Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 05-03-2009, 01:55 PM
Suspended
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
Cordless Drills: Lithium vs NiCad Batteries?

I would like to buy a new cordelss drill-preferably 18 volt (or greater). I've noticed that the new Lithium ion batteries are much smaller than NiCad-but they cost about 3X the price.
Are they worth it? What kind of attery life do they offer?
#2
Old 05-03-2009, 02:16 PM
Robot Mod in Beta Testing
Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 19,673
Lithium-ion batteries are smaller and have more power, which is why they are popular in power tools. They also don't have as long of a lifespan as nicads. Lithium-ion batteries have about a 3 to 5 year lifespan. They also cost more to make, hence the 3x price.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 05-03-2009 at 02:19 PM. Reason: edited for clarity
#3
Old 05-03-2009, 03:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 6,956
This site http://greenbatteries.com/nibafa.html
has some pretty good information about battery and charger types under the FAQ section on the left.

I've been partial to NiMH over NiCads in the past, but in terms of weight and performance, Li-Ion seems to be the best. Part of whether or not it's worth it depends on how heavily you'll use the tool. I always get two batteries and a 15-min charger, then just swap out batteries if it's a big project.

Last edited by Chief Pedant; 05-03-2009 at 03:26 PM.
#4
Old 05-03-2009, 03:28 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 6,956
There are a few other considerations besides battery type if you are going to spend real money. For instance, some cordless drills apply much more torque at lower speeds than others, even though the maximum power might be equivalent between the two drills.
#5
Old 05-03-2009, 04:29 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 57
Lithium batteries also tend to allow for more recharges. For example, DeWalt's newer Nano-Phosphate Lithium Ion cells boast at least 2,000 charges (their words, not mine).

They also:
  • Typically weigh 25-30% less and have higher energy densities
  • Have lower self discharge rates
  • Offer higher voltages
#6
Old 05-03-2009, 04:33 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: England, Britain, UK
Posts: 18,480
As well as all the above, lithiums are generally immune to "memory effect" - I don't know if that's been successfully designed out of Ni-xx batteries yet, but a Li-xx will happily accept a charge while still part-full without detriment.
#7
Old 05-03-2009, 04:42 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,674
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynamo View Post
Lithium batteries also tend to allow for more recharges. For example, DeWalt's newer Nano-Phosphate Lithium Ion cells boast at least 2,000 charges (their words, not mine).[/LIST]
But, at the same time, they have a shorter absolute life. Most lithium batteries lose capacity after a year or two, and quickly become useless by year 3 or 4.

If you're a contractor, and use the tool everyday, I can see lithium being a big advantage. But you lose that advantage if you only use it once every two or three weeks for a weekend project.

IMO, the advantages aren't worth it for that drill you occasionally use to hang pictures. They might be worthwhile if you like spending money on nicer tools and have lots of projects that keep you busy every weekend.
#8
Old 05-03-2009, 06:34 PM
BANNED
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazybratsche View Post
But, at the same time, they have a shorter absolute life. Most lithium batteries lose capacity after a year or two, and quickly become useless by year 3 or 4.
While I can't speak on behalf of all Lithium Ion products, I can tell you that one of the main reasons behind my decision to go with DeWalt was that worn, defective, or "dead" batteries fall within their 3 Year Limited Warranty program.

Depending on the circumstances, they will replace or repair your battery within 3 years of the purchase date. This usually only involves a trip to wherever the purchase was made.

Quote:
If you're a contractor, and use the tool everyday, I can see lithium being a big advantage. But you lose that advantage if you only use it once every two or three weeks for a weekend project.
Excellent point. For the time being, NiCad does make sense in the scenario you describe. Fortunately, as time and demand increases, Lithium Ions will become more appealing and feasible (cost) for even the weekend DIY-er. Just something to consider when purchasing a newer technology.

To OP, whatever you may decide, make sure you recharge them correctly. You'll do wonders in extending the batteries absolute and cycle life.
#9
Old 05-04-2009, 12:38 AM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 1,137
I am a contractor and use cordless tools daily. I purchased a Makita Lithium Ion cordless set almost two years ago. Before this I have had several cordless tool sets of various types and brands.

I am very happy with lithium ion compared to my experience with nimh and nicad sets. Though theoretically the nimh should have the longer life the Lithium batteries seem to be outlasting them so far. Several nimh and Nicad sets Ive had suffered very disappointing lifespans Add to this their superior energy density and fast charge and I think it is a no-brainer for a professional.

For a hobbyist or homeowner though, there are some perfectly decent consumer grade products out there using nimh batteries, (Rona and Ryobi come to mind) that are a quarter the price.

Lithium batteries degrade with age, overheating, and by too heavy a discharge. I have a grinder with protection circuits that flash a warning and shut down if the load becomes to high.

I try to keep all my batteries charged up, charging after any moderate use and really avoid draining a battery completely. Complete discharge is bad for any battery (even nicads only require complete draining to rectify memory issues on rare occasion), as is leaving a drained battery uncharged.

I find this site useful
#10
Old 05-04-2009, 01:52 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 26,864
Utility and cost should dictate the choice. For home use a NiCad battery works fine and the replacements aren't expensive. I have a B&D 18v Firestorm because I like the detachable head and 2 speed transmission. The lower amp hour batteries cost less than Dewalts and are aimed at the home user. As a comparison, an 18V B&D battery is 1.5 amp hours and costs $35. A dewalt NiCad is 2.4 amp hours and costs $65.

You get what you pay for so buy what you need.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:14 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: iocane powder rhyming spell pkb of koh fizzy kimchi cycle defrost satan constantine tawne stone vicodin beer acetylene headlight national guard equipment french mayonnaise vr signature plato be kind truck undercoating cost wind up phonographs moving walkway how pepto works scooter weight limits bookshelf shelf pegs american chinese names diarrhea rhymes mash characters hometowns diplomatic bag one's vs ones geoffrey palmer imdb define donkey punching amzn rent autopurchase two legged centaur human dwarfs coke ii kmart ammo why charcoal the claw of shame harbor freight boat trailer parts imperial vs us gallon can you go pick up a package at usps most reliable minivan of all time how much does it cost to ship a video game through usps electric leg hair shaver vibration noise in house civ4 rise of mankind how do you pronounce quay bands like no doubt windows xp setup music saving private ryan hitler youth knife can incense set off a fire alarm mexican wedding cookies wiki do women have a taint mad men picnic trash dung beetles for sale usa dragon skin armor cost longest word typed with one hand why can't my computer find my printer dragon age origins best items how to check my page plus balance paid for item but never received it why is platinum valuable rock creek one way hours pep boys brake service cost albert einstein net worth at time of death how to reheat corn on the cob repair cracked pvc drain pipe