Everyone knows that power tool batteries from big brands can be stupidly expensive. So if you are on a budget then you may have well had a cheeky peek at all of the knock off batteries available all over Amazon and eBay. But do these batteries work? And are they worth buying?
Do the batteries work?
Yes, they do work, and they will work in your Milwaukee power tools. So conversation over then right? Well it is not that simple, they work, but not without numerous caveats.
So what are these issues then? To start with let’s talk about capacity. While the official batteries are always the advertised capacity this is definitely not true of the knock off batteries. The advertised Ah of these batteries is often just a bare-faced lie, with them never coming near what they are sold as.
With some, you can simply open the battery pack up and see that the capacity printed on the cell is completely different to what it says on the outside of the battery. This is because a lot of these batteries come directly from the manufacturer in China where let’s just say the rules are a little more lax around false advertising.
This won’t be true of all of these knock off batteries and some will indeed be the advertised capacity. but finding these is a lottery, you really don’t know what you are going to get until the postman turns up.
The next big issue is safety. Genuine Milwaukee battery backs have some decent electronics inside which monitor the charge going into the batteries along with temperatures and discharge rates. This can all be used to monitor the battery and shut it down if a problem is detected.
This is not always the case with the knock off batteries with some of them having little to no protection. What this means is that the batteries can overheat, often while charging.
An overheated battery can then lead to a fire, and if you have ever seen a lithium-ion battery fire you will be well aware of just how dangerous this can be.
I can hear you already, “I will just buy the batteries with only 5* reviews, that will cut out all of these potential issues”. Well, it would, if the reviews weren’t a cesspit of fake buyers and paid for reviews.
This is a major problem, particularly on Amazon, which has been in the news in recent years.
For these types of products, it is a serious issue. The listing will appear with hundreds of fake reviews, sell for a while and then get taken down. Only for another listing to appear again in a few weeks. just go and look through some of these reviews and you will start to see just how many of them are nonsense, not even making sense.
So should you buy knock off Milwaukee batteries?
Well, that is up to you. While I have listed a lot of negatives above there is no doubting that they are a lot cheaper than the real deal and that good ones do exist. The only problem is that it is a complete gamble on whether you do get a good battery or a complete dud.