It’s time to drill some holes for your next project, but you have a twenty-volt drill and only eighteen-volt batteries. Can you use an 18v battery in a 20v drill safely? If you’re not an electrical engineer, and most of us are not, then battery compatibility is a bit of a mystery. I’ve been working with tools ad batteries for years, and along the way, I’ve learned a couple of secrets. Intriguingly, an eighteen-volt battery will charge up to twenty volts. They are the same thing. Both these voltages have cells arranged in groups of five. It doesn’t take an engineering degree to realize that five doesn’t go into eighteen evenly. Hence, an eighteen volt is a twenty volt with a different sticker on the outside. With larger voltage discrepancies, you could end up short on power or even burn your engine out very quickly. Most batteries that are only two digits apart can hold the same voltage as the higher number.
Can you use an 18v battery in a 24v drill? You can use an eighteen-volt battery in a twenty-volt drill. Using this voltage won’t affect performance. These batteries have the same capacity despite what the label says, so using a lower voltage won’t matter. However, it would be best not to use a higher voltage battery because it will wear on the engine burning the tool out faster.
Can You Use An 18 Volt Battery In A 20 Volt Drill
There’s no question that you can power a 20v drill with an 18v battery, but the question of whether you can use it is a different issue. Many companies intentionally engineer batteries and tools to fit together exclusively. By this, I mean that companies will create a battery-to-tool connection that only works with a specific type and voltage of batteries.
Most tools and devices have a range of voltage compatibility. Regrettably, when you get too high or too low voltage will cause permanent damage or even ruin the tool. In the case of compatible batteries, some companies offer a special converter piece to allow you to use the higher voltage in a slightly lower voltage tool. Remember to always check for cross-compatibility.
The good news is that not all companies take the time to do this. In the case of eighteen and twenty-volt batteries, it’s frustrating at best and greedy at worst. However, preventing people from using the wrong battery is a sensible move for the company. They make more money selling larger and more costly batteries.
Many batteries are genuinely not compatible. Let’s take that same 20v drill and consider a 10v battery. Even if it fits, the power this provides won’t let the drill work correctly.
Whether it’s too little power to drill into surfaces or a much shorter run-time, the result is the same. Your drill doesn’t do its job. That leads to customer complaints and bad reviews. Letting people swap to any batteries they want hurts the manufacturer of the drill.
Similarly, let us say you have a 10v tool and a 20v battery. By using more power than the tool needs, you don’t simply get a longer run time. The extra voltage causes that tool to work harder to control its own functions. Engine overheating and other electronic failures are almost guaranteed.
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Are 18v And 20v Batteries Interchangeable
Eighteen and twenty-volt max batteries are interchangeable because they are the same thing. Whatever label you put on a battery, four sets of five cells equals twenty. The only time these batteries become incompatible is when they are specifically sold and engineered to prevent tool users from swapping out batteries.
If you have batteries that can connect to your drill in both eighteen and twenty-volt capacity, they will do the same job. Both batteries have the same maximum charge, and they will have the same output. It is only marketing in this case that makes a distinction.
Does Voltage Matter In A Cordless Drill
Voltage matters a great deal in cordless drills. While you can use 18v batteries in 20v drills, the voltage rating matters for two different reasons. First, the capability of the drill is affected by the voltage. Secondly, weight is a factor as well.
A cordless screwdriver can be four to eight volts without a problem. These will handle small jobs putting screws into very light materials and preexisting holes such as assembly required furniture. For driving holes, you need more power and thus higher voltage.
Drills with ten to twenty volts are great for most homeowners and DIYers. These lightweight drills offer a good combination of function and ease of use. For builders and industrial use, you may need a high-powered drill. Especially when you want to drill hard surfaces like concrete, you need more volts to make a hole because it requires more force.
Cordless drills always have a battery. The drill itself uses more materials the larger it gets. Additionally, bigger, higher voltage batteries are weighty. This can lead to hand fatigue. Choose the drill that does the job you need with the least weight possible so you can work as long as you need without achy hands and arms.
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Are Any Power Tool Batteries Interchangeable
Power tool batteries may be interchangeable. Voltage, such as 18v batteries and 20v drills, are compatible if they fit. Some brands do this automatically, and others require special adapters.
The batteries that are not interchangeable are typically from different companies. For example, an 18v DeWalt battery may not fit an eighteen or twenty-volt Black+Decker drill. It’s not about power, but rather about power couplings.
Various batteries in similar voltages from any one company are usually interchangeable with that company’s tools. Beyond drills, other power tools will often also accept the same battery type. So long as the voltage is compatible, the battery will most often connect.
In short, some power tool batteries are interchangeable, but not all batteries will work in all devices. Tool companies, like cell phone companies, use assorted styles of battery connection to keep their customers using their products.
Doing this gives the company control over the tools they make. A business that spends a fortune on research and development doesn’t want its buyers to simply grab the nearest generic battery for the products. A different business likely has differing standards and practices, which can mean cheap parts or lesser quality control.
Can You Charge A 18v Battery With A 20v Charger
Although you can do things, sometimes it’s just not a good idea. Although it is fine to use an 18v battery in a compatible 20v drill, the same is not necessarily true of chargers. It is important to have the matching charger and device input voltage.
Yes, an eighteen-volt battery will hold twenty volts. The problem here is that you can still cause it to burn out a lot faster. A battery that burns out prematurely is often replaceable at no cost to you. That’s what warranties are for unless you void them.
Would it make a practical difference? It depends on the company. Some manufacturers make incompatible chargers to prevent this from happening since they could be held liable if anything went wrong.
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You can use eighteen-volt batteries with a twenty-volt drill because they have the same number of cells inside. If eighteen and twenty-volt batteries hold the same charge, why are they marked differently? The most likely answer is marketing. I couldn’t find a single valid reason for selling a 20v under a lower power listing in all my research.
On the plus side, you can take advantage of this particular quirk of battery sales. If you search for eighteen-volt batteries which are compatible with your twenty-volt drill, you may find them at lower prices. Since they appear smaller, they are often sold for less. Don’t fall for the marketing ploy because that 20v
So long as the eighteen-volt battery you have is compatible with your twenty-volt drill, you can use it. If you already have one of each, charge up that spare with no concerns.