DeWalt 20V Max Vs XR – What’s the Difference?

DeWalt Max Vs XR | DCF845 20V Max XR Brushless Impact Driver

DeWalt is a wildly popular brand, not just in the United States, but also in many parts of the world. However, the branding isn’t the same in every corner of the globe, and many people wonder… what’s the difference between DeWalt 20V Max vs XR?

DeWalt 20V Max Vs XR – A Brief History

To get started, we need to look back—way back. In the 18V class, DeWalt’s original cordless line used 18V Ni-Cad batteries. Nearly every cordless power tool company was using that battery chemistry at the time.

As brands made the shift to lithium-ion battery chemistry, there wasn’t an easy way to make them both work with the same batteries and chargers. Ryobi’s 18V One+ system is the most popular example of a brand that successfully made the transition with both chemistries working with the same tools.

When DeWalt made the change, they did two significant things. First, they changed from a post-style pack to a slide pack, which is one reason the pistol grip tools have such excellent handle ergonomics.

The other thing they did was switch the branding from 18V to 20V Max. Since they needed to continue supporting users on the 18V platform, the difference in branding made it easier to determine which batteries worked with which tools. 18V was Ni-Cad and 20V Max was lithium-ion.

DeWalt 20V Max Vs XR – Decoding the Branding

The reason DeWalt uses 20V Max for that line of lithium-ion cordless tools isn’t because they have a higher voltage than 18V tools. They both use sets of 5 battery cells. When you fully charge the battery, a voltmeter registers 20 volts. That’s the maximum voltage the battery attains, hence, 20V Max. As soon as you start to use the battery, it drops down to 18 volts, known as the nominal state. So, 18V and 20V Max batteries are the same in terms of voltage.

The XR branding comes into play when DeWalt started making cordless tools with brushless motors. XR stands for eXtended Runtime, which is one of the primary benefits of a brushless motor. They are also able to achieve higher performance than brushed motors.

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, when you buy a DeWalt 20V Max tool, you’re buying one with lithium-ion battery chemistry. When you buy a DeWalt XR tool, you’re buying one with a brushless motor.


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