Power tool batteries are some of the densest lithium-ion packs lying around your house (or construction site), but they rarely play nice with the kind of chargers and batteries that top up your laptop, phone and PC. That might be about to change — Ryobi and DeWalt are testing the waters with USB-C powered battery options, and one of them looks seriously neat.
It’s easy to argue that Ryobi has taken the idea the furthest; as Gizmodo reports today, it’s the first major manufacturer to stick a USB-C charging port on the battery itself, letting you use the same charger to top up your power tool as you’d use on a laptop.
Image by Ryobi
But these 4V 2Ah batteries look a little bit weaksauce to me — they’re not compatible with existing tools, nor are they remotely powerful enough for the 18-20V power tools that dominate the market today. Instead, you’ll have to buy into a new “Ryobi USB Lithium” lineup of tools with roughly the power of a cordless Dremel.
Ryobi’s USB Lithium lineup includes a Dremel-alike, a power carver, a power cutter, and a cordless screwdriver.
Image by Ryobi
So let’s talk about something a little bit more exciting: both Ryobi and DeWalt are also releasing snap-on USB-C adapters this spring that not only let you charge their 18V (Ryobi) and 20/60V (DeWalt) batteries with a USB-C cable, but also turn those batteries into a portable power source for your laptop and tablet.
And there, it’s looking like DeWalt might have the edge — its $99 20V Max USB Charger/Adapter (DCB094K), hitting stores this March, will come with a bidirectional 100W USB-C PD port so you can charge its batteries (or your laptop) at the highest speed USB can deliver.
It’s also got a USB-A port capable of 12W output. (Ignore the 18V label on the battery if you live in…