: Life Expectancy of Cordless Drill Batteries

11-27-2002, 11:11 AM
I bought a new Craftsman 13.2 volt cordless drill back in '96. It was the first (and only) cordless power tool I have ever bought. It came with two rechargeable batteries. One battery quit taking a charge about 6 months ago. Since then, the other battery has quit taking a charge. Cost for replacement batteries is $50 each. I only paid $79 for the whole drill kit, and I can get the 18 volt version (with halogen worklight included) on sale this week for $71. So obviously it's not worth it to replace the batteries and it makes more sense to just go out and buy the new drill. Now I know the rechargeable batteries don't last forever, but is six years a typical life expectancy for cordless drill batteries, or is that better or worse than average? Also, is it pretty much the norm that when the batteries go bad on a cordless drill that the cost of the batteries doesn't justify replacing them?

11-27-2002, 11:42 AM
IMHO you get what you pay for. I'm a professional woodworker. I have 4 Makita drivers at the shop. I got a Skill for Christmas about 4 years ago for home. The Makita stuff is still going strong and my Skills are just about worthless now, and have been going downhill for a few years. The driver isn't much to talk about either. I just bought a new Makita to replace the Skill. The new NiMH batteries make a big difference too. Worth the money! I've been able to see the difference in standard batteries and I also see the difference in my new Makita batteries. Longer run times and supposedly (need a few years for that) longer life. I don't keep track of individual batteries at the shop, but it's safe to say that I get 5 years of life out of a battery. I've had 3 batteries go bad in the last few years, and given the ages of the drivers, they could be as old as 10 years. They were beat up enough to know they weren't from my newest driver which is 3 years old. And these are work units that get used every day.

Better to have and not need than to need and not have!

Matt Davis

11-27-2002, 11:49 AM
Back in 1993 (I think) I bought a Bosch cordless drill (9.6v). The batteries lasted about 7 years before they would no longer take a charge. I also researched getting replacement batteries and the cost was too much. Instead I bought the Bosch 24v cordless drill/recip saw kit. WOW, talk about power! I still don't have the heart to throw away the 9.6v Bosch...:-).

Best Regards,


11-27-2002, 12:43 PM
Consider yourself lucky to get 6 years. I'm a contractor and we have over 40 cordless drills / saws and consistantly replace the units. Probably 50% Milwaukee and 50% Panasonic tools. I'd say we spend well over 5k per year on replacement of these tools, NOT batteries because like you said, you can buy the drill, batts. and charger for slightly more than the batts. If it's a drill you're looking for, I recommend going to your local contractor supply and fork out the dough for a 15.6 volt Panasonic. The batteries seem to last the longest and hold a charge longer than any other. They run around $200 and include 2 batts.

Orange Barrel
11-27-2002, 12:50 PM
Batteries types have to be considered. A Nickel Cadmium Battery has what you would call a "Memory". You should drain those batteries down to nothing before you recharge them or they won't fully charge. What I mean by "Memory" is that if you only drain the battery half way down and than put it back on the charger that battery will only charge half the capacity, thus wearing out your battery that much sooner. I am not sure if they have these batteries for drills at all, but look into buying a Lithium Ion or Nickel Metal Hydride. These batteries will last longer and hold a charge longer without having the "Memory" associated with Nickel Cadmium.
Hope this helps
Lance Mauel

11-27-2002, 12:55 PM
I would also say you have done pretty good on the old battery's. Having them last since '96 is pretty darn good in my book. Now the Craftsman that you are talking about, I currently have. Mine came with the light, 2 battery's, drill, small driver, charger and a travel case. It has performed flawlessly for me. Of course I am not a contractor. The thing I really like is the flashlight accessory. It is always ready to go when you need it. That said, my brother is a contractor, and he just laughs at my Craftsman. He is Bosh, Panasonic and Dewalt all the way. The price that give of $71 is pretty darn good, so if it was me I would buy it and enjoy it. Now if you are a contractor I would step it up and buy something better, but the Craftsman will work fine for the average guy.

11-27-2002, 02:15 PM
Same thing with my crasftsman, but it certainly worked well over the years. I was looking at new ones, and decided to go the DeWalt route on advice of a buddy who does fencing (farm fences, not stealing...hehe)

I got (online) a factory reconditioned set with two batteries, a 18v drill/hammerdrill/driver and a 6.5 inch trimsaw. I have used it building a garage and a cabin so far, and other little stuff as a regular user and it is great. (I am not a contractor, and it doesnt get everyday use.) Paid $289 (no tax and $6 shipping). Great price, and it is basically new, except for the "R" branded into it. The DeWalt factory has same warranty on them as new, and they told me it is basically same as new.

Looking at the Craftsman, that set with the trim saw would be the one I'd get. The little trim saw looks like a toy, but works like a tool. You would make a mistake if a guy doesn't get a set with the trim saw.

Good luck,

11-27-2002, 03:26 PM
All the other posts have covered everything so theres only one thing worth mentioning. You may want to find a local company who rebuilds the battery packs. The cost is lower, especially for any Sears part, and you might find this economically OK in your situation. I have forgotten what type of firm does this on a regular basis, you might want to check on a few woodworking boards or fine homebuilding's message board (www.taunton.com)

11-27-2002, 03:52 PM
Since a "handy" type thread is going on here, I thought I'd pass on another piece of info. As I mentioned, I'm not a contractor or I don't use thiese things everyday... but my buddy also introduced me to Paslode Impulse nailers - the orange nailers that are cordless and air-less. They run on a battery pack (for ignitor) and gas canisters.

Anyway, they are a bit spendy, but they are the best thing in the world. The gas and nails are also a bit more expensive. But the ease of using them is incredible. I borrowed the framing nailer for the garage and it save so much time and effort, and about 99% of the nails went in perfect. Used it for framing and sheathing, and doing the roof sheathing without an air cord was an absolute pleasure :) I did use an air roofing nailer, and that was great for the roofing.

I then went and bought the finish nailer and have been using it for putting up carsiding and plywood finish, and it is just incredible.

Sorry to sound like an advertisement (I really dont work for them or sell them, hehe...), but for anybody who was looking at these and thought they are too expensive - forget that thought! IMHO :) They are great and you will get your money worth.

"If the girls don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." (or something like that, from Red)

11-27-2002, 05:21 PM

Try this site---


There are other companies that rebuild battery packs. I found this with Google under "cordless drill battery pack rebuild"

I hope this helps in making your decision.


Marble Eyes
11-27-2002, 05:53 PM
I bought a Dewalt Cordless Drill with two battery packs back in the summer of 94. Last winter I had to replace both packs. They went bad within 2 months of each other.

11-27-2002, 10:21 PM
Hey - those used (empty?) paslode gas canisters are a blast in a cmapfire - literaly! Just for kicks don't stand too close - bought like the old m-80's. Take it easy, play it safe, and be careful... Chuckles

11-28-2002, 08:43 AM
Ditto on the Makita stuff. I use the stuff for a living also and it's all I'll buy anymore.

River Rat
11-30-2002, 08:51 PM
Wow, I think six years is pretty good!

12-01-2002, 09:30 AM
I guess I should consider myself one of the lucky ones. I bought one of the original Makita cordless drills about 15 years ago. Came in a metal case with charger and one battery. I'm still using the original battery. I only use it once or twice a month but it still holds a good charge after about 15 years. The only thing I make sure to do is to run it until its completely down and then recharge. Keeping my fingers crossed.

12-01-2002, 05:25 PM
I saw one of those impulse nailers in use. I too was very impressed with what I saw.