A tangled mess of cords on your desk is certainly an annoyance, but on a construction site it can be a genuine safety hazard. Limits in battery technology have meant that larger tools still need to get their power from an AC outlet, but Dewalt has finally found a way to make almost every tool cordless.
The innovation is a new 60-volt battery and power system called Flexvolt that's able to power some of the largest tools you'll find on a construction site or in a workshop, reducing the number of cords/tripping hazards that are lurking underfoot.
Dewalt's current battery technology maxes out at 40-volts, and is primarily designed for use in outdoor tools that often rely on gas engines for power — think leaf blowers and weed trimmers. But the new Flexvolt batteries go well beyond those limits. They can now power 60-volt tools like grinders and table saws, but can also be doubled up to provide enough juice to keep 120-volt tools like miter saws running without the need for cords, or a loud on-site generator running nearby.
The most interesting feature of the new Flexvolt battery system, as its name implies, is that it can actually be used on a wide variety of tools, not just the most power-hungry ones on a construction site. The new batteries are rated at 60-volts, but when connected to smaller tools like a handheld drill, they will automatically step down to just 20-volts of power and run four times longer than similarly-rated batteries. The Flexvolt system means you can quickly swap batteries in the middle of a project without having to double-check that the fresh one is strong enough to power the tool you're using, or not too strong that it will damage it.
The new Flexvolt batteries will also work with Dewalt's existing 20V MAX tools and chargers, so you don't need to upgrade your entire workshop. But to take advantage of the $US149 ($200) batteries' 60-volt capabilities, in October Dewalt is also introducing five new 60V MAX tools and two new 120V MAX tools including a circular saw, a grinder, a reciprocating saw, drills, and two different miter saws. Just think, your workshop might become completely wireless before your office does.