Can I Use 18V Battery In 20V DeWalt?

A very common question regarding DeWalt’s line up of voltage batteries and tools concerns the 18V and 20V ones. It is usually that ‘can I use 18V battery in 20V DeWalt?’ Others ask if they’re the same? How would the adapters work if Interchanged?

Technically, you can. Dewalt 18V XR and DeWalt 20V XR slide style batteries are the same. In North America, they are called 20V MAX, but in the UK and Europe, they are called 18V XR.

But whether or not they can be interchanged is the question. In this article I will explain a bit about their engineering and debunk for you the usage of 18V batteries in a 20V DeWalt tool.

Difference Between DeWalt 18V XR Batteries and DeWalt 20V Max Batteries?

There’s still a lot of misunderstanding regarding what Dewalt 20V Max entails. Dewalt 20V Max Means 18V in the most basic terms. These aren’t 20V battery packs; instead, they’re 18V.

Don’t worry if you didn’t previously know this; you’re not alone. Many individuals believe that 20V Max is more powerful than 18V, this isn’t true essentially.

The 20V Max series was launched with 20V Max branding to “prevent confusion.” The goal, according to DeWalt, was to distinguish the new tools from prior 18V products so that consumers would be aware that they were not backwards compatible.

There is no “20V Max” anywhere outside of North America. Dewalt’s current Li-ion power tools are simply referred to as 18V XR.

Dewalt’s more premium brushless tools and higher capacity battery packs in the United States are labeled 20V Max XR. These tools and batteries were not available until a few years after the launch of the 20V Max platform.

What matters is that users are aware that 20V Max battery packs operate at a nominal voltage of 18V.

When you measure the output of a 20V Max battery pack just after it comes off the charger, it’ll be about 20V. The output will be 18V if a load is applied and the battery pack is used.

Can I Use An 18V Battery In A 20V Dewalt?

The voltage in both the 18V and 20V MAX systems is the same. Which is the compatibility requirement between two different lines of batteries with a certain tool. 

However, you may notice some differences between the 20V tools and 18V tools.

This is simply because technology and engineering are developing continuously. 20V lineup is supposed to have better tools and technologies.

Still doesn’t change the fact that the batteries they need are essentially the same. If the tool takes equivalent slide-in battery packs, then 18V can be used in 20V DeWalt tools.

Individual battery cells are found inside your battery pack. In an 18V/20V Max system, they are always wired in series in groups of five. The amp-hours and overall battery capacity in watt-hours are then increased by wiring each group of 5 in parallel.

There are two voltage ratings on each of those battery cells. These are: nominal and maximum.

When a battery is completely charged, the voltage it produces is higher than when it starts to discharge. This amount can be marginal.

It is, in fact, a chemical property of the lithium-ion system. The nominal voltage of each battery cell is 3.6 volts, with a maximum value of just over 4 volts.

18 volts means 3.6 volts (nominal) × 5 cells

20 volts means 4 volts (maximum) × 5 cells

That is the sole distinction between 18V and 20V Max batteries. It’s just a question of whether the firm uses nominal or maximum voltage for its rating. So 18V vs. 20V is really a marketing gimmick.

Are DeWalt 18V Batteries Interchangeable?

With the 20V Battery:

We can say that these batteries are not interchangeable. Because you will need to utilize a conversion kit or an adapter to make them work together. This is in the technical sense.

But it is possible to use interchangeable batteries if the batteries are of the same style and design, as well as having equivalent slide-in battery packs.

Although, they are not compatible because the 18V cell is designed for a specific product range and is not convertible with the 20V cell.

However, there are some scenarios in which they can be interchanged, provided that both the 18V and 20V cells are of the same design and style as the other.

Dewalt decided to change the naming of their power tools from the 18-volt Ni-Cad battery to the 20-volt Max lithium-ion battery. This started the confusion regarding their 18-volt and 20-volt Maxx batteries.

Consequently, they had two different cordless power tool lines: the 18-volt line, which had already made a name for itself, and the 20-volt Max line, which was intended to be the line’s replacement.

With the XR Line:

DeWalt 18V batteries are compatible with the whole DeWalt XR line. This means that you could meet all of your demands with just two batteries: one in use and one charging while you work.

The battery pack has a short charge time (often less than 2 hours) and a long life (at least 3 hours of continuous use in good conditions). You may get a significant amount of work done on a single battery pack.

DeWalt 18V to 20V Adapter Problems?

DeWalt has an 18V to 20V Max adapter available. This adapter will allow users of 18V stem top equipment to utilize the newer 20V MAX batteries, which are more powerful.

But the 20V batteries will not charge on the 18V chargers while using this adaptor. So, the customer will also require a 20V MAX charger in addition to the adapter.

Does DeWalt FlexVolt Work with 18V?

The DeWalt XR FlexVolt battery is the sole convertible power tool battery in the industry that can switch from 54V to 18V. This makes it compatible with existing 18V XR power tools.

Since the XR FlexVolt batteries are backwards compatible with the complete 18V XR range, they can be used to power any tool or charger that is compatible with the 18V XR batteries.

However, a 54V battery is required to run the XR FlexVolt tools. Because they have a more powerful motor. So you cannot go vice versa and use an 18V battery to run these tools.

Is DeWalt Phasing Out 18V Tools?

The 18V NiCad cordless power tool system and the remaining NiCad batteries are set to be phased out by March 2022, according to the manufacturer.

Final Words

Both the 18V and 20V MAX systems use the same amount of voltage. Even within a single brand, the insides of each battery cell differ from one to the next.

DeWalt 20V MAX series of tools might be more powerful than the 18V line. Yes. However, they continue to produce the same voltage as an 18V tool. This should answer the question can I use 18V battery in 20V DeWalt.

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