In the last ten years, battery-powered tools have advanced significantly.
Performance and runtimes are enhanced by switching from older nickel-cadmium batteries to lithium-ion energy storage systems.
It achieves this to the extent that “cutting the cord” has gained acceptance in many professional contexts.
Professionals no longer need to tote generators and extension cables to the work site.
What about the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries?
Table of Contents
Question Framing for Lithium-Ion Longevity
The transition to cordless convenience might, however, turn out to be an investment because to the high cost of Li-ion batteries.
Naturally, a discriminating Pro would think about how much of an investment cordless will take in the long run before committing to a certain line of cordless tools.
Can a battery be left unused for how long? How many times can a battery be expected to be charged? What makes Li-ion batteries unique? What is the actual lifespan of lithium-ion batteries?
To obtain some direct responses from the manufacturers, we spoke with product managers and executives at Bosch, DeWalt, Metabo HPT (previously Hitachi), Makita, Milwaukee, and Ridgid.
There is widespread agreement on the key topics, notwithstanding some minor variations in the replies.
How Long Can Li-Ion Batteries Be Storied?
Battery storage was where we wanted to start.
One issue is how long they last while in use, but what about batteries that are just lying on shelves? After all, it may have an impact on your decision to buy that “old” pack at the flea market.
The amount of time a battery pack lasts on a shelf depends on a variety of outside circumstances.
What level of charge was the pack at the time it was stored? Will the user keep the battery in a cooler or warmer environment? Will it be kept on the charger, the shelf, or the tool? How good are the internal electronics at controlling the current inside the battery pack? Who built the internal electronics?
Of course, a battery pack will stop charging altogether if its charge capacity falls below a specific level.
Even if certain dead batteries may be “resurrected,” it means the end of their useful life.
Again, depending on those external circumstances as well as the manufacturing procedures and components, this process takes time to complete.
Having said that, there seems to be agreement on the typical battery pack shelf life.
Your batteries should survive between three and six years on a shelf if you take care to store them properly.
The most important lesson? Keep your batteries away from heat sources.
The largest threat to Li-ion batteries’ overall lifetime is extreme heat.
How Many Charging Cycles Should You Anticipate Receiving?
Again, a lot of factors come into play when determining the answer to this question.
Ambient storage temperatures and battery design and capacity are important factors.
The number of charging cycles a battery may withstand before failing is also influenced by user behavior.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t substitute your battery packs for a hammer.
Your Li-ion batteries’ lifetime will be significantly affected by blunt force damage.
How many charging cycles can lithium-ion batteries withstand? Despite the aforementioned factors, the majority of our manufacturers assert that consumers may anticipate receiving more than 1,000 charge cycles from each battery.
An Explanation Of A Charging Cycle
Now, how a manufacturer defines a charging cycle will affect part of it.
A battery is typically discharged and then recharged once throughout one charging cycle.
The majority of batteries, nevertheless, only register one complete charging cycle each time you put your battery on the charger.
No of how much charge the battery truly required, it happens.
Makita claims that they employ a “smart” system that takes this into account.
Their batteries’ current charge level and temperature are recognized through a communication system used by their chargers and batteries.
The charger then controls the ideal temperature, voltage, and current for recharging the battery.
This technique enhances the life of the battery.
Additionally, it increases the number of charging cycles the battery can endure.
That’s just one reason why you need to only use batteries and chargers that are made by the original equipment manufacturer.
The majority of manufacturers seem to fall within the 1000–2000 charge cycle range when it comes to expected charging cycles.
That would be equivalent to charging your battery every day for three to six years.
We advise keeping your expectations low and erring on the shorter end of that spectrum.
When Compared to NiCad Batteries, How Long Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Last?
NiCad batteries, as we all know, have been obsolete for more than a decade.
However, for others, it acts as a type of starting point.
A NiCad battery of equivalent size and weight will be bigger and heavier because Li-ion has a higher energy density.
Li-ion also doesn’t suffer voltage dips when it runs out from a functional viewpoint.
How about shelf life then?
Both battery types will self-discharge while in storage.
NiCad self-discharges, however, at a rate of 1-3 percent each day.
As a result, even if you never used a NiCad battery, it wasn’t unusual for it to need recharging every few weeks or so.
Lithium-ion batteries self-discharge a great deal more gradually.
in fact, almost imperceptibly.
The quality of the pack design has a big impact on how quickly this discharge happens.
Additionally, compared to NiCad batteries, Li-ion batteries use a lot more technology.
Actually, the analogy seems a little outdated and harsh.
For their Li-ion batteries, several manufacturers use overload, over-discharge, and overheating protection.
These innovations all safeguard the battery.
They prolong the anticipated life cycle as well.
These safeguards were frequently absent from NiCad and NiMH batteries.
Therefore, even though some people could argue that NiCad batteries were also supposed to last for 1000 charging cycles, you had to recharge such packs a lot more often while they were in use.
The feared “battery memory effect” was another issue you had to cope with.
We’ll speak about outdated technologies for the last time now, we swear!
What is the lifespan of lithium-ion batteries? To sum up, the majority of manufacturers need their batteries to last at least three years or 1,000 charging cycles (whichever is less).
In light of this, we advise you to “put your warranty where your mouth is.” The lithium-ion batteries from Bosch, DeWalt, Metabo HPT (Hitachi), Makita, Milwaukee Tool, and Ridgid all come with a two to three year guarantee.
That’s a really accurate reflection of their low standards for such packets.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t anticipate your batteries to last at least that long or more if you take good care of them.