Here’s How You’re Hurting Your Tool Battery Health

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For a long time, many members of the woodworking community have resisted cordless tools. Going “unplugged” usually meant reduced power, frequent recharging, and the inevitable battery failure before the instrument itself wore out. That all changed with the introduction of lithium-ion batteries, and today there is hardly a tool out there that doesn’t have a battery-powered counterpart. Even though batteries are better than ever, people still make some common mistakes that can shorten the life of a battery.

The Big Three

  • Heat management – When it comes to batteries, the enemy is heat. I often hear carpenters talk about avoiding the cold, but batteries tend to do well in sub-zero temperatures. In fact, they generally won’t have a problem down to -4 ° Fahrenheit. Heat is the real killer of batteries, especially on construction sites. Temperatures above 175 ° can cause permanent damage to the battery. It might sound tall, but factors like being inside a warm trunk or sitting directly in the sun can easily cross that threshold. Keeping the battery cool will also extend the run time and make the charging process more efficient.
  • Charge management – Choose a charger or charging mode that is applicable to your usage and range needs. For example, if you will be using the tool again soon, please fully charge it. If it will take some time for it to be used again, 50% charge is the target you should be shooting at, so fully charge it before use.
  • Use case – Choose the right battery for the application and power tool you are using. Do not choose a low power battery such as 2.0 Ah or 4.0 Ah for a high power tool, as this will require frequent recharging and will shorten battery life.

What should you do with a dead battery?

Even with their longer lifespan, a lithium-ion battery will eventually run out. Proper disposal techniques ensure that a battery does not spend decades wasting in a landfill and allows for the recycling of precious lithium. To find a recycling center in your area, check out Call2Recycle.

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Jocelyn Cronin, Battery and Charger Product Manager at Bosch Power Tools for her help on this article. All specific numbers quoted here are for Bosch CORE18V Li-ion batteries, although most batteries from top-tier tool makers will have similar recommendations.


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