Battery Reviews & Chargers

DeWalt FlexVolt Vs Metabo HPT MultiVolt Battery


While the Advanced Battery Landscape is Expanding, Only Two Have Voltage-Switching Packs

Most of the major professional power tool manufacturers now have some sort of advanced battery system on the market. Of those, only two take on the concept of switching voltages. We’re taking a look at the DeWalt FlexVolt vs Metabo HPT MultiVolt battery to see how they’re similar and what makes them different.

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DeWalt FlexVolt Vs Metabo HPT MultiVolt Battery

Which Came First?

DeWalt was the first to launch its voltage-switching pack back in 2016. FlexVolt was a huge surprise for us sitting in the room at that launch event.

Since then, only Metabo HPT has decided to follow DeWalt down this path. The MultiVolt battery was announced in 2018 at the same time Hitachi Power Tools announced the name change to Metabo HPT.

How Does a Voltage-Switching Battery Work?

When you build a lithium-ion battery pack, you connect individual cells with either series or parallel connections, or a combination of the two. Series connections increase voltage and parallel connections increase amp-hours. Even though you can change the wiring to adjust the voltage or amp-hours, you get the same total watt-hours from those cells.

To make a pack that switches voltage, you need to start with a number of cells that work in both. For example, you can make either an 18V, 5.0Ah battery or 36V, 2.5Ah battery out of the same 10 cells.

To make a pack that switches between 18V and 36V, you can use 10, 20, 30 cells or more, as long as they’re in groups of 10. A pack that switches between 18V and 54V  needs sets of 15 cells.

Once that’s in place, electronic communication between the tool and the battery tells the pack which connections to use to get the right voltage for the tool it’s on.

Same Kind of Different

DeWalt’s FlexVolt system switches between 20V Max and 60V Max (18V and 54V nominal). That requires the battery packs to contain 15 cells. Currently, DeWalt has FlexVolt batteries that run 2Ah/6Ah, 3Ah/9Ah, and 4Ah/12Ah*.

*Note the first number is the amp hours at the higher voltage and the second number is the amp hours at the lower voltage.

DeWalt FlexVolt Vs Metabo HPT MultiVolt Battery - DeWalt FlexVolt 2-inch SDS Max Combination Hammer

Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt system switches between 18V and 36V, meaning its core power source is a smaller 10-cell pack. The initial excitement was around the pack running a 4.0Ah/8.0Ah configuration. More recently, a 2.5Ah/5.0Ah slim pack also made its way to the market.

Hitachi MultiVolt Battery - DeWalt FlexVolt Vs Metabo HPT MultiVolt Battery

There are pros and cons to both systems. DeWalt’s FlexVolt is larger and heavier, but it has higher energy capacity in its two larger packs and 60V Max is potentially more powerful than 36V.

Metabo HPT’s MultiVolt is a smaller, lighter pack with a lower capacity than the 3.0/9.0Ah and 4.0/12.0Ah FlexVolt batteries. Its 36V system doesn’t have as much power potential as the 60V Max line.

When you’re running tools such as table saws and miter saws, DeWalt’s higher capacity and power can be a big advantage.

However, one of the key features of both systems is the ability to run 18V/20V Max tools. You might not mind the bulkier FlexVolt battery on reciprocating saws or circular saws, but Metabo HPT’s lower weight and size is a huge plus on some of its drills and impact wrenches, especially with that slim pack.

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The Bonus: AC Power

Both systems have an AC adapter available, but they affect the lineup very differently.

Currently, DeWalt only has a power adapter for one FlexVolt tool: the miter saw. It runs at 120V and requires 2 batteries or the adapter.

DeWalt FlexVolt 120V Max Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw Action

All Metabo HPT MultiVolt tools are compatible with its AC adapter.

DeWalt FlexVolt Vs Metabo HPT MultiVolt Battery

Neither adapter works on each brand’s 18V or 20V Max tools.

The Bottom Line

It’s interesting to see how two brands have taken one concept and created two very different systems from it. Choosing which one is best for you really boils down to your personal priorities.

Want higher voltage and capacity? DeWalt FlexVolt is the way to go.

Prefer a smaller footprint, lower weight, and an AC adapter that works with the entire line? Go with Metabo HPT MultiVolt.

Which one do you prefer? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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Garrad miller

I dont think you fully understand power output when it relates to battery powered tools. The amount of power output available is most closely related to the cell type and cell amount inside the pack and not the operating voltage. The m18 table saw, chainsaw, circular saw etc puts out a similar wattage to the Dewalt 60v competitors for this very reason, large amount of 21700 cells.

Joe Leffler

Metabo HPT has TWO different lightweight 36/18 volt Multivolt batteries delivering amp hours 5/2 for 18/36 volt and amp hours of 8/4 for 18/36 volt (battery referenced above). Two different types of MultiVolt batteries, one even more compact than the one noted above with both focused on portability. In addition to these MultiVolt batteries we have the 36 volt MultiVolt tool lineup. MultiVolt tools can be used with the award winning AC adapter in all the 36 volt tools or you can use the Multivot batteries referenced above. This allows the user to choose the power source that is most… Read more »

Mick

Both brands have specific tools I like.

-Dewalt compact 2-hand sawzall (you guys complain too much on vibration :P ) It’s light enough to 1-hand a 2-hander.

-HPT framing nail gun.
-HPT grinder

You can’t go wrong with either brand on:

-Drill
-Circular Saw
-Impacts
-Vibrating multi-tool

They both cut and fasten many things.

Raymond Apodaca

Switched to M18 tools from old Dewalt NiCD tools. After using the M18, I started getting M12 (Fuel if available) because of the weight. Primarily use M12-more than enough power for most jobs.

I purchased the Metabo HPT miter saw and circular saw on clearance. Great not being tied to a cord unless you want/need to use a cord. I could not see myself using a Flexvolt other than the table saw. If my 20 year corded Dewalt table saw died, I would probably go corded again.