An 18 volt Dewalt drill is a great investment for any handyperson who’s interested in completing their own DIY tasks or repair work. But, some people have questions about the batteries these drills take. Can you use a 20 volt battery in your 18 volt drill?

The only 20 volt battery you can use in an 18 volt Dewalt drill is from the 20V MAX Dewalt/Craftsman battery line. This is because these batteries actually emit the same voltage as 18 volt batteries. You cannot use traditional 20 volt batteries in an 18 volt drill. 

Below, we’ll discuss more information on using 20V batteries in an 18V Dewalt drill. Keep reading to learn more!

Can You Use 20 Volt Batteries in an 18 Volt Dewalt Drill?

Under normal circumstances, you cannot use 20 volt batteries in an 18 volt drill. This is because 20V batteries can overcharge your drill, causing it to eventually smoke out and damage the motor.  

Although it is highly discouraged to use 20 volt batteries in your 18 volt drill, there are special cases in which it is perfectly safe to do so.  

Dewalt and Craftsman have produced a 20 volt MAX line of batteries. 

These batteries output 18 volts, but are built better with improved electronics, cells, and motors than traditional 18V batteries.

Even though these batteries are advertised as 20V, they put out the same voltage as an 18V battery.

Normally, you cannot use 20 volt batteries in your 18 volt Dewalt drill. But, you can if you opt for the Dewalt/Craftsman 20 volt MAX battery.  

What is the Difference Between 20V MAX Batteries and 18V Batteries?

There are some slight differences between the Dewalt/Craftsman line of 20 volt MAX batteries and traditional 18 volt batteries.  

Some include the features mentioned earlier, such as improved cells, electronics, and motors.

Interestingly, Dewalt/Craftsman 20 volt MAX batteries and their 18 volt counterparts both output the same amount of volts when tested, even though one is advertised as a 20 volt battery. 

The 20 volts Dewalt advertises actually refers to the without load voltage, or the maximum voltage it measures when it’s not connected to a power tool.

What is the Difference Between Nominal and Without Load Voltages?

Nominal voltages are the most accurate voltage measurements you can get from a battery, whereas without load voltage measurements are the least accurate.

Basically, the maximum, or without load, voltage is the measured voltage of a battery when it’s not connected to anything it would usually power, such as:

  • Cars
  • Power tools
  • Lights

On the other hand, the nominal voltage of a battery is the exact voltage output. These two measurements are quite different from one another.

Without load voltage simply describes the maximum amount of volts the battery can safely output without self-destructing or causing harm. Nominal voltage is the actual voltage produced by a battery.

The Dewalt/Craftsman line of 20 volt MAX batteries all advertise the battery’s voltage without load, meaning that it produces 20 volts when not plugged into a power tool.  

However, when inserted into a drill, it outputs 18 volts, its nominal voltage. 

Can You Use Higher Voltage Batteries in a Dewalt Drill?

Dewalt drills are not designed to work with batteries that have higher voltages than the drills themselves.

You risk overcharging if you use a battery with a higher voltage than 18 in your 18V drill. This can not only damage the battery, but can also shorten your drill’s lifespan.

Similarly, when you use a lower voltage battery in your 18 volt Dewalt drill, you can cause your drill to work harder and exert more effort, eventually overcharging the battery.

Your drill battery should match the voltage of your drill. Otherwise, you risk damaging your drill’s integrity.  

Sometimes, batteries are even designed so it is impossible to insert them into the incorrect voltage drill.

In Conclusion

Normally, you cannot use higher voltage batteries, including a 20 volt battery, in an 18 volt Dewalt drill. However, you can if you purchase the 20 volt MAX battery from Dewalt.

The 20 volt MAX battery differs from regular 18 volt batteries in that although it produces the same amount of volts, it is built better and more sophisticatedly than 18 volt batteries.