If you have plan to buy a cordless drill or present it as a gift to a family member, your loved one or your friends, before thoughtlessly ordering the drill you should first carry out a simple cordless drill comparison to ensure the person receiving the present will get the best cordless drill suitable to his or her needs.
Cordless drills are available in a multitude of sizes and designs, in fact if you walks into the neighborhood’s power tool store, it is common to find 40 plus different cordless drill models on display. So how do you choose one that suits your need, or one that is for someone else? Well one of the easiest ways to pick the right drill is to look at one of the key factor that really differentiates between cordless drill drivers, their batteries! Recent technology on rechargeable power source has only allowed for 3 type of battery to be commercially available on the market, the Li-ion, Ni-MH and Ni-Cad batteries.
So the most important part of comparing the cordless drill batteries is to look at what differentiates a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) to a Nickel-Metal-Hydride (Ni-MH) and Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad) battery.
Battery constitutes a large bulk of the drill’s weight. The weight of Lithium-Ion battery is only 40-50% of that of a Nickel-Cadmium or the lighter Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery. Weight factor is very significant in difficult working situation that will stress out your muscles. Imaging holding an 18V Nickel-Cadmium cordless drill driver fixing a ceiling panel above your head for a length time. Obviously, you are going to seriously prefer the less heavy 18V Lithium-Ion cordless drill to commit the same job. Weight is a sure factor that will affects your efficiency. Make sure the drill you select is compatible to your strength and comfortable for long time handling wihout causing extra stress on wrist and arms.
“The main difference between the newer Ni-MH battery than the Ni-Cad is it’s higher energy density to weight ratio. Put simply, the capacity of a Ni-MH is about twice of the Ni-Cad with the same voltage. In performance, this translates as increased battery run time with no addition increase to size and weight. Li-Ion battery however, has emerge as the new standard for cordless power tools being most efficient than the Ni-Cad or Ni-MH. It generates the equivalent energy output as the Ni-MH but only weighs nearly 20% to 35% less. “
If you are going to buy the best cordless drill, get one with the latest Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries; not anything else, neither the Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad) nor the Nickel-Metal-Hydride (Ni-MH) batteries. Ni-Cad batteries is affected with irreparable deconstructive progress called ‘memory effect’, that is when the battery ability to store charge slowly diminish over its life cycle and gradually lessen the battery run times. Whenever recharged with any state of charge (without first fully discharged), the NI-Cad battery tend to accept the last state of charge as its disharged level and hence will only accept partial charge as full. When this gets frequently repeated over time, the battery will lost a significant amount of its initial capacity. This symptom is a bit like to the battery “forgetting” how to be at full charged, as the memory behaviour reduced the charge capacity.
Comparison between Li-Ion, Ni-MH and Ni-Cad Battery
|Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cad) Batteries:Ni-Cad stands for Nickel-Cadmium battery, is a type of rechargeable battery using the metals nickel (cathode) and cadmium (anode) as the active chemicals.||
|Nickel-Metal-Hydride (Ni-MH) Batteries:Ni-MH stands for Nickel-Metal-Hydride battery, almost similar to the Ni-Cad but utilise hydrogen-absorbing alloy for the anode as a substitute of cadmium.||
|Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) Batteries:Li-Ion stands for Lithium-Ion battery, the new standard for power tool batteries, highly efficient with the best energy-to-weight ratios, slow loss of charge when not in use and free from memory effect problem.||
A Nickel-Metal-Hydride (Ni-MH) battery is similar and a better version to the Ni-Cad battery, having twice the energy capacity that the Ni-Cad. The Ni-MH battery is not only more superior to the Ni-Cad in term of performance, its also more friendly and non toxic to the environment when disposing. The ‘memory effect’ on Ni-MH battery is almost entirely eliminated. But it comes with a slight disadvantage of having a lesser life cycle than the Ni-Cad. In addition, this battery perform most worst under cold temperature, so bare that in mind if you plan to use the tool outdoor in cold weather especially in winter.
Lithium-Ion batteries in comparison, offer more superior characteristics than Ni-Cad batteries with its extended run times, shorter recharge cycle (15-20 minute), lengthier service life, more power output (up to 2.5 times) and most importantly, without “memory effect” problem. The Li-Ion is also more environmental friendly because they consist of less harmful metal elements.
Worn out Nickel-Cadmium batteries must under no circumstances be disposed into the trash bin, as Cadmium is extremely toxic and will easily leach into the ground from landfills, polluting water sources and causing severe environmental hazard. Nickel-Cadmium batteries must always be disposed off properly or recycled.
Lithium-Ion utilized the latest in rechargeable battery technology and is definitely more superior to Ni-Cad (Nickel-Cadmium) and Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal-Hydride). In the past, the best cordless drills have been commonly powered by Nickel-Cadmium batteries and they have since become cheaper and widely available on the market. Initially, the Lithium-Ion cordless drill is a more expensive than the equivalent Ni-MH or Ni-Cad competitor, but now they have become as affordable and are more than worth the buying price. Furthermore they come with the many added advantages for the users.
Sites That Link to this Post
- The Ultimate Guide for Buying a Cordless Drill | March 11, 2012
- Picking the Right Cordless Drills - Battery life and Performance | May 31, 2012