The remote control for the television stopped working the other day, and I figured it was simply dead batteries. I couldn’t recall the last time I changed them in the remote.
I went to the battery drawer and grabbed 2 new AAA batteries, and swapped them out with the old (and presumably dead) ones. I tested the remote, and the channel changed. Problem solved.
Those types of batteries are interchangeable with any device needing batteries as long as the size is right. Any AAA device will work with any AAA battery. It’s as simple as that.
Unfortunately, that is not the case with battery packs for cordless power tools. Not all 18v batteries will work with any 18v power tool. Why couldn’t it just be simple?
We’ll answer that question after we finish answering the first – whether Ridgid batteries can be used with other brands.
Ridgid Company, Power Tools and Batteries
The Ridgid Power Tool Company, an American manufacturer and distributor of tools under the Ridgid name, is owned by Emerson Electric. However, that is not the end of the story.
Techtronics Industries, a very large manufacturing company, located in Hong Kong, licenses the Ridgid name (owned, again, by Emerson Electric). Techtronics Industries (TTI) also owns the Milwaukee line of power tools and licenses the Ryobi name. Ridgid power tools are manufactured by TTI under its licensing agreement with Emerson.
While ownership doesn’t necessarily answer the question of whether Ridgid batteries are compatible with any other brand of cordless power tools, it is mentioned to illustrate a point. TTI is not the only large manufacturer that owns multiple power tool companies or licensed brand names.
Stanley Black & Decker owns DEWALT, Craftsman, Stanley, Black & Decker, and other brands known in the power tool industry. Even though all of those brands are housed under one parent corporation, each has its own distinct line of power tools, including battery packs and chargers.
There is no standardized size, configuration, or slot mechanism for lithium-ion batteries in the power tool industry. Each brand makes its own battery packs and chargers. Each power tool has its own battery slot into which the battery pack fits tightly to power the tool during use. Each battery charger has a battery slot into which the battery fits tightly for a solid charge.
The reason for this is financial. A power tool, if treated and used properly, will last you for many years. A lithium-ion battery will have a useful life span of 3 – 5 years only and then will need to be replaced. More battery sales will be the result of this discrepancy in useful lifespan.
Controlling the battery pack and charger for their tools, the companies are assured of continued battery and charger sales. There is no financial incentive for these manufacturers to create a uniform and standardized battery size, battery slot, or battery charger beyond taking care of their own cordless power tool needs.
Ridgid is no different.
Ridgid and Ryobi Battery Packs and Chargers
Yes, they are licensed to and manufactured by the same company (TTI), but each has its own battery packs, battery slots unique to their brand’s power tools, and battery chargers. The shapes are different and physically can not fit into the other’s power tools.
They are not compatible as they are, although there is a workaround. Battery adapters are available that will make a Ridgid battery compatible with a Ryobi power tool. This is just within the TTI family of licensed brands.
There is another adapter that will make a Ridgid battery compatible with Milwaukee cordless power tools and another to make the Ridgid battery compatible with DEWALT tools. Keep in mind, though, that we are talking about 18V batteries used with 18V power tools.
Is It Safe To Use Battery Adapters With Cordless Power Tools?
The Power Tool Institute warns against the use of battery adapters with power tools. You will find their piece on the subject here.
It notes that manufacturers make and test their power tool accessories carefully and rigorously to make sure they work well and are safe. They know their equipment and warranty its use accordingly based upon that testing. However, a third-party manufactured adapter is well outside that testing with their own product line.
We’ve mentioned in past articles about battery packs and the motors of the tools they power communicate with each other to ensure a smooth, efficient, and effective power tool operation. Third-party battery adapters are not privy to that communication, and the power tool can not be expected to work efficiently and effectively as a result.
That poor performance, the Institute warns, can lead to overheating, fire, and personal injury.
Secondly, and this is our own warning, there is the matter of the power tool warranty. It is likely included in the language of the warranty that comes with your power tool that the use of any other battery than the one intended for use with the power tool (the same brand, of course) will void its warranty.
You paid for that warranty when you bought the power tool. The use of a third-party battery adapter, also paid for by you, will void the warranty, and you will have wasted your money. If the power tool does not live up to its performance, you are stuck with it and will have to purchase a new one.
Unlike the AAA batteries that brought the television remote back to life, not every 18V battery will be compatible with every 18V power tool. We recently wrote about Ryobi batteries and their compatibility with other brands’ power tools, and you’ll find that piece here. We offered the same warning in that article, too, just as we did in another article about DeWALT and Porter Cable battery packs and cordless power tools.
Safety concerns and voided warranties should be taken seriously. It might seem smart to use adapters so one set of battery packs and chargers can be used across multiple brands. But, we believe the danger and the money are more important.
Instead, we recommend deciding upon one brand of cordless power tools and an 18V battery pack and charger of the same brand. Maybe, even an extra battery pack for convenience. Within the family, 18V batteries will work with 18V power tools, safety concerns are assuaged, and warranties have been preserved.
If you are interested in the evolution of battery packs from nickel-cadmium to lithium-ion since we mentioned them, you might find the following video helpful.
Again, be careful if you still insist on finding a workaround on battery incompatibility. There are valid safety concerns, and voiding a warranty on a tool you just bought just doesn’t seem like a smart thing to do.