Rechargeable Work Light – Which Batteries Should You Choose?

Whether you use a rechargeable work light in the shop or at home, you want something which gives you plenty of light and several hours of battery life. When it comes to batteries for your cordless tools, you have three basic choices. You can go with Ni-Cad, LiPo, or Li-Ion battery packs. Here is info on all three to help you make the right decision.


Nickel cadmium batteries contain nickel and cadmium compounds. Standard lead-acid or alkaline batteries have a little less than 2 volts of DC power in each cell. As the battery runs down, the voltage lowers, and they gradually weaken with use. Ni-Cad batteries offer a steady flow of 1.2 volts of direct current until they are nearly depleted of energy. This gives you a steady source of power, and it makes Ni-Cad ideal for use in power tools and rechargeable work light applications.

Ni-cad batteries don’t offer a lot of internal resistance. This keeps them working hard without putting out a lot of heat, and they are fast and easy to recharge.


When a lithium-Ion cell discharges, ions of lithium travel from the negative to the positive electrode and vice versa. They contain an electrolyte which makes ion movement possible. Li-Ion batteries are common in electronic devices like cell phones. Although they are sometimes used for cordless lighting products, most lithium-Ion batteries see us in electronics. They are expensive, and many power tools and cordless lighting products use lithium-polymer instead.


Lithium-polymer batteries are similar to Li-Ion batteries except they use a lithium powder or gel. Manufacturers can create battery packs in different sizes and shapes, and some are quite thin for low profile applications. Also, Lithium-Ion batteries have some safety concerns, but Li-Po batteries have better safety features. For most rechargeable work light products, both Li-Po and Ni-Cad are the best choices.

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