Do you enjoy the convenience of cordless drills and only concerned about how long the battery will last? Worry not as with proper care the battery can serve you for up to 5 years. However, in a single charge, you can use the drill for 6 hours before recharging. Some would even go for less than two hours all depending on the model and brand.
The liberty that comes with cordless drills as you enjoy the freedom from tangled wires has some hidden cost in it. At some point, you will need to change the batteries that don’t come cheap. Besides, you will need to recharge the batteries often to continue enjoying the services of a cordless drill.
The question is: How can you take care of your battery to serve you longer? Here we provide you with the information you need to enhance the battery life of your drill. You also get to understand the different types of batteries that come with the cordless drills for informed decision making. Keep reading!
What To Do To Enhance The Battery Life Of Your Drill?
Taking care of the drill batteries is simple than you can imagine. It takes some little effort and minimum time possible to keep the battery performance at its optimum. If you follow this guide, you will improve the drills battery life span. Check what you can do below:
Recharge The Batteries Often To Its Full Capacity
Cordless drills work best when their batteries are recharged often. It will help if you recharge the battery as soon as it drops to 70% of the power. Besides, the drill should not be kept for so long before using it. If this is done, the battery life will deteriorate and thus might not serve you long as stated in the manual.
As you recharge the battery often, it would be good to wait until it is fully charged before using it again. Charging it to its full capacity ensures its effectiveness and efficiency. You do not need to worry as most drill chargers come with indicators that would show when the battery is fully charged. So take advantage of the fact to keep your battery in good shape always.
Keep The Battery In A Cool And Dry Place
How long the battery would serve you is dependent on how well you store it. Warmth and wetness tend to damage the battery, and this is the reason you should keep your drill in a cool and dry place. As well, try to keep the battery in its casing or in a padded box to prevent any damage that could come as a result of something falling on it. Any sort of damage due to improper storage could shorten battery’s lifespan.
Allow The Battery To Run Out Once In A While
Although the battery should be recharged often to its full capacity, it doesn’t mean never letting it run out. Allowing your drill’s battery to run out once in two months, keeps it at its best working condition. If you are afraid to do this due to your busy schedule with the drill, then consider buying extra to use when the other one is fully drained. After letting the battery hit rock bottom, ensure you recharge it fully before using it.
Remove The Battery From The Charge Once Fully Charged
Battery life decreases if the charger is left connected once the battery is fully charged. It is thus a best practice to always remove it from the charge once the indicator shows the battery is full.
Adjust Drill Power Setting
Most drills come with the optimum speed it can operate with. Using the way it is could drain the battery much faster. Consider adjusting the settings to a lower speed sufficient for your drilling needs. This way, the battery will run longer in a single charge while at the same time improving its life span.
How Do I Know If My Cordless Drill’s Battery Is Bad?
If your cordless drill battery runs out fast or does not hold a charge as it used to, then it may be the right time to buy a new one. However, before doing that you might want to ascertain that the batteries need replacement. This can be done using a multimeter while following the steps below:
Step 1: Connect the battery to a charging system and leave it to charge for a minimum of one hour. After which you should unplug when ready to test it.
Step 2: Touch the multimeter negative probe to the negative terminal of the battery and do the same with the positives.
Step 3: Now check multimeter’s voltage indicator. If the battery is still functioning well, then the voltage should be one volt higher than what is listed on the battery. For instance, a 12-volt battery should have 13 volts or more when testing.
Step 4: If the voltage reading is the same as or below the actual battery voltage reading, you will need to consider replacing it.
Step 5: In the case where the voltage is higher than the actual rating but cannot hold the charge, then consider taking it to an expert for repair. The expert would do thorough testing, and after that, repair it accordingly.
Which Cordless Drill Has The Best Battery Life?
When buying a cordless drill, it makes every sense to go for one with the best battery life. In such a case you can decide to go for DeWalt ½-inch lithium-ion cordless drill, that runs on 20-volt. Many customers are content with the service of the drill as it runs long enough for you to complete your tasks. Besides, it has an easy to use fuel indicator that lets you know how much charge is left. This way, you can recharge on time to enhance its life span.
Types Of Batteries Used On Cordless Drills
The battery life of your drill is affected by the type of battery the device comes with. It is, therefore, important to understand the different types of batteries when purchasing a drill for better services. Basically, there are three types; nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-ion). Each is explained below;
Nickel-Cadmium (NICD) Batteries
NiCd batteries are the pioneers in cordless technology. However, this type of battery is still in use due to its outstanding performance in harsh conditions. Furthermore, their life span is quite reasonable at around 1,000 while being affordable to many. Nevertheless, the NiMH and Li-ion take the lead in terms of overall performance, but NiCd still has some advantage over them.
One of the advantages is that NiCd batteries are tougher and resistant to impact and extreme temperatures. Secondly, the batteries do not easily damage when kept in deep discharge like their counterparts. Besides, they deliver an improved flow of electric current while being cheaper than the NiMH or Li-Ion cousins.
On the flip side, the drills that come with NiCd batteries tend to be heavier with low capacity compared to the other two. Also, letting the charge drop below 70% affect its lifespan, but still, you will have to do deep-discharge once a month to prevent it from the memory effect. In addition, the battery should always be left to cool down before recharging it. It will also be best if you stored the NiCd batteries well as the cadmium in them can be harmful to the environment.
Summary Specs Of NICD Batteries
1. The long life span of about 1,000 charge cycle
2. 2Ah-2.2Ah capacity that is considered low
3. Discharge if 15%-20% is acceptable
4. Exceptionally tough and durable
5. Charges fully within a short time
6. Proper maintenance required such as doing deep discharge monthly
7. Can suffer from high memory effect if regular maintenance is not done
Nickel-Metal Hydride (NiMH) Batteries
NiMH cost more than the NiCd due to the improved features that come with it. First, it causes less damage to the environment, and they have a greater capacity that is 2-3 times better than the NiCd batteries. Besides, NiMH tends to be lighter compared to NiMH and cost less than the Li-ion types.
Nonetheless, the NiMH needs proper maintenance as it is sensitive to charging and storing conditions. They are also affected by extreme temperatures and thus should be used and stored between 33°F and 103°F. You should as well avoid keeping it in a state of the deep discharge as it can get easily damaged more than the NiCd types. Keep it charged at 70% capacity and do deep discharge once in every three months to enhance its life span.
Summary Specs Of NIMH Batteries
1. Affected by extreme hot and cold temperatures
2. The capacity of 2.2Ah to 3.0Ah
3. Fast charge times
4. Dependable life span if proper maintenance and storage is done
5. Deep discharge needed once in every three months
6. Less memory effect
7. 20%-30% discharge rate that is considered fast
Lithium-Lon (Li-Lon) Batteries
These are the latest batteries that are slowly taking over the other two in the cordless technology. Li-Ion is the best in all aspects as thus the most preferred among the drill users. However, they cost more than the NiMH and NiCd types and cannot withstand heat. In fact, heat affects its internal components and causes a change in the electrochemical process that could damage the battery. Besides, its lifespan is shortened by continuous use and the age.
However, it remains the best as it has high capacity, charges quickly and is lighter compared to its counterparts. In addition, they are less susceptible to memory effect even with little maintenance. Even temperature variation does not affect the Li-Ion batteries compared to the NiMH.
That’s not all, the cordless drill powered by Li-Ion batteries feature an ergonomic design. This is because the batteries can assume any shape, unlike the NiMH and NiCd that assume a specific shape. This means drills that use NiMH and NiCd are designed to fit their shape that can disadvantage the user in terms of performance and handling. You are also guaranteed environmental protection as the Li-Ion batteries are not harmful.
Summary Specs Of Li-Lon Batteries
1. Not prone to memory effect
2. Expensive compared to NiMH and NiCd
3. 0Ah and up which is very capacity
4. Minimum maintenance
5. Doesn’t suffer self-discharge
6. 2-3 years life cycle of 300-500 charges that is shorter compared to others
The battery is an important component that determines how best your drill works. Most of them will go up to 5 years if proper care, as highlighted above, is followed to the latter. It will also depend on which battery type you choose. For instance, the Li-Ion batteries tend to have a shorter life span compared to others. However, it is one of the best in terms of performance, thus still preferred by many.