You Should Buy 12V Instead of 20V… | 12V vs 20V Tools


Battery voltage can be a tricky subject. What’s the real difference between 12V, 18V, and 20V Max tools? What about when the voltage goes even HIGHER? Reaching power levels of 36V, 60V, 80V, and even higher have become common practice in the power tool industry, in this episode of PTR Punchlist we discuss the differences between these battery platforms, which is best for who, and important topics like… He-Man.



Key Insights on Why You Should Buy 12V Instead of 20V…

  • 🔌 Many people gravitate towards 18-20 volt tools because they’re on sale and everywhere, but it takes maturity to realize the potential of smaller 12-volt tools.
  • 🔌 If you’re planning to step up your DIY game and get into cutting and more advanced tasks, then a 20V drill might be more suitable.
  • 🔋 20 volt max is NOT more powerful than 18 volt = Same cells in the battery.
  • 🔋 The marketing aspect of voltage labeling: “When you see these guys that are in marketing teams that are saying 20 more power, they really mean we have 20 more cells in the pack.”
  • ⚡️ Understanding the power equation: power equals current times voltage, and it’s a simple multiplication problem from there.
  • 🔌 Improved battery technology allows for more power draw without getting as hot, thanks to better heat dissipation and increased capacity.
  • 🌡️ Cooling technology in the 12V pack, like Flex’s individual cell wrapping, contributes to its extended runtime.

12V power tools are more practical and versatile than 18-20V tools for basic tasks and tight spaces, and it’s worth considering them over higher voltage options for certain jobs.

  • 00:00 🔌 12V tools are more versatile and practical than 18-20V tools, offering convenience and suitability for finesse jobs, according to the speaker’s positive experience with Milwaukee, DeWalt, and Ridgid power tools.
    • The discussion is about the power struggle in the power tool industry and the differences between 12V, 18V, and 20V max tools.
    • The speaker argues that smaller 12-volt tools can be more versatile and practical than 18-20 volt tools, and shares their positive experience with using 12-volt tools.
    • Compact 12V tools are more convenient and suitable for finesse jobs compared to bulky 18V and 20V tools.
    • The speaker used Milwaukee, DeWalt, and Ridgid power tools, starting with DeWalt’s 18V nicad and then switching to Ridgid for a long time.
  • 03:30 💡 12V tools are more convenient for basic tasks and tight spaces, and it’s worth considering over 20V for certain jobs.
    • The speaker prefers a single battery platform for their tools for convenience and ease of use.
    • The speaker prefers 12-volt tools for basic tasks like drilling into concrete and finds them more convenient for carrying and using in tight spaces like attics.
    • Small, lighter 12V tools like the impact driver, drill, one-hand resip saw, and multi-tool are more convenient and practical for certain jobs than 20V tools.
    • Consider buying 12V instead of 20V because it’s not that they don’t exist.
  • 06:45 🔌 12V tools are sufficient for most DIY projects and can be used for a variety of tools, while 20V tools are not necessarily more powerful than 18V tools.
    • 12V tools are convenient and lightweight, but for more power and reliability, homeowners and DIYers should stick with 18V or 20V platforms.
    • The speaker recommends buying a 12V drill instead of a 20V drill for DIY projects, as it is sufficient for most tasks and can be used for a variety of tools.
    • The speaker explains the difference between 12V and 20V power tools for DIY projects.
    • 12-volt drills are sufficient, and 20-volt drills are not more powerful than 18-volt drills.
  • 09:51 🔌 12V and 20V power tools are essentially the same, with the labeling discrepancy being a marketing tactic, and 12V tools are actually 10.8V in Europe, while 20V tools are actually 18V.
    • The speaker argues that 12V and 20V tools are essentially the same, with the discrepancy in labeling being a marketing tactic, and points out that 12V tools are actually 10.8V in Europe.
    • The debate over 18V and 20V tools is essentially a marketing issue, as the cells in the battery packs are likely the same and the voltage settles to 18V after initial use.
    • The debate between 12V and 20V power tools has been settled by Dewalt, as they have clarified that the nominal voltage for 20V tools is actually 18V.
    • 12V batteries have an extra cell in the pack, making it more efficient than 20V batteries.
  • 13:06 🔋 Higher voltage numbers in marketing don’t necessarily mean more power, as factors like motor technology and battery pack adjustments play a significant role in power output.
    • Companies use higher voltage numbers in marketing to imply more power, but in reality, it just means more cells in the pack, providing the option for more run time or more power.
    • The power output of a tool is not solely determined by the voltage of the battery, as factors such as motor technology and brushless motors also play a significant role.
    • The speaker explains how the voltage and current of a battery pack can be adjusted to achieve the same power output, and discusses the trade-offs between higher and lower voltage.
    • The speaker is glad to have found a universal solution for a math problem on YouTube.
  • 17:00 🔋 Using a 12V battery instead of a 20V battery can provide more runtime and cooler operation for cordless tools.
    • Higher voltage batteries can handle more power draw and dissipate heat better, making them more efficient for cordless tools.
    • Higher voltage systems generate more heat and are not as efficient as lower voltage systems with higher amperage, as demonstrated by manufacturers like Makita and Dewalt.
    • Using a 12V pack instead of a 20V pack can provide more runtime and cooler operation due to lower taxing and better cooling technology.
  • 19:57 🔌 12V tools may be more practical for longer jobs and certain tasks, questioning the necessity of higher voltage equipment for markets where gas-powered equipment is being outlawed.
    • Higher voltage tools, such as 20V and 120V, are being developed for outdoor power equipment and high demand tasks, but the speaker suggests that 12V tools may be more practical for certain tasks.
    • For outdoor power equipment, 12V batteries are more convenient and practical for longer jobs than 20V batteries.
    • The speaker questions the necessity of 80 and 120 volt equipment, suggesting that it may be more suitable for markets where gas-powered equipment is being outlawed.
  • 22:21 💡 Higher voltage batteries allow for longer runtime without overheating, so the focus should be on maximizing runtime rather than increasing voltage for power tools.
    • The ideal voltage for power tools is around 60 volts, with 40 and 80 volts also being common.
    • Higher voltage batteries allow for longer runtime without overheating, and the focus should be on maximizing runtime rather than increasing voltage.


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