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Battery "Technology"

Samuel L.

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So today I finally noticed something about cordless batteries, nowadays its getting really frustrating all the company's marketing plans Dewalts "20 volt" and Milwaukee "Red Lithium" are two that come to mind but really one thing that stands out is that most people agree they are not at all what there hyped up to be but I noticed something today everyone is always slamming Dewalt 20 volt saying its the same as any other 18 volt but today I noticed something.


A dewalt "20 volt" 3 amp battery can do more work than a Makita, Milwaukee, or Bosch 18 volt 3 amp battery.


Now you might all think this is all fan boy bull crap but let me back up my statement with facts.


Yes the output is the same and the amperage is the same but there whole 20 volt claim on the package changes something, Watts.


Watts: The amount of physical power in the battery


When they make batteries they take the number of watts divide it by the voltage and then you have the amps, when dewalt makes there claim of 20 volts (when under no load actually 18 volts) but because they say this they have to divide the number of watts by 20 instead of 18 like everyone else meaning that a 4 amp dewalt battery has 80 watts and Milwaukee or Makita has 72 watts so yes there is a small difference but its still there. If Makita and Milwaukee did this on there batteries there 5 amp batteries would only rate 4.5 amps.


You can check your self the amount of watts is stated on the bottom of every battery but usually very small and hard to see.

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im not sure if im following you and i dont want to poo poo on you if your seeing something that im not but.....


dewalt batteries arent actually 20V   they are 20v max     that max is important because it is saying that 20v is the max the battery can physically charge too.. all 18v batteries are actually 20v max   makita, milwaukee, bosch.. all of them.  the instant you squeeze the trigger on all of these tools the battery drops from 20 down to 18 then it slowly goes down from there. 


the cells in these batteries are typically 5 tandem cells (usualy 10 individual cells all together) that all have a max capacity of 4v and an actual usable output of  3.6v   


its really just all marketing, and obviously good marketing at that, but nothing else.. 


here are a few resources in case you havent seen them  




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My guess, but only a guess, would be that the Dewalt has the max potential of 80w but really only 72w like all other packs

for the split second right off the charger the battery could potentially show 80w but again as soon as you put any load on the tool it would drop down to 18v or 72w and be the same as all other packs.

so essentially a makita 4ah pack also has 80w for the same brief moment off the charger

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As long as they last long enough to do the job that's all that matters to me. The 20 volt thing does seem like a gimmick in a way but who knows. If they are working at making better and better batteries that is the key. Nice article Samual 

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Yeah it's  all marketing bullcrap Really.


Lithium Ion cells are 3.6 or 3.7 Volts.  These cells get charged at around 4 or 4.2 Volts maximum depending on charger/brand.


The end results is that the cells are close to 4 Volts fully topped of.  But it's a marketing trick. The moment you drain the least amount of power from the battery it'll drop down to their "nominal" voltage which is 3.6 or 3.7 Volts.  and with 5 cells in serie that will make 18 Volts.


20 Volt Max is a marketing term just like 12 Volt or 40 volts.  These are all completly thesame batteries who all have Lithium Ion cells with Nominal voltage of 3.6 / 3.7 volt.

And all of them will have a "topped" off voltage of 20v / 12v / 40v... untill you drive in your first screw.


Marketing at it's best :)

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I have no doubt it's marketing, the 72 vs 80 watt claims is what makes the gears turn


here is my thought


if we can agree that a 20v battery is actually just an 18v with a little marketing fluff added then the same applys to the watts...   those extra "8 watts" are a direct result of the 2 extra fluff volts (on a 4ah)..  the 8 watts only exist up to the first pull of the trigger and they they are gone. 

a makita, milwaukee etc. battery could also technically say they have 80w because they do

the "20v" (18v) batteries really only have 72 usable watts


im really not trying to argue with anyone and am fully accepting the fact that i may be wrong, im not an electrical engineer but i do think i have a pretty good understanding of this

im just trying to make sure there is accurate information out there so people can make informed decisions about their tools. 

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it is the same game as 10.8 and 12v      12v tools are all actually marketed the same way 20v tools are marketed.   they are really only 10.8v         the reason this isnt such a point of confusion is because all manufacturers seemed to jump on the same boat when 12v tools went main stream so thats how we compare all of them equally.. 


18v was already established and many manufacturers were well situated with their current battery design and nice product line.   dewalt decided to redesign their battery pack (first shitty thing i think they did) and at that point took advantage of the opportunity to call their new 18v design "20v" (which was the second shitty thing i think they did)   it is sort of like bringing a gun to a knife fight..   they are relying on the fact that the general population will take their word for gold and assume that their tools are actually slightly more powerful.. its all just a lie.


I dont have any hate towards dewalt or others for doing this.. if i was the ceo if one of those companies i would have probably made the same call..    however i just hope that people buy dewalt tools for the actual features, specs and quality of the tool, not becasue they think they are getting a more powerful "20v'" instead of 18v..

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