it is, therefore, advisable to look for the combination of these two qualities that best suits your work. If the voltage of a battery must remain the same to not damage or inhibit your work, the amperage can be increased for a longer run time.
What's more, if longevity is not a major concern you can opt for higher voltage to put more power behind your screwdriver. And always remember that proper charging is essential.

A final tip for choosing your battery

Look for tools that offer a set of two batteries so that you can have one charging even while performing your work.
Lithium-Ion batteries are quite expensive compared to nickel cadmium batteries.
Charging indicators are extremely useful and allow better management of the recharge. Users of screwdrivers are delighted!
Do not leave your batteries empty. If your battery needs to stay idle for a long time, recharge it for a full cycle.
For do-it-yourselfers who are curious about know-how and want to learn more information related to batteries for portable electric tools, follow the advice of our editors and discover more of their guides:
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Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter 184 guides écrits

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter
Redo a roof with wooden beams? Check.Advise Mister everybody in the DIY shop? Check.Redo the bathroom plumbing? Check.Fit together, build the walls, paint a partition, throw my hammer in a rage thinking that it will fix the problem? Check.

The DIY motto ? Learning is better than delegating… well, it's also a question about your wallet! The satisfaction? The beer at the end of the job! What do the best have in common? The influence of Gyro Gearloose, Mac Gyver and Carol Smiley depending on your generation, a good dose of curiosity, a average hand-eye coordination and a taste for risks… and if it doesn't work, try again! Advise you? I'll do my best!

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