I have a number of Black & Decker cordless products. (If you follow the blog, you know that I love my 24v trimmer and my 18v combo tool set.) All but one, my trusty-dusty first 9.6v cordless drill, use the slide-in battery packs ranging from 18 to 24v. I am a huge fan of these products.
But trying to keep track of the chargers and making sure I have the right one for the right battery and watching the time to make sure I don’t overcharge the 18v batteries … whew! You need a traffic cop for this stuff. I borrowed this summary from an online review that I thought summed up the various B&D chargers out there.
B&D chargers also come in (at least) 3 varieties:
1) "Dumb" chargers that supply a constant charge current/voltage, i.e., like the charger that comes with most B&D products that has the brick that plugs in the wall and a small piece that slips onto the battery; these have 2 terminals.
2) "Semi-intelligent" 2 stage chargers that supply a constant charge current/voltage for charging, but then drop to a "maintenance charge state". These also have 2 terminals.
3) "Intelligent" fast chargers that charge at a faster rate, can sense overcharging and modify charge current accordingly, and then drop to a "maintenance charge state" once the battery is charged. These chargers have 3 terminals.
So when I saw that I could narrow my chargers down to one, I was thrilled. When I saw I could do this for under $30, I was ecstatic. And when I saw that this also was one of the “intelligent” chargers, meaning that it charges at high-speed AND I don’t have to babysit my batteries with a stop watch … I was out-of-control happy.
When I recently did my first trimming of the season, I was amazed how quickly my batteries were ready to go again. I had initially charged them the night before, periodically checking the charger light to see when one finished and then swapping it for the next. I set it on the counter, plugged it in, slid in a battery and voila! As I’m gearing up for more cabinet work, I’ll be using my drills and sander pretty steadily. It’s nice to think that I can always have a battery ready to roll while that work is under way.
Pros: This “intelligent” charger lets you know what it’s doing. A steady flashing light tells you it’s charging; a solid light means it’s done – no more guess work. A super-fast flashing light means you have a bad cell in the battery and it needs replacing. The unit is small, only a little bigger than the battery, so it doesn’t take up much space. I LOVE the versatility of a single charger. “Maintenance state” means that if I’m off doing something else and leave the battery in place for hours after its charge, no harm done.
Cons: I should have bought one much sooner. So far, that’s the only negative I can think of.
Conclusion: If you have multiple B&D tools like I do that use the slide-in (not lithium ion variety) batteries, this is a must. Frankly, I don’t know how I’ve been using these tools this long without it.
Availability: I got mine at Amazon.com for $29.98 – with free shipping. Not sure if this unit qualifies, but through May 31, Amazon is offering $10 off a $50 purchase of select B&D items. They’ve got some good deals on batteries, too, (which I took advantage of; watch for those results soon).