Breakthrough Battery from DeWalt
Last week, along with about 100 other construction-media types, I had the chance to check out DeWalt’s newest products. The tool company has been busy generally, but perhaps their biggest news was the entirely new battery platform that they’re calling Flexvolt. By using 15 rechargeable cells, wired in both parallel and in series, they’re able to boost battery voltage from the customary 18 volts to 60 volts max (54 volts nominal). The higher voltage makes the new packs well suited to high-draw tools like cordless miter and table saws, as well as outdoor power equipment. What’s cool is that the packs are also compatible with most tools in the company’s original 20-volt Max system. They claim that the new dual-voltage packs provide up to 4x the run time when used in their 20-volt tools.
I had a chance to try the cordless sliding miter saw, table saw and circular saw. I can’t yet comment on their durability, but I can say with conviction that they cut as well as their corded brethren. I especially like the dual pack miter saw because you can also plug it in when power is available. As a result, now you only need one miter saw instead of a cordless and a corded model. I’ve been a longtime skeptic of cordless miter saws as they don’t generally move around the job once set up, but I routinely hear that power is in such short supply on modern jobsites that being power independent is often a requirement, especially in new housing developments. In my mind these new high-voltage cordless tools are competing with gas-powered AC generators. I for one wouldn’t mind a giving up buying and transporting gas. Not having to listen to the drone of a generator would be nice too.
The new tools include a 7-1/4” Circular Saw (DCS575), 6-in. Grinder (DCG414), Recip Saw (DCS388), 1/2″ VSR Right-Angle Drill (DCD460), and 8-1/4-in. Table Saw (DCS7485). The 12-in. Fixed Head Compound Miter Saw (DHS716) and 12-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw (DHS790) run off of two of the 60 volt Max batteries and can also be powered by an AC adapter, which is included in the kit versions of both the slide saw and the chop saw.
DeWalt also introduced new accessories designed to maximize the runtime of cordless tools. The 44 new FLEXVOLT™ accessories include circular saw blades, reciprocating saw blades, hole saws, and abrasives. I had a chance to try one of the new cutting wheels on a 1-in. thick piece of rebar and it was noticeably faster than any other cutting wheel I’ve used, likely because its ceramic abrasive is sharper than other wheels. We’re planning to give all these tools a good workout, so keep your eye out for comprehensive reviews on FineHomebuilding.com and in the pages of Fine Homebuilding magazine.