Waiting for that Betamax or VHS moment of the Cordless Battery World

If you’re old enough, you may remember the old Betamax-VHS war, and then the HD DVD/BluRay war that followed. 

In the end, one technology succeeded, but now the battle could be back on when it comes to cordless batteries.

In essence, we are waiting for one technology to peak. The Betamax / VHS moment is definitely going to happen in the cordless power battery industry where one platform will do everything the end user needs, and all others will be deemed redundant. 

Turbo Akku Vac Easy Home VC 618WP – battery pack

Now all cordless power tools rely on their battery to work effectively, making choosing the right battery technology just as important as the tool. For example, if the capacity of the battery or the storage levels aren’t suited to the work required, then the expensive tool may not be fulfilling its full potential.

Manufacturers are constantly releasing new and more powerful cordless tool models, similar to the change seen in cordless battery technology. It essentially means that there are more battery options on the market, with many of them capable to do heavier work than before.

As the industry changes so fast, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest technology and choose the right rechargeable battery types for your cordless tools, to ensure you are getting the most out of them!

What are the battery types?

There are three major rechargeable battery technologies available for cordless power tools:

nickle cadmium (NiCd), nickle metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium ion (Li-Ion). 

Nickle Cadmium (NiCd)

Even though they are the oldest of the three mentioned, they are still widely used today and that’s down to their tough and robust nature, and long cycle life. It’s also important to note that they are relatively inexpensive too but do have some drawbacks. Over time, their battery won’t be able to hold full charge and therefore won’t be able to deliver as much power. That’s why their often used to charge low end power tools.

Nickle Metal Hydride (NiMH)

This is one of the newer technologies in the industry and have some significant improvements on the NiCd battery. It was highly sought after when it was announced that this battery format is less toxic and not as harmful to the environment.  

A major improvement for NiMH is the increased capacity, boasting up to three times longer than the old NiCd batteries. They are usually very light weight making it easier for tradespeople to transport them around and often less expensive than the modern Lithium battery packs. However, this style of battery technology is still sensitive to storage conditions and can underperform if kept in low temperatures. It’s also important to mention that deep discharge and lack of use will ultimately shorten the lifespan of NiMH batteries, so this is definitely an area that could be improved. 

Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) 

This is the latest form of battery technology and has now been introduced to cordless power tools. 

They are the best choice for traders looking for a reliable battery, but they do come at a price; being the most expensive of the three.

The good news is that because they don’t suffer from memory effect, this battery type will not wear out because of charging issues instead it will just be old age and usage.

The biggest threat to this new battery technology is heat, posing the danger of overheating and causing a rapid deterioration of this battery format. Although they have a relatively short life cycle, the high-capacity levels and ability to charge quickly make it well worth the investment.

As this technology is still in its infancy, companies are continually seeking to improve the battery formats to outweigh the slightly disadvantages of choosing this type.

After nearly a decade of research and development, Milwaukee unveiled a breakthrough technology that allowed them to bring out 28-volt versions of many of its products. This V28 system is based on a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery developed by themselves. 

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