Batteries for power tools etc ought to have a standard fitting

I wonder if this is something Choice and their international partners could and should lobby?

Batteries are not the type of product we just needlessly dumped in waste. However, as there isn’t a standard fitting for these, if the appliances fails and you need a replacement chances are you’ll select a different brand and hence your otherwise useful batteries are useless, and heading for the tip.

Combine that with the increasing number of products that are now available in ‘cordless’ variants and need for a standard increases.

It seems that manufacturers are standardising on a couple of common voltages, making overall standisation more practical.


As makers seem to be in a race to lock users into their ‘ecosystem’ by ensuring that batteries are not compatible between makes they are working directly against your ideal at one level but with it at another.

Much as I dislike doing so one solution is to bow to pressure and do what the makers want and stick to one brand, that way you can reuse batteries in other gadgets that fail, replace batteries that fail readily and have a supply of compatible batteries if you are using a tool heavily.

Trade tools benefit from intra-make interchange, you will see a set of chargers on site working away while charged batteries are moved from one power tool to another. This is a poor situation of course if one maker does not produce good examples of every kind of tool and you have to use an inferior one for the sake of compatibility.

More broadly if we want to include not just tools but all kinds of equipment the range of sizes and power requirements make standardisation harder and those who make gear in one class frequently don’t do other classes so within a make the scope is limited.

I don’t see any way that lobbying is going to persuade makers to standardise across makes, they will all claim they do it better and I don’t see enough leverage to get them to collaborate even if it can be shown the result would be better experience for the user and better for resource usage. Perhaps in time customer annoyance will force them to conform but I doubt it.


While universal swappable batteries has many merits, unfortunately the ‘train has well and truly left the station’ for change.

The other challenge is power tools are mostly made overseas in a number of other countries. To have uniformity, it would need agreement from every country that manufactures power tool or other small appliances - to adopt a universal battery system. Those countries (which is all) which purchase rechargeable battery products would also need to agree to prevent new product entries to the market doing their own thing. This won’t happen.

Australia could try and go alone, but if it did, it is unlikely there would be the range of different models and manufacturers that currently exist - as many would leave Australia due to the cost of redesigning, tooling and manufacturing Australian specific products.

Notwithstanding this, it may have been possible 20+ years ago when the first swappable power tool first entered the market to ensure consistency/universally battery system before and design took place- but today it will be close to impossible.


If the world followed your logic @syncretic we wouldn’t any battery standardisation. But, thank goodness international pressure has created standards for many batteries, eg, AAA, AA, and some have gone by the wayside, eg, the large double battery that powered just about every bicycle headlamp before LED came along.

The fact that some, but a long way from being commonplace, Trade tools can interchange batteries, and their related chargers, merely indicates that even the manufacturer see the commonsense in standardisation.

Closely related is electrical plug, socket and connector design standardisation. As new needs arise, particularly as they get smaller, new standards are established. They often begin as being based on one manufacturers design.

It is only through lobbying from consumers that such standardisation occurs.

I think @phb logic is equally flawed. There are virtually no industry sectors that begin with a standard. Most take several years to get established. Lobbying triggers it either from within the industry, consumers or gov’t at the national or international levels.

The pressure at every level from the Waste perspective is going for every aspect of Waste Mgt.


Perhaps when high energy for weight batteries have been available for as long as carbon-zinc it will be so.

Not very close. There are so many standards of plugs, voltages and AC frequencies.

Only? How do you know that?

Depending on the brand and style of hand tool battery there are adaptors. This goes part way to solving one problem. Basically several high impact plastic mouldings with matching electrical contacts held together with screws. Priced according to perceived value rather than true cost plus margin?

Many of the higher capacity batteries used on high powered yard tools though are not clip on. They most often insert into a housing which is unique to the product. All very annoying considering the lithium cells contained within are mass produced to an internationally recognised standard profile!


That is correct as you can’t have a standard for something which is unknown.

If you use your electrical plug example. Plug standardisation in Australia occurred in the very early days of the rollout of the electrical network - not decades later when it had already been rolled out.

Each country also has set its own standard and plugs. Some use the same as others, others use their own plug types. Some countries didn’t introduce standards until later on and have a piecemeal approach to plugs (an example being China which has a range of different plug types depending on when they were installed).

Swappable batteries are no different. As indicated above,

Trying to get a universal system adopted would be like trying to get every country to adopt the same electrical plug or making vehicles so that they drive on the same side of the road. While there may he some clunky workarounds, a belated change to get every country to agree to a universal, standardised swappable battery system won’t happen. It won’t happen for the same reasons every country doesn’t have the same electrical plugs.

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Battery adapters are also available on Ebay for around $20. There are ones that will fit into tools where the battery is inserted into the tool rather than clipped on.