Navigating the world of power tools, a common question I often get is compatibility, especially when it comes to battery packs. Maybe you own some Hart and Black & Decker tools and battery packs – are they interchangeable?
I understand the frustration of juggling multiple battery types for different tool brands…
No, Hart and Black & Decker battery packs are not interchangeable. Each brand designs their battery packs specifically for their own line of power tools, ensuring optimal performance and compatibility.
Lithium-Ion Batteries and Power Tools
Lithium-ion batteries are a fairly recent battery technology that replaced the nickel-cadmium battery. Their advantage is the ease with which they can be recharged. A compatible charger will refill the battery with power and make it ready for use again without having to be replaced. While this does not last forever, and batteries will lose their ability to hold a charge with age, we’re talking about years and many charges, not months and only a few charges.
Lithium-ion batteries are comprised of cells shaped little like test tubes of various voltage ratings ranging from 1.2 volts to 1.5 volts to 3.6 volts. They are combined by the manufacturers in different configurations of voltage ratings from 3.6 volts all the way up to 48 volts. The more the battery voltage, the greater the power and the cost of the battery pack.
Cordless power tool manufacturers make their own battery packs and source the cells from third parties. Their battery packs are designed and made to communicate specifically with the motors installed on their cordless tools in order to achieve efficient and effective performance.
Battery packs are designed and built for specific chargers, also. The slots of the battery packs and the battery charger are made to fit tightly and securely both for the flow of power and for communication with the motor.
Black & Decker
Black & Decker was purchased and acquired by Stanley Works in 2010 when the company then became Stanley Black & Decker. It remains a wholly-owned subsidiary of Stanley Black & Decker.
The Black & Decker brand uses lower-quality parts and materials and a more modest design than other power tool manufacturers to keep the consumer cost of its product line low. Black & Decker tools are made in both the US and China, using parts it acquires from all over the world.
Stanley Black & Decker, in fact, is the corporate umbrella for a number of power tool manufacturers. Included in the Stanley Black & Decker stable of product lines are:
- Black & Decker
- Porter Cable
In an earlier article about battery interchangeability, as we noted above, we discussed Black & Decker and Porter Cable and whether Black & Decker batteries could be used with Porter Cable cordless power tools. After all, they are both owned by the same parent company, and you might think the batteries would be compatible along the whole line of different manufacturers’ power tools, and not specifically only Black & Decker and Porter Cable.
Porter Cable power tools are also at the lower budget end of power tool lines along with Black & Decker. Nonetheless, Porter Cable and Black & Decker power tools are suitable for smaller tasks that require less power than other jobs. The lithium batteries that power the Porter Cable tools are 20v Max batteries, although that name is a bit misleading.
It’s true the maximum power output in the abstract is 20v before they undertake a task (drilling holes, driving screws, and such); the actual output of the 20v Max battery is the standard 18v that power tools generally use when working.
Check that article out for our conclusions and the answer to the question. It will surprise you, actually, as you would think a single line of batteries would be used among all the brands of power tools.
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Hart Power Tools
Hart Tools is also under a rather large corporate umbrella, but it’s not the Stanley Black & Decker one. Rather, Hart is owned by TTI, Techtronic Industries, a large publically-traded company with its manufacturing plants in China.
Hart Tools is one of many power tool manufacturers owned by TTI. Other well-known brand names include:
- Milwaukee Tools
- Ridgid Tools
- Ryobi Tools
- Hoover Vacuums
- Oreck Vacuums
- Dirt Devil Cordless Vacuums
and more. While they are all owned by TTI, they all remain separate brands wholly owned by TTI, just as those power tool manufacturers owned by Stanley Black & Decker remain separate brands.
Cordless vacuums use the same kinds of lithium batteries as woodworking shop cordless tools. We use a cordless vacuum to keep our cars clean, and you probably do, too. Cordless vacuums are handy, light, and easily portable, and we even use them around the house to clean the occasional cobwebs that form. We even use a cordless vacuum, a hand-held model, in the woodworking shop from time to time.
Hart tools are designed in the US, but they are manufactured in China, where they are distributed to countries all over the world. Of course, they are available for purchase here in the US.
As we approach the discussion of the interchangeability of batteries among brands, it is both helpful and important to note that Black & Decker batteries are not compatible with the power tool manufacturers within the Stanley Black & Decker family of power tools and batteries.
It is also helpful and important to note that Hart Tools are not compatible with the batteries of other manufacturers within the TTI family of power tool and battery pack manufacturers.
- Hart Brand
- 2 batteries Included
- Works with all Hart 20v tools
They come from different tool manufacturing families, and if batteries are not even interchangeable among the power tool manufacturers in the same family, you wouldn’t expect them to be compatible with tools from outside the family. If you guessed that, you’d be right.
Yes, both Black & Decker and Hart power tools use lithium batteries, and yes, they generally are 18v tools using 18v battery packs. But it’s not the voltage rating that counts: it’s the size of the battery pack and the battery pack slots. There are, in fact, three slots that impact a battery pack fit: the slot on the battery, the slot on the power tool, and the slot on the charger.
Battery packs and their chargers will have compatible slots, and the fit will be tight and snug for a good charge. But, the slots on a Black & Decker tool will not accommodate the slot of the Hart battery pack and vice versa.
Each company manufactures its own battery packs and charges, and this is not just for these two companies. All power tool manufacturers build their own battery packs, sourcing the cells from third parties. The cells are all pretty much the same in all lithium batteries; it’s the casing, the pack, and the slot that differ. The battery voltage will differ depending on the tool to be powered, but the lithium battery technology remains the same.
Without modifications, the Black & Decker batteries will not fit Hart tools. They are not interchangeable with each other. This will be the answer to almost any other compatibility question battery-pack-to-power tool-related in the industry.
Why Don’t Power Tool Manufacturers Make interchangeable Battery Packs?
Money and profit. They were making battery packs before they were acquired by their respective corporate conglomerates, and their battery packs were being designed and made for their own product lines; the plant and the process were already in place as a source of revenue.
Power tools will last for years and decades if properly used and cared for; lithium-ion batteries will last for 3-5 years and have a finite number of charges. This means 3 – 5 batteries will be sold over the lifetime of the power tool they power. There’s profit in those sales, and the companies want you to keep spare batteries around your shop.
Actually, spare batteries are a good idea – while one battery is charging, the spare can be used, so the project doesn’t have to come to a stop waiting for the recharge. That replacement battery will come in handy at times.
Battery Modifications, Adapters, and Warranties
Sometimes it is possible to make modifications to battery packs – a snip of plastic here, a snip there, to make batteries fit in the power tool’s slot. But will it fit snugly? Will it communicate well with the tool’s motor?
Sometimes you might be able to find an adapter that will attach to one or the other and help the battery pack fit the tool. Again, though, the same questions:
- snug fit?
- communication with the motor?
Power tools, battery packs, and chargers all come with a warranty covering their use for a particular purpose, for parts, and for performance. If you take the time to read the warranties that come with each, you will likely find that it will be voided if not used properly and consistent with the purpose for which it was made.
Making modifications to a battery pack to make it fit a different company’s tool will break that warranty. If in doing so, you break the tool or the battery, you’re out of luck making a claim under that warranty. If you use an adapter, you’ll likely find yourself in the same predicament.
Why would you want to void something you paid for and take the chance your power tool will perform as you expect and as it was made to perform? It seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to us.
It is our general rule to recommend you stick with the brand you purchased and use the tool and battery pack as they were intended to be used. Giving thought to one product line and staying loyal to the brand is your better bet. Battery packs are interchangeable within the family line of products – 18v battery packs from Black & Decker will work with 18v Black & Decker tools across the line; 18v battery packs from Hart will work with 18v Hart tools across the line.
The tools will perform as they were made to, and warranties will be preserved. We believe this to be the smartest approach to equipping your woodworking shop and recommend it to you.
Last update on 2024-02-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API