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Know the Power Source of your Tools: Lithium-ion vs. Nickel-metal Hydride Batteries
Lithium-ion and Nickel-metal hydride batteries differ in the matter used to store its power. Lithium-ion batteries are made of carbon and lithium which store more energy than other materials. Nickel- metal hydride batteries use hydrogen along with titanium and other metals to store power.
As a result of the different materials used in manufacturing each battery, there are varying properties that account for its production, resale, and use. Some of these properties include the following: its cost, weight, power, and durability.
Cost: Currently, nickel- metal hydride batteries are less expensive to produce. I imagine, as time goes on and more lithium batteries are produced and used, the cost per battery will reduce. The majority of Andis older tools, with NiMh batteries, are less expensive than its lithium-ion counterparts. For example, the NiMh powered Andis BGRC+ vs the lithium-ion powered Andis Supra ZR.
Weight: NiMH batteries are larger and heavier than Li-ion batteries. This is important because weight matters in trimmers! A lighter trimmer equates to less barber fatigue which can come in handy when using a trimmer for extended periods of time such as for carving intricate designs. When comparing the NiMh powered Andis Slimline Pro to the lithium-ion powered Andis Slimline Pro Li, the lithium battery operating the Andis Slimline Li gives the tool an advantage. It allows the tool to maintain its strong blade torque but is also lighter in weight, deeming it more efficient for use.
Power: A Li-ion battery will be smaller in size while holding the same power as a nickel-metal hydride battery . In fact, lithium-ion batteries can be manufactured to store twice as much power as its nickel-metal hydride counterpart and weigh less. For example, the Andis Slimline Li is bigger in size but lighter in weight compared to the Andis Slimline Pro. Additionally, the Andis Slimline Pro Li features a 2-hour charge and run-time while the Andis Slimline Pro has an 1- hour charge and run-time. This is due to the property composition of the batteries.
Durability: While both batteries are durable and have been used for various applications over the years, there is actually an area where NiMH batteries have an advantage. Some Li-ion batteries don’t last as long in extreme temperatures, particularly very hot climates. However, manufacturers are working to improve the chemistry to make Li-ion batteries just as durable in extreme temperatures. Both batteries have the same charge/ discharge cycle life. Some Andis tools have bigger lithium-ion batteries which lead to prolonged battery cycles. This, in turn, allow tools to last longer when handled with proper care. See chart below.
After considering the factors of each battery type, I’ve come to prefer Li-ion powered tools over NiMh powered tools. Through use, I have found that the Andis Slimline Pro Li and the Andis Supra Zr personally fit my needs and habits. Honestly, I fall short in my charging habits; however, my Li-ion powered tools perform true to their capacity, lasting an entire day withstanding high volume cutting. I have confidence in the performance level of these tools because they have yet to let me down. They perform with the power of a corded tool, but yet give me the freedom of a wireless tool. In using Li-ion tools, I have the added benefit of performing faster hair cuts because I’m not spending time detangling cords. In conclusion, I will say my experience with Li-ion tools has been great. The quality of cutting precision with these tools has been consistently high. If you are a quality cutter looking for great quality tools, I would suggest you, too, try the Li-ion powered tools manufactured by Andis.