powerIs your power tool pairing with its battery and battery charger? If all three are made by the same manufacturer and designed to work together as a system, then the answer is “yes,” says the Power Tool Institute, a leading industry organization for power tool safety resources. However, if you’re using a third-party battery or an adapter that purports to allow battery-switching between brands, the answer is a resounding no.

You might wonder why choosing only batteries designed to match the tool system matters. But when you look inside, you see that it gets to the very heart of what makes a power tool run safely and efficiently.

Power tool battery packs contain very high amounts of stored energy. Original equipment manufacturers manage this energy storage and release by employing a sophisticated battery management system (BMS) present in the battery, in the power tool, and in the battery charger. The BMS allows electronic synchronicity between system components so that, in addition to numerous parameters it monitors, proper charge and discharge levels are achieved during use.

Third-party batteries do not contain the same electronics, so the battery, charger, and tools of different manufacturers either don’t work at all, or work—but at greater risk—when paired with each other. The use of either a third-party battery or a battery adapter may bypass the BMS elements contained in tools or chargers, which can create a potentially dangerous situation. This can include causing contact with caustic chemicals, burns from escaping chemicals, fire, or even explosion.

For these reasons, the Power Tool Institute strongly recommends using only the original equipment manufacturer’s battery, tool, and charger together; never using third-party or knock-off batteries; and avoiding battery adapters. For more information about safe usage of power tool systems, visit