Handheld power tools have improved dramatically over the years, and the Ryobi 12v battery products are very popular. Ease of use when there is no power cord is one of the big factors. But this relies on the product having a good battery life.
Ryobi products have established themselves as one of the leading manufacturers of 12v battery tools. The products are great value and the Ryobi 12v battery packs are reliable with a long working life.
This review looks at the CB120L Ryobi 12v battery and two compatible batteries from other manufacturers. The aim is to find the best replacement battery when yours eventually gives up, which it will. This prolongs the life of your tool, saving you money in the long run.
Types of 12V Battery from Ryobi
Ryobi makes batteries in a range of voltages and Ah ratings, from 4v up to 18v and beyond. They are further split between three battery types:
- Lithium Plus
In this review, we are looking at Ryobi 12v lithium batteries and after-market alternatives. Ryobi’s 12v range of tools has now been reduced drastically, but the batteries are still available to keep the tools running.
Lithium batteries have several advantages over Ni-cad batteries. Lithium batteries hold their charge for up to four times longer. They are also smaller and lighter than equivalent Ni-cad batteries. You can replace a Ni-cad battery with an equivalent lithium battery. You will also need a specific lithium battery charger.
3 Best 12V Ryobi Batteries Comparison Table
Shentec 3.0Ah 12V
Exmate 12V 2.5Ah
|Size (inches)||4 x 3 x 2.5||4.1 x 3.2 x 2.8||4.02 x 3.39 x 2.91|
|Weight||8 ounces||8.8 ounces||6.8 ounces|
|Amp Hours||1.3 Ah||3 Ah||2.5 Ah|
|Charging Time||1.5 hours||3 hours||2.5 hours|
|Short circuit protection||✔||✔||✔|
|Battery charge indicator||✔||--||--|
|Warranty||3 years||60 days||1 year|
Ryobi 130194002 CB120L Lithium Battery Review
This is the official Ryobi 12v Lithium battery used in many of the company’s drills and other hand tools. It is made with the same quality as the original, it’s guaranteed to fit, and has Ryobi’s three-year warranty.
Buying the original manufacturer part brings peace of mind, but also at a substantially higher price. If keeping your warranty and using original parts are important, then the Ryobi 12v battery pack is the choice for you.
- Original manufacturer equipment and quality
- Guaranteed fit
- Three-year warranty
- Battery charge level indicator
- Have a longer life than aftermarket versions
- More expensive than alternative batteries
- Cannot increase Ah rating
Who is it for?
The Ryobi 12v CB120L is the right product for people that prefer the original manufacturer item. You like the quality of the Ryobi products and prefer the peace of mind of buying original equipment. The quality justifies the higher cost, compared to alternative 12v batteries.Check Price at Amazon
Best Aftermarket Ryobi 12V Battery
Shentec CB120L 12V 3Ah Lithium Battery
Buying the Shentec aftermarket battery to replace a worn-out original Ryobi 12v battery offers a number of advantages. The biggest advantage has to be the price.
At around half the cost of the original Ryobi battery, you can buy two for the price of one. Having a spare battery is always useful and saves waiting for the battery to charge while working on a job.
Another significant advantage is the increase in power. The Shentec is much larger, with a 3 Ah capacity. In theory, this should give you a much longer working time, but the lower quality parts may reduce that advantage.
Nothing comes for free, and there are some downsides to the Shentec as well. The biggest problem is the short 90-day money-back guarantee, which may put some people off. Batteries are considered as consumables, but when compared to the three-year warranty on offer from Ryobi, it is poor. That said, most people have had very little trouble with this battery.
- Much cheaper than the original
- Increased power rating
- Compatible with RYOBI CB120L, CB121L, and BPL-1220 12v batteries
- Overcharge, overheating and short circuit protection
- Uses LG or Samsung battery cells
- Very short money-back guarantee
Who is it for?
The Shentec 12v Lithium battery is perfect for anyone looking for an increase in performance and value for money. The internal battery cells are either LG or Samsung, although the casing and connector will probably be of lower quality to the Ryobi original.Check Price at Amazon
Exmate 12V 2.5Ah Replacement Lithium Battery
The Exmate JH-90 is another replacement for the Ryobi 12v battery and can replace a range of Ryobi battery types. This one is interesting as they claim it as being half the weight of the others on review here. Although none of the batteries is particularly heavy, the weight makes a difference if you are using the tool for lengthy periods.
Another advantage of the Exmate over the Ryobi is the power rating. At 2.5 Ah, the Exmate is nearly double the capacity of the original. The extra power should mean that it will last significantly longer than the Ryobi battery.
Aside from the weight and power, the Exmate is a direct replacement for the Ryobi 12v battery. Other features include overcharging protection, short circuit protection, and over-discharge protection.
- 30 day money back guarantee
- Increased power compared to Ryobi 12v battery
- Half the weight of the original battery
- 12 month warranty
- May not last as long
Who is it for?
The Exmate JH-90 offers a good mix between cost and increased performance. It is also half the weight of the original Ryobi, so perfect for tradespeople that use their power tools all day.Check Price at Amazon
Can I use a different brand’s battery in a Ryobi tool?
Yes, you can, is a quick and easy answer!
But as discussed above, there are pros and cons to both the Ryobi 12v battery and the other brands. Buying the Ryobi 12v battery guarantees you are getting the original manufacturer-quality item. Buying an alternative brand battery carries a little more risk.
So what are the pros and cons of buying a different brand of battery?
Pros of using a different brand
- Usually significantly cheaper
- Normally a substantial increase in power
- May be available even if the original battery isn’t
Cons of using a different brand
When you buy a different brand of battery to replace your original, you cannot guarantee the quality. Many are cheaply manufactured in China and do not match the original specifications. This is, of course, a balance against the reduced cost of different brands.
- Sometimes lower quality components
- The battery may discharge more quickly
- The battery life may be shorter
- The warranty is often shorter
For a long guarantee, original quality components, and guaranteed compatibility, choose the Ryobi 12v battery. If you are looking for a lower-cost alternative that may offer better power, then choose an alternative brand. There is a small trade-off between quality and cost. But the different brand batteries are half the price of the Ryobi.
Can I charge a lithium battery with a Ni-cad charger?
No, the correct lithium charger should be used to avoid damage to the battery. It is also a potential fire hazard, so don’t try it. All the batteries in the review can be charged with the original Ryobi lithium battery charger.
Should I buy a genuine Ryobi 12v battery?
There are many reasons to buy a genuine Ryobi battery. You know it will fit, and you know it is compatible and won’t damage your hand tool.
Are alternative brand batteries safe?
Yes, the replacement batteries are tested to the same standards and are direct replacements for the original.
Do the alternative brand batteries have the same power as the original?
In most cases, they are more powerful than the original Ryobi 12v battery. In this review, the two alternative batteries are twice the power of the original.
Will the alternative brand batteries last as long?
To achieve greater power, but at half the price, something has to give. You may find the cheaper batteries have a slightly shorter life than the original Ryobi battery. But at half the price, that is probably okay.
Do different brand batteries have the same features as the original?
This can vary and is something that needs to be checked before the purchase. For example, the Ryobi battery has a charge indicator, but the alternative brands do not. If that is important to you then buy the Ryobi battery.