Cordless drill batteries are vital components of the power tool because these provide the power it requires to perform the task at hand correctly and efficiently.
To increase your chances of getting the most desirable results out of your cordless drill, it is crucial to select the best type of battery technology.
Choosing the correct battery is just as essential as the process of selecting the right tool for your project.
It is also vital to note that the best cordless drill batteries will be dependent upon a few factors.
There are drills that use only a single type of battery. There are also others that offer options.
If you plan on buying a drill with more than one option for batteries, then it is necessary to consider factors like your budget for a rechargeable battery pack and how often you will be using your tool.
Types of Cordless Drill Batteries
For those who would like to get an idea about the different batteries used for cordless drills, then the following information about the different battery types for the tool will surely help:
1. Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) Battery
Nickel cadmium battery is often seen in cordless power tools including drills because of its many advantages. One of the benefits of this rechargeable battery is its long shelf life. It can also be discharged and charged for more than a thousand times. It is the most inexpensive rechargeable battery. It has a quick recharging time (usually within just one hour) and has high levels of durability. Its toughness and durability also guarantee that it is capable of resisting damages from impact and heat. It is perfect for small jobs. But, it may not have all the performance capabilities necessary in handling difficult and tough projects.
2. Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Battery
NiMH battery is safer than NiCD. The reason behind this is that it does not contain cadmium. However, it is more expensive than NiCD. An advantage of NiMH is that it provides high energy density and long life between recharges. It features an enhanced capacity and is less toxic. It is also light in weight. It is advisable for users to pay close attention to the charging requirements, and maintenance of nickel metal hydride battery because it is excessively sensitive to charging and storage conditions.
3. Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Battery
This is one of the newest battery technologies frequently used in cordless power tools, particularly cordless drills. It is expensive, but is still capable of providing plenty of benefits to its users. It has twice the energy density provided by batteries based on nickel. It is also more lightweight and operates longer than nickel batteries.
Its lightness also provides users utmost convenience when using it for a long period. It prevents the risk of excessively straining your arm and hand muscles. Other benefits of Li-Ion battery include its less sensitivity to changes in temperature and storage and recharging methods, and its long recharge and charge life cycle.
Caring For Your Cordless Drill Rechargeable Battery
Cordless tools that happen to be rechargeable are portable, ready to go, and convenient at any time.
The batteries for your cordless tool can last for years, and if you invest the time for caring and storing your tools batteries, you can actually extend the life of the battery an in turn your investment.
Below are the do’s and don’ts to help extend the life of your cordless tool batteries.
Rechargeable Battery Do’s:
Keep your batteries charged and store them correctly.
- Keep your batteries charged: You need to recharge your batteries once you begin to notice that it is losing its power. Many batteries tend to last longer if they are recharged when the battery has reached the 70% capacity mark. Unless it’s Ni-Cad batteries (the memory effect batteries) must be fully drained at least once a month in order to retain the charge memory.
- Use your battery regularly: Your battery life lowers when it isn’t in use, so constantly use your tools! If you barely use a certain tool, you should begin to think about getting a corded tool or recharge your batteries before you start a project.
- Charge your Battery Completely: You have to keep your batteries plugged in till it is 100% charged. Many chargers will have an some sort of indicator that will alert you the moment when it is completely charged.
- Keep your battery dry and cool: Your batteries can last a lot longer if you store them in an acclimated, dry area. You really do not need to store your batteries in your freezer.
- Store your batteries Properly: Be sure to keep your batteries in some sort of cushioned bag or in the original case. Use the plastic battery cap in order to keep it from shorting out and to protect all of the battery terminals from any moisture or breaking.
- Have a back-up battery on hand: It is always best to have another battery that is charged and available for any of your cordless tools, so you are able to switch it if need in the middle of a job.
- Adjust your cordless tool settings: Use the correct setting for your tool for that particular project. Using a higher torque setting can actually run down your battery faster, so you will have a longer battery life if you begin to use lower settings that are recommended for that job.
Rechargeable Battery Dont’s:
- Don’t run your battery till it is drained: If you let your rechargeable drain, it can actually damage the poles of your battery and shorten the overall battery life. Try recharging your batteries once you notice that your tool is beginning to slow down. Be sure to never drain it completely unless you happen to have a Ni-Cad battery that is beginning to show a lower battery capacity because of the memory effect.
- Don’t leave your battery on the charger: Unless the tool instructions state that you have to store your battery on the charger, remove it once the charging is completed. Overcharging your battery can shorten its life and damage it as well. Not all battery chargers shut off once it has finished charging.
- Do not overheat your battery: Heat can be deadly to your cordless tools battery and can even cause your battery to explode. If in the off chance that your battery becomes hot to the touch, be sure to give it time to cool before you try to recharge it, or even use it. Don’t store any rechargeable batteries in an attic, hot car, or anywhere that can become overheated.
- Do not get the battery wet:Do not expose your batteries, corded or cordless tools to water. If it is exposed to water, wipe it immediately.
How to Charge Cordless Drill Batteries
Cordless drills are becoming really popular these days with those who like to do a bit of DIY in their spare time. There are many benefits to using a cordless drill, with one such the fact that they are powerful and affordable, and one of the best things is that most modern cordless drill batteries are lithium-ion batteries.
One of the most important things to have with your drill is a battery charger because it is not a good idea to use your drill when the charge on the battery is low.
You should always make sure that your batteries are charged before you start using your cordless drill.
You will get a battery charger with your drill when you purchase it and you should never use any other charger except this one or you could end up damaging the battery.
So when it comes to charging your cordless drill batteries, you may be wondering how it should be charged and how long for.
Charging these batteries is very simple because all you have to do is look at the indicators on the battery charger to see what to do.
When the light on the charger is red, it is charging, but when it turns green, it is charged and needs to be unplugged. However, the following tips will help when it comes to charging these batteries:
- Although this sounds pretty obvious, you have to remember to make sure your battery charger is plugged into the electricity socket and that it is switched on. You would be surprised at the number of people who have plugged in their charger and then when they went to use the drill they found that the battery had not charged at all because they did not have the power switch turned on.
- Make sure the battery is firmly in place in the charger or it will not charge up properly.
- Make sure you charge the battery properly until the indicator light shows that it is finished charging.
The first time that you charge your cordless drill batteries, you will need to do it for about seven or eight hours. However, if you have charged it before you simply need to go by the indicator lights on the charger.
If the battery is allowed to run down completely then you will have to charge it for about four to six hours before it is fully charged.
But once you see the light that indicates that the battery is charged, you should unplug it from the electricity supply because otherwise you will just be wasting money and energy.
If you want to make sure that your cordless drill batteries last as long as possible then you should follow the tips below:
- At least once every month, you should make a point of fully charging the battery and then letting it run down completely.
- If you want to make sure that you are getting the best charge for your battery, then it is wise to make sure you clean the contact points of the battery and the charger.
- Make sure you use the battery at least once or twice every month so that it is not in a discharged state for too long.
- If you are not going to be using the drill for some time, then you should take the battery out and put it in a cool, dry place.
- Another thing that will ensure the battery charge lasts for longer is to make sure the rotation switch for the drill is in neutral when not in use.
How to maximize battery performance
It doesn’t matter what tool you are using, if it has a battery you are going to want it to run as long as possible between charges. Proper battery maintenance will allow you to have a battery that runs longer and will increase battery life.
Cordless drills come with either the typical batteries or Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries. Either way, the battery requires proper care and handling. There are many different cordless batteries available in the market. One must keep in mind that the higher the voltage of the drill, the stronger it is. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you get maximum performance out of your battery.
- Break in your drill battery. All batteries need to be fully charged before being used the first time. To achieve the maximum rated capacity, it is best that the battery is fully charged and discharged three or four times.
- Non-Li ion batteries suffer from the memory effect. To avoid the battery from becoming useless after a month, it is best that you fully charge and discharge the battery at least once every two or three weeks.
- All batteries have at least two contacts. One is positive and one is negative. Some batteries have three contacts but the third contact is for the charger to check the voltage during charging. For battery contacts that are dirty, it is suggested that you clean them with a cotton swab and alcohol. This will help you maintain a good connection between the battery and your cordless drill. It will remove any corrosion that has taken place on the battery terminals.
- Exercise your battery. Try using your cordless drill battery every two or three weeks. Not using it for more than two to three weeks is not recommended. However, if you are not able to use it the drill this often, remember that when you use it, the next time you’ll have to charge it the way you charge a new battery.
- If you use the drill rarely and will not use it for a month or two after a job is done, it is best that you store it properly. It is advised that you keep it in a clean, dry, cool place and avoid placing it near heat or metal objects. NiCad, NiMH and Li ion batteries will automatically discharge in storage. For sealed lead acid batteries, you require a special trickle charger for storing. Do not store sealed lead acid batteries for more that three months if you do not have the charger. This is due to the reason that sealed lead acid batteries must be kept fully charged even in storage.
Try referring to the manual that came with the drill for more battery performance maximization options. A cordless drill is one of the most convenient tools you can own. Try to clean it along with the battery before storing it away.