Are you wondering why your power tool battery runs out of charge so quickly? This guide will give you a few things to think about when dealing with dying power tool batteries.
Power tool batteries will die quickly if they’ve been stored improperly, if they are too old, and if they are low-quality. The battery may also be too small for the job. Also, if the battery has been damaged or improperly charged, you could see reduced charge times.
In the sections below, we’ll talk about why power batteries die fast, and what you can do to extend their lifespan. If you’ve been having trouble with your power tool batteries, then this article will give you some insight into how to optimize their lifespan.
Why Do Power Tool Batteries Die Quickly?
Let’s begin by talking about why power tool batteries die so fast (sometimes). As you’ll see, some of these reasons have to do with the battery itself, and some of these things have to do with the environment.
With that said, let’s talk about some of the internal (battery-related) and external (environment, user-related) reasons for discharging batteries.
Internal reasons for a battery dying quickly:
- Old battery
- Bad battery type
- The battery is too small for the job
We’ll start with these reasons, and then we’ll go into some more external problems.
Old Batteries that Die Quickly
The first reason your battery may be dying quickly is that it’s simply old and outdated. There are a couple of reasons this happens.
First, many types of batteries gradually lose their ability to hold charge overtime – this is just an understood function of batteries. So, if you’ve been using the batteries for a while and you’re now noticing they are losing charge, it could simply be that they need to be replaced.
There are some types of batteries that will last longer than others. Personally, I’ve had better experiences with lithium-ion batteries than with other types.
Also, some people have found ways to jump-start and revive old batteries – these techniques require some knowledge and can be dangerous if you do something wrong, but if you Google how to revive an old battery, you’ll find some guides that might be helpful.
In general, many batteries are just beyond repair at a certain age – you’ll need to either buy a new one or try to replace the cells of the battery (not super easy unless you have some experience with this).
Low-Quality Batteries That Die Quickly
As we mentioned in the last section, after using lithium-ion batteries for your power tool, many people decide never to go back. If you have low-quality batteries, you’ll find that they begin to die very quickly after they’re charged – not only do they die quickly, but they die annoyingly. Let’s talk about what that means.
Many types of batteries, such as NiMH batteries, were once common in drills and power tools. These batteries could hold a charge and they were pretty powerful, but they tended to have a few major problems.
First, they are really sensitive to the environment – if it’s too cold or they become overheated, you can have problems.
The second problem is that, when these batteries begin to die, even when they are new, they die slowly, and annoyingly (in my opinion). This means that, instead of stopping when they are out of charge, they slowly die out, and you gradually lose more and more power.
This generally isn’t the case with lithium-ion batteries. On many power tools, when lithium-ion batteries run out of charge, they stop, and you replace the battery with a new one or recharge it – there is no frustrating winding down phase where you can still use the tool, but you’ve lost a lot of power.
The Battery is Too Small for the Job (So it seems like it dies quickly!)
Sometimes, it may not be the battery that’s dying fast, it’s just that you’re asking the tool to do too much. How does this happen? A couple of ways.
First, it could be that you accidentally switched from one battery type to another. For example, if you purchased a new drill and thought it was a lithium-ion battery (but it wasn’t), then you’ll probably be surprised when you find the tool dying much sooner than you expected. Thankfully, most batteries are clearly marked, so this shouldn’t be an issue for most people.
Second, you might be trying to use a small battery for a big project. There are a lot of small tools that are sold cheaply in big box stores. The problem with these tools is they might look like a full-sized drill or jig saw, but they might be using small batteries – such as 12 volt.
If you’re trying to put in a long day of work, then these small batteries aren’t going to cut it. Whether they are good batteries or bad batteries, they are going to die relatively quickly, and you’ll be left waiting for things to recharge.
If you know you have a big project coming up, where you’ll be using a power tool a lot, ensure that you have the right-sized batteries and that you have spares and chargers handy!
Alright, we’ve talked about some of the battery-specific reasons your power tools are losing charge, but now let’s talk about some external reasons for dying batteries.
External Reasons for Dying Batteries
In some cases, it’s the battery’s fault that it’s dying quickly – maybe it’s too old, too small, or just a low-quality battery. However, sometimes it’s not the battery’s fault. Let’s talk about what you can do to ensure your power tool batters have a long life.
External reasons for dying batteries:
- Cold environment
- Improper charging
See more details in the sections below!
Cold Environment Leading to Dead Power tool Batteries
Have you ever turned the car keys on a cold morning and realized the car is dead? Well, the same thing can happen to power tool batteries. Cold weather can have a detrimental impact on batteries of all types, but long-lasting cold exposure can kill a battery for good sometimes.
Here are some things to keep in mind.
If you’ve stored your batteries in a cold garage or shed all winter, then it’s highly possible they’ve become damaged and won’t hold a charge for very long. Also, a battery should never be exposed to freezing temperatures, as this can damage some batteries permanently.
Do your best to store batteries in temperature-controlled environments – not too hot, not too cold. Read up on your specific battery to find manufacturers’ guidelines.
Now let’s talk about charging patterns.
Improper Charging Patterns Lead to Batteries Losing Charge
Many batteries have specific requirements for when and how they are charged. In some cases, this can vary from power tool to power tool.
What should you do? Again, it’s the boring advice: read the manual that came with the battery-powered tool. This is where you’ll find all the specific information.
Here are a few examples of common guidelines, but know that these may change based on your power tool and battery types.
Some power tool makers advise that, after you’re done charging the battery, you should remove it from the charger. Essentially, leaving the battery on the charger forever isn’t always best.
Others will say that you should remove the battery from the power tool when it’s not in use, and some will say that it’s best to store batteries on half charge, or not to recharge them until they are fully dead.
As you can see, it varies. The point is this – find out what the best charging routine is for your batteries, and then stick to it. This will give you the best chance at extending the life of your power tool batteries.
Overheating Batteries and Damage from Too Much Use
You don’t want batteries to lay dormant for too long, but you also don’t want to overuse them or push them past their limits.
If a battery is overused, it can begin to overheat, and this can damage the battery and lead to a lack of charge. How do you avoid overusing a battery?
First, like we said earlier, ensure that you have the right tool for the job in the first place. If you have a big project, and you’ll be using the power tool all day, ensure the battery is big enough to handle the job.
Second, have spare batteries. You don’t want to get into a situation where you never let a battery get a full rest, so be sure you have spares. Not only will this reduce downtime, but it will also make each battery last longer.
Now, let’s wrap all this up with a few final thoughts.
Final thoughts on Why Power Tools Die Quickly
Power tool batteries can die quickly for many reasons. It could be that you’re using an old, outdated battery. Or maybe you need to upgrade to a bigger battery. Sometimes, the battery will have been exposed to cold weather, and other times it could be the battery is damaged after overheating.
The key takeaway? Store the batteries properly. Take care of them, and, as they say, they will take care of you.