Can You Use Porter Cable Batteries in Craftsman Tools? Exploring Cross-Compatibility Options

Can You Use Porter Cable Batteries in Craftsman Tools

You’re in the midst of a demanding project, and suddenly your Craftsman tool’s battery dies on you. But fortune smiles upon you here: You own another tool with a fully charged Porter Cable battery. Now, the question lingers in the air:

Can you use Porter Cable batteries in Craftsman tools? The answer is both yes and no. While the physical compatibility of the battery pins may seem promising, some Craftsman and Porter Cable batteries have different polarities. This means that the batteries cannot be used interchangeably.

However, it is possible to achieve cross-compatibility with the help of battery polarity adapters or modifications. In this article, we will explore the intricacies of battery interchangeability. We’ll also shed light on how you can use the batteries interchangeably.

Porter Cable Batteries in Craftsman Tools? An Overview of Their Features

Here is a table illustrating the similarities and differences between the two batteries:

Feature Description
Mounting Style Porter-Cable and Craftsman batteries feature a sliding mounting style with compatible mounting directions and release tabs
Polarity Most Porter-Cable and Craftsman batteries have different polarities, meaning the positive and negative terminals are configured differently
Spring Mechanisms Most spring designs are similar between the two brands
Circuitry The internal circuitry of Porter-Cable and Craftsman batteries may differ significantly as they are not from the same brand

Porter-Cable and Craftsman Polarity Difference Explained

Polarity in drill batteries refers to the electrical properties that determine the direction of current flow within the battery. It involves two terminals: the positive and negative terminals.

Most Craftsman batteries have a polarity configuration that differs from Porter Cable batteries. In Craftsman batteries, the positive terminal is opposite from the Porter Cable positive terminal. The negative terminal is also located on the opposite end of the Porter Cable negative terminal.

These differences in polarity configurations between Porter Cable and Craftsman batteries mean they are incompatible.

Testing Out Porter Cable and Craftsman Tools Battery Polarities

Here is how to know if the two batteries have the same polarity and if they can be used interchangeably:

  1. Gather the necessary tools: Ensure you have a multimeter with probes, a Porter Cable battery, and a Craftsman battery for testing.
  2. Set up the multimeter: Turn on the multimeter and set it to the DC voltage mode. Select a voltage range that can accommodate the expected battery voltage (e.g., 12V or 18V for power tool batteries).
  3. Prepare the probes: Attach the red probe to the multimeter’s positive (+) terminal and the black probe to the negative (-) terminal. Ensure the probes are securely connected.
  4. Identify the terminals: Examine the Porter Cable battery and locate its two terminals. The terminals are often unmarked, without clear indications of positive or negative.
  5. Test the Porter Cable battery: Place the multimeter’s red probe on one of the Porter Cable battery terminals and the black probe on the other terminal. Note the voltage reading displayed on the multimeter.
  6. Analyze the voltage reading: If the multimeter displays a positive voltage reading (e.g., +12V), it indicates that the red probe is connected to the positive terminal and the black probe to the negative terminal.

Alternatively, if the multimeter shows a negative voltage reading (e.g., -12V), the probes are reversed, with the red probe on the negative terminal and the black probe on the positive terminal.

  1. Determine the correct polarities: Based on the voltage reading obtained, you can determine the polarities of the Porter Cable battery. If the positive terminal is associated with a positive voltage reading and the negative terminal with a negative reading, you have successfully identified the polarities.
  2. Repeat the process for the Craftsman battery: Follow the same steps as described above to test the Craftsman battery. Place the multimeter’s probes on the terminals and note the voltage reading.
  3. Compare the polarities: Analyze the voltage reading obtained from the Craftsman battery. If it aligns with the opposite polarity configuration compared to the Porter Cable battery (e.g., positive reading on the terminal identified as negative in the Porter Cable battery), you have determined the polarities of the Craftsman battery.

Here is a YouTube video if you need a visual explanation of determining the polarity of drill batteries:

Can You Use Porter Cable Batteries in Craftsman Tools? Using With Reverse Polarity in Craftsman Tools

You have two options for using such a battery in your tool. You can modify the tool or buy an adapter. Here is an explanation for both.

Method 1: Modifying Craftsman Tools for Porter Cable Battery Compatibility

Here is a step-by-step guide with detailed instructions for DIY beginners:

  • Step 1: Confirm reverse polarity: Before proceeding with the modification, verifying that the Porter Cable battery has reverse polarity compared to the Craftsman tools is essential. This can be done by testing the polarity using a multimeter as explained earlier in this article.
  • Step 2: Gather the tools: You will need a screwdriver set, soldering iron, solder wire, wire cutters/strippers, heat shrink tubing (optional), and electrical tape.
  • Step 3: Power down and disassemble the drill: Turn off the power switch on the Craftsman drill and remove the battery. Carefully remove the screws that secure the drill housing using the appropriate screwdriver. Gently separate the drill’s casing to expose the internal components.
  • Step 4: Locate and detach power input wires: Using wire cutters or strippers, carefully detach the power input wires from their respective terminals on the drill’s power switch. Take note of the wire colors and their original positions for reference during reassembly.
  • Step 5: Interchange the power input wires: Swap the positions of the power input wires, ensuring that the wire connected to the positive terminal on the power switch is now connected to the negative terminal and vice versa.
  • Step 6: Solder the power input wires: Heat the soldering iron and apply solder to the exposed ends of the wires. Carefully solder the reversed power input wires to their respective terminals on the power switch. Allow the solder to cool and solidify before moving on.
  • Step 7: Insulate and secure the wires: If desired, slide a piece of heat shrink tubing over each soldered connection and use a heat gun to shrink the tubing. Alternatively, you can wrap the soldered connections with electrical tape to secure and insulate them.
  • Step 8: Reassemble the drill: Carefully align the drill housing and reinsert the screws to secure it in place. Ensure all the screws are correctly tightened, but avoid over-tightening.
  • Step 9: Test the modified compatibility: Insert the Porter Cable battery with reversed polarity into the Craftsman drill. Turn on the power switch to check if the modified configuration allows the drill to function correctly. Ensure all controls and features of the drill are working as expected.

Method 2: Buying a Battery Adapter

Another option to overcome the polarity difference between Porter Cable and Craftsman batteries is purchasing a battery adapter. This costs between $19 to $35, depending on the model. One such adapter is the X-Adapter Craftsman Cordless Tool Adapter.

The battery adapter acts as an interface between the Porter Cable battery and the Craftsman tool. This adapter is designed to align the electrical connections properly.

  1. To use the battery adapter, simply insert the Porter Cable battery into the corresponding slot on the adapter. The adapter’s internal wiring will automatically adjust the polarity, making it compatible with Craftsman tools.
  2. Once the battery is securely inserted, connect the adapter to the Craftsman tool as you would with a regular Craftsman battery.
  3. The Porter Cable battery should now power the tool, eliminating the polarity mismatch issue.

Risks of Using Porter Cable Batteries in Craftsman Tools

Now you know that you can use the two batteries interchangeably. But are there risks involved? Here is a breakdown:

  • Voiding warranties: The manufacturers will not provide support if any issues or damages occur while using non-compatible batteries. They won’t also cover the costs of repairs or replacements especially if you modified your drill by opening it.
  • Safety hazards: Using batteries that do not match the intended polarity or electrical specifications can pose safety hazards. Incompatible batteries may cause short circuits, electrical shocks, or fires. This jeopardizes the user’s safety and potentially damages surrounding objects or property.
  • Performance and efficiency: Even if the adapted setup work initially, there is no guarantee that the performance and efficiency will be at the maximum. Craftsman tools are optimized to work with their designated batteries.

Using alternate batteries may reduce power, shorter runtime, or inconsistent performance. This is true if the batteries do not have the same amperage, voltage and capacity.


The above information has fully answered the question, can you use Porter Cable batteries in Craftsman tools? While finding ways to interchange these batteries may be tempting, it is crucial to consider the risks and implications involved.

Modifying tools or using battery adapters may offer solutions, but they come with potential equipment compromised performance, warranty voiding and so on. So, prioritize safety, follow manufacturer guidelines, and use batteries designed for the respective tool brands. If you must use Porter Cable batteries, ensure they have the same capacity, voltage, and amperage.

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