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Power tool battery charger buying guide

Power tool battery charger buying guide

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

248 guides

From screwdrivers to hedge trimmers, many cordless tools run on lithium-ion (Li-Ion), nickel cadmium (ni-Cd) or even NiMH batteries. Your charger needs to match your power tool battery in terms of voltage (12, 14.4 or 18 volts) and capacity (1.5 or 3 Ah rating). Read on to find the right power tool battery charger!

Important features

  • Voltage
  • Current
  • Terminals
  • Charging time
  • Power tool brand
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With the exception of tools that require a lot of energy, most power tools – and some gardening tools – can run on batteries. Drills, electric screwdrivers, hedge trimmers and circular saws can all be battery-powered.

Battery-operated power tools may not offer the same level of performance as their mains-powered counterparts (such as circular saws, jigsaws, etc.), but the freedom you get with cordless tools is unbeatable. Other tools, such as electric screwdrivers, are almost exclusively powered by batteries and work all the better for it!

Choosing the right type of charger should be quite straightforward. You simply have to think about the following:

  • Compatibility of battery terminals with charger terminals;
  • Output voltage and current;
  • Presence of battery indicator;
  • Versatility (i.e. universal battery chargers);
  • Charge time;
  • Compatibility with battery technology: lithium-ion (Li-Ion), nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd) or nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH);
  • Power supply - 3-pin plug for 240V mains supply or car cigarette lighter socket for building sites without electricity.

Some chargers offer particularly fast charge times (20, 30 or 60 mins). These chargers can be used to charge batteries rated 7–24V and may function with nickel cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) or lithium-ion (L-Ion) technology. Charge time is also dependent on current characteristics; for example, a powerful battery charger will charge a 1.5 Ah lithium-ion battery in 30 minutes, a 3 Ah battery in 60 minutes and a 4 Ah battery in 80 mins.

Voltage and ampere hours

As a reminder voltage is measured in volts (V) and indicates how much power your tool can put out. The ampere-hour (Ah) rating indicates how much charge (in amps) flows through the battery terminals in one hour. In short, the higher the Ah rating, the longer your battery will last between charges!

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Battery chargers

Matching batteries to chargers

Given that power tool batteries tend to vary from brand to brand, your choice of charger will usually come down to two factors: the brand and the type of power tool you want to charge. Of course, big name brands such as Bosch, Makita, Metabo, Milwaukee and Dewalt usually offer battery chargers designed to charge their own power tools which makes it much easier to choose a charger but more annoying to find the right model when your charger breaks down.

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Battery chargers
  • It is highly recommended to choose a battery charger with a fast charge speed.
  • A power tool battery charger must always be kept dust-free and must never be covered during use.
  • Finally, make sure that your battery and charger have the same voltage and amperage.
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Battery chargers

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Guide written by:

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter, 248 guides

Sebastian, self-taught DIY-er, Exeter

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