DEWALT 20V MAX and FlexVolt – What’s the Difference?
For those who haven’t been paying attention, DEWALT revolutionized cordless power tools in 2016 when they released the FlexVolt platform: the first-ever multi-volt battery system. FlexVolt batteries pack 60 volts to power highly demanding tools including DEWALT’s Atomic compact cordless tools, outdoor power equipment, work lights for the job site, saws, and nearly any tool in your trailer. As a bonus, FlexVolt batteries actually step down and run at 20 volts when attached to lower-power tools.
Besides the heavy-hitting FlexVolt, DEWALT is still running strong with their tried and true 20-volt MAX platform. This lithium-ion system of slider batteries is compact, rugged, and made for jobs needing moderate power.
How Do I Know Which Battery I Need?
With all these batteries for you to choose from, it might be a little confusing to know which you need for your tool. Worse yet, you especially don’t want to buy a battery only to find it doesn’t even fit in your tool. Since the two power platforms bear a striking resemblance, be certain you are adding the correct size to your cart before clicking on “Place Order”.
DEWALT has three primary voltages for their cordless tools: 20 volts, 60 volts, and 120 volts. They are all marked with the battery size they require on the tool. 20-volt tools can use 20v MAX batteries OR 60v MAX batteries. 60 and 120-volt tools can only use 60v MAX batteries.
What do FlexVolt Batteries Fit?
FlexVolt batteries are compatible with all DEWALT 60 and 20-volt DEWALT tools. A few exceptions exist that we’ll touch on below.
What Do DEWALT 20-Volt Batteries Fit?
Standard DEWALT 20 volt batteries are compatible with all 20-volt tools, as well as all 20-volt chargers. This means that once you join the DEWALT platform, you have access to over 100 products that all use the same battery technology.
DEWALT 20V MAX batteries can’t be used in FlexVolt 60v and 120v MAX tools, however. The lower voltage doesn’t provide enough juice for the high-demand motors.
DEWALT 20V MAX POWERSTACK batteries are compatible with all 20V MAX tools and chargers, so it can be used with over 250 different DEWALT products.
What if I Put a 20-Volt Battery in a 60-Volt Tool?
It will not fit. There are plastic tabs on all 60 and 120-volt tools that physically prevent using 20-volt batteries. FlexVolt batteries have special ports that allow their use.
What Are DEWALT XR Batteries?
DEWALT 20v MAX XR batteries are just like standard 20-volt batteries, but they last longer relative to their size. The XR stands for Extended Runtime, so you get extra life out of them before running out of juice.
What are DEWALT POWERSTACK Batteries?
DEWALT POWERSTACK batteries utilize breakthrough pouch battery cell technology, allowing the battery to run cooler and provide greater power delivery. The POWERSTACK line is DEWALT’s most powerful, most compact, and lightest weight battery options.
DEWALT currently has two options in their POWERSTACK lineup. The
POWERSTACK 20V MAX Compact battery has 50% more power with a 25% smaller footprint compared to the DCB203, the standard 20V MAX battery. The battery also features twice the lifespan of the DCB203 and an LED Fuel Gauge to monitor current battery life.
The second is the brand new POWERSTACK 20V MAX 5Ah battery. The new compact battery has 50% more power and allows 50% more work done per charge compared to the DCB205, the standard 20V MAX 5.0 Ah battery, making it DEWALT’s most powerful and most efficient battery in its class. The latest model is compatible with all DEWALT 20V MAX* tools.
Do These Batteries Work In Brushless Tools?
Yes, DEWALT batteries will work in all DEWALT tools of the correct voltage whether the tool is brushed or brushless. Brushless refers to the construction of the motor. Brushless tools will use the batteries more efficiently and therefore last longer per charger, however, than brushed tools.
What About DEWALT 12-Volt Tools?
DEWALT also produces a line of ultra-compact 12v MAX batteries and tools. These smaller batteries only fit on tools labeled as 12v MAX, and vice versa. 20v MAX and Flexvolt batteries are not only too powerful, but they are physically too large for the receptacles on these pint-sized devices.
Do 120v MAX Tools Have Their Own Batteries Too?
No. At the time of this writing, there is only one DEWALT cordless tool that uses 120 volts: the 12-Inch Cordless Miter Saw. While it harnesses 120v DC power, it achieves this by having two slots for 60v batteries running in series. As a substitute, DEWALT created an adaptor for the miter saw to swap out batteries for wall power since they have the same voltage.
Are There Exceptions To These Rules?
Yes. While most DEWALT batteries fit on all tools they are marked as compatible with, there are a few that don’t. Due to their size, FlexVolt packs don’t fit all smaller tools and adaptors. A few newer compact 20v MAX packs are slightly longer than others, and so also don’t fit all tools or chargers.