DeWalt has established itself as one of the leaders in cordless power tools. The company currently has three different power tool ranges and multiple cordless models that fit into each system. The mainstay of their cordless tools are their 18V XR tools (which includes the 18 XR tools with FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE), while their 12V XR tools represent their compact range. To cater to the construction trade, DeWalt also offers a high-powered range of 54V-based tools that begin to approach the power of mains-powered corded tools. Like other reputable power tool brands, DeWalt is gradually moving its cordless line-up to brushless motor designs, which provide greater power, longer runtimes, and extended tool longevity.
The nomenclature of the different DeWalt ranges can be a little confusing, so let's first explain how the different DeWalt cordless ranges are named. DeWalt currently has the following cordless power tool types:
As for DeWalt batteries, they come in several forms as well. Currently, these include
Which DeWalt batteries are interchangeable?
Although explained in more detail below, DeWalt battery compatibility with each of the power tool ranges is as follows:
DeWalt Power Tool Range
Compatible Battery Types
12V XR tools
12 XR batteries
18V XR tools
18 XR batteries
18V XR POWERSTACK batteries
18V / 54 FLEXVOLT batteries *
18V XR with FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE tools
18 XR batteries
18V XR POWERSTACK batteries
18V / 54 FLEXVOLT batteries **
54V XR tools
18 / 54V XR FLEXVOLT batteries
* acts as an 18V XR battery with extended runtime
** acts as an 18V XR battery with extended runtime and increased power generation
DeWalt 12V XR
DeWalt's 12V XR power tool system is the company's compact range of power tools. These tools are both compact and lightweight optimising their use in confined spaces and reducing user fatigue. Given the limited power of the 12V battery, however, only some tool types can be reasonably made into a compact form. As a result, the 12V XR system only has a limited range of tools to choose from, most of which are shown in the table below:
12V XR Power Tool Type
Current Models (UK)
SDS Hammer Drills
Open Head Ratchets
Unlike other popular power tool brands, the 12V XR batteries are the 'Slide'-type of batteries (see picture) rather than the more compact 'Cluster' or 'Stick' type that one normally sees on a compact power tool range. However, the battery's small size still allows DeWalt's 12V XR tools to be as portable and maneuverable as compact ranges of other brands.
DeWalt 18V XR
The DeWalt 18V XR power tool range is DeWalt's primary cordless power tool system. As a result, its key feature is that it is consists of over 250 of the company's tools. This means that you are unlikely to find a tool category where DeWalt does not have at least one 18V XR cordless model available.
DeWalt 18V XR can use FLEXVOLT Batteries
The 18V XR system also has the unique ability of accepting 18V / 54V FLEXVOLT batteries which will run as 18V batteries with extended runtimes. This innovative approach ensures battery compatibility between DeWalt's 18V tools and any of their tools that make use of the higher voltage power packs.
DeWalt 18V XR with FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE
As alluded to above, regular 18V XR tools can already make use of 18V / 54V FLEXVOLT batteries which gives the tools longer runtimes compared to their regular batteries. More recently, DeWalt has come out with '18V XR tools with FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE' which are essentially the same 18V XR tools but with some extra technology inside to allow them to make even better use of a FLEXVOLT battery. In addition to extended runtimes, tools with FLEXVOLT ADVANTAGE can generate more power when paired with a FLEXVOLT battery, which is useful when tackling more difficult power-hungry jobs.
More recently, DeWalt's latest battery technology introduced in 2022, known as Powerstack, has significantly improved the 18V system by making use of 'pouch' cells instead of the traditional cylindrical cells that most of us are familiar with. This new battery technology has a number of advantages. These include increasing the amount of power available, running for longer, and prolonging battery lifespan.
DeWalt 54V XR
Finally, we have DeWalt's 54V XR power tool range which is the high-powered ecosystem of DeWalt's cordless tool ranges. The higher voltage system is designed to meet the demands of cordless power tools that require a heavier-duty power system, such as larger mitre saws and table saws. While the range of tools available for the 54V XR system is smaller than the 18V XR system, this is more due to the fewer applications where a very high-powered system is really needed than it is a lack of commitment by the company.
The FLEXVOLT Battery
DeWalt's 54V XR tools use the 18V / 54V FLEXVOLT batteries discussed earlier. As previously alluded to, these FLEXVOLT batteries are also fully compatible with all of DeWalt's 18V XR tools. When connected to an 18V XR tool, the batteries act as enhanced 18V batteries. They do this by stringing together in parallel their battery cells to provide a higher Amp-hour rating. On the other hand, when connected to a 54V XR tool, the battery automatically switches to a series connection between the battery cells. In this configuration, the cells make up the required 54V voltage but naturally with a shorter runtime than when operating as an 18V battery (see DeWalt's explanation below for a graphical representation of this).