Are DeWALT 18V And 20V Batteries Interchangeable?

In the world of cordless power tools and the eyes of the DIY enthusiasts, only a few brands ring a bell. One of them is Dewalt, a widely recognized name well-known for its exceptional selection of cordless power tools for woodworking, construction, and manufacturing industries.

As a company with a remarkable brand reputation built by producing top of the line quality products. Dewalt cordless tools are among the preferred devices for both professional applications as well as DIY projects. However, the few changes in their battery system left an ongoing debate regarding their 18-volt and 20-volt batteries.

Are Dewalt 18V and 20V batteries interchangeable? Technically, these batteries are not interchangeable, and you will need to use the conversion kit or adapter to make them compatible. However, if the batteries have the same style and design featuring similar slide-in battery packs, they are interchangeable.

If you take a look at it closer, the answer I provided is a bit confusing, but to understand its point. You first need to know about what started this issue and where did the confusion begin. I can’t leave a conclusive answer for now, but so that you know.

They are not interchangeable since the 18V cell is made for its own product range and the same as the 20V cell. However, there are situations they can also be interchangeable, provided that both the 18V and 20V cells have the same design and style.

Suppose you are trying to figure out and looking for a reliable source that will clear out the issue of the 18-volt and 20-volt battery of Dewalt. Then the answer you read earlier may further perplex your thoughts about it since it was a bit puzzling.

However, there’s a statement that holds the key in all of this. If we can understand what started this confusion and how it began, the answer will make more sense.

Dewalt 18 Volt & 20 Volt Max: Attempting to Clear Up the Confusion

While everyone is arguing, which are more powerful between 18-Volt tools and their 20-Volt Max tools, there are also plenty of DIYers getting confused about the 20-Volt Max vs. 18-Volt debate. Some even don’t have any idea of what it is about. However, for the people like you or the technical-oriented enthusiasts clearing this issue up is important.

Anyway, to have an idea about it. The confusion about Dewalt’s 18-Volt and 20-Volt Maxx batteries began when they decided to change the designation for their power tools from the 18-volt Ni-Cad battery to the 20-volt Max lithium-ion.

This led them to have two different cordless power tool lines, the 18-volt line that already established its name and the 20-volt Max that was supposed to be the successor.

What causes the stir within the DIY community and confused the people about it is when false advertising came in. Unveiling to the market that the 20-volt cordless tool line is then trying to convince the people that it has more powerful tools, instead of telling them the truth, that they want to replace the 18-volt line with the new one.

However, if you will take a look at it at Dewalt’s perspective or commercial standpoint, it was a necessary call for them to promote both product lines because it will prevent the flood of angry consumers.

By doing this, they are promoting the 20-volt Max line and, at the same time, prevent people from buying something under its range, which won’t be compatible with any of the old Dewalt tools they already have. It was like making their clients understand without explaining.

What’s great about Dewalt is that they made an effort to bridge the gap between these two product lines by developing the adapter.

It is a compromise that offers a solution for the compatibility and design issue. At the same time, the adapter also offers a solution for the people who invested a lot in the 18-volt tools ready to take the leap to the 20-volt Max tools.

Digging in Deeper and Taking a Closer Look at the 20V Max and 18V

As the debates go on and conflicting claims or arguments pile up, the question still stands, which are more powerful, 18V XR tools, or 20V Max tools? If you are eager to learn more, I’ll be glad to go on. Let’s get one thing clear. I think most of the people are confused because they don’t know what the real meaning of Dewalt 20V Max is.

In this issue, we are not talking about battery packs having an 18-volt rating and a 20-volt rating. The “20V Max” is the branding Dewalt used for their new product line. So, to get this cleared out, 20V Max is a label used to differentiate the new range of tools from the older 18V range.

To make simpler, you have to understand that the 18V = Dewalt 20V Max.

Suppose you are looking for proof. What makes Dewalt 20 Max battery equal or the same as the 18V battery for the XR tools is the nominal voltage that both of them have. Not to mention that they also have a similar structure.

Both of them are constructed with five cells, and each cell they have 3.6 volts, if you do the math, 3.6 volts x 5 cells = 18 volts. This only means that 20V Max battery and 18V XR battery has the same nominal voltage, which is equal to 18 volts.

To further emphasize their similarity, both of them are considered 1.5 to 2-ampere batteries. It is also true that if you measure the output of the 20V Max battery after reaching the fully charged state and disconnecting it from the charger.

The output will read 20 volts, but once a load is connected, and the battery pack will be used, its output is regulated to 18 volts.

Considering all of that supporting information, everything or almost everything has to be cleared out. However, as a reader or listener, you will only base your judgment on the information given to you, right?

This is where false advertising and misinformation made matters worse, perplexing, and escalating the debates. In most ads for the 20V Max product line and even reviews in magazines, the details we’ve just gone through above are not mentioned.

As a result, the people were fed with the right information, but with incomplete details, making them assume something. In this case, they believed that the 20V Max line was way better than the 18V XR line. Without knowing that they are almost the same and they are powered by batteries with the same nominal voltage.

Releasing the Dewalt 18V to 20V Adapter, a Clever Compromise

With everything about the 20V Max and 18V issue cleared out. We can now establish that both the batteries have the same nominal voltage. Let’s move on as I try to determine whether they are interchangeable or not.

Yes, they have almost everything similar, but the issue, if the 20V Max battery pack will fit the 18V XR tools and charger or the other way around, is undeniable.

There are cases that the battery pack used to power the 20V Max product line is considered interchangeable with the battery pack used to power the 18V XR tools. This is where both of the batteries feature the same style or style.

If the 20V Max cell and 18V cells both have the slide-in design, they are considered to be interchangeable in both chargers and tools. Otherwise, they are not.

Although that is the case, Dewalt came up with a clever compromise for the issue. They understand the complexity of the matter and know that the unveiling of the 20V Max line will frustrate those who invested a lot on their 18V line.

They released the “battery adapter” to bridge the two product lines, allowing the integration of the 20V Max battery pack with the 18V XR tools.

Final Thoughts

There! Thanks for taking the time to read my article, and I hope that it helped you clear out some questions you have in mind. Going back and answering the question, the Dewalt 20V Max is the same as the 18V in terms of nominal voltage.

However, they are technically not interchangeable, but with the help of Dewalt’s Battery Adapter, the issue will be easily overcome. The bottom line is that both batteries have the same nominal voltage, battery cells, and output. They only have different branding labels.

Read related article: DeWALT Battery Warranty