Multiple Cordless Platforms

So, a year ago I warned a buddy about buying too many different cordless tool platforms. He’d gotten the Kobalt 20v Max impact wrench, a Craftsman Bolt-On impact driver, DeWalt 20v Max drill, and an older Ryobi combo over the previous few months. Despite my warning, I told him of a clearance deal on a Hitachi 12v Peak combo, which he promptly bought. At the time I had Porter Cable 18v and 12v Max, along with an old B&D 14.4v drill.

Flash forward and I’m worse than he was. I found a Hitachi 18v impact driver for $40 at Lowe’s and grabbed it. Then got the DeWalt 8v gyro screwdriver for $35 at the PX and a Hitachi 12v Peak rotary tool kit at Lowe’s. A few months later, picked up a nine DeWalt 12v Max batteries for $72 at the PX and could feel the urge to buy something–anything–to use them with. So, the Bluetooth speaker and USB power source were purchased. Those ended up being a gateway to 20v Max: the brushless Tough Case combo from Home Depot in turn led to a desire for bigger batteries, so the dual charger with 4.0Ah and blower with 5.0Ah battery were recently purchased. Oh, and to add to my hypocrisy, I bought the Kobalt impact from the same friend. The one bit of restraint I’ve shown is in not buying multiple versions of the same tool (besides the Hitachi impact).

Does anyone else find themselves justifying multiple cordless brands/platforms based on price or a “need” for different tools? I can understand a pro who has a need for multiple sets of tools or a preference for certain models.

Anyway, what is your opinion on investing in different systems, and the inherent issues (non-compatible batteries/chargers, etc) with doing so? I plan to completely switch to DeWalt eventually and keep the other stuff around for loaners or backup tools, but still shake my head when thinking of how many different systems I’ve accumulated in less than 12 months.

I’m kind of in the same boat. I’m running several Bosch 18 and 12v tools with the wireless charging system for the 18s. I have a Festool T18 and CXS, some Makita 18v and a couple of Dewalt 20v tools. Every time I try to downsize I find I can’t get all of the too.s I use from just one line.

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I’m pretty much all dewalt with the exception of the milwaukee fan, bandsaw, and rotary hammer

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I’m a single platform fanatic. I was on DeWalt for 15 years, the old NiCD platform. Finally decided I had to upgrade to LiON. After research (much of it ToolGuyd), I went with Milwaukee. Over time I got what little I could for my old DeWalts on eBay, and bought the Milwaukee M12/M18 replacements when they would go on specials. I’m now totally bought in to the M12/M18 tools including household stuff like the dustbuster, mini-blower (which has changed how I keep my shop clean), and vacuum.

I’ve saved a lot by buying bare tools (many of them refurbished units) - no case, no bag, no batteries. With the new fast chargers, and since I’m a single-person shop, I don’t need a lot of batteries. If you consider battery cost compared to tool cost, being able to share a few batteries across the tools is a huge $$ savings, which has allowed me to buy top quality tools.

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It would be nice if each major manufacturer produced every conceivable tool. I know DeWalt is kind of lagging behind Milwaukee in releasing new products, but truth be told that was another reason I wanted to go with yellow. I don’t use my tools professionally, nor am I fixated on only one or two specialties, so DW has what I need so far.

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Last year, using the 50/100/150 off promo, I actually converted to a single brand. M12 to replace my Bosch 12V stuff and M18 to replace my Ridgid and Ryobi 18V stuff

I dont care if all the tools match, its just a huge convenience to have one charger do both voltages for my tools. Instead of 3 or 4 different chargers to cover everything.

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Having a single charger is great, and both Milwaukee and DeWalt are prevalent enough to make a switch to one or the other a good choice. DeWalt’s 12v Max line is all but stagnant, but I like the fact that some accessories can use either battery.


I have two Lithium Ion platforms, deWalt 12V and Bosch 18V. Both started with great bargains, and a need to replace an old NiCad 14.4V system.

Having two different voltages makes it easier in some respects, because there’s two chances to choose any one kind of cordless tool, and both systems have their strengths. The 12V system is really light and less tiring, the 18V more powerful. I always have fresh batteries in both systems because I occasionally buy new tools for each. Having two systems also means more chances at finding bargains that work with an existing system.

There are downsides. It’s not fully optimal, because there are DeWalt 12/20V chargers out there, that would make my life simpler if I had the same brand of systems. Both systems could use some more tools, none compare to Milwaukee, and DeWalt’s 12V selection doesn’t compare to their 20V system, and neither does Bosch’s 18V system.

And yes, just today I passed up a Hitachi cordless bargain today because it’s yet another battery system. It requires a little discipline, but I’ve found there are always bargains coming along if you’re watchful. Weekly visits to the home center always include checking out the closeout bin. This week I picked up a Bosch 18V circular saw for $30, and a few months ago a Bosch 18V charger and two 1.5AH batteries and case, missing their tools, for $50. Can’t complain about that.

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It’d be nice for me to switch to just the one but whereas I’m a woodworker and hobbyist and have a regular job having the multiple lines doesn’t prove to be a big problem for me. I will as I just took custody of my newest Festool! The HKC 55 straight from the UK as its not available here yet. So…my Festool 18v drill has a new friend!

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Done the multiple platform thing too long, and am down to 2, and as my tools die, will eventually be down to just one. Very high on my list of frustrations, is having the tool you need, but no charged battery to go with it. Going to one platform means that if I have a battery charged up for one tool, I will have it for all tools.


im the same as Chris, Hobby,DIY,tool junkie tyype of dude,i dont have to lug my stuff to jobsites,althou I could. I have porter cable for my current 20v line,and Bosch for my12v line. Both are great for my needs. doing stuff around the house,my to get list of stuff i could use is still pretty long. I work in industrial settings so what I have is stuff for that mostly.

Id love to break into some of the newer milwaukee and Dewalt lines for some things they offer. everything else is corded for me.

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100% DeWalt cordless here (not quite so loyal for corded) although it is a mixture of old NiCad 18V XRP and the new 20V Max. I am happy with most of the tools, there are a couple that I’m not sure are quite the best, but for me the most important thing is that I now have enough batteries and chargers that I can just add bare tools. I think my last 4 purchases have all been bare and that is a great way to save money on new tools. With a mixture of platforms that is not so easy as you’re less likely to have enough of the right type of battery.


Thirty months later…

So, my cordless tool situation has evolved, largely due to finding deals, but partially due to needs and wants that just weren’t filled by DeWalt (at the time). My current cordless systems are as follows:

Bosch 12v
DeWalt 20v Max
DeWalt 12v Max
DeWalt 18v XRP (actually only own the reciprocating saw, using the adapter with 20v batteries)
DeWalt Flexvolt (SCMS, table saw, and worm-drive style circular saw)
Hitachi 12v Peak
Milwaukee M12
Milwaukee M18
Ridgid 18v
Ryobi 18v

Of those, I only own one Hitachi tool (rotary tool) and a single Bosch drill with l-boxx, radio, and work light. The Bosch stuff will likely go to my oldest daughter and the rotary tool will likely be replaced by an M12. The 18v DeWalt saw is more of a curiosity than anything else, since I can show off my DCA1820 but have two Fuel Sawzalls for serious work (and a Ridgid and DeWalt 12v Max for lighter work).

The Kobalt impact went to my brother, and now bears the scars of heavy use, while the Hitachi impact driver was given to the family that took over my project house.

Since the original post, I picked up Milwaukee due to a smoking deal on the d-handle rotary hammer that incidentally had a battery starter kit next to it. From there I expanded into more Fuel tools and lights, eventually adding a few drills, a couple impact drivers, and two 9.0Ah batteries to complement the 5.0Ah and 2.0Ah ones. A few months ago I added M12 to the M18.

Ridgid was added after one too many hot nights as a Drill Sergeant. DeWalt was more than a month away from releasing their fan and Ridgid had a free starter kit with two bare tool purchase. Two fans later I realized that 4Ah batteries were must haves before adding routers, sanders, and other tools.

Finally, Ryobi is represented by the Devour sweeper, an edger, pole saw, and a single blue drill to remind me of how far cordless technology has come along.

Fm, nice thread resurrection. It is actually still topical. Particularly going forward with all the new brushless stuff coming out and prices going down a bit for the technology. I have been off the DeWalt bandwagon for years but have to say their new Flexvolt stuff is a game changer. Just today I was watching a video by Wranglerstar( big YouTube personality) and he pitted the new brushless DeWalt rear handle circular saw against a tried and true Skil Mag77 corded model. Two rips each up and down the same plank. The DeWalt ate the Skil’s lunch. Unbelieveable. Mind, as he pointed out, the Skil will do that day in and day out for years. The cordless models will wear out faster. They just will. It is convenience you’re after with the cordless.

I am astounded how much progress has been made in brushles tools. If I were a contractor or working on a job where I supplied my tools I would buy only brushles stuff if I could. And the biggest Ah battery per dollar ratio I could afford. You can now buy 4.0Ah batts for well under a c note and in Ridgid’s case, a two pack for 100. I think if I were carpenter specific I would be in the DeWalt camp. Just watch some of those videos of the FlexVolt tools. They have the circular saw, tablesaw, and I believe a recipro in brushless using those crazy Flexvolt batteries. And they work well. I know everyone is M18 nuts right now but man, DeWalt smacked it out of the park with that stuff.

My needs are not great since I am retired from maintenance work. A good 18v drill and impact to go with my little Bosch 12v drill is about what I need. Currently served by Ridgid, it works but I am not over fond of them. And I will not overlook Makita. Their catalogue is big in 18v. But yeah, I don’t want a battery farm in my garage. One or two brands, that’s it.

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The FlexVolt tools are truly nice. I too am astonished at how rapidly tool technology–particularly in the realm of batteries–has evolved. I’ve made similar observations here and elsewhere, but when I purchased my first lithium-ion tool kit, it came with the then-standard 1.3Ah batteries. That size seems to have been the standard for over a decade. While the PC 18v line was in the twilight of its run, with DeWalt, Milwaukee, and other brands offering 3Ah and even then-cutting edge 4Ah batteries, it’s only been 6.5 years since I bought that set. To think that the “massive” runtime of 4Ah and 5Ah batteries would be eclipsed by batteries offering up to 12Ah which are capable of running traditionally cord-only tools like table and miter saws was conceived as unrealistic back then is laughable these days.

When I read this, I’m always torn. On one hand, I’d love to have a single charger, though it would need to be a multiple battery charger. It would be convenient. I do have mostly Makita and Ryobi in 18v, with some other things mixed in.

On the other hand I’m unlikely to ever go to one brand, since there are some tools that I like that are exclusive to a brand. Ryobi Airstrike nailers and crown stapler. I love many of the Makita 18v tools, like the subcompact drill and driver. I also have some Ridgid tools that no one else makes in quite the same way. Also I got the Kobalt brushless 24v saw when it was on a great sale. It’s a great saw.

Also I started with the Bosch 12v line and have gotten some of their unique tools, like the recent brushless multihead drill/driver. A couple of Ridgid 12v tools that are unique.

These are located at 2 sites, so it’s not as bad as it sounds, but still, if they standardized batteries, I’d be very happy to be able to get the best tool regardless of brand, just like I always have with corded tools. This isn’t likely to happen due to different battery technologies, from what I can tell. Since I don’t take my tools to a worksite every day it’s not as big an issue. Then I might try to standardize.

Ktash, about those Makita sub-compacts. I was sure when I saw them announced a few years ago they would be popular. A lot of guys didn’t and I could not figure out why. Not every job needs a ten pound sledge hammer. And many times going at it with a 1000 inch pound monster driver that weighs five pounds with battery is not prudent or productive. From what I can tell locally at Home Depot they sell fairly well.

Now about the Bosch 12v line. I just got into this myself. A few weeks ago Stuart posted an Amazon deal of the day link that had the PS32 brushless drill/driver for $84.99! I couldn’t really justify it but smashed the buy button as fast as I could. I love the little bugger. The little Bosch fits my hand like no other 12v drill. The M12 is too small at the top of the grip and my thumb immediately falls over my first finger past the trigger finger and I have to consciously move it up to get a comfy grip. Not so the Bosch. It falls directly into the perfect spot in my hand. A poster on the Toolguyd blog pointed out it was due to battery orientation. On the M12 the larger part of the grip is toward the back making the front of the grip narrower. On the Bosch it is directly inverse. And it just fits better. The Ridgid was too fat and clubby and the Masterforce(Menard’s house brand) was close but too few tools and prices were higher than the Bosch on sale!

So sometimes it goes as you mention. A particular tool or particular usage makes the difference. And going back to the sub-compact drills like the Makitas. I was at Menard’s the other day and noticed a compact 18v Bosch drill/driver. I cannot remember the model or whether it was brushless or not but it was on sale for something like 129 dollars. It looked really small so I went down the aisle and grabbed up a PS21 and held them side by side. Wow. The 18v model was only the tiniest bit larger than the 12v model in the motor area. Chuck was a bit longer too but overall, not a huge difference in weight. Bosch has pretty quietly entered the lightweight 18v field too. Not as small as the Makitas but very small. Would be a great tool for the guy already using Bosch 18v who needs a small driver for trim out work or maintenance use and didn’t want to invest in the extra battery family. Of course the bottom is larger for the bigger battery and the grip is shaped differently but I had no idea these were out there.

Indeed, universal power packs would be great. Heck, even if we could just get to a universal charger would be something.

Edit. It’s the DDB181-02. It has been out a while but I just never paid attention to it. 7.75 inches long and 3.0 pounds. Pretty small as 18v models go.

I have only two platforms, Dewalt 20v and Bosch 12v. I keep ogling over the many Milwaukee tools available but just can’t get myself to introducing another battery platform. I had to order a couple of things from like the 12v circular saw and the 12v rotary tool (dremel). Both of those are awesome, so compact and handy. I don’t know why they don’t bring the full line to the US.

If you are tempted by Milwaukee and located in the US, starting frequenting Home Depot (or steer away from there if you don’t want to add some Red tools). Their clearance deals vary from store to store, but after passing quite a few “okay” deals and thinking I was safe from cordless tool proliferation, I found a 2713 rotary hammer on a clearance table at the front of one store, marked down by 75%. Conveniently, there was a single 5.0Ah starter kit next to it that was 50% off. I walked by, did so again, then got on my phone and checked the bank account before walking to the table a third time. Doing some quick math, I realized that $130 for $430 worth of goods was a good deal. Since that time, I can’t think of a Milwaukee tool or battery I paid full price for.

I agree with you that it’s a shame that we don’t get every tool released by a major manufacturer. To add on to that, I personally would like to see retailers carry more selection. When I lived in Georgia earlier this year, I grew used to local Home Depots stocking a decent selection, which paled in comparison with what the larger Atlanta area stores carried. Moving to Northern Virginia, though, I was impressed by how much more is carried by stores in the area. Milwaukee even has a separate high demand section with rotary hammers and other hard use tools and accessories, owning the equivalent of a full aisle if you count end caps and floor displays.

Satchel, that exclamation of the M12 grip is spot on. I got them and just didn’t like having to consciously move my thumb. Ended up with the Makita CXT 12V drill and impact and love them.
I also have Dewalt 20V for my primary drills/impact/saws.
A few ryobi 18V mainly in OPE but it’s such a diverse and competitively priced platform I couldn’t help getting into it in some way.
I’m not worried about having multiple platforms because each platform has so many niches they support it’s kind of hard to stay on just one.