It’s been just over a year now since we first saw the Dewalt FlexVolt opening lineup and learned that Dewalt was investing heavily into yet another new battery platform. It would be backwards compatible with 20V however users would need to invest in all new batteries to use their new FlexVolt tools. The initial response from many of the Team Yellow faithful was “not again”. Now that the dust has settled it seems as though the adoption is picking up and Dewalt is continuing to release new professional tools on both 20V and FlexVolt platforms.
After using various FlexVolt tools we can say they are clearly more powerful, some of the higher performing cordless tools we’ve tested. Below is an interesting video Bill from Sparky Channel did comparing very similar Dewalt weed wackers, both recently launched, one as a 20V the other as a FlexVolt 60V. It really shows the difference of high demand tools performing very differently using the 20v vs 60v platfrom.
Dewalt FlexVolt in an effort to seed more of these new batteries are available in 20V Brushless Combo Kits DCK299D1T1 ($299) with 1 compact 20v battery as well as 1 FlexVolt (same price vs kit with 2x 20v 5.0Ah). As with any new system getting the batteries out there really is key to success and/or survival. Below is a video from Real Tool Reviews which shows the benefits of using the FlexVolt on 20V tools which for the smaller tools (like in a combo kit) not sure the pros out weight the cons however for many of the other tools it certainly makes sense to have at least 1 or 2 FlexVolt batteries in your arsenal.
We started testing both batteries on every Dewalt 20V tool we get our hands on, the new 20V Compact Band Saw DCS371P1 ($349) unfortunately was one it does not work well with, as you can see below the large battery makes it nearly impossible to use the handle correctly/safely. This tool is one that we would not recommend using the larger heavier battery anyway as it defeats the purpose to go with the lighter compact. That being said it was however very surprising all the newer 20V tools wouldn’t be built to accommodate the FlexVolt anyway.
After the big hype surrounding the initial launch we thought we would see more 60V and dual battery 120V tools for this year’s 2017 Product Launch Event, maybe a 10” table saw, a 120V concrete breaker, etc. While we didn’t see some of those tools we were very pleasantly surprised by the new FlexVolt Air Compressor DCC2560T1 ($299), while we have had a limited time with it, looks like our friend Rob with Tool Box Buzz has had a little more and a lot of great feedback as well as good things to say.
The Dewalt Flexvolt platform has had a slow start but looks to be ramping up, finding new ways to incorporate the larger FlexVolt pack into their existing 20V system. Building a dual platform system is certainly more complicated than say the Makita strategy of building tools with two 18V batteries which accomplishes much of the same goals and certainly more straightforward for the existing user base.
Long term it seems more and more like the FlexVolt will pay off, the technology is good and their users are finding their way to have both batteries. With new brushless 20V grinders launching this week it looks as though they will continue to support both voltages with pro tools. The 120V platform (uses 2x FlexVolt 60V batteries) which can also go corded seems like the most interesting part of the two battery conversation and as of yet very underutilized with just the 12″ miter saw. When will see the 120V FlexVolt Jack Hammer, maybe World of Concrete 2018?? And what about a Riding Lawmower??