DeWalt USB-C charging kit review: Your power tool battery can now charge gadgets

Your leaf blower’s battery should be able to charge a laptop. Your drill battery should charge your phone. And while we’re at it, why our always more powerful Can USB-C power adapters also charge these power tool batteries?

Basically, there’s not much difference between a battery you buy from Anker and a power tool battery from DeWalt – both usually contain the same 18650 lithium ion cells. But to do all that, your power tool batteries would need a powerful USB-C port.

And that hasn’t really been a thing…until now.

The $100 DeWalt DCB094 USB Charging Kit lets you add this port to any DeWalt 20V power tool battery in a snap. Slide this quarter pound adapter onto your battery and you have a bidirectional 100W USB-C PD port. This not only means you can charge up to a MacBook Pro sized laptop with a large enough DeWalt pack, but you can also charge those DeWalt packs with the USB charger- C from your laptop or phone.

The adapter supports everything from the inexpensive 1.3Ah packs that come with your loss-leading combo kit to the massive FlexVolt 15Ah packs you would probably only glue stationary tools. It’s the largest gadget charging battery you’re likely to find outside of dedicated plants.

As someone with a garage drawer full of DeWalt batteries, I was eager to put it to the test. But it’s not either enough the experience I dreamed of.

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I tested the DeWalt DCB094 for months, and here’s the good news: it works perfectly.

I turned DeWalt’s 15Ah monster pack into a USB-C power bank that can charge my wife’s 14-inch MacBook Pro (69.6 Wh) three times full and there was still gasoline in the tank. My steam bridge? I charged its 40.04 Wh pack five times – that’s an extra 10 hours of Ring of Elden just there. When I filmed a Lego timelapse construction of nearly three hours with my iPhone, I plugged it into a DeWalt 6Ah pack knowing there was certainly not I would run out of juice.

You get a 100W USB-C PD port and a 12W USB-A port. The USB-A port will also do pass-through charging while you charge the DeWalt battery.

Every DeWalt 20V battery I tried, new or old, large or small, also worked with the adapter. This includes my two 1.5Ah packs, one 1.7Ah pack, the two 5Ah packs that came with my lawnmower and the two 6Ah packs I bought about a year ago and which I rarely use. I clocked them all charging up to 100W in both directions on that USB-C port, enough to keep today’s one (but not tomorrow) larger USB-C PD laptops working as if plugged into the wall.

When it came time to recharge those power tool batteries, the 100W USB-C port sometimes let me do it, too, faster than DeWalt’s power adapters. Although DeWalt unfortunately only ships the DCB094 with a 65W USB-C charger, even that should offer a faster charge rate than the company’s cheaper power adapters that come with drill kits or screwdriver. And when I added my own separately purchased 100W USB-C charger, I was able to save time on my DeWalt 4A (80W) AC adapter when charging larger packs.

Here’s how fast I charged these batteries and roughly how much I got out of them:

Charging time and capacities

DeWalt Battery Battery status 65W USB-C charger + adapter 100W USB-C charger + adapter DeWalt 4A Wall Charger (DCB115) Charge the Steam Deck from the DeWalt battery*
DeWalt Battery Battery status 65W USB-C charger + adapter 100W USB-C charger + adapter DeWalt 4A Wall Charger (DCB115) Charge the Steam Deck from the DeWalt battery*
1.5Ah (30Wh) Moderately used 26 minutes 27 minutes 22 minutes 21Wh (half load)
1.7Ah (34Wh) Brand new 30 minutes 26 minutes 26 minutes 22.8 Wh (half load)
4.0Ah (80Wh) Very used 55 minutes 51 minutes 47 minutes 48Wh (1 charge)
5Ah (100Wh) Moderately used 1h, 29m 1h, 5m 1h, 14m 66Wh (1.5 load)
6Ah (120Wh) lightly used 1h, 47m 1h, 24m 1h, 29m 84Wh (2 charges)
15Ah (300Wh) Brand new 4h, 33m 3h, 14m 4h, 6m 206Wh (5 charges)

*Charging larger batteries for longer may be more efficient. With a 15 Ah DeWalt battery, I saw closer to 224 Wh when charging a 69.6 Wh MacBook Pro and closer to 240 Wh when charging a 100 Wh USB-C battery bank.

The only problem I had was if I completely drained a battery, and I mean fully drained it – ran it all the way down in a leaf blower or drill repeatedly until it stopped spinning – sometimes the DeWalt adapter wouldn’t turn on to recharge when I turned it on. Sometimes I had to trick it into plugging it into a different battery or charger first.

So if everything works so well, why am I giving it a 6? Partly because The edge just moved to a full 10 point scale for exam scores to avoid score inflation – a 6 is always good! – but also partly because the benefits of the DeWalt adapter start to fade when you’re not pairing it with a 15Ah battery that costs $389 on its own.

Every battery I’ve tried works – even a Chinese knockoff – but not all batteries are created equal. I wouldn’t bother using a small 1.5Ah battery. Nor the counterfeit, because the seller lied about his capacity.

With smaller batteries like my 1.5A, 1.7A, and even 4Ah packs, they just didn’t charge the devices in need long enough to justify reaching them via a battery bank or a traditional charger.

Part of that is likely due to transfer losses, which aren’t unique to DeWalt. You can’t fully charge a 100Wh laptop battery with a 100Wh battery like DeWalt’s DCB205 because some of that energy doesn’t make it through. (Some is expended as heat, and I can attest that charging my HyperJuice 100Wh (with the DeWalt adapter, the HyperJuice becomes uncomfortably hot to the touch.) I’ve typically seen losses of between 20-33% with my gadgets – for example the 6Ah (120Wh) DCB206 only gave me than 80Wh of Steam Deck battery life.

You can even charge your DeWalt batteries very slowly with a 5V USB-A adapter in the blink of an eye. It took 28.5 hours to charge this 6 Ah DeWalt battery.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Edge

But that 6 Ah battery is also a 2.5 pound brick once you add the DeWalt adapter – twice the weight of my HyperJuice, although we’re assuming I don’t have to buy the DeWalt battery because I already have one for my tools. DeWalt’s 5Ah battery is only a bit lighter, but maybe I’m only looking for 66Wh power for my gadgets etc.

When you consider the fact that DeWalt batteries are quite expensive and heavy for the capacity they typically offer, I can’t really recommend anyone buying from the DeWalt ecosystem just for this feature unless you don’t really need robust batteries capable of recharging your devices and power tools on the go.

But if you already Have a garage full of oversized DeWalt batteries that don’t get much use? I could absolutely see myself spending $100 if I didn’t already have a capable power bank or two. Between 5A charging speeds and 100W output for gadgets, there’s a lot to like.

Port A is 5 volts at 2.4 amps, port C is 5 to 15 volts at 3A or 20V at 5A.

Zoom in for load specs.

Now, however, what I really want is for DeWalt and company to take the obvious next step: gluing the USB-C port to the battery itself, so that we don’t need to play with adapters. In JanuaryDeWalt product manager Sean Fitzgibbons told me the DCB094 could be a bit of a trial balloon: “If we get the interest that I think we’re going to get, I think it would open up the door to the potential addition of that directly. to batteries on the road.

I think DeWalt should. Many people would buy a native USB-C power tool battery that would never consider a $100 adapter that you have to grab and pull out every time.

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