Historically, battery platforms are the platforms that your tools live on. If you have 12 volt (12V) tools, generally you need 12V batteries, and same for 18V, 20V, and so on. DeWalt saw this as a set-back for those who may own tools on multiple platforms or who are looking to slowly transition to a more powerful line-up, so they set out to create a backward-compatible platform that not only allows you to use their batteries (semi-)universally, but allowing them to improve run time or power output by up to 77% on some of their tools when compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.

What even is a Lithium-Ion Battery?

Lithium-Ion batteries are re-chargeable, high output batteries. These are the same types of batteries you carry around in your phone, have on your laptop, or may even have in your car these days, and they are perfect for creating a cordless jobsite when integrated with tools. Lithium-Ion batteries are comprised of cells with positive and negative electrodes that transfer lithium ions to discharge energy in one direction or the other–using it to power your tool or to re-charge the battery. There’s a lot more chemistry behind it, but that’s not really our specialty here at Ohio Power Tool, so we won’t go too far into that…

What we CAN tell you: More volts means more power, and more amp hours generally means longer run time. Typically, you will see a range of amp hours on each voltage platform, but that is where DeWalt FLEXVOLT comes in to play.

How They’re Different

DeWalt has developed two solutions for multi-platform charging, at least when it comes to 20V and 60V: FLEXVOLT and FLEXVOLT Advantage. FLEXVOLT batteries can be used on both 20V and 60V tools so you can have one battery that adapts to different tool ranges. FLEXVOLT Advantage tools on the other hand, can be used with the regular 20V batteries or with the FLEXVOLT batteries to deliver more power. Essentially, this provides a few different power options to adapt the performance of your tool to the task at hand. Their take is, “Change your tools. Not your batteries.”


DeWalt’s FLEXVOLT tool line is an impressive 60 volt tool line. These tools can only use FLEXVOLT batteries, but the catch is that your FLEXVOLT batteries can be used on any of your 20V or 60V MAX DeWalt tools, not just FLEXVOLTS. Because these batteries are designed for 60V tools, these will actually give any of your 20 volt tools an extended runtime, but will not boost them to 60 volts of power.

FLEXVOLT Advantage Tools

DeWalt also offers a line of FLEXVOLT Advantage tools, which is somewhat of a middle-ground. These are 20 volt compatible tools that are designed to work in a unique way with FLEXVOLT batteries for added power to take your 20V tool up a notch. This is where that backward compatibility can be seen, because you can use any standard 20V MAX battery with these tools to run them normally, or you can use a FLEXVOLT battery for that extra power boost.

So What Battery Do I Buy?

What battery you decide on completely depends on the tools you want to use, but generally speaking, FLEXVOLT batteries are the way to go. Not only are they the only battery you can use on any FLEXVOLT tools you currently have/may purchase in the future, but they’re also compatible with FLEXVOLT Advantage tools and DeWalt’s standard 20V MAX tools. FLEXVOLT batteries are available in 6.0, 9.0, or 12.0 AH versions, to ensure that you have all of the power and run-time you need to get the job done, no matter what tool you’re using.

20V MAX ToolFLEXVOLT Advantage ToolFLEXVOLT Tool
20V MAX BatteryX
FLEXVOLT Battery✓ (Longer Run Time)✓ (More Power)

Still confused or don’t know which tools and batteries are right for you? That’s okay! The Ohio Power Tool team is always here to help. Give us a call at 800-242-4424, email us at sales@ohiopowertool.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!