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Seastar
02-02-2016, 04:11 PM
I have a hodge podge of battery operated power tools that I have accumulated over the years.
Drills, sanders, saws, lights and so on.
Most are so old that battery packs are not available for them.
All used NiCad packs that I have rebuilt many times.
My company has in the past purchased millions of various NiCad cells and built packs out of them for our portable radios.
We have stoped using NiCad batteries althogether so I no longer have a cheap source for the cells to rebuild my tool packs.
I am thinking of throwing away all of those old worn out power tools and buying new lithium powered units.
I did buy a small Ryobi drill to carry on my boat and it seems to work well.
Since I have little experience with lithium powered tools I am wondering what brands give the best performance.
By that I mean the longest run time on a charge and most recharge cycles.
I have extensive experience measuring the performance of NiCad cells but have not done that for lithium.
I know in NiCad I found 3 to 1 capacity and charge cycle life differences in various manufacturers cells
What say you experts on this forum about the best brands of lithium powered tools?
Bill

flylo
02-02-2016, 04:18 PM
I've had great luck with Makita.

dp
02-02-2016, 04:20 PM
I used an Ryobi 18V drill and lithium battery to build a very large deck back in 2006. It had thousands of deck screws drilled and screwed into Trex decking. 10 years of regular use later that same drill and battery are alive and well. The non-lithium batteries all died long ago.

flylo
02-02-2016, 04:36 PM
I bought this power chair which uses 16ah Ternary Lithium ion polymer battery, 24V DC Output (2 8ah batteries which run in parallel circuit) which seem to run great I bet I can tap 12v or 24v power tools. It goes as well as another one I use around the farm with 2 very large size 27 deep cycle which each lead acid battery weighs as much as this whole chair including both batteries. It also folds where 2 will fit in a Mini Cooper. It also is rated at right at 400#(I made a 2 wheel sulky the grandson can ride on the back. http://kdsmartchair.com/products/kd-smart-chair-heavy-duty-power-wheelchair?variant=1103644879

fixerdave
02-02-2016, 05:01 PM
I'd worry less about the batteries themselves and concentrate on getting a tool standard that will be around for a while. The batteries are getting better at a fairly quick pace these days. If you buy the right tool, when the batteries die you will be able to replace them, probably with something better than original. With the wrong tool, you'll end up buying an entirely new system. This is the reason I went with Milwaukee. From the time I made my purchase, they've already switched to a new, better battery. I figure the tools I have will go through several generations of batteries before they're too old to bother with.

As for how long they last... lots of conflicting info. Some say, if you use them or not, they will only last 2-3 years. Mine are over 5 and I've not noticed any reduced output. Then again, I don't use them all day like a contractor would. I probably won't notice reduced output, until near the end, because I only charge them once a month or so. For me, the best part of lithium is that they don't drain sitting on the shelf, at least not nearly as fast as NiCads do. Also, using and charging them when they are frozen is really hard on them. When it's frozen in my shop, I'm playing on the computer where it's warm. A contractor building a deck might not have the same choice.

Seastar
02-02-2016, 05:20 PM
My old NiCad tools are several brands from Milwaukee down to Harbor Freight.
None of the tools have quit in 20 years but all of the battery packs have quit several times.
The original HF batteries died in the shortest time. Others lasted longer.
The battery packs I built lasted the longest because of the high quality of the cells I used.
I expect the tools to outlive me but the batteries may not.
That's why I want the best batteries I can buy.
DPs deck story about the Roybi drill driver is what I am looking for in a tool.
Bill

Seastar
02-02-2016, 05:30 PM
FLYLO
I converted my CarbonCub from a lead acid battery to a LiFePo motorcycle battery and it has much improved starting performance. The new battery spins the high compression 180 HP engine very well at zero F.
The lead acid would not start the engine without preheat.
I know ---- this is off my topic.
Back to the question- who has the best batteries in a Li-Ion tool?
Bill

kitno455
02-02-2016, 05:32 PM
I've got a Ryobi set, and am very happy. They have kept the same battery interface on their tools for years. So, you can find old NiCad tools for cheap on craigslist or swapmeet, and they work with your current Li batteries. The recent chargers will also charge both battery types if you have some NiCads that still work.

allan

Seastar
02-02-2016, 05:35 PM
Fixerdave
Five years life with good capacity would seem very good compared to NiCad, even good cells.
Bill

darryl
02-02-2016, 05:49 PM
My choice has been Makita, but the Milwaukee has a good rep also. Friend bought a DeWalt cordless that he gave high points to- when I got to check it out my opinion was not so high. I didn't like it and would not have bought it. Some is personal preference, but if a tool does not sound and feel good in use, I don't want it. Personally, I don't like instant braking, where you see the brushes spew sparks every time you release the trigger. Some tools have a resistor which limits the braking current- much nicer, though you might have an extra half second delay.

Lithium batteries- our older Makitas went about 8 years before the battery capacity dropped significantly, and these were in constant use. 3 kits were bought at the same time, and one became a household tool. Mostly it sat around not being used. All the batteries started to weaken at about the same time, so that kind of suggests that the lithium batteries are relatively insensitive to how they're used. The shelf life curve is there, but instead of being 3 years, it was more like 7 years. My 'baby' Makitas batteries are still going strong, and they must be at least 5 years in by now. Those are the little 3 cell 12v packs that almost every maker uses for their compact drills and drivers.

I've never counted charge cycles so I don't know if a pack makes it to or past the 1000 times or 1500 times or whatever.

I don't think you really ever get a poor battery pack with a cordless drill, but you will get a low capacity one. The standard for a nicad has been 1.3 AH for decades, though some tools have a 1.7 AH pack, some even more- but a lithium pack should give a higher capacity for the same volume of pack and voltage. You don't usually get that though, and you find that those packs are lightweight. For a higher AH capacity they make you buy the pack separately. That kind of irks me since if you're buying the tool for work, you're first expecting that the tool is quality, then that you don't have to recharge or swap battery packs every half hour. Chances are if it comes with a higher capacity battery to begin with, the tool just might be a good enough grade to take to work. Most especially, if there is not an option to buy a higher capacity pack, perhaps the tool isn't really meant for real work- just my opinion. Could be a good guideline to use when selecting the brand and model.

flylo
02-02-2016, 05:54 PM
Seastar, I have a highly modded Tcraft with a fresh balanced/blueprinted Lyc 0320 B2B 160 HP built by an engine builder who held the Salt flts motorcycle speed record for many years. They fuselage is done, all new panel, engine hung, new real Scott tundra tailwheel, Hyd heel brakes, patroller doors, 8.50 tires, most of the Swick & Cole mods. I have 2 40 gal wing tanks & a 27 gal baggage comp tank, 2 sets of wings, 1 long set for the 2 40 gal tanks & a clipped set with no tanks & a set of amfib kevlar floats. Going to be a Super Cub/Husky killer rocket that will climb straight up. I planned on a smoke system & have 60 gallons of smoke oil. Planned on a dry weight of under 950#. Best part it's in experimental homebuilt class & called a Kert Grasso Taylorcoupe. Too bad I can't get in it so it's going up for sale. YES I'M SAYING I'M GOING TO SELL SOMETHING. My 1st year Bonanza is going for sale as well, going to end up in an ultralight & powered parachute Oh boy I can't wait:rolleyes: But is is on topic as they both have batterys for the starters & radios.

fixerdave
02-02-2016, 06:23 PM
My old NiCad tools are several brands from Milwaukee down to Harbor Freight.
None of the tools have quit in 20 years but all of the battery packs have quit several times.
...
I expect the tools to outlive me but the batteries may not.
That's why I want the best batteries I can buy.
DPs deck story about the Roybi drill driver is what I am looking for in a tool.
Bill

That's what I'm trying to get at... If DP built another deck, would his driver and battery perform as well now? The drill, yes; the battery... I doubt it. The question is: half way through his new deck, cursing a swearing, can he go to Home Depot, or wherever he bought it, and buy a new battery that fits? A new battery that is significantly better than the original? Now, if he was lucky, he bought the Ryobi driver with a lifetime warranty that covered the batteries too. I've heard of people returning their dead battery and getting a new driver and battery for free, because they didn't have the old standard. That's a sweet deal... don't know if Ryobi is still offering it though. Nobody else does, as far as I know.

If your old Milwaukee is an 18v system, and it's worth keeping, then you can still go out and buy a lithium v18 toolset, even though Milwaukee offers newer systems as well. Going that way, you'd have new batteries, tools, and a charger for the batteries, yet you would still be able to run your old Milwaukee, probably better than ever. If you do manage to outlive the new Milwaukee batteries, you know there will be better ones available.

Me, I went with the M12 system. I'm not a contractor and I want my cordless to be small and light. I figure those tools will probably outlast me, and I've got 20-30 years to go. 20 years from now, will Milwaukee have a new standard? Probably. Will they still support the old M12 system? Probably. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if they still support the old 18v system as well. 20 years from now, a cordless tool will probably build DP's new deck on a single charge. Might even do it by itself while he's sitting back drinking a beer.

mattthemuppet
02-02-2016, 07:22 PM
I just build my own lithium battery packs. I really detest nicads. One thing I would like to do is get my hands on some very high drain li-ion cells as my strimmer rips through my battery packs, but that's not a very high priority right now. One rebuild is going on 5yrs old, the other one 3 to 4 years without any noticeable decrease in capacity. Admittedly, I recharge the main one every couple of months (~6Ah) when I'm using it just for drill duty..

J Tiers
02-02-2016, 09:27 PM
The lithium batteries in cell phones, etc have generally worked quite well. Several computer batteries have failed much sooner than expected, though.

The ones in the only power tool I have worked with that has them, a drill used at a prior employer, had one go bad in essentially weeks. The other dropped to rather low capacity, but better than the first. Just would quit (normal type shutdown) in a very short time. Not up to typical standards.

Lithium work OK, but the protection (and they NEED it) is a pain, I suspect that is what has failed in some cases. In others it still may have failed, and degraded the battery.

I am beginning to like NiCd better.... yes, less power, but they last well if not abused. They would last even better if they had the sort of protection the lithium battery requires to keep it from going incendiary.

PeteM
02-02-2016, 09:56 PM
Another vote for the Makita 18 volt system. Charge quickly, reliable, very wide choice of tools with most of them at or near the top of ratings. Very happy with their brushless drill, impact, and 4.5" grinder.

Makita makes a cheap LED light that looks like it will make the base to adapt a Makita 18 volt battery to my Milwaukee 18 volt Sawzalls and circular saw when the last of my Milwaukee batteries die.

sarge41
02-02-2016, 10:23 PM
Seastar: My only experience with lithium batteries are in a Sears electric hammer that i got a couple of years ago. Charged it up and have used it to nail a lot of trim (we are doing a bunch of remodeling in our house) and it just keeps on going on the original charge. Its like the Energizer Bunny, no stopping it. It is Sears brand, don't know who made it, but damn, it keeps on keepin on. (Handy tool too).

Sarge

vpt
02-03-2016, 08:26 AM
I gave up on all battery tools and just use cords now. If I want portable I take my honda eu2000i. I am a much happier person now. :)

Seastar
02-03-2016, 09:38 AM
I gave up on all battery tools and just use cords now. If I want portable I take my honda eu2000i. I am a much happier person now. :)
I keep a corded drill and a couple of extension cords handy for when my batteries give up.
I also have a 3/4 inch corded drill for those very tough jobs like drilling a 1 inch hole in 2 inch steel plate.
Bill

Seastar
02-03-2016, 10:11 AM
Sounds like I should spend a few hundred and buy a Makita kit.
They are available at all the big box stores and online from many sources.
They also get good reviews.
Unfortunately they are fairly expensive.
I guess you get what you pay for.
Bill

Black_Moons
02-03-2016, 10:19 AM
Sounds like I should spend a few hundred and buy a Makita kit.
They are available at all the big box stores and online from many sources.
They also get good reviews.
Unfortunately they are fairly expensive.
I guess you get what you pay for.
Bill

KMS has a nice Milwaukee kit they sell often.
$350 for brushless 2 speed drill (700in/lb), brushless impact driver (1400in/lbs), 2AH, 4AH battery + 1 extra (lower end) tool of your choice (4 1/2" angle grinder, recip saw, work light, a few others..)
Pretty good deal IMO. the impact driver is amazing.

Also, for lithium ion, its best to recharge them often and never deep discharge them, two half cycles are better for the battery then one full cycle. And yes, freezing will not do them any good. Recharge once every month or two even without use.

Lithium ion left alone for too long may discharge below the 'min charge level' and then the protection circuit will prevent the battery from ever being recharged again to avoid fire/explosion. (The protection circuit itself also slowly discharges the battery, compounding the problem)

Lithium ion *should* be safe to leave in the charger due to very intelligent chargers needed for lithium ion (Never leave nicads in the charger, they will die ASAP)
That said, lithium ion can burst into flames violently, especially if punctured or overcharged (Due to charger malfunction/failure). I wouldn't leave mine in the charger and I don't charge them when I am not around. Im thinking right now maybe I should move my bag of cordless tools somewhere more fireproof, although charging and puncturing are the main threats, AFAIK they don't usually burst into flames by themselves (Although some cell phones have reportedly, with aftermarket batteries)

firbikrhd1
02-03-2016, 10:24 AM
You probably won't have trouble with the Lithium batteries of any of the name brand manufacturers, but, there are differences in the tools themselves. I have a Ryobi and a Dewalt impact driver and while both work well, the Dewalt has far more power than the Ryobi, and it isn't a matter of battery charge.
Personally I'd choose either Dewalt or Makita and some of my choice would be based upon price and availability of batteries or accessories.

Just as a point of reference, if you have any 18 Volt Dewalt tools that use Ni-Cads, Dewalt now offers Lithium Ion batteries that fit those tools. The old chargers won't work with the Lithium Ion batteries so a new charger must be bought too, but the new charger will charge the Ni-Cads as well.

I haven't been able to find those Lithium batteries for older Dewalt 18V tools at the big box stores but they are available on line such as here:

http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DC9182-18V-Lithium-Battery/dp/B00OKK87FG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1454512982&sr=8-2&keywords=dewalt+lithium+ion+battery+18v

Better prices may be found if you shop around.

flylo
02-03-2016, 10:34 AM
The best marketing I think I've ever seen. Black & Decker had a Pro line which were great tools no one bought because of their crummy reputation, so they molded the cases yellow buy the rights to Dewalt who never made a hand power tool & they sold like crazy. Like Maytag water heaters. Great marketing!

Seastar
02-03-2016, 11:01 AM
The best marketing I think I've ever seen. Black & Decker had a Pro line which were great tools no one bought because of their crummy reputation, so they molded the cases yellow buy the rights to Dewalt who never made a hand power tool & they sold like crazy. Like Maytag water heaters. Great marketing!

Yep---
What's in a name?
Bill

J Tiers
02-03-2016, 11:49 AM
The best marketing I think I've ever seen. Black & Decker had a Pro line which were great tools no one bought because of their crummy reputation, so they molded the cases yellow buy the rights to Dewalt who never made a hand power tool & they sold like crazy. Like Maytag water heaters. Great marketing!

Maybe..... And maybe they were good or better products.

I've been using my 14.4V DeWalt drill/driver/hammerdrill for at least 15 years. Bought a new set because it was cheaper than new batteries when the originals got less good (I abused them) and STILL have never used the new drill/driver that was in the set, just the batteries.

flylo
02-03-2016, 12:52 PM
That's what I said. Black & Decker had a super great pro line just a poor reputation from making $5 drills with 6" cords. We bought $5000+ worth of the B&D pro line & in a year never sold a tool. They took the exact tool & made the plastic yellow then put a Dewalt label & instant sucess. Since then they've continued to do a good job but you have to remember when B&D had a poor reputation & it was a genius way to turn it around.

Forestgnome
02-03-2016, 01:06 PM
I have the Milwaukee M18 Fuel myself. I'm very happy with it. That said, Dewalt has won every screw driving comparison I've read. Hard to go wrong with Dewalt.

bborr01
02-03-2016, 01:06 PM
I used Makita for years. First the 9.2 volt and then the 12 volt drill. I liked them OK and built a big deck and stairway project with it.

Probably 15 years ago I bought a DeWalt 18 volt 4 piece kit. All of the tools still work great but the batteries failed after about 10 years.

Maybe about 8 years ago I bought a DeWalt 18 volt lithium ion drill kit. It is much lighter than the nicad batteries and they seem to last at least as long as the ni-cads. The lithium ion batteries fit all of my other dewalt tools except the radio and the vacuum. Also the charger is different.

One thing about the lithium ion batteries is that when they go dead, the do it instantly. Not like the ni-cads that slowly lost power. I'm planning on sticking with the DeWalt tools.

Brian

bborr01
02-03-2016, 01:09 PM
I think the DeWalt tools have what is called regenerative braking. When the tool brakes it is putting a small charge into the battery as it stops.

Brian


My choice has been Makita, but the Milwaukee has a good rep also. Friend bought a DeWalt cordless that he gave high points to- when I got to check it out my opinion was not so high. I didn't like it and would not have bought it. Some is personal preference, but if a tool does not sound and feel good in use, I don't want it. Personally, I don't like instant braking, where you see the brushes spew sparks every time you release the trigger. Some tools have a resistor which limits the braking current- much nicer, though you might have an extra half second delay.

mattthemuppet
02-03-2016, 01:37 PM
I think that the cheapie B&D tools are just fine for hobby use - my $25 B&D drill drilled 1000s of holes in all kinds of stuff and the chuck finally gave up the ghost after 6 years. Bought a similar B&D off eBay for $9 and that's been going just fine.

NiCds are good for really high power draw applications as they can dump 10As of current without problem, but for everything else they just suck. Short battery life, heavy, high self discharge (so they're never charged), crappy low temperature performance and so on.

Lithium doesn't have any of those issues and high drain cells are typically used to deal with the high power draw applications. I don't have any protection in my packs (I use a velcroed on voltage display to see individual cell voltages) and I haven't had a single problem. They're not simple enough to use to want the kids using them in the handyvac, but they stay charged for just about forever, half the weight or twice the capacity and I can recharge them at just about any speed I want to, from 30min to overnight. I just rebuilt a couple of NiCd packs in a pair of Swiffers (don't ask, a honeydo) and they are completely useless - already starting to think about how to convert them to lithium..