Nimh Vs Lithium Ion: Choosing The Better One For Power Tool Battery

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It is a difficult task to find the most suitable cordless drill amongst so many that are doing the rounds in the market these days. Each one has different specs useful for a particular reason and the features of each one are different from the other.

The types of battery used in these cordless saws and drills also are a contributing factor in the performance of these devices.

There are three types of devices useful for cordless drivers and saws ie Nickel-Cadmium(NiCd), Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and Lithium ion(Li-on).

In this article, we are going to concentrate on NiMH and Lithium batteries to find out which one is more useful or has more benefits than the other.


NiMH vs Lithium Ion: General Overview

Now let us move on to a discussion on NiMH vs Lithium Ion batteries. Both these two types of batteries ie NiMH and Lithium are rechargeable which is the primary reason why these are used in a variety of products.

Li-ion batteries are the ones which you would get in most of the electronic devices at home. The basic reasons of usage of this kind of battery on such devices are that they have a slow discharge and also because recharging tends to be a really easy task.

NiMH batteries are also similar to Lithium batteries in a lot of ways except the fact that the components and the structure of integrating the components are different. Amongst these two, NiMH batteries discharge a lot faster than Lithium ion batteries.

On the other hand, NiMH batteries have a higher cycle durability. It is estimated that Ni-Mh batteries cycle at least 800 times more than a Li-ion battery can ever do.

The impact of
NiMH and Lithium ion batteries

NiMH batteries

NiMH batteries have a lot lesser impact on the environment than its counterpart. Their capacity is almost 2 to 3 times than Lithium batteries.

NiMH batteries are also insensitive to improper storage and charging conditions. They are a lot less expensive than Li-ion batteries. But these batteries have a very sensitive effect on storing and charging conditions so they need to be looked after in the right way to extract maximum performance and extend their life cycle.

NiMH Batteries via Batter Space

NiMH batteries are sensitive to both high and low temperature so it would be ideal to store them between a temperature range of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and 103 degrees Fahrenheit.

If kept unused in a state of discharge, NiMH batteries will experience a lot of damage. Their lifespan and storage capacities will diminish and they will be charged at 70% less capacity.

The key attributes of Nimh batteries are:

  • Cycle life depends on storage and maintenance
  • Fast self-discharge of 20%-30%• 2.2Ah to 3.0Ah capacity
  • Fast charge times
  • Moderate maintenance which typically includes a deep discharge once every 3 months
  • Less memory effect when properly maintained
  • Very sensitive to heat

Lithium ion batteries

Lithium ion batteries are the best bet amongst the types of batteries available in the market when you consider every aspect related to it. They are one of the most expensive batteries that are available in the market.

Heat is their biggest enemy as it deteriorates their internal components and changes the chemical mechanisms in the process. They have higher capacity and are able to charge quickly.

These batteries are still undergoing technological changes so it would be interesting to see what changes take place in their performance and structure in the days to come. They are the lightest batteries that you would find so lithium ion batteries are a winner on this front.

lithum ion battery via Smart Battery

Li-ion batteries are less sensitive to changes in temperature than Ni-MH ones. Other kinds of batteries need to be maintained to get maximum performance but this battery does not lack in performance even if not looked after well.

Other batteries are mostly found in one form since tools are designed for them but lithium ion batteries can take any form according to the shape of the tool in which it is going to be integrated.

It helps in better performance of the kind of tools in which it is used. If you do not store these in a very hot condition, these batteries would not lack in performance. They also do not suffer from self-discharge or loss in memory.

Their recharge cycle is also superior to other types of batteries. These batteries are also environment friendly.

The key attributes of lithium ion batteries are as follows

  • Shorter life cycle of only 300-500 charges or 2-3 years
  • The most expensive amongst most kinds of batteries
  • Almost no self-discharge
  • Very high capacity: 3.0Ah and up
  • Require little to no maintenance
  • No memory effect

Pros and Cons of
?NiMH ?and Lithium batteries

NiMH batteries

  • ProS
  • CONS
  • They are known to lose out on as much as 5% charge when unused or in storage.
  • You need to charge this just before you would want to use it. So if required suddenly this battery would not be able to perform at that moment.
  • These batteries take a huge toll due to voltage depletion and voltage depression. If you recharge these batteries when they have not yet discharged, then it would lead to lower voltage power.

Lithium Batteries

  • ProS
  • CONS
  • Unlike the lithium batteries that did the rounds in the earlier days where lithium was the only component in these batteries, these days many other components have been added to lithium to manufacture these kinds of batteries.
  • They are mostly used in power tools, smart phones, and electric cars.
  • When you use these batteries in power tools, they offer more energy than other counterparts in the market.
  • These batteries perform their operation at a higher voltage of 3.7 Volt.
  • These batteries produce much more voltage than a NiMH one. The complex process of putting together this product has ensured in adding a special circuit that would protect the battery from overcharging.
  • Even during storage or in unused condition, the designing of the product has enabled it to retain a charge for longer durations.

Final Verdict

After such a long discussion delving into all possible points relating to lithium-ion and Nickel-metal Hydride(NiMH) batteries, we come to the real question: which one is the better of the lot and which one should you go for?

The answer to this question would largely depend on the kind of power tool in which the battery is going to be used. Though lithium batteries have some considerable advantages to its credit, but you would not be able to find the appropriate size.

But as a consumer, you should weigh out the advantages and disadvantages of both these types of batteries and see which one suits your needs to extract maximum performance from your power tools.

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