As more and more tools shift to a cordless platform, the next major push for manufacturers is to develop the latest and greatest battery system. DeWalt is one key player that is constantly upgrading their battery ranges to provide different solutions for their customers. While their advancements are impressive, the vast line of battery options paired with their already extensive range of power tools has lead to a lot of confusion for shoppers. Trying to distinguish between FLEXVOLT, FLEXVOLT Advantage, Power Detect, and XR can leave your head spinning, especially with the crossover compatibility of the different tool and battery ranges. We posted a bit about the difference between FLEXVOLT and FLEXVOLT Advantage last year when we first started carrying DeWalt products, but as time has gone on we’ve also gotten a lot of questions about the DeWalt Power Detect line. So, to clear up some confusion, we’re taking another deep dive into the wild world of DeWalt Batteries!
A Look at DeWalt’s Battery Evolution
Before we get into the specifics of each line, lets look at the timeline of DeWalt’s battery evolution. Their 20V MAX XR tool line with Power Detect was released in 2019 as a solution to draw more power from the 20V tools when used with their 20V MAX 8.0Ah batteries. Shortly after that, FLEXVOLT Advantage came into the picture to provide maximum power when used with the 20V/60V MAX FLEXVOLT batteries. As more brands started using 21700 cell batteries to ramp up the power output on their tools, DeWalt was also using this technology to enhance their existing range of 20V MAX tools. This is why Power Detect and FLEXVOLT Advantage were made, but now as they continue to expand their product line, the differences between each tool type have gotten a little blurry.
How Do Power Detect and FLEXVOLT Advantage Compare?
The Power Detect tool range was developed in conjunction with their 21700 cell batteries, like the 8.0Ah 20V MAX, which give DeWalt’s 20V tools a boost in power. These tools feature improved software and motor design to sense when these specific battery packs are connected so that it can draw more power from them.
FLEXVOLT Advantage tools essentially work the same as the Power Detect tools, but are marketed to offer a power boost when used with a FLEXVOLT battery. FLEXVOLT Advantage tools are able to detect the presence of a 60V FLEXVOLT battery to draw maximum power output from the tool, or they can be run on DeWalt’s standard 20V battery platform. While both the FLEXVOLT Advantage and Power Detect lines are extremely similar, DeWalt claims that using FLEXVOLT tools with the FLEXVOLT batteries will deliver the most power possible in the entire DeWalt lineup.
So Why Offer Both?
The Power Detect and FLEXVOLT Advantage tools are not easily distinguishable based on any public specs. The most notable difference between the two is based on which major chain stores promote and carry them. Essentially, Lowe’s carries the Power Detect tool range and Home Depot carries FLEXVOLT Advantage. We see this with a lot of manufacturers, and while it doesn’t make much of a difference for most consumers, it at least offers some context as to why these two lines are so similar but not sold as the same SKU.
There are a few 20V tools that are available in both Power Detect and FLEXVOLT Advantage options, like the DCD998B and DCD999B Cordless 1/2″ Hammer Drills. The Power Detect version (DCD998B) claims to output up to 29% more power when used with the 8.0Ah 20V MAX battery, while the FLEXVOLT Advantage version (DCD999B) claims to get up to 42% more power when used with a 6.0Ah FLEXVOLT battery. When reading reviews for each, though, you’ll see that most users very are happy with both models.
At the end of the day, the DeWalt Power Detect and FLEXVOLT Advantage bare tools are pretty much the same (kits will offer different batteries to provide differing results.) The main difference in power comes from the battery type you pair them with. Using a FLEXVOLT Advantage tool with a FLEXVOLT battery will give you more power, and using a Power Detect tool with a 8.0Ah 20V MAX battery will also give you better results than a standard 20V battery. Ultimately, using the corresponding battery in either tool is going to provide more definitive power output than comparing the two different bare tool lines. We only carry FLEXVOLT Advantage Tools (not Power Detect) at Ohio Power Tool, just to avoid any confusion since the two ranges are so similar.
We have followed this conversation very closely as DeWalt continues to launch new tools on both lines and we are constantly looking for examples where one clearly outperforms the other in testing, but we have not seen a consistent result yet of one outperforming the other. Basically, no matter how they test, results are negligible at best and the consensus seems to be that it’s mostly about marketing similar tools to different consumer audiences. If you really need more power, the 60V FLEXVOLT tools still remain the most powerful cordless tool options from DeWalt.
We know, it’s confusing! So if you still have questions about the FLEXVOLT Advantage and Power Detect lines, or any other tool options from DeWalt, the Ohio Power Tool team is always here to help. Give us a call at 800-242-4424, email us at email@example.com, or leave a comment below for assistance. To be the first to know about new products and deals, subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us on social media!