HPAC Magazine

Can a power tool’s battery affect contractor safety?

By Power Tool Institute   

Construction HPAC General Plumbing batteries cordless power tools

Power Tool Institute warns of failure, fire from third-party batteries.

Maybe some power tool users are tired of getting the third degree about using third-party replacement batteries. But they should consider that they might be headed for third-degree burns—or worse—if they keep it up. There is simply no adequate replacement for using the original tool manufacturer (OEM)’s batteries and chargers to keep power tools operating efficiently and safely.

Efficiency and safety are critically important for professional contractors. A job that takes too long due to tool failure impacts the bottom line. A job site going up in flames impacts even more than that.

batteryFor these and more reasons, the Power Tool Institute (PTI), an industry organization for power tool safety resources, has made battery safety one of its most important initiatives, even creating a website dedicated to the topic.

Today’s cordless power tools are much more complex than ones from even 10 or 15 years ago. Most rely on built-in electronics that let the battery and tool “talk” to one another in real-time. There are also communications that happen between the battery and the charger. These communication pathways are often proprietary and not available to third-party battery makers. When a tool and its battery aren’t communicating, bad things can happen.

At best, users run the risk of poor performance and shorter tool life. The battery can also overheat, causing complete failure. Even worse, the battery might burst, causing a fire or explosion resulting in personal injury and/or property damage. Either way, in addition to the damage of the event itself, a contractor will also be looking at damage to its reputation and expensive insurance premiums.

Batteries can also catch fire on the charger when cell temperatures aren’t being properly monitored and managed. For these reasons, all power tool manufacturers recommend that only OEM batteries be used.

If the risk of failure or reduced performance and life aren’t enough, there are other possible consequences of using third-party batteries. For one, the battery, tool, and charger are no longer a UL or CSA-approved system. The testing each tool goes through is dependent on testing an original manufacturer battery along with it. Third-party batteries are not always held to the same standard, which can again, result in fire, property damage, or personal injury.

So before purchasing a non-OEM battery, be sure to consider all the factors, not just price.

Purchasing a battery online from an unknown seller without having any verification of the seller’s qualifications or experience, or of the battery’s construction, testing, or certification, can leave you with an unsatisfying— and potentially dangerous—experience.

If you have questions regarding whether your battery is a genuine OEM product, contact the power tool manufacturer. For more information on safe battery use, visit www.TakeChargeOfYourBattery.com.


Founded in 1968, the Power Tool Institute (PTI) is the leading organization for building global understanding of power tools and for maintaining high standards of safety in the industry. Its members, a list of whom can be found here, represent market-leading brands in the areas of portable and stationary power tools. PTI’s members are committed to improving the industry and to being the premier resource for power tool education. www.PowerToolInstitute.com



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