I May Be Going To The Dark Side, 18V ;)

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Forum topic by BlankMan posted 12-20-2009 10:15 AM 1590 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1490 posts in 3549 days

12-20-2009 10:15 AM

Nothing against 18V cordless, I just look at it as more then I need. I bought DeWalt 14.4 stuff when it first came out when there was no 18V and have built up quite an inventory of it. So the only reason I kind of view it as the dark side is having to maintain two different battery types/voltages. I have over a dozen 14.4 batteries and I just wanted to leverage that, batteries are expensive and the 14.4 tools have never come up short power/torque wise for anything I needed to do.

But I’ve been wanting to get a 14.4 1/4” impact driver, the DeWalt DC835 14.4 one is anywhere from $219 to $259 depending where you look. Or $129 to $149 bare tool only. But 2 XRP batteries and a spare charger make it worth going with the kit.

So then I run across a two piece DeWalt 18V kit, a 1/2” Drill/Driver, and a 1/4” Impact Driver for $279. Kicker is it’s Li-ion. I’ve been considering going Li-ion at some point, probably as my NiCad batteries bite the dust so that was on the radar. The main reason I’m now considering the 18V, well the Li-ion batteries, but also because the 18V LI-ion equipped tools in this case weigh less then their 14.4V counterparts. That was kind of another drawback I had with 18V, the weight and just being bigger, even though they’re still well balanced.

So $279 for two tools, two Li-ion batteries, and a charger and case. 14.4 Li-ion batteries are going for $129 alone.

So I’m seriously considering it. Maybe my Christmas present to me.

So talk me into it, or talk me out of it. Except maybe with changing brands, at least the chargers will be a common point for now, but I’m also thinking I’ll migrate to 18V Li-ion tools as my 14.4’s wear out and thus be back to requiring a single battery type. What do you think?

(I lean towards DeWalt because in the 15 years I’ve had them they haven’t changed their battery style like the other manufacturers periodically do. And their new 14.4V Li-ion batteries will fit all my existing tools. Don’t know if the other manufacturers have done that when moving to Li-ion or, thus forcing you to buy new tools too.)

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

26 replies so far

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3304 days

#1 posted 12-20-2009 10:42 AM

Dooooooooooo Eeeeeeeeeeet!

you know you wanna, all the cool kids are doing it

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

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1490 posts in 3549 days

#2 posted 12-20-2009 10:55 AM

LOL yeah, well, I don’t keep up on all the latest tools so if my reasoning isn’t well founded and there’s better out there I’d like to hear about it now and not after I take the plunge. The big thing is the battery investment. It just appears to me that all the other manufacturers change their battery packaging periodically making them incompatible with the previous generation tools. DeWalt hasn’t done that, so are there any others and I know some are worse then others,

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3304 days

#3 posted 12-20-2009 11:08 AM

You’ll also get more work done per charge with an 18V vs a 14.4V (ie drive more screws/drill more holes before running out of juice), its not just about the driving power.

I have a milwaukee 14.4v and 18v li ion drill (well, theyre not MINE, but my brother in law hasn’t asked for em back yet hehe) and while I’ve never kept specific track of it I definetly get more done with the 18V before having to recharge. That being said, for most projects that I do the 14.4 is more than sufficient, and being more lightweight its the one i grab for the most and carry around with me, the 18V usually stays on the bench for bigger jobs, tho the extra power has certainly come in handy more than a few times.

Its the sorta thing you don’t think you need until you get it, then you’re like “WTF did I do before I got this thing?!” :)

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

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1490 posts in 3549 days

#4 posted 12-20-2009 11:23 AM

Thanks, good points.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View cbMerlin's profile


100 posts in 3617 days

#5 posted 12-20-2009 03:54 PM

BlankMan – I’m with you about 14.4v being all I ever needed. I do have larger but find myself reaching for the 14.4v 95% of time. Now for the controversy, mine are all Craftsman, crapsman as many refer to them. I just have never had any issue with them, they’re cheap, they’re as precise as I’ve ever needed and you can buy damn near as many as you need on e-bay for $30-$40 range if you’re patient. I built a charger station with 3 chargers & a timer. The chargers do everything for 7.2v to I think 24v. I got a couple 12V, 3 or 4 14.4v and a couple 19.2V on e-bay over the last year. I don’t think I paid over $35 for any of them and they all looked brand new when I got them. Most came with 2 batteries, some with chargers, some not. As to the Impact driver, it’s probably my favorite for doing any kind of screw driving, the torgue is amazing. My brother swears by Bosch and several other high $ tools but for 8-10x more than I’ve been paying, I can’t see it. I can buy 6 or 7 for he pays for 1. I think I lost 2 batteries in the last couple years. Get whatever you’re comfortable with, but no matter which you go with, you will love the impact driver!

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4090 days

#6 posted 12-20-2009 04:17 PM

I have several but my favorite is that little Milwaukee,.......nice and light, fits the hand perfect, Li I quick charge and it holds a charge.

Those big 24V, 18V…..........if I want to do arm curls and a workout I head to the gym.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View CharlieM1958's profile


16280 posts in 4415 days

#7 posted 12-20-2009 04:25 PM

Curt, I have a Dewalt 18V drill driver and it’s a real workhorse, but occasionally it is just too big to get into a tight spot. So when I came across a great deal on the Makita 10.8V LI impact driver/drill 2-tool combo for $120, I bit on it. I am greatly surprised by the amount of power these tiny tools have.

So the bottom line for me is that I’m happy to have the best of both worlds… My 18V for the heavy, repetitive jobs, and the little guys for when space is tight or when I’m working overhead where weight becomes a fatiguing factor.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View ehegwer's profile


26 posts in 3308 days

#8 posted 12-20-2009 04:31 PM

From a technology perspective, you sort of need to keep up -

Over time the 14.4 will begin to disappear, and the cost will end up going higher because of simple economics.

So, I’d do it, just because in 5 years the other technology may be hard to come by.


View khop's profile


134 posts in 3872 days

#9 posted 12-20-2009 04:45 PM

Curt, I recently bought a Craftsman compact 19.2 drill with Lith batts. It’s smaller, lighter, compatible with all my other 19.2 tools, and it is powerfull enough to start a locomotive. The batteries last far longer than the nicads. I seem to never reach for all the other drills. This one works. I read all the reviews on Sear’s site, which convinced me to buy. I think you should check it out. Good Luck and GOD BLESS

-- How am I doing? Better than I deserve. Dave Ramsey

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3549 days

#10 posted 12-20-2009 05:14 PM

This is a good discussion.

I keep thinking the the 14.4’s, 12’s and 9.6’s will go away too, but thery’re still there, mainly due to price point I think. Gotta keep some around for the people that don’t want to spend twice as much for the 18V. Maybe with the Li-ion batteries that will happen, they are smaller and weigh less, but they’re not cheaper, yet, maybe someday.

I wouldn’t be even considering these 18V if they were the NiCad’s, just too big and heavy. But these 18V Li-ion’s weigh about 20% less then the 14.4’s and from a battery pack standpoint are smaller too.

With all that’s being said I’m leaning towards getting them.

Merlin, I thought about doing that too many a times, are you getting those new or used?

Charlie, I looked at those Makita’s they are nice, and the Milwaukee M series, just don’t know if I want to make the brand change thus the battery pack change. I would be doing that to a degree though I guess but at least I’d be using the same chargers.

This is getting more difficult than easier. But I still have that one underlying question, how often have these other manufacturers changed their battery packs such that they don’t work with their previous generation tools? Like Milwaukee and Makita for instance? Even Craftsman? Have they gone 15 years without doing that? Do their Li-ion’s of a given voltage fit their previous generation tools?

So Ken, those 19.2 Li-ion batteries work in your previous 19.2 NiCad tools?

I’m really on th fence with this, that’s why I’m here.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View cbMerlin's profile


100 posts in 3617 days

#11 posted 12-20-2009 05:42 PM

They’re mostly listed as “like new”, a few were listed as “new”, but I’ve not been able to tell the difference!

I’ve got most of the 19.2v tools as well and have been watching the li-ion batteries also, so far I can’t justify new chargers & the batteries, granted they are better & lighter, but my nicads just keep hanging on.

To your point about model changes and batteries, it is a concern, but so far (probably 8 years or so) so good. Some of my tools say “EX” & some “diehard”, batteries so far are interchangable.

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1902 posts in 3868 days

#12 posted 12-20-2009 05:48 PM

I have a Makita 9.6v cordless drill/flashlight that is about 5 years old. I recently had a chance to buy a 18v Makita cordless drill /flashlight combo on promotion. The reason I bought it was that it came with a new design battery charger that charges both batteries, well that and that it was twice as powerful as my 9.6v. I think that is thinking ahead, on Makita’s part. I truly believe they look out for their customers, plus they make excellent tools!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View kolwdwrkr's profile


2821 posts in 3787 days

#13 posted 12-20-2009 05:55 PM

I just got the Makita 18v, their newest model. This thing is one power house and the battery lasts a long time. It’s no wonder Fine Woodworking magazine gave it the best value and best overall. I’ll be happy with this one for a long time, and it only cost around $200 for the drill with charger and 2 batteries.

-- ~ Inspiring those who inspire me ~

View knotscott's profile


8144 posts in 3572 days

#14 posted 12-20-2009 06:11 PM

Hi BlankMan – I don’t have any experience with the DeWalt drills of any voltage so take this for what it’s worth. I do a 10.8V Li Hitachi, 12v Nicad Hitachi, 14.4v Nicad Hitachi, and a 19.2v Nicad Craftsman. The 19.2v is handy for those rare times when I really need to drive some bigger screws, but for around the shop the smallest 10.8v works great most of the time and it’s really light and comfortable to use, as are the 12v and 14.4v. Someday if the right deal comes along on the C3 Li 19.2v battery packs for the Craftsman, I may grab it, but right now I won’t spend the extra $90-$100 for the charger and battery. Obviously the Li has more advantages than Nicad, but Nicad can be very affordable…I scored a deal on the 12v drill and 12v impact driver, so I have 4 batteries, 2 chargers, and a flash light with that pair of tools for < $100.

Which one feels best to you should be part of the equation too. Price is a factor in most of these decisions, but sometimes it’s just nice to get what you want and what you like whether it’s justified or not…it’s a hobby for me, and having the tools you like best can add to the enjoyment. If I made my living from these, I’d just get what I needed. That’s just an executive decision you have to make. :-)

That my 2 cents, and I doubt it’s even worth that!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View BlankMan's profile


1490 posts in 3549 days

#15 posted 12-20-2009 07:29 PM

Thanks everyone. Scott, it’s worth it, I’m just looking for all the info I can get and peoples experiences.

I’ve been doing some reading on NiCad and Li-ion batteries this morning.

NiCad disadvantages, self discharge rate of about 1% per day, memory. Advantages, long shelf life in any charge state, over 1000 charge/discharge cycles

Li-ion disadvantages, some capacity deterioration is noticeable after one year, whether the battery is in use or not. Over two or perhaps three years, the battery frequently fails, i.e. shorter shelf life. 300 charge/discharge cycles, at 50% capacity 500 cycles. Advantages, higher energy density, no memory, half the self discharge rate compared to NiCad.

The Li-ion shelf life and charge cycles concerns me, a lot of my 14.4’s are a lot older then 3 years and still work well.

The size/weight of the Li-ion batteries I view as an advantage though, 18V weighs less and are smaller than there 14.4V counterparts. But if having to replace them every 3 years turns out to be true that could be costly. That makes the argument for buying cheap if you’re going to be re-buying periodically anyway.

I don’t know that this is helping. LOL I’m almost thinking with the shelf life and charge/discharge cycles of Li-ion batteries they may not be so great. But I keep coming back to the size/weight. But the current replacement cost of over $100 a pop is definitely not a plus. I’m almost starting to think NiCad looks pretty good…

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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