Planning to buy a cordless power tool? Know what to look for.
Cordless power tools are convenient, quick, and efficient. Professionals use these tools on a regular basis. Perhaps you are interested in starting DIY projects in your home but are unsure of what tool will work best for you. If you are a beginner woodworker, you may find the wide variety of available woodworking toolkits overwhelming, especially when it comes to power tools.
The choice of brands is vast. Buying power tools can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. Here’s a guide to help you find the best cordless power tool.
Table of Contents
The Power Source
There are three things to look for in terms of power source: battery type (Li-ion, NiCd, NiMH), voltage (V), and amps (Ah). If you select the highest number from each of these specifications, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the best tool. The answer depends on a variety of factors. Let’s take a look at them.
1. The Type of Battery
Batteries include nickel-cadmium (NiCd), nickel-metal hydride (NiMH), and lithium-ion (Li-ion). Since Li-ion batteries are lighter and offer more runtime, they are more popular, and their selection is expanding. The only advantage of nickel batteries is that they’re cheaper.
2. The Voltage
In a power tool, the higher the voltage, the greater the power. If you only need to drive a few screws or cut a 2”x4” once in a while, you’ll be fine with a 12V tool. If you are a professional with a heavy-duty task at hand, 24V or 36V tools might be the better choice. However, 18V batteries are considered suitable for handling everything from circular drills to reciprocating saws.
3. Ampere-hours (Ah) and Fuel Gauges
The capacity of a battery per hour is measured in Ah. For example, a cordless lawn mower that continuously draws 2.0 amps will drain a 2.0Ah battery in one hour. Consequently, battery packs or tools that all have fuel gauges are extremely convenient. Such gauges help check the battery’s remaining charge and recharge it before it runs completely flat.
4. Batteries and Bare Tools
Investing in a set of tools that use compatible batteries is a good idea. If you purchase a power tool, consider additional power tools you might need later. Most manufacturers offer bare tools (tools without batteries). Particularly 18-volt tools offer a wide variety of options.
5. The Chargers
When it comes to power sources, chargers are another consideration. Your power tool’s battery is the most expensive part, and smart chargers extend their life. Sensors in a smart charger communicate with a chip in the battery pack for optimum charging.
Speed and Performance
Most people look for torque (measured in Newton-meters or Nm) when purchasing power tools. The torque is the force that makes an object rotate, and this is the best indicator of how powerful your impact driver or drill is. The higher the number in Nm, the greater the twisting force. Power tools with varying torque settings give you better control.
The performance of a power tool is also determined by its blade size, stroke length, oscillation angle, etc. The speed rating of two saws can be the same, for instance. As a result of the larger circumference of the blade on the larger saw, it will cut faster.
Brushless motors eliminate the physical connection between parts, thus eliminating friction and wasted energy. According to the task, it also adapts. That’s why some manufacturers label them as “smarter” tools. A brushless drill, for example, will require less battery power when driving screws into a fiber board than what it would need to drive a three-inch screw into a mahogany piece.
Design and Convenience
When selecting a power tool, pay attention to its design and convenience. There are two basic types of drills: T-handles, which have handles near the middle of the drill body, and pistol grips, which have a handle at the rear. The T-handle is a better option for long hours of work since it minimizes wrist fatigue. On the other hand, pistol grip drills are easy to store, and they are not only intended for professional use.
Some people prefer smaller tools for ease of handling. However, smaller means less power and performance. Let’s consider power drills. There are ones that weigh less than three pounds and ones that weigh six pounds. While you may think six pounds is not much, think about working and lifting it for hours at a stretch. Therefore, it is a good idea to try them out at your local store before making the choice.
Safety Rating For a Cordless Power Tool
Certain safety mechanisms are required for all power tools. If you want to learn more about the safety features of the model, read its description. There is no guarantee of safety if you buy from a well-known brand, so make sure you do your research before making a purchase. A good place to start is by reading authentic reviews.
Power tools are not always priced as they appear on the tag. Check to see what the tool includes and decide if you need to purchase any extras. The total price will be higher if extras are added. In such a case, consider buying during the seasonal sale.
You can also save on tools by retrofitting your old tools with new batteries. If you already own a set of NiCad tools, some companies have designed their Li-ion batteries to fit old models. Find out if you can do the same and go for it.
Last Words… Cordless Power Tool!
Whether you are a DIYer or a professional, having the right tools for the job matters. It is easy to complete many tasks with a power tool that are not possible with a traditional tool. Just because it gets good ratings, do not blindly purchase it. Cumbersome tools will just sit on your bench.
Buy a well-known brand and spend a little more if you’re serious about DIY home renovations or wish to increase your professional skills and experience. With these points in mind, you can buy tools that perform well and adapt well to your future collection of tools.
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