Lithium Ion Drills vs Ni-Cad

rdaystromNovember 12, 2008

Anyone tried the relatively new Lithium Ion drills? I have noticed that some of them come with 2 batteries but their capacity is only around 1.1 amp hours. (Porter Cable, Makita for example) Makita offers a larger capacity battery but at much more cost. I guess the 1/2 hour recharge is their reasoning that 1.1 amp hours is enough for the average user. Any thoughts on Lithium Ion vs Ni-cad?

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I have a Craftsman 20 v and I love it. The batt lasts as long or longer than the ni-cad. When the batt goes dead it just shuts off. I don't know why anyone would want only one batt w/ a cordless tool.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 8:02AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

The Li-ion batteries are so much lighter. Their recharge time is quick also, so you can easily recharge one before your working one dies.

I couldn't go back to Ni-cad now. Small light packages with all the power I could want. These things are almost the size of the old Makita 9.6v drivers. Nice for getting into tighter spaces and easier to keep with you.

I don't use it professionally.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 10:13AM
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Two of the big factors of the ION, were weight and size. To the homeowner, this might not be a big deal, but when you use it overhead all matters. They also charge faster and last longer. And the new tools that go along with them are also greatly improved.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 5:45PM
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Quite a big price difference for the do-it-yourself person, isn't there?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 2:42PM
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I was looking at the Makita and wound up purchasing a Rigid Lithiom ION from HD after reading the feedback. I needed a 1/2" Jacobs keyless chuck and two batteries with a relatively quick charge time, and a carrying case. I am quite impressed so far and it also has a light.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 5:59PM
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Ridgid has come a long way, and now makes a very nice tool. The WARRANTY has got to be one of the strongest selling points. GUARANTEED for ~LIFE~.......and **FREE** batteries. That's a hard combo to beat.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 10:45AM
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Guaranteed for life doesn't mean what it used to.
Many manufacturers now consider 'life' to be until
they come out with a new model, then your guarentee
ends. Or, as with my Ducane grill, when the original
company gets bought out, (which happens constantly
nowdays), then the new owners don't honor the previous
manufacturers warrantee/guarantee.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 8:50AM
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I bought a Makita BDF451 1/2" drill with two 3 Amp Hour Lithium Ion batteries last year and it is great. Feels as strong as my 1/2" electric drill, but I can use it anywhere.

It has really high torque and the batteries seem to last a long time.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2008 at 4:49PM
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I'm not very knowledgable with the technical aspects of batteries so don't blast me out for asking this. But why can't companies provide LION batteries to just replace the old NiCads? Design them with the same male/female connectors and make people buy the charger for them, but make them usable with the drills we already have. I have a Hitachi 18v that I love; but it would rock even more with a battery that was even half the weight of the ones it uses now.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 9:18AM
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masiman(z7 VA)

The only company I heard of that supplied a conversion to Li-ion was Milwaukee.

You might be able to roll your own but not sure if it worth the effort. I have read of people taking apart old dead batteries. Inside are pretty much standard sized cells. What I do not know is if there are any additional electronics in the battery case that are NiCad and/or L-ion specific.

L-ion does rock indeed.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 1:27PM
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Hmmm, definitely worth investigating further. I assume a different charger would be needed as well.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 2:27PM
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jimtnc(7b Raleigh tttf)

I'm hearing from good sources that li-ion technology, even as popular as it is, is very young and is an intermediate step and still evolving with some current problems, like not running in very cold/not charging either, stopping for no reason...then recharging back to full capacity is a couple of minutes, etc. What I hear is the better technology today and for the future is the Li-Nano power tools (Li-nanophosphate), but the only ones that have it in the US right now is DeWalt and Black&Decker VPX. To quote the writer, "14.4 Nano impact is the most lightweight, reliable, powerful and long-lasting driver in the world."

Google it for references if you must.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 7:29AM
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bobb_2002(Z6 S.W. CT)

I have a Craftsman 19.2 set of tools that is a couple of years old. The 2 NiCd batteries eventually died so I bought two of the new Lithium batteries (and the charger). They are expensive but worth it. Performance is really good and they last a long time before needing a charge.
Bob B.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 9:14PM
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