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Tool companies do what they can to make their batteries interchangeable. If you’re using, for example, a Ryobi 18 volt battery, it will fit on a variety of drills, saws, and other tools.
This goes for a lot of the products that the main tool manufacturers make, with the exception of many lithium-ion battery-powered tools.
The reason companies make their batteries interchangeable among their brand of tools is obvious.
They know people working on projects, whether it’s working in your small tool shed, hanging a picture, or framing a house, will often use multiple tools for a single project.
They also know that batteries will run out if the job goes longer than a few hours. Rather than buying additional batteries, you can simply grab one from one of your other tools, slide it into the new tool, and you’re good to keep going.
But what about switching batteries in between brands? Can you use a Dewalt battery on a Milwaukee tool and vice versa?
In most cases, batteries are not interchangeable between tool brands. Most of the time, tool manufacturers make their batteries proprietary, meaning they will only work with their specific brand of tools.
Why Companies Make Batteries Proprietary
If you think about it, it makes sense why companies build their batteries to only fit their toolsets.
When you walk into a tool store or your local home improvement department store, you’ll see brands of tool collections in separate spaces.
It’s not like all the drills are lined up together. Typically, they are lined up in different product lines, but each prominent brand will have designated shelf space.
If you could fit any battery into any tool, then you wouldn’t be anchored to a certain brand.
By making their batteries interchangeable within a brand, the companies are doing what they can to encourage you to stick with them when it’s time to buy your next tool.
If you’re shopping for a new saw, for instance, and you know that your old batteries will work with it, you’re going to most likely stick with the brand you know and already have batteries for.
The inability to use batteries interchangeably is understandably frustrating for many people. For most of us, all we want is to get the best tools at the best price and get the job done.
However, when you have to buy separate batteries for a new tool, it can be pretty annoying.
Types of Batteries for Each Brand
If you look online, you’ll see a variety of replacement batteries available for Dewalt, Milwaukee, Ryobi, and many other tool brands. You can buy 6 packs of 20-volt batteries, 4000mAH 18V batteries, and anything else you need.
For Ryobi, you’ll see much of the same thing. You can find 2-packs of 2500mAH 18V batteries that are generic brands or you can buy original Ryobi batteries for your tools.
Milwaukee has a variety of generic replacement batteries that come in a 2-pack that slides onto the bottom of your tools with a charger, or you can buy them one at a time.
You’ll save money buying replacement batteries online and they are great to have in a bind when you need more power for a larger project.
What About Adapters?
If you’re not the kind of person who wants to stick with a single brand of tools, there are some workarounds that will make it so you can use batteries interchangeably.
One of the best ways to do this is with a battery adapter that changes the insert, allowing you to use a Dewalt battery on a Ryobi tool and vice versa.
A good example of this is an adapter that slides onto the Dewalt battery and then has the insert portion required on other tools. They don’t cost that much to buy and, over the lifetime of your tools, will save you a ton of money.
All you have to do is research the type of battery adapter you need for specific tools and you’ll be good to go.
Even some of the tool companies have started recognizing the importance of interchangeability and have started making their own adapters that let you use an 18V battery on a 20V tool.
Using battery adapters is a great choice for people who don’t want to spend as much money on higher-end brand names but still want to use the batteries from an older Dewalt tool.
If it’s a tool that you use all of the time, it’s easier to spend on the best brands. However, fringe tools don’t have to be the best on the market, and using an adapter is a nice solution.