We answer some of the most common questions we receive around tool batteries:
- Which type of battery is used in power tools?
When it comes to battery-operated tools, the battery in question will typically fall under one of three types: Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), or Nickel Cadmium (NiCd). The third type, Nickel Cadmium, is no longer legally for sale in the EU and UK, but older tools may still be designed for this battery type. In this case, an equivalent Nickel Metal Hydride battery may be used successfully.
Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are better than the older Nickel Cadmium batteries, as they are lighter and offer better capacity whilst reducing pollution. However, Lithium Ion batteries perform the best overall and can also feature a built-in protection circuit.
- Which cordless tool batteries last the longest?
Lithium Ion batteries are the best choice if you are looking for a cordless tool battery that will keep running for a long period of time. Even better, this type of battery can retain its charge even when the tool in question is not used for months. They also have the capability to run your cordless tools at maximum power for longer than other types of batteries. All of this means that whilst Lithium Ion batteries are typically more expensive to purchase, they are a sounder investment in the long run.
- Is it OK to leave power tool batteries on the charger?
In a word: no! If you want to enjoy the best possible performance from your battery, then you should never leave it in the charger. Rather than ensuring that the battery retains a maximum level of power, doing this will actually result in your shortening the overall lifespan of your battery. This is because by leaving the battery on the charger, you will potentially “over charge” it, causing it to deteriorate faster and leaving you forced to pay out for a replacement sooner than you ought to. It’s a wiser course of action to wait until your battery is fully charged, then transfer it to a suitable location for storage. That being said, many modern tools come with ‘smart’ chargers, which will maintain battery condition if the battery is left on charge.
- Is a higher voltage battery better for cordless tools?
This answer will depend on the type of tool – and the kind of job – that you have in mind. As a general rule of thumb, a higher voltage tool will provide higher torque or power, which makes such an appliance the better choice for the toughest tasks. If your task requires a lot of power, then using a high-voltage tool will help to conserve power overall and avoid putting the battery under excessive strain. However, if you are planning to use the tool for a small job that doesn’t require much application of force, then using a high-voltage tool will simply waste power.
- How do you extend the battery life of a tool?
For a lithium ion battery, the best way to enjoy the optimum performance is to ensure that it is stored with a full charge and kept away from moisture in a cool location. Keep it working well for a long lifespan by using it regularly and by being careful never to discharge it entirely: instead, once the charge levels drops by around a fifth or 20%, you should be aiming to top up the charge to the maximum capacity. Similarly, as with storage, you should carry out the charging process in a shaded location and at an ambient temperature.
- Can I use a 20 volt battery on a 40 volt tool?
Whilst a battery with a lower capacity (that is, run-time hours) can be successfully exchanged for one with a higher capacity, when it comes to voltage, you must use the right voltage supply level for the tool in question. If you try to use a battery that delivers a different voltage level, you will be likely to damage the tool in question. Always check the voltage of your cordless tool, and use only the battery that precisely meets this specification.
- What do you do with dead tool batteries?
Never dispose of your dead tool batteries in your ordinary household waste or recycling collections. Instead, take them to a specialised recycling collection point for the type of battery. Both Lithium Ion and Nickel Metal Hybrid batteries can be successfully recycled, which is a great way to save natural resources as well as reduce the risk of pollution. You will often find a point to drop off dead lithium ion and nickel metal hybrid batteries at your council waste recycling centre.