How Do I Change Battery Platforms? PTR Helpline News & Opinion

How Do I Change Battery Platforms? PTR Helpline

One of our readers asked, “How do I change battery platforms?” That’s a great question! We got our team together to discuss the best way to change tool systems.

Sometimes you find that your favorite brand no longer meets your needs. Or maybe another brand has tools you use every day that are simply better. Perhaps you’re moving to a more premium line of tools.

When you’re talking corded tools, it’s no big deal. Just get what you want and plug it in. On the other hand, cordless tools are a different story—you’re buying into a platform that has dozens or even hundreds of compatible tools that run on the same system.


Option #1: Rip Off the Bandaid

Changing out your entire cordless tool arsenal can easily cost you thousands if you do it all at once. Some Pros are lucky enough to have the cash to do it. Even if you don’t have the budget of the Toll Brothers, it might still be possible.

If you can front the cost of the tools for the short-term (like a couple of weeks), go ahead and get what you need/want as replacements.

To recoup some of the cost, put the tools you’re replacing out on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. Personally, I like Facebook Marketplace because it’s tied to accounts with real names, so it’s not as anonymous as Craigslist. Either way, it’s free to post. Offer Up is another free app you can use, but I don’t find as many people on it. There are others running around as well.

Those avenues give you the best shot of connecting with local users that are cash buyers. When you’re selling good stuff, it will go quickly. I once put an older Camry up for sale and 90 minutes later, it was gone and I had cash in my hand.

If you use a credit card to front your tool purchase, set in your mind that you’ll immediately use the money from the tools you’re selling to pay it off before you start getting hit with 19.9% interest fees.


Option #2: Slower Transition

Unless you’re moving from Harbor Freight tools to Makita or Milwaukee, there’s a good chance you have some genuinely good tools that can still help you get the job done.

Start by looking for kits and combos that have the tools you need to replace immediately. Kits come with one or two batteries and combos come with batteries and other tools, so you can start building the foundation of your new arsenal at a much better price.

As your other tools wear out, get stolen, or you decide to sell them, replace them as you go. At first, you may want to keep getting kits to build up your battery inventory. When you’re comfortable with the numbers of batteries you have, then you can start picking up bare tools as you need them.

This method takes more time and you’ll be on a couple of battery platforms as you transition. The positive side is that you don’t have to front as much money out of the gate.


How did you make the switch the last time you changed cordless platforms? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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After having a year old “orange” tool smoke and refuse to work reliably during a project, I began making the move to a teal platform. Making the change after the holidays is often best as many makers have a lot of sales. I managed to replace the main tool that was problematic, get an impact, four 5ah batteries and a router for a reasonable price considering the kit included one of their more powerful drills. Now begins the slow trudge to finding various tools on sale over time. I am just a DIY hobbyist, so no big hurry for me.… Read more »


Is it not possible to have all tools on one platform if you are looking for the best tool for every job. Even if that was say, Milwaukee, still not possible. I like the M12 Compact Band Saw. Its small, light, cheap, cuts 2″ metal stock like butter. But the M12 Reciprocating Saw is weak sauce… So I also want a powerful 18V Reciprocating Saw And a 7.25″ circular saw…. So at a minimum I need 2 platforms; 2 chargers, 2 battery types, the works. Once I realized that, I just gave up trying to be on 1 platform. In… Read more »