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BoulderG GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/14/22 10:34 a.m.

About to plunge into decent household cordless tools - lawnmower, drill, impact driver, ratchet, saw, etc. Lots of good discussion here about keeping the same battery system for interchangeability.

Is there any cross-brand interchange?

I've heard "Brand A also manufactures Brand B" - will the batteries interchange?

If it's the plastic ribs/slots on top of the battery, couldn't you just grind away the offending pieces on the tool or the battery?


AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/14/22 10:48 a.m.

You pick a brand and focus on that brand.

ShawnG MegaDork
10/14/22 11:05 a.m.

I don't like Ryobi but...

Most of my cordless stuff is Ryobi because they committed to not changing the battery configuration. 

20 year old Ryobi tools use the new lithium batteries just fine.

I hate having to buy new tools because some jackwagon designer thought they needed to change the battery this year.

psteav (Forum Supporter)
psteav (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/14/22 11:07 a.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

You pick a brand and focus on that brand.

He's right.  (See, we agree sometimes.)

As I understand it, one of the issues with adapters or "making it fit" is that a lot of the batteries can be depleted past the point where they can take a charge without jumpering it over to a charged battery.  When you use the battery on its native tool, the battery will shut down before that point.  Draining lithium ion batteries to all the way dead takes a real toll on their lifespan as well. 

The short answer is if that if you want maximum tool availability and cheap but useable tools, get Ryobi.  If you want prosumer stuff with fewer options, go Makita or Milwaukee. 

RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/14/22 11:27 a.m.

In reply to BoulderG :

The only lawnmower and drill battery system worth buying into would be the Milwaukee M18.  Big Red has some trickery in the batteries and motors that allows them to put out a lot of power from the lower voltage batteries.  Some of the other companies do this as well but either not as well or into tools that are much lower quality for a similar price (Dewalt).Unless you want to spend big bucks on the Red tools I would split power tools and outdoor products into two separate battery platforms. 

There are a few good 18-20V mowers out there that use a dual battery system but for the most part the other Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE) on the 18-20V batteries is underpowered.  I have a good bit of bias as I have worked for both Milwaukee and Ryobi but it has hard to go wrong with either of those brands, they each have their tradeoffs.  The Ryobi power tools, the new HP One+ lineup in particular, are an incredible value with a great warrantee.  Ryobi OPE especially the 40v is a couple years ahead of Milwaukee in development and on par with EGO in performance.

RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/14/22 11:32 a.m.

In reply to psteav (Forum Supporter) :

The over draining can be a problem if the battery does not have over draw protection.  Most brands do have a minimum voltage protection in the battery (Milwaukee, Ridgid, Ryobi, EGO, Dewalt, Makita, most of the big brands). One I know that does not have this protection is the Hart brand (walmart Ryobi), the battery control is in the tool not the battery.

hunter47 Reader
10/14/22 11:41 a.m.

I'm a Milwaukee guy. Buy Red. Their M18 line is absolutely awesome for the big stuff and the M12 is perfect for the rest. Some people will swear by DeWalt. Some by Ryobi, Ridgid, Makita, etc. The important part is to buy into one battery ecosystem and stick to it for all the reasons above. I like the M12/M18 line because of the compact size of the batteries. I also like the color red.

I have a Ryobi rotary tool for cutting/grinding stuff but that's because I only needed to use it for a short period of time/small project. 

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/14/22 11:56 a.m.

I went with Milwaukee after using my FIL's Milwaukee M18 tools.  He worked in construction for 40+ years, and he would just destroy tools, with the exception of the Milwaukee.  I am cheap, though, so I use SlickDeals (no affiliation, just a happy customer) to hunt for good prices.  If you're patient, you can typically get them for much less than the regular price, which is what I do.  I have both the M18 and M12 lines, and love both.  Milwaukee puts the logic in their batteries, so they're typically not something I'd interchange with another brand. 

RacetruckRon GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/14/22 12:09 p.m.

Also anyone who is interested in the TTI brands; Ridgid, Ryobi, Milwaukee, Hoover, Dirt Devil should check out Direct Tool Factory Outlet. Killer deals on blemished or refurb tools, watch for the deals and sales you can save some serious money buying on the sales (cheaper than employee pricing).  Milwaukee is only available in the brick and mortar stores if you have one nearby.

nderwater UltimaDork
10/14/22 1:55 p.m.

You can find generic battery packs for the big name tool makers, so don't let battery cost or interchange be the deciding factor. 

In my area it's super easy to find new and used Ryobi and Dewalt tools; I went with Ryobi, but you won't go wrong with either.

californiamilleghia UltraDork
10/14/22 2:07 p.m.

I have 5 near new generic DeWalt batteries that will not charge 

Is there an easy way to jump start them so they get some voltage in them and the charger will recognize them ?

Right now I do not get any lights on the charger  except for one that charged up fine ,

Thanks for your ideas

californiamilleghia UltraDork
10/14/22 2:11 p.m.
nderwater said:

You can find generic battery packs for the big name tool makers, so don't let battery cost or interchange be the deciding factor. 

In my area it's super easy to find new and used Ryobi and Dewalt tools; I went with Ryobi, but you won't go wrong with either.

One thing to remember is the earlier NiCad battery tools will take the Lithium batteries BUT you need to make sure your charger is OK for the Lithium batteries,


Appleseed MegaDork
10/14/22 2:23 p.m.

Adapters exist.

DeWaukee is a real thing.


nderwater UltimaDork
10/14/22 2:43 p.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

There are youtube videos demonstrating how to introduce enough charge back into the cells so that the battery management chip in the pack will let the pack resume charging from your regular charger. Have you tried any of those methods yet?


SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
10/14/22 3:29 p.m.
nderwater said:

You can find generic battery packs for the big name tool makers, so don't let battery cost or interchange be the deciding factor. 

In my area it's super easy to find new and used Ryobi and Dewalt tools; I went with Ryobi, but you won't go wrong with either.

Yep. You can find generic battery packs. 

Nope. They don't work too well. 

nderwater UltimaDork
10/14/22 4:00 p.m.

My experience with generic Ryobi 40V packs has been good--but that's anecdotal. I take it you've had the opposite experience?  If so, what tool brand and voltage?

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
10/14/22 4:09 p.m.

In reply to nderwater :

Honestly haven't tracked brand and model. I have owned hundreds of cordless tools. Mostly Makita, DeWalt, Ryobi, and Milwaukee. 

Every time I attempted a generic, the lifespan was greatly reduced. And sometimes, they deplete too far to recharge well.

From what I read, that's pretty common.  So I stick to name brands. But I can't offer you a statistical analysis. 

Nockenwelle New Reader
10/14/22 4:55 p.m.

It's important to note that for the phrase "cordless tool", the word "cordless" comes first. Batteries make or break the combo, and I'd say they're more important than the tool itself.

My last several tool buys have been M18. I am seriously impressed with not only the power available from the larger packs, but also the run time. It's mind-boggling. I do need to grow my M12 assortment.

I used to prefer DeWalt, but their batteries just plain suck. The tools however, are on par with other top-shelf flavors, and some features are standout best-in-class. I can't remember how many 18V XRP Ni-Cd packs I went thru at ridiculously inflated prices. Every time I attempted to disassemble and replace cells in a dead pack, they just weren't right. Forget generic packs. I even bought a DeWalt adapter pack with two new lithium packs and the tool adapter. Both lithium packs died within 3 months of light use and warranty replacement was refused. I still do like Yellow for corded tools.

yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
10/14/22 5:09 p.m.

Here's my dilemma: I bought a Ryobi lawnmower and trimmer and really like them plus HD had a great sale on them. Then I was looking for shop vacs and saw the Ryobi was on sale at HD. So I bought it. It came with a battery and charger. Then, HD strikes again, they had a sale on a Ryobi inflator + battery.  So, I bought it. 

I really want some Milwaukee m12/m18 tools to do my wrenching but they seem to be a bit more ecp than Ryobi. Plus, I'm accidentally bought into Ryobi stuff. What do I do? 

Appleseed MegaDork
10/14/22 7:45 p.m.

In reply to yupididit :

Use it. If you run into a problem, like Ryobi doesn't make a 20 volt beanie copter hat, but Milwaukee does, then you have to start making (expensive) decisions.  For now, push your Ryobi stuff as far as you can.

Antihero GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/14/22 8:33 p.m.

Milwaukee makes a butt load of different options too. I have used and abused their rear handle full sized saw( looks like a worm drive but isn't), their framing nailgun, everyday for a year and I love them. Their drill and impact guns I've use for about a decade now and they are still going strong too.


The m12 stuff is actually great too. My wife bought a pack and the stapler and I really thought it was kind of ridiculous to have a battery powered stapler.....but man I love that thing now. Tyveking a house has never been easier

SV reX
SV reX MegaDork
10/15/22 8:23 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

OMG!  A Milwaukee 20 volt beanie copter hat...

I gotta have one!! cheeky

Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/15/22 9:42 a.m.

In reply to BoulderG :

No, the batteries do not interchange.

However, there are some enterprising individuals that have 3D printed adapters that allow one to mix tools and brands of batteries.  I have never used one so I do not know how well it works.

03Panther PowerDork
10/15/22 8:50 p.m.

In reply to SV reX :

We bought a used Greeworks Mower, of the 40V battery pack. Great mower. Came with original batttery, and a generic he bought to be able to swap, and finish his yard. Surprisingly, as I've had same experience as you (and every one I know) with generic packs for hand tools, this big battery is lasting as well as orig. Both are still going strong. (As I knock on my head laugh

Pleasant  surprise. 


I agree on ryobi system lasting longer than several manufacturers combined. 
Had a couple early on, but jumps ship for better quality, long ago. 'Course had to buy whole new system in between, but the ryobi just wasn't holding up to me!

earlybroncoguy1 Reader
11/22/22 9:51 p.m.

Every time my birthday, Fathers' Day, and Christmas get close, I have to remind my family to resist the urge to "surprise" me with new cordless tools - because they will end up buying the wrong manufacturer/model line/voltage/battery type/whatever and I'll be stuck with a brand new tool that doesn't work with any other battery, tool, or charger I've already got. You'd think they could just walk out to my shop, look at the cordless tools I already have, and make an informed decision, but....no.

Most of my cordless are old Dewalt 18v, the original batteries are long since dead and gone. I keep them running with Bauer (Harbor Freight) 20v batteries and 3D printed adapters from eBay. Best cordless tool I bought is a Bauer cordless 1/2" impact, it zips off lug nuts instantly.  

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