What types of batteries are best for an electric screwdriver
Batteries built on different bases are used for portable power tools. When buying a new electric screwdriver, the original batteries are used until they reach the end of their life. In this situation the question of replacement will arise, and it will be necessary to decide which batteries are better to buy to continue the work of an electric screwdriver.
For screwdrivers (and for most other portable power tools) are mainly used the following types of batteries:
Their main advantages are the ability to work at negative temperatures, a long working life (in charge-discharge cycles), as well as a relatively low cost. The disadvantages include a pronounced “memory effect”. It consists in the fact that in case of incomplete discharge the cell “remembers” the level of charge and takes it as a zero value. The actual capacity decreases at the same time. This can be eliminated by applying special charging modes. The second major disadvantage of NiCd-based cells is that they contain toxic cadmium. No one has ever been poisoned by these batteries, but there are some environmental problems with their disposal. They also have a higher rate of self-discharge. Currently they are used only rarely and only in older versions of screwdrivers.
Designed to replace the nickel cadmium cells. Do not create environmental problems, have a power capacity (ratio of electrical capacity to weight) of about 20% higher than that of NiCd. The memory effect is much weaker. The disadvantages are the higher self-discharge current in storage and lower life (up to 300 charge-discharge cycles). NiMH technology has been continuously improved since the development of the first battery and the room for improvement is far from exhausted.
The most modern and advanced cells. Have the highest specific capacity. Almost no memory effect. The resource of charge-discharge cycles is not bad, up to 800, but during storage, even without use, durability is reduced. Have very low tendency to self-discharge. Are extremely sensitive to overcharge and deep charge (have to be equipped with individual or group controllers). Lose capacity at subzero temperatures. Are fire dangerous (some types are prone to spontaneous combustion), require special storage conditions.
Which battery is better than Ni Cd or Li-ion for an electric screwdriver
Both types of battery cells are good. However, the choice of battery pack type depends on the purpose of operation.
The main difference between lithium ion batteries (Li Ion) and nickel cadmium batteries (Ni Cd) is the number of cycles. Li-ion has 1500, while cadmium has 500.
At first glance it seems that the Li-ion battery is much better as it has three times the cycle life. But this is not true. When selecting a battery, consider that the wear and tear of cadmium batteries depends on the cycles used. And the life of a Li-ion battery depends on its age.
Cadmium batteries are used for 7-11 years, but Li-ion batteries will not work after 5 years, whether they have been used or not. Therefore it is not advisable to buy several lithium battery packs “for the future”. They will all fail.
NiCd batteries, in turn, will live much longer if stored properly. This rule even works if you haven’t used a power screwdriver with a Ni-Cd battery for a year.
On the contrary, if a b/e electric screwdriver is equipped with a nickel cadmium battery, it will retain up to 55-60% of its charge. Even if they haven’t been used.
If you don’t use your electric screwdriver or drill very often, Li-ion batteries are more likely to die “of old age”. So if you are not a craftsman who uses an electric screwdriver daily, there is little point in buying a Li-ion battery.
Cadmium batteries are the best for household use. They last a long time no matter how long they sit idle. Nickel-cadmium batteries are stored in a box until they lose their 500 cell turnover cycles.
Lithium needs constant recharging because its basic storage condition is a minimum of 60% energy. If lithium is not recharged regularly, it is highly likely to decay before its time, even with proper storage.
Comparison of batteries used for screwdrivers
Having briefly reviewed the types of batteries, let’s compare them to each other on ten parameters, which will help to understand which batteries are better for screwdrivers. Let’s warn right away that there is no absolute leader in all categories, and you should pay attention to the advantages that are useful for a particular activity and area of use.
Number of charge and discharge cycles
All batteries have one drawback. sooner or later they run out of energy and the device must be put on charge. Depending on the type of battery, there is an average limit to the number of charge cycles, after which the battery will no longer be able to store current and will need to be replaced.
For screwdrivers with NiCd batteries this figure is 1000 cycles, and the tool often continues to work after this figure has been reached. This makes it the leader when comparing in this characteristic.
The common type of Li-Ion in screwdrivers can be charged and discharged more than 600 times. Advanced technology of the last century NiMh is significantly inferior to the previous ones and the battery will endure only 300-500 cycles.
Fast recharging capability
If there is a lot of work to be done, one battery may not be enough, so craftsmen use two batteries each: while one functions in the electric screwdriver, the second is charged. How fast this happens depends on how quickly the work gets done.
The nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries take 4-8 hours to charge, depending on their capacity. The latter, though they store energy quickly, require constant recharging during storage.
The leaders in this category are the lithium-ion batteries, which can be fully charged in 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on their capacity. This ensures that the battery installed in the electric screwdriver has not yet had time to be discharged, and the second battery in the charging station will already be ready for use.
When you have to drill a hole in a thick material or screw in a screw with a thick cross section and long length, you have to use the tool at full power. In this case, active charge consumption begins and the battery’s response to this phenomenon depends on the quality of the process without a drop in RPM.
Because of this, modern Li-Ion batteries are far inferior to their earlier counterparts. The most powerful in this regard are NiCd and NiMh. When maximum energy output is required, they are chosen.
Charge level memory effect
This phenomenon is called the “memory effect. If a battery is not fully discharged on the tool and then put on a charge, the remaining charge level is seen by the battery as zero. Once fully charged it will function until the energy reserve reaches a new level and then will report that it is discharged, although the capacity will not be fully depleted.
Because of this phenomenon, the technician has to ensure that the battery is fully discharged and only then recharged. This is not always a good idea if there is still a charge at the end of the day and there is a lot of work to be done tomorrow. All nickel batteries have a memory effect. But lithium-ion models can be charged at any time. they will always use the accumulated energy to the end, without spontaneous capacity reduction.
It happens that you haven’t used the tool for some time, and then you need it all of a sudden. At that moment it may turn out that the battery is self-discharged, and to carry out the operation you need to put it in the charger and wait for a few hours. This is inconvenient for occasional use.
Unfortunately, this “illness” is typical of nickel-cadmium batteries, as well as nickel-metal hydride batteries. The former have a self-discharge rate of up to 10% per month, while the latter have 7-10%. Lithium-ion batteries are much better in this respect. left lying around without use they will only lose 3-5% after four weeks.
Screwdriver batteries are fixed to the handle of the tool. The size of the batteries affects the weight of the electric screwdriver and how easy it is to hold. This is especially important for long manipulation and overhead work (fixing beams on the ceiling, drywall sheets, fixing panels in hard-to-reach places). The heaviest and largest are NiMh and NiCd.
Li-Ion are more compact. They are often made as a cage that takes up only space in the handle of an electric screwdriver, with no extended outer part.
Work in freezing temperatures
Although screwdrivers are more used for indoor repair and furniture production, but sometimes you have to fix materials outside or in unheated buildings, where there are minus temperatures. Li-Ion batteries do not handle low temperatures well.
In freezing weather such a battery may simply fail or discharge three times faster than normal. Leaders in this category are power sources with nickel. They hold their charge perfectly and keep the electric screwdriver functional even at.20 degrees of frost.
Relation to complete discharge
This is an important aspect that affects the life of the battery, which can be substantially reduced by improper operation. All modern lithium batteries must not be completely discharged. The optimum condition for storage is 40% of charge. If you run out all the energy to 0, it can completely drain the drive.
Therefore, these cells should be recharged even if the tool is still working well. Nickel batteries of both types tolerate complete discharge and can be used until the electric screwdriver no longer rotates.
What characteristics are important when choosing a battery for an electric screwdriver
Considering the advantages and disadvantages of different types of batteries, you can choose the right one for your specific application. Now let’s look at two key characteristics that all types of batteries have that affect your choice of electric screwdriver.
What the battery capacity tells you
Battery capacity is spelled out in numbers from 1.0 to 7.0 and is measured in amps multiplied by hours (Ah). The value deciphered as follows: the specified number of amperes the drive can deliver for one hour. But since no electric screwdriver consumes 1-5 amps per hour, its operating time stretches from 2 to 8 hours. The higher the capacity, the longer the tool can stay in operation.
What does the battery voltage tell you about
With cordless models, the power and rotation speed of an electric screwdriver depend on the battery voltage, which must match the parameters of the tool:
- For screwdrivers, the maximum value is 36 V. These are the most powerful machines for working with metal and hardwood.
- 12-18V. average value, suitable for most repair and assembly processes.
- 3-10 V. refer to low-power, and are used only for the assembly of soft materials or fasteners of small diameter.
Installing a battery of higher power on a weak model will quickly lead to a breakdown of the latter. A 12 V battery on a machine designed for 18 V will on the contrary limit the power of the tool, so the voltage rating of the drive must correspond exactly to the value on an electric screwdriver.
Keep in mind that if you use two batteries of the same capacity, the one with the higher voltage will provide the longest runtime.
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Aging, storage and operating temperature range
Lithium ion cells are sensitive to storage conditions. It is forbidden to store the packs in direct sunlight or near heating devices. They are even more terrible at temperatures below 0 degrees (with a single drop in its capacity decreases by 50%). Even if you follow the rules and store the batteries at 5 15°C, the manufacturers allow for a ten percent decrease in capacity per year compared to the declared value.
It is recommended that batteries be stored partially charged (30-50% of rating) and occasionally recharged. They are best used immediately.
With proper operation, avoiding overloading or the deepest discharge, the cells can withstand up to a thousand recharges.
Comparison of the main characteristics of screwdriver batteries
All batteries, regardless of the type, have a number of characteristics, the knowledge of the indicators of which will help you choose the right device for your specific needs. Let’s walk through each of them, and at the end let’s collect the main data in a comparative table.
Charging speed and rules
Charging speed depends on the battery capacity of the electric screwdriver. The undisputed leader is the lithium-ion type of battery, capable of gaining a full charge in a couple of hours or even less. They can also be recharged at high current.
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- Nickel-cadmium batteries have the longest charging time of all, up to 8 hours.
- The nickel-metal hydride battery needs less time. 4 to 8 hours. to fully restore its capacity.
- All batteries must be recharged after purchase. For cadmium batteries, 3 charging and discharging cycles are recommended.
Leaving any battery pack in the charger after it has been fully charged is not recommended. This may adversely affect their longevity.
Many modern rechargeable batteries and battery chargers have a quick charge feature. It is important to understand that frequent recharging may shorten the life of the battery, particularly with NiCd and NiMh batteries.
- Lithium-ion battery packs, even if not used, should be recharged every 2 months. Rare, at this time,
- The nickel-metal hydride type of battery should be recharged at least once a month.
- The nickel-cadmium type can be stored discharged until next use, thus neutralizing the effects of memory effects.
How long will the battery of an electric screwdriver depends on the sum of the following factors:
Any electric screwdriver battery is designed for a certain number of capacity recovery cycles, after which it will need to be replaced.
- The biggest indicator for nickel-cadmium batteries. about 1000 cycles and, usually, the electric screwdriver continues to work after reaching this bar. This is why there is still a great demand for them.
- Popular in today’s electric screwdriver lithium-ion type batteries will survive more than 600 charge and discharge cycles.
- Nickel metal hydride batteries are designed for only 300 to 500 cycles. This is one of the reasons why they were not able to replace cadmium batteries.
- The longest, up to 8 years, can be stored the nickel-cadmium type of batteries.
- Nickel batteries can be stored for up to 7 years without any loss of performance.Metal hydride types.
- After 2 to 3 years the lithium-ion type battery will need to be replaced. This short storage time is their main disadvantage.
It is important to understand that this is not the life expectancy. Even stored in a package lithium. ion type battery after 3 years will be unusable, and nickel. cadmium, if you follow all the conditions of use, can last up to 10 years. This is affected, among other things, by characteristics such as the required storage conditions and the percentage of self-discharge.
In order for the battery not to refuse to work before its deadline, it is necessary to observe the conditions of its storage. All batteries must be stored separately from the electric screwdriver.
- Lithium-ion batteries must not be allowed to be completely discharged, as this could lead to battery failure. It is necessary to store it with not less than 40% of charge, or better. at full charge.
- Both versions of the nickel battery types can and should be used up to the last percent of their charge. It is better to store fully saturated, and nickel. metalhydride still recommend leaving a small volume of capacity before preservation.
The memory effect
The memory effect is one of the most unpleasant things about electric screwdriver batteries. Not fully discharged battery, after installation on the charge, begins to perceive its level of charge as zero and when further use will report a complete discharge before it actually occurs.
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Nickel-cadmium batteries are the most affected and must be drained before they can be recharged in order to use them properly. Nickel-metal hydride batteries do have a memory effect, but it is much weaker. This is a major advantage of NiMh over NiCd. Lithium-ion batteries can be recharged whenever you want. they still use all their energy and have an accurate charge indicator.
An unpleasant feature. the battery for an electric screwdriver will lose its charge even while lying quietly in a closet. In 4 weeks:
Size and shape
A cordless electric screwdriver must be mobile, so the size of the battery is not the least important. Cadmium and metal hydride batteries are big and heavy, because of their size the handle of an electric screwdriver gets much wider at the bottom. This makes it difficult to work in hard-to-reach and high places. Lithium-ion type batteries are often made in the form of a small cage or slider that fills the space in the handle, not making the tool bulky, although you can find quite large specimens among them.
Low temperature tolerance
The advantage of a cordless electric screwdriver is that it can be used outdoors. Lithium-ion battery packs can refuse to work or run out of power very quickly in freezing temperatures. Nickel ones can safely bear temperatures down to.40 C. For the lithium one, the problem can be as early as. 20 C.
Ni-Cd are the first alkaline batteries, the production technique of which was developed at the end of the XIX century. But due to the fact that, at that time, mass production of batteries was very expensive and required certain conditions, it was not until the 1950s that it really took off.
Despite the criticism of many fans of more modern batteries, the capacity numbers of nickel-cadmium batteries are not bad. And they heat up much less in use. than the same nickel-metal hydrides, due to the endothermic reactions taking place inside. If you remember your high school chemistry course, an endothermic reaction means nothing less than absorbing the heat released inside the cell and not releasing it into the external environment. And this is exactly what happens with Ni-MH batteries.
If we compare the characteristics of batteries for screwdrivers, based on practicality and safety, cadmium batteries will prove to be significantly better. For this reason they are still the most popular electrical tools for domestic use.
In brief, all the advantages of nickel-cadmium batteries can be summarized as follows:
- Significantly reduced risk of overheating. They are not in danger of quickly “burning out” or failing, unlike metal hydride batteries.
- Tough metal casing. Cadmium batteries have a good resistance to internal chemical reactions and an excellent sealing of the metal coating. Can also work quite well at very low temperatures, up to.40°С.
- Long life under conditions of proper operation. from 8 to 10 years without the need to change the battery pack.
- Reasonable, affordable price. unlike the more powerful but more expensive lithium cells.
To ensure that the Ni Cd batteries for an electric screwdriver will work out all of their intended service life, there are several effective recommendations for their use.
Because they do not suffer from deep discharge. an electric screwdriver should be used until the battery pack is completely discharged. Then you can recharge them without worrying that they will lose their capacity: they quickly replenish it when they are recharged. It is also better to store them discharged. in this case, the so-called “memory effect” will be much less, and they do not need any recharging during storage.
The “memory effect” of nickel-cadmium batteries for screwdrivers is really not too great a drawback. In order for them not to “remember” an unnecessary level of charge, it is necessary to give them two or three full charge-discharge cycles. Then all their best qualities will be restored quickly.
To make the “memory effect” appear less and less frequently, do not charge them frequently. It is better to run it through complete charging cycles, thereby “clearing the memory”. This is what will make nickel cadmium batteries more productive for a long time.
What can be said about Ni-MH batteries, except that they tend to heat up? These batteries are less harmful to the environment. “Memory effect” is less pronounced than Ni-Cd predecessors. But you have to charge them more often, because the percentage of self-discharge of these batteries is high. In terms of popularity, they are second only to cadmium.
Li-ion batteries and their advantages
It is the lithium-based batteries that are constantly on the lips of many consumers. Partly due to the fact that the lithium compound is used everywhere, in almost any gadget, from a smartphone to a personal laptop. They did not appear long ago, if you compare the time of their appearance with nickel-cadmium. only in the 90s of the last century.
It is known that in the beginning lithium-ion batteries had a great danger of explosion because of technological shortcomings. At the moment the vast majority of them are equipped with charge level and heating controllers, which ensures their safety and increased duration of productive use.
Why are lithium batteries so remarkable??
Let’s consider their advantages in comparison with their predecessors:
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- Higher capacity level. which extends their uninterrupted use.
- No “memory effect” (at least that’s what sellers and manufacturers say).
A high capacity level makes this particular type of battery particularly suitable for use in professional technical tools.
For all their advantages, lithium batteries are very sensitive to the slightest voltage fluctuations during charging. and to sudden changes in temperature. Of course, all chemical power supplies are in one way or another susceptible to this sensitivity. But experts in the field of electronics do not accidentally call this type of batteries “capricious”.
Unlike nickel cadmium batteries, there is no point in buying lithium batteries in stock. They tend to lose capacity over time if left unused for long periods of time. And they have a shelf life of no more than two years.
So, what batteries are there?? Nickel-cadmium and lithium batteries are commonly used in power drills. Also there are nickel-metal hydride batteries, and they are good in their own way. But for screwdrivers, they are very seldom used: unfortunately, these batteries get very hot when charged and when the tool is used intensively. While they may be considered “veteran” chemical power sources, Ni-Cd batteries still outperform Ni-MH batteries in many ways.
Nickel-cadmium and nickel-metal hydride batteries
Ni-Cd are the first alkaline batteries, the production technique of which was developed in the late XIX century. However, since at that time mass production of batteries was very expensive and required certain conditions, it did not begin until the 50’s of the twentieth century.
Despite the criticism of many fans of more modern batteries, the capacity figures Ni-cadmium batteries have a good. And they heat up much less in operation. than the same nickel-metal hydrides, due to endothermic reactions occurring inside the. If you remember your high school chemistry class, an endothermic reaction means nothing less than absorbing the heat released inside the cell and not releasing it into the external environment. And this is exactly what happens with Ni-MH batteries.
If you compare the characteristics of batteries for screwdrivers, in terms of practicality and safety, cadmium batteries will prove to be significantly better. It is for this reason they are still the most popular for electric tools for domestic use.
In brief, all the advantages of nickel-cadmium batteries can be summarized as follows:
- Significantly reduced risk of overheating. They are not at risk of rapidly “burning out” or failing, unlike metal hydride batteries.
- Robust metal housing. Cadmium batteries have a good resistance to internal chemical reactions and an excellent sealing of the metal coating. Can also work quite well at very low temperatures, up to.40°С.
- Long life under proper operating conditions. 8 to 10 years without the need to change the battery pack.
- Reasonable, affordable price. unlike the more powerful but expensive lithium cells.
In order to ensure that Ni Cd batteries for an electric screwdriver reach their full life expectancy, there are several effective recommendations for their use.
As they are not afraid of deep discharge. Work with an electric screwdriver should be up to complete discharge of the battery pack. Then you can recharge them without worrying about them losing their capacity: they quickly replenish their capacity during recharging. Store them also better discharged. in this case, the so-called “memory effect” will be much less, and during storage they do not need any recharging.
The “memory effect” that nickel-cadmium batteries for screwdrivers have is really not too great a drawback. In order to prevent them from “remembering” an unnecessary charge level, it is necessary to give them two or three complete charge-discharge cycles. Then all their best performances will be restored quickly.
To reduce the memory effect, do not recharge them more often. It’s better to give them full charge cycles, thereby “clearing the memory”. This is what will give the nickel cadmium batteries their best performance for a long time.
What can be said about Ni-MH batteries, except that they tend to heat up? These batteries are less harmful to the environment. They have less “memory effect” than their Ni-Cd predecessors. But you have to charge them more often, because the percentage of self-discharge of these batteries is high. Second in popularity to cadmium batteries.
Li-ion batteries and their advantages
It is lithium-based batteries are now constantly on the lips of many consumers. Partly because lithium compound is used everywhere, in almost any gadget, from a smartphone to a personal laptop. They did not appear long ago, if we compare the time of their appearance with nickel-cadmium. only in the 90s of the last century.
It is known that initially lithium-ion batteries had a high degree of explosion hazard due to technological shortcomings. At the moment, the vast majority of them are equipped with charge level and heat controllers, which ensures their safety and increased duration of productive use.
Why are lithium batteries so remarkable??
Let’s consider their advantages in comparison with their predecessors:
- Higher capacity. which increases their uninterrupted use life.
- Absence of “memory effect” (at least according to sellers and manufacturers).
High-capacity level ensures successful use of this particular type of batteries in technical tools of professional design.
For all their advantages, lithium batteries are very sensitive to the slightest voltage variation during charging. and to sudden temperature changes. Of course, all chemical current sources are subject to this sensitivity to a greater or lesser degree. But it is not by accident that specialists in the field of electronics call this particular type of batteries “capricious”.
Unlike nickel cadmium batteries it does not make sense to buy lithium batteries with a reserve. Over time, they lose their capacity if left unused for a long time. And they have a shelf life of no more than two years.
Important parameters for selection
Battery capacity determines how long the tool can work without recharging. Therefore, the higher the capacity, the longer the cordless screwdriver or any other cordless tool will be able to work. Battery capacity is measured in Ah (ampere hours). That is, if the battery drill-power screwdriver in the technical specifications specifies that the capacity of its battery 1 Ah, this means that within one hour the battery will give a current of 1 A.
In the same way that a cordless tool is judged by its capacity, the battery tool’s capacity will depend on the voltage. When choosing between two batteries with the same capacity, bear in mind that the battery with the higher voltage will last longer. Drills have a voltage range of 3 to 36 V. High-voltage cordless tools are used for working with hardwoods and metals. For example, 36-volt drills can be used for drilling large diameter holes in metal, brick, and wood. Tools with lower voltage (10-14 V) are used for screwing fasteners and drilling holes of smaller diameter. Drills with 3-6 V batteries are only suitable for screwing in small diameter screws (up to 5 mm). Tools with 12-volt batteries are the most popular with home handymen. Because they have the perfect balance between performance, running time and price.
Please note! Only batteries with a voltage that matches the manufacturer’s recommendation are suitable for use with this tool. In other words, no more or less than what is listed on the tool’s data sheet. For example, if you install a 12-volt battery instead of a 16-volt battery in a screwdriver, the tool’s output will drop sharply. If you use a 36 V battery instead of 18 V, then the motor of such a tool will work to wear and tear, and it will soon lead to a breakdown.
Usually a battery (sometimes even two) and a battery charger are included with the electric screwdriver. But their shelf life is limited, and if the tool is used very intensively, eventually it will be necessary to change the old battery for a new one. In this case, it is worth to settle for brand-name products. Then there is no question about quality, reliability, longevity and, of course, a brand-name battery from the same manufacturer will fit exactly into the power drill. In our section “Batteries” you can find batteries and accumulator packs for tools from Russian and foreign producers and you can always choose exactly the one you need.
Battery chargers can also be purchased separately, the main thing to consider in selecting them is the type of battery they recharge and the time it takes to charge. In this regard, very convenient universal chargers that can work with NiCd, and NiMH, and Li-ion batteries. For example, the Makita DC18SE belongs to such chargers; it can recharge three types of batteries with different voltages (from 7 to 18 V).