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Skil SB18A 18-Volt NiCad Cordless Slide Style Battery Pack

by Skil

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2 new from CDN$ 108.59
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Product Information

Technical Details
Part NumberSB18A
Product Dimensions21.8 x 20.1 x 9.1 cm
Item model numberSB18A
Voltage18 volts
Item Package Quantity1
Batteries Included?No
  
Additional Information
ASINB0002EVHJ2
Best Sellers Rank #48,399 in Tools & Home Improvement (See top 100)
Shipping Weight703 g
Date First AvailableSept. 12 2011
  
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
54 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Rip off. Save your money. Buy lithium. Jan. 11 2009
By Trent Steele - Published on Amazon.com
I have the Skil 2887 18v cordless drill that uses these batteries. The drill is fine. (It's only 3/8", but it gets the job done most of the time.) If I knew then what I know now after having owned this drill for going on 3 years, I would have spent the [...] on a different drill that used lithium batteries. More on that later.

First off, if you buy the Skil 2887 drill for around [...], you get 2 of these [...] batteries. So, essentially you get a free drill and battery charger, which makes paying [...] for one of these batteries a bad idea. I say, take that [...] and put it away. Then next month, buy a completely new drill that uses better batteries like one of those lithium drivers that run around [...]. The batteries will serve you much better.

So, why does this battery suck so bad? For one, they're Nickel Cadmium, which is an older, cheaper battery technology that has memory issues. Basically if you don't completely discharge the battery every time, you will shorten the life of the battery fairly quickly. Also, if you leave it on the charger for extended periods of time, you'll find that it won't be able to hold a charge when you want to use it. They also have poor shelf life -- meaning they don't hold a charge for very long once they've been charged. These batteries in particular have terrible shelf life. If you charge it fully and use it, you'll get an hour or 3 of continuous use. But if you leave the battery sitting there for a day, it'll be dead when you go to use it. And it takes something around 3-6 hours to charge.

With my 3 year old skil drill, I have 2 of these batteries. One of them doesn't hold a charge at all so I'm forced to leave the other on the charger so that it's ready when I need it. That battery is on it's way out too. I absolutely refuse to buy a new battery because it's such a bad value. I'm saving up for a high torque lithium driver.

On top of being an under-performing battery, the clip these batteries use to lock into the drill is such a bad design. It uses a single release switch to unclip 2 locks. This is not only awkward to use, but it loosens over time and the single switch becomes inadequate for moving the 2 locks. It binds inside the battery shell. Essentially it becomes a wrestling match to get the battery loose from the drill. I notice that the new Skil 18v drills use 2 buttons like most other drill manufacturers. So it looks like skil addressed that issue with their new batteries, but if you own an older drill, you're SOL.

The charger that Skil provides for these batteries is a generic piece of junk charger. There is very little logic for preserving battery life. You can't "refresh" the battery. It's just a straight up charger, which is to be expected. If they gave you a good charger, you wouldn't have to spend $45 on a new battery every year. As many people are aware, inferior products and designed obsolescence seem to be part of the business plan of many consumer product manufacturers these days. That seems to be the case with these batteries.

So why lithum then? Well despite being a more expensive (and more prone to explosion) technology, lithium batteries have excellent shelf life. They have excellent energy density and they can handle quite a bit of charging cycles. The only drawback with lithium is that they don't like to be discharged fully or charged fully. 20-80% is their sweet spot. So if you have a charger that understands that, you'll get a nice long life out of lithium batteries. But the main feature to me is the long shelf life. I want to be able to leave my drill sitting there for a while and when I need it, I want it to be ready to go. I'm not a contractor for a living, so I don't use my drill every day, which makes leaving the batteries on the charger a bad idea. Lithium batteries are the way to go. Their high energy density makes them lighter and smaller, and their long shelf life helps them out perform larger, higher voltage batteries.

So, stay away from this battery. Buy a new tool if you have one that uses this battery.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Skil Now Has A Lithium Ion Replacement Battery! Sept. 27 2009
By Michael T. Farinha - Published on Amazon.com
This isn't really a review of the battery because, if you have a Skil tool that requires this type of battery then you didn't have much choice but to buy this batter. I've had mine now for a few years and they lasted almost a year and a half before they died on me. One big tip I suggest is to keep your batteries in a place with consistent and cool temperature. I used to leave my batteries in the garage or shed and I'm pretty sure that contributed to their short life.

The second point I wanted to make is that you can now buy a Lithium Ion replacement battery instead of this old Ni-Cad battery. I just got my new Lithium Ion battery yesterday so I can't comment on it in any meaningful way except to say that it has brought my tools back to life. I particularly like my Skil hand drill and Skil reciprocating saw so having those back is a great thing plus I get all the benefit of Lithium Ion.

These new Lithium Ion batteries require a new charger so you'll have to buy the battery and charger pack which runs about ninety bucks at Lowe's. Amazon carries this battery and charger pack for a whopping hundred and twenty! http://www.amazon.com/Skil-SC118B-LI-18-Volt-Charger-Battery/dp/B00213L52G/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_img_b
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This type of battery lasted about 8 years for me Dec 1 2010
By -Pete - Published on Amazon.com
I had better luck with these batteries than many people seem to have had. The two batteries that came with the tool set gave good service for about eight years.

It is true that NiCad batteries self-discharge in storage and will degrade if stored on the charger, but I handled that by storing the batteries on the tools and charging them as needed.

I'd buy a new set of these, except that a Lithium Ion replacement (SB18B-Li) is now available so I bought one of those instead. I'll probably get a second one as a spare later.

The local Lowe's had the best price that I found on these NiCads, so it pays to shop around.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Local retailers cheaper...without shipping also June 17 2012
By Tom Duncan - Published on Amazon.com
I come to Amazon to find bargins, however, the prices on these batteries are causing me to second guess the assumption that you get things cheaper online. Lowes, right down the street from me, has these batteries cheaper...and without the shipping cost or wait...what to say? shop around!Skil SB18A 18-Volt NiCad Cordless Slide Style Battery Pack
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
battery needs to be replaced after 6 months Aug. 23 2011
By Stan Lam - Published on Amazon.com
There is a manufacturing flaw with this battery. I've own 4 of these batteries and they all died at 6 months. The first 2 batteries came with my drill. My 3rd and 4th battery were received because of the warranty. The guy at Skil that handles the warranty was aware of some problem. I use to own a very old set of 12 Volt Skil drill batteries that last 5 years.