DeWalt gave my power tool battery the power of USB-C

DeWalt gave my power tool battery the power of USB-C

Your leaf blower battery should be able to charge a laptop. Your drill’s battery must charge your phone. And while we’re at it, why shouldn’t our increasingly powerful USB-C power adapters be able to charge those power tool batteries too?

Fundamentally, there’s not much difference between a battery bank you buy from Anker and a power tool battery from DeWalt; both typically contain the same 18650 lithium-ion cells. But to do all of that, your power tool batteries would need a powerful USB-C port.

And that hasn’t really been a thing…until now.

The $100 DeWalt DCB094 USB Charging Kit lets you add that port to any DeWalt 20V power tool battery in a snap. Slide this quarter pound adapter into your battery pack and you’ve got a bidirectional 100W USB-C PD port. That means you can not only charge up to a MacBook Pro laptop with a big enough DeWalt pack, but you can also charge those DeWalt packs with your laptop or phone’s USB-C charger .

The adapter is compatible with everything from the inexpensive 1.3Ah packs that come with your loss-leading combo kit to the huge 15Ah FlexVolt packs you’d probably only put on stationary tools. It’s the largest device charging battery you can find outside of dedicated power stations.

As someone with a garage drawer full of DeWalt batteries, I couldn’t wait to put it to the test. But neither is Quite the experience you were dreaming of.

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I’ve been testing the DeWalt DCB094 on and off for months, and here’s the good news: It totally works.

I turned DeWalt’s monstrous 15 Ah pack into a USB-C power bank that was able to charge my wife’s 14-inch MacBook Pro (69.6 Wh) a full three times and still have gas in the tank. My steam rig? I charged your 40.04 Wh pack a full five times, that’s an additional 10 hours of elden ring just there. When I filmed a nearly three hour time-lapse Lego build with my iPhone, I hooked it up to a DeWalt 6Ah pack knowing there was no way I would run out of juice.

You get a 100W USB-C PD port and a 12W USB-A port. The USB-A port will also do a pass-through charge while charging the DeWalt battery.

Every DeWalt 20V battery I’ve tried, new or old, big or small, also worked with the adapter. That includes my two 1.5 Ah packs, one 1.7 Ah pack, the two 5 Ah packs that came with my lawn mower, and the two 6 Ah packs I bought about a year ago and rarely use. I recorded them all charging up to 100W in both directions through that USB-C port, enough to keep today’s (but not tomorrow’s) larger USB-C PD laptops running like they were plugged into the wall.

When it came time to recharge power tool batteries, the 100W USB-C port also sometimes allowed me to do it faster than DeWalt AC adapters. While DeWalt unfortunately only ships the DCB094 with a 65W USB-C charger, even that should offer faster charging speeds than the company’s cheaper AC adapters that come with drill or screwdriver kits. And when I added my own separately purchased 100W USB-C charger, I was able to cut down the time with my DeWalt 4A (80W) AC adapter when charging larger packs.

This is how fast I managed to charge these batteries and roughly how much I got out of them:

Charging times and capacities

dewalt battery battery condition 65W USB Type-C Charger + Adapter 100W USB Type-C Charger + Adapter DeWalt 4A Wall Charger (DCB115) DeWalt Battery Vapor Rig Charging*
dewalt battery battery condition 65W USB Type-C Charger + Adapter 100W USB Type-C Charger + Adapter DeWalt 4A Wall Charger (DCB115) DeWalt Battery Vapor Rig Charging*
1.5Ah (30Wh) moderately used 26 minutes 27 minutes 22 minutes 21Wh (half load)
1.7Ah (34Wh) brand new 30 minutes 26 minutes 26 minutes 22.8Wh (half load)
4.0Ah (80Wh) Very used 55 minutes 51 minutes 47 minutes 48Wh (1 load)
5Ah (100Wh) moderately used 1h, 29m 1 hour, 5 minutes 1 hour, 14 minutes 66Wh (1.5 charges)
6Ah (120Wh) lightly used 1h, 47m 1 hour, 24 minutes 1h, 29m 84Wh (2 loads)
15Ah (300Wh) brand new 4h, 33m 3h, 14m 4h, 6m 206Wh (5 loads)

*Charging larger batteries longer may be more efficient. With a 15 Ah DeWalt battery, I saw closer to 224 Wh charging a 69.6 Wh MacBook Pro, and closer to 240 Wh charging a 100 Wh USB-C battery bank.

The only problem I had was that if I completely drained a battery, and I mean completely i drained it, ran it all the way through with a leaf blower or drilled repeatedly until it wouldn’t spin anymore, sometimes the dewalt adapter wouldn’t come on to charge when i turned it on. Sometimes I had to trick it by connecting it to a different battery or charger first.

So if everything works so well, why am I giving this product a 6? partly because the edge I just moved to a full 10 point scale to revise scores to avoid score inflation – a 6 is still good! — but also partly because the benefits of the DeWalt adapter start to diminish when you’re No combining it with a 15 Ah battery that costs $389 on its own.

All batteries I’ve tried work, even a Chinese knockoff, but not all batteries are created equal. I wouldn’t bother using a small 1.5 Ah battery. Not the imitation, because the seller lied about his ability.

With smaller batteries like my 1.5A, 1.7A and even 4Ah packs, they just didn’t charge the necessary devices for long enough to justify using a traditional battery bank or charger.

Some of that is likely due to transfer losses, which aren’t unique to DeWalt. You can’t fully charge a 100Wh laptop battery with a 100Wh battery pack like the DeWalt DCB205 because some of that power isn’t getting through. (Some is wasted as heat, and I can attest that charging my 100Wh HyperJuice with the DeWalt adapter made the HyperJuice uncomfortably hot to the touch.) In general, I saw losses of between 20% and 33% with my devices, for example, the 6 Ah (120 Wh) DCB206 only gave me 80 Wh of Steam Deck battery life.

You can even charge your DeWalt batteries very slowly with a 5V USB-A adapter in no time. It took 28.5 hours to recharge this DeWalt 6 Ah battery.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

But that 6 Ah battery is also a 2.5 pound brick once you add the DeWalt adapter, twice the weight of my HyperJuice, even if we assume I don’t have to buy the DeWalt battery because I already have one for my tools. DeWalt’s 5 Ah battery is only slightly lighter, but I may only be looking for 66 Wh of power for my devices, and so on.

Considering the fact that DeWalt batteries are quite expensive and heavy for the capacity they typically offer, I can’t recommend anyone to buy the DeWalt ecosystem for this feature alone, unless you really need to rugged batteries that can charge your devices Y power tools on the go.

but if you Already Do you have a garage full of sizable DeWalt batteries that don’t get much use? I absolutely could see myself spending $100 if I didn’t already have a capable power bank or two. Between 5A charging speeds and 100W output for devices, there’s a lot to like.

Port A is 5 Volts at 2.4 Amps, Port C is 5 to 15 Volts at 3A or 20V at 5A.

Zoom in to view load specs.

Now, though, what I really want is for DeWalt and company to take the obvious next step: glue the USB-C port into the battery, so we don’t have to mess with adapters at all. In January, DeWalt product manager Sean Fitzgibbons told me that the DCB094 could be a trial balloon: “If we get the interest that I hope we get, I think that would open the door a lot more to potentially add that directly to the batteries in the future.

I think DeWalt should do it. A lot of people would buy a native USB-C power tool battery that would never consider a $100 adapter that you have to put on and take off every time.

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