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


Your leaf blower battery should be able to charge a laptop. Your drill battery should charge your phone. And while we’re at it, why shouldn’t our increasingly powerful USB-C power adapters also charge the batteries of those power tools?

Fundamentally, there isn’t much difference between a battery bank you buy from Anker and a DeWalt power tool battery—both generally contain the same 18650 lithium-ion cells. But to do all that, your power tool’s batteries need a powerful USB-C port.

And that wasn’t really a thing… until now.

The $100 DeWalt DCB094 USB Charging Kit makes it a snap to add that port to any DeWalt 20V power tool battery. Slide this quarter-pound adapter onto your battery pack and you’ll get a bidirectional 100W USB-C PD port. That means not only can you charge a MacBook Pro-sized laptop with a large enough DeWalt pack, you can also charge those DeWalt packs with your laptop or phone’s USB-C charger.

The adapter supports everything from the inexpensive 1.3 Ah packs included with your loss-leader combo kit to the huge 15Ah FlexVolt packs you would probably only stay in stationary tools. It is the largest gadget charging battery you can find outside of dedicated power plants.

As someone with a garage drawer full of DeWalt batteries, I couldn’t wait to put it to the test. But it’s also not quite the experience I dreamed of.

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I’ve been testing the DeWalt DCB094 on and off for months, and here’s the good news: it totally works.

I turned DeWalt’s 15Ah monster into an external USB-C battery that could charge my wife’s 14-inch MacBook Pro (69.6Wh) three times and still have gas in the tank. My Steam Deck? I charged his 40.04Wh pack five full times – that’s 10 extra hours Elden Ring right there. When I filmed an almost three-hour time-lapse Lego build with my iPhone I plugged it into a 6Ah DeWalt pack knowing there was one not really I would run out of juice.

You get one 100W USB-C PD port and one 12W USB-A port. The USB-A port also charges while you charge the DeWalt battery.

Every DeWalt 20V battery I tried, new or old, large or small, also worked with the adapter. That includes my two 1.5Ah packs, a 1.7Ah pack, the two 5Ah packs that came with my lawnmower, and the two 6Ah packs I bought about a year ago and rarely use. I charged them all to 100W both ways through that USB-C port, enough to keep the largest USB-C PD laptops today (but not tomorrow) running as if they were plugged into the wall.

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

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

Charging times and capacities

DeWalt battery Battery condition 65W USB-C Charger + Adapter 100W USB-C Charger + Adapter 4A DeWalt wall charger (DCB115) Steam Deck charge from DeWalt battery*
DeWalt battery Battery condition 65W USB-C Charger + Adapter 100W USB-C Charger + Adapter 4A DeWalt wall charger (DCB115) Steam Deck charge from 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) Heavily used 55 minutes 51 minutes 47 minutes 48Wh (1 charge)
5Ah (100Wh) Moderately used 1h, 29m 1h, 5m 1h, 14m 66Wh (1.5 loads)
6Ah (120Wh) Little used 1h, 47m 1h, 24m 1h, 29m 84Wh (2 loads)
15Ah (300Wh) Brand new 4h, 33m 3h, 14m 4h, 6m 206Wh (5 loads)

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

The only problem I had was that 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 wouldn’t spin anymore – sometimes the DeWalt adapter wouldn’t light up to charge when I put it on. Sometimes I had to fool it by plugging it into a different battery or charger first.

So if it all works so beautifully, why am I giving this product a 6? partly because The edge just moved to a full 10-point rating score scale to avoid score inflation – a 6 is still good! — but also partly because the benefits of the DeWalt adapter begin to diminish as you not pairing it with a 15Ah battery that costs $389 alone.

Every battery I’ve tried works – even a Chinese knock-off – but not all batteries are created equal. I wouldn’t bother using a small 1.5Ah battery. Nor the knock-off, 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 needy devices long enough to warrant reaching them via a traditional battery bank or charger.

Some of that is likely due to transfer losses, which are not unique to DeWalt. You can’t fully charge a 100Wh laptop battery with a 100Wh battery pack like DeWalt’s DCB205 because some of that energy doesn’t get across. (Some are consumed as heat, and I can attest that charging my 100Wh HyperJuice with the DeWalt adapter made the HyperJuice uncomfortably warm to the touch.) Overall, I saw losses of between 20 and 33. percent with my gadgets – for example, the 6Ah (120Wh) DCB206 gave me only 80Wh of Steam Deck battery life.

You can even charge your DeWalt batteries super slow with a 5V USB-A adapter in no time. Charging this 6Ah DeWalt battery took 28.5 hours.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

But that 6Ah battery is also a 2.5-pound brick when you add the DeWalt adapter—twice the weight of my HyperJuice, even 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 little lighter, but then I might be looking at 66Wh of power for my gadgets and so on.

Considering that DeWalt’s batteries are quite pricey and heavy for the capacity they typically offer, I can’t really recommend anyone buying just for this feature in the DeWalt ecosystem unless you really need to. rough batteries that can charge your devices and power tools on the go.

But if you already Do you have a garage full of large DeWalt batteries that aren’t used much? I could definitely see myself spending $100 if I didn’t already have a capable power bank or two. Between the 5A charging speeds and the 100W output for gadgets, there’s a lot to love.

The A port supplies 5 volts at 2.4 amps, the C port 5 to 15 volts at 3A or 20V at 5A.

Zoom in for the charging specifications.

But what I really want now is for DeWalt and the company to take the obvious next step: tape the USB-C port to the battery itself, so we don’t have to mess with adapters at all. Back in January, DeWalt product manager Sean Fitzgibbons told me the DCB094 could be a bit of a test balloon: “If we get the interest I expect to get, I think that would open the door for a lot more potential adding that directly to batteries on the road.” .”

I think DeWalt should just do it. Many people would buy a USB-C power tool battery that would never consider a $100 adapter that you have to turn on and off every time.