Key Considerations When Buying Power Tools
The core issue with picking power tools is that many of them come with similar features which makes it challenging to distinguish one for the other. However, if you know what to look for in a tool, you’ll be in a better position to decide whether or not a tool you’re planning to buy is worth its value. Below are some key considerations that DIY and hobbyists should make when buying power tools.
Make Yourself Familiar with Power Tool Brands It is useful to familiarize yourself with the various brands in the power tool niche and which ones are generally used in the household and DIY domain and those that are suitable for professional level work. Contractor grade options usually carry heavier hardware and an extended set of features than DIY focused tools. Craftsman, Black + Decker, Porter Cable, RYOBI, Kobalt, Matika, and Skil are a few famous names in the DIY power tool market. Contractor brands include Hilti, Bosch, DeWalt, and Milwaukee.
Know Your Budget & The Features You Need If the price of the tool you are considering is on the higher side, then weigh the costs of opting for a substitute or a lower priced option. For instance, if you want to buy a track saw, but there’s already a circular saw in your possession, then a speed square or a straight edge could be enough for making your cuts. If you have steady hands, a jigsaw can be a viable alternative to a band saw. If you don’t have plans to work every weekend on projects, you should be fine with NiCad batteries power options rather than Lithium-ion. Make sure you analyze the capabilities of your existing toolkit and to what extent it can help you finish ongoing projects before splurging cash on things you don’t need.
Don’t Forget to Examine the Tool’s Power Capability Simple logic applies – the higher the voltage, the higher the power. That translates to more speed for sanding, for torque for miter sawing or screw driving, and more hammer action for those applying impact driving. If you are not a pro, then you probably can do without tools that go above 18-volt in power. For instance, an 18-volt drill would suffice for tasks like deck building and framing, while an 18-volt circular saw would let you cut through a significant amount of plywood, especially if you’re using a cordless model as they have thinner blades to make up for the less powerful torque. Remember, though; there are still tools that you should always get with cords. If you want to cut thick lumber (a task that requires you to have circular or miter saws), you would need the reliable and consistent power of a plug-in tool. The same applies to hard workers like grinders and reciprocating saws.
Pay Special Attention to The Accessories Accessories can be a deal breaker when it comes to buying power tools. Vendors sometimes inspire brand loyalty by selling tools with accessories or without. That way once you’ve bought a tool and its included blades – you can use the blades on all the other tools (where applicable) from that same manufacturer. It’s smart thinking, then, to base your purchase decision on the accessories a company sells that might lend an extra hand in some projects or might be required down the line. So, you might appreciate the presence of that LED light, which gives users the ability to work in areas with low lighting. If the price of the tool with accessories is high, it’s might be because the manufacturer has invested in ergonomic design, durable materials, or innovation.
Top Power Tools for DIY/HobbyistsNow that you know what to consider when shopping for power tools, here’s a list of power tool essentials for the DIYers and hobbyists, along with some background on what makes each tool on the list stand out.
1. Cordless DrillA cordless drill is an ideal tool for drilling pilot holes, starting screws, and more. It can be used in any number of ways, and once you get one, you will wonder how you have ever managed to put that Ikea furniture together without it.
Best OptionsMatika XT261M features a 2-speed half-inch hammer driver-drill with a branded 4-pole motor which delivers 480 inches. Lbs. of Max Torque. Its impact driver weighs 3.3 pounds yet provides a powerful 1,460 inch-pounds of torque. In addition, buyers get two cordless tools that deliver a full range of driving, fastening, and drilling applications.
What makes it stand out?The drill has 18V lithium-ion battery with a category-leading 40 minutes charge time.
This drill is small and delivers only 12 volts of drilling power, but it’s capable of handling most basic household jobs. The compact drill offers 265 inches of torque and can run at two speeds: 350 and 1,300 RPM. Also, the drill’s 20+1 clutch settings allow users to make torque adjustments for precise drilling and screw driving.
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What makes it stand out?The compact design allows users to work in tight spaces comfortably. Also, it featured LED lights that help illuminate low-light areas.
2. Miter SawSome DIYers may see the miter saw as a construction grade tool, and it indeed offers several benefits to contractors, but it does way too much on an intermediate level to remove it from this category. For instance, it’s perfect for achieving bevel cuts and precise angles. This is quite handy when it comes to trim work. Also, sometimes it’s just easier to cut things with a miter saw, rather than hauling out your circular saw or hand saw.
Best OptionsThe LS1040 features a 15-amp direct-drive motor that offers 4,600 rpm for enhanced performance. Adjustments range from 0 to 52 degrees right and 0 to 45 degrees left, and with 9 positive miter stays at 15, 22.5, 30, or 45 degrees right or left, and 0 degrees when it comes to 90 degree-cuts. In addition, the Matika LS1040 miter saw is equipped with electronic speed control that maintains quickness under load.
What makes it stand out?Its aluminum base is engineered to deliver accurate cuts. Also, comfort and use-of-use include a fluorescent light that helps illuminate work surfaces.
If you’re looking for something other than a sliding saw that is capable of making a few compound cuts, the C10FCG from Hitachi is your best bet. It allows users to cut to a width of about 4 inches at 45 degrees and 6 inches at 0 degrees, which for the majority is more than ever needed. The miter ranges 52 right 52 left and boasts a 15 Amp motor for the most laborious cutting jobs. Collectively, the features indicate that the Hitachi C10FCG is best for DIY woodworkers who need versatility, reliability, and precision on the project.
What makes it stand out?Comes with a vice clamping system that does an excellent job of securing a workpiece.
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3. Nail GunHaving a compact nailer is the way to go when you are installing trim or completing small projects. It makes it convenient to do things like fixing a sunroom ceiling and adding crown molds, and it is even capable of replacing jigs due to its speedy function (since nails and glues are much quicker than screwing things together and making pilot holes). The added benefit of this DIY power tool is that most models function on a battery.
Best OptionsThe Ryobi P854 is an 18-gauge nailer featuring Airstrike Technology, which removes the need for bulky hoses, noisy compressors or expensive cartridges. It can drive 18-gauge nails from 5/8 inch to 2-inch length. Also, it includes two non-marring pads that help keep work surface scratch free. Moreover, there’s an 18-volt compact lithium-ion battery that offers durable performance. Users even get a convenient adjustment dial that keeps regulating air pressure for better results.
What makes it stand out?The Ryobi P854 features grip-light technology that engages LED with a grasp of the tool handle. Another unique aspect is its sequential actuation mode that enables precise placement. On top of that, users get to see a low nail indicator that informs it is time to reload.
BHTOP Cordless Brad Nailer ＆Stapler， 2 in 1 18Ga Heavy Finish Nail Gun With 18Volt 2Ah Lithium-ion Rechargeable BatteryThe BHTOP Cordless Brad Nailer ＆Stapler has a durable, full copper motor and an anti-dry mechanism that helps avoid missing nails while extending the life of the motor. It offers a 18 Volts of instantaneous power and a 25-50 mm straight staple length. Also, it has a nail firing speed rate of 10 pieces per minute.
What makes it stand out?The anti-dry mechanism makes the nail gun more durable. Moreover, its quick hit nailing makes it great for trim and finish, cabinet work, shoe molding, chair rail molding, and more.
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4. Reciprocating SawRegarded as the king of demolition projects, the reciprocating saw can chew through tubing, metals, drywall, and wood with ease. Users can also equip reciprocating saws with specialty blades for eliminating pruning and grout trees. Plus, if you’re going to work with pallet wood, a reciprocating saw is one of the best ways to remove it.
GOODSMANN 18V Li-ion Battery Cordless Compact Reciprocating Saw with 1500 mAh Battery, Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw with 2 Reciprocating Saw BladesGOODSMANN cordless reciprocating saw is lightweight, cordless and easy to use. The package includes 1 reciprocating saw that offers variable speeds and 2 reciprocating blades for cutting metal as well as wood. The versatile design and function allow users to cut with confidence for a wide range of remodeling, demolition, and building work, such as slicing metal ductwork, opening plastic pipes, and cutting strong openings.
What makes it stand out?It comes with a 1500 mAh battery that ensures prolonged wireless function. Also, the variable speed makes it convenient to cut through plastic, wood, and non-ferrous metals. However, it is essential to keep in mind that the GOODSMANN cordless reciprocating saw should be used with the relevant saw blade for cutting out different materials.
The SLIK 9206-02 is the ideal power tool for any hobbyist looking to complete small projects such as trimming trees around the home. It comes with a 7.5 Amp motor that offers ample power for efficient cutting and includes a tool-less blade changing option for convenient blade changes. In addition, the 9206-02 reciprocating saw by SLIK features metal gear housing – the heavy-duty kind – for enhanced durability and ruggedness.
What makes it stand out?The SLIK 9206-02 7.5 Amp Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw offers counterbalance for vibration control. Also, it brings pivoting footing that provides users with extra stability when they attempt to cut tough materials.
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GOODSMANN 18V Li-ion Battery Cordless Compact Reciprocating Saw with 1500 mAh Battery, Variable Speed Reciprocating Saw with 2 Reciprocating Saw Blades
5. Oscillating ToolIt is the most versatile power tool a DIYer can have in his/her toolkit. An oscillating tool from a top brand can grind, flush-cut, scrape, plunge-cut, sand, and remove grout, all from tight spaces if needed. The jack-of-all-trades tool functions by delivering tiny and quick vibrations that can sand in tight corners, cut metal, and do a more. Also, users get the option to extend the power and functionality of the oscillating tool with a wide range of interchangeable accessories.
Best OptionsDremel MM40-05’s 3.8 high-performance amp motor ensures it can withstand the most demanding of applications. The oscillating tool comes with an on/off switch, which enables users to maintain speed setting and use one hand to perform a variety of functions. In addition, it includes a quick boost function that delivers an extra boost of power to help users cut through surfaces that offer more resistance.
What makes it stand out?Users get 36 accessories along with the oscillating tool, including drywall blade, grout blade, flexible scraper, loop and hook pad, sandpaper sheets, and more. Also, the Dremel MM40-05 comes with a quick hold function that holds accessories intact magnetically to make usage even easier.
VonHaus 1.8 Amp Variable Speed Multi-Purpose Oscillating Tool with Sander Base Pads, Half Moon Saw, Scraper Knife, Dust Extraction Port, and Carry Storage CaseThough not as powerful as Dremel MM40-05, the thumb operated wheel on the VonHaus 1.8 Amp’s rear enables users to modify the oscillation rate, with a 19,000 oscillations/minute maximum speed. The package also contains a blow mold carry case for easy transportation and storage and a universal E-cutter (end cutter with a plunge depth of 1.6-inch) for cutting ferrous metals like pipes and metals. Moreover, the corded multi-purpose VonHaus 1.8 Amp includes varying gradients of Sanding Pads (9 in total) to deliver a consistent finish.
What makes it stand out?Offers fast sanding, grinding, cutting and sanding with 11000-19000 oscillations/minute. Users also benefit from a stainless steel scraper, which is ideal for removing paint, coatings, residues, as well as separating vinyl layers.
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6. JigsawA jigsaw comes in handy when you have to cut shapes and curves, and it can also be used to make straight cuts with a guide. Models that offer multiple orbital settings provide users greater control over accuracy and speed. While it can’t be compared to a reciprocating saw, you’ll find a jigsaw quite useful when your piece is too big to cut or when you’re unable to bring the task close to the tool.
Best OptionsThis Jig Saw features are a variable motor that generates 0-2, 100 strokes per minute (spm). Users can also tweak the four orbital positions offered by the tool for aggressive to fine cutting. Also, the Craftsman C3 includes a tool-less blade clamp that makes it convenient to exchange/replace blades. The total weight of the jigsaw is five pounds, which makes it comfortable to carry around.
What makes it stand out?The Craftsman C3 has a tool-less blade clamp for easy exchange of blades. Moreover, users can take advantage of the priority Laser TracAlightment technology that offers significant precision when cutting.
The BDEJS600C from Black+Decker delivers 3,000 strokes per minute (spm) of cutting power with its 5 Amp variable-speed motor. The jigsaw is capable of making bevel cuts in 45 degrees and even offers an adjustable shoe for stability and angled cuts in each direction. Furthermore, it comes with a new and enhanced Wire Guard which gives DIYers a clear line of sight.
What makes it stand out?Black+Decker BDEJS600C 5.0-Amp Jig Saw boasts Curve Control technology that enables users to adjust the orbit of the saw using 1 of 4 customizable settings.
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7. SanderIf your projects involve any sort of wood cutting (which they probably do), then an electric sander would become a necessity at some point. They offer the quickest route to sanding wood smoothly. Advanced models come with spring-loaded clamps that keep materials like sandpaper against the flat, square pad of the sander. Overall, electric sanders are intended for removing dried coats of varnish or paint, sanding off challenging to remove putty, rounding over edges that are sharp, and wood sanding in an ultra-smooth manner.
Best OptionsThe DEWALT DWE6421K comes with a 3.0 Amp motor that can spin pads at 12,000 OPM. The sander has a rubber over-mold in all of its essential areas and an individual counterweight design for minimizing vibration. In addition, its switch is dust-sealed to protect against ingestion of dust, and the dust collector also has a one-hand locking system for convenient use. A separate accessory, called the universal DWV9000 quick connector, can be used to attach dust port to external vacs that have 1-1/4 inch hoses.
What makes it stand out?The sander’s shorter weight allows users to get it close to the workpiece. Also, the vacuum locking system provides improved dust interfacing and collection.
The BDERO100 from Black+Decker features a 5-inch orbit sander that offers efficient and quick material scraping. Its compact size lets DIYers bring it in range with the work surface, which gives them much needed maneuverability around the tasks at hand. In addition, the sander contains hook and loop system that makes it convenient to change papers. On top of all that, the BDERO100 has a dust collection system that keeps all debris and dust particles at bay.
What makes it stand out?The random orbit action allows for high-quality finishes and high removal rates. Hence, the versatile, compact, and ergonomic nature of BDERO100 makes it an excellent addition to the hobbyist/DIY homeowner’s toolset.