Owners of battery-powered drills ask this question when first buying the power tools. Indeed, which battery type should you choose for your drilling machine? Keep in mind that the battery makes it possible for the cordless drills to work.
The choice in battery technology is as important as the cordless drill itself. The battery’s characteristics must then match the work requirements and user preferences. An expensive cordless drill attached to an incorrect battery will be less effective.
You will not get the best results from your time and effort exerted. You must then be well-informed about the battery designs and performance. Here are a few things you should know.
Types of Battery for Cordless Drilling Machines
There are three major types of rechargeable battery technologies for cordless power tools. Each of them has pros and cons as discussed below.
1. Nickle Cadmium (NiCd) Batteries
These are the oldest batteries for cordless power tools yet they are still popular. This is because these are durable and affordable, as well with long cycle life. But set realistic expectations since these have limited applications today.
The pros are:
- More resistant against heat and impact
- Less easily damaged after storage in deep discharge (i.e., strongly advised against)
- Longer cycle life of approximately 1,000 charges
- Emit strong current flow
- More affordable than other rechargeable batteries
The cons include:
- Heavier than the two other types
- Lower capacity
- Shortened battery lifetime when the charge drops below 70% between charges
- Cool-down period before recharging
- Deep discharge once a moth recommended lest memory is affected
- Proper disposal is a must since these have high environmental effects
2. Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
These are newer rechargeable batteries with several improvements over NiCd batteries. You should seriously consider these batteries for this reason. The batteries are popular because of these qualities:
- Lighter than NiCD batteries but just slightly
- Higher energy density. These can run 2 to 3 times longer than NiCd batteries on a single charge
- More affordable than Li-Ion batteries but more expensive than NiCD batteries
- Capacity loss can be significantly reduced when these are charged and stored correctly. The increased cycle life means more value for your money.
- Less destructive to the environment although proper disposal is still a must
But there are also disadvantages including:
- Higher temperature sensitivity. In cold temperatures, this quality becomes more apparent. Be sure to store and operate them in temperatures ranging from 33°F to 103°F.
- Deep discharge is a must every three months to maintain its memory
- Lack of use and deep discharge can damage these batteries. The lifespan and storage capacity will be limited as a result. Must be charged after reaching 70% capacity.
- More expensive than NiCd batteries
3. Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)
These are the newest rechargeable battery technology for cordless power tools. While Li-Ion batteries are the best in performance, these are also the most expensive. These are popular among serious DIY enthusiasts for these reasons:
- Lightest in weight among all three types
- Longest charge and recharge life
- High energy density
- High capacity
- Customization options available (i.e., little restriction in shape). Less sensitive to damage from changes in temperature
- No risks for memory effect and self-discharge. This means less sensitivity to storage and recharging methods.
- Less destructive effect on environment with proper disposal
- Fast charging times
There are demerits to Li-Ion batteries, too:
- Excessive overheating can damage, even destroy, them. But this is a minor risk since most now come with safety features.
- Most expensive
- Shortest overall life cycle of 300 to 500 charges
Despite these cons, Li-Ion batteries are becoming the first choice of DIY enthusiasts. These batteries will wear out because of use and age. In contrast, the other two types will wear out because of maintenance issues.
Making Your Choice
Despite these choices, the choice in a rechargeable battery can be simple. Just look at the existing battery of your drilling machine and replace it. In many cases, just give the shop assistant the type and model of power drill.
Also Read: How to choose the right drill for job
You will then be given with several choices in the rechargeable battery suitable for it. You can choose based on your budget, as well as on your desired tool and battery performance. You can also consider other factors including:
Cycle Life: This is the number or charge cycles before the battery completely loses its charging and energy transfer ability.
Self-Discharge: This refers to rate of discharge when the tool isn’t in use.
Voltage: This is the power the battery can deliver (i.e., the higher the voltage, the more powerful).
Capacity: This pertains to the run time, or the time the battery can deliver power between charges.
Deep discharge: This refers to the process of letting the battery completely drain through normal use.
When in doubt, always ask the salesperson for advice. You’re making an investment in a battery so it makes sense to know your choices.
Rechargeable batteries for cordless power drills are an investments, too. You have to consider your choices before making your choice in it. Your work performance can be affected by its performance, too, so make a smart choice.
Our top choice would be the Li-Ion batteries for the above mentioned reasons. But if money is an object, you can also consider the NiCd and NiMH batteries. You will find that these can perform well, too, when used as recommended.