Cord or Cordless Power Tools: How Do You Choose?
When it is time to purchase power tools for the first time or replace those you already have, an important decision is whether to buy cord or cordless tools. Although cordless versions (battery-powered) have been around for awhile, their numbers have really increased over the past few years, and let’s face it – whatever helps you get the job done more easily and more efficiently is a big drawing card. Cordless tools have become very popular for good reasons, but plug-ins still have their place in the workroom.
The major factor in choosing cord or cordless tools is the use you intend to make of the tool (i.e., daily, weekly, or occasionally), and features of the particular tool you are considering like a cordless miter saw, jig saw, or a drill). If you need lots of power for a big job or many big jobs, you need either a plug-in or a top-of-the-line cordless no matter what tool it is.
Reasons to Buy Plug-in Tools
- You’ll never run out of power as long as there is an electrical outlet nearby, or one that can be reached by using an extension.
- Plus-ins are less expensive.
- Overall, cordless tools are less powerful and don’t hold a full charge for long and may not operate long enough to allow you to finish a big job.
- You have to remember to keep your cordless tools charged or they are worthless.
- A fairly inexpensive plug-in will operate even if it is not a high-end or even a middle-of-the-road model, whereas an inexpensive cordless will eventually drive you crazy with its lack of power.
- When deciding between cord or cordless tools, if you can’t think of a good reason for choosing cordless, stick with a plug-in.
Reasons to Buy Cordless Tools
- It is so much easier to drill or saw without having to cope with a cord – tangled, in the way, pulling out of the outlet.
- Cordless tools are portable and convenient to use anywhere (e.g., a hard-to-reach high beam or an area with few outlets); no worries about finding an extension cord long enough to do the job.
- If you have only one cordless tool, make it a cordless drill; next, a cordless screwdriver; or a combination of both. Drilling and inserting screws are a piece of cake when using a power tool, and once you’ve tried cordless, you’ll never go back. After that, the sky is the limit with cordless saws, planes and nail guns.
Best Cordless Drills – How to Choose
- Start by investing in a good pair of earplugs: cordless drills like Makita cordless drills can be loud and damaging to your hearing.
- The drill should be light enough to hold comfortably. More volts mean more power but also a bigger and heavier model. Choose your poison.
- Make sure the model has a 30-minute battery charger, and spring for two batteries so that one can be recharging while you use the other.
- Multiple speed ranges allow you to efficiently drive and remove screws at the lower speed and drill holes at the higher. A one-range drill is really only good for drilling holes.
- An adjustable clutch keeps you from such errors as mangling screw heads or driving them too deeply, and a reversible drive provides important flexibility.
Which Brands Should You Consider?
Inexpensive power tools are great if you are planning to use a particular tool for only an occasional quick-and-easy job. For bigger projects, check out models at the mid-range price or better. Some brands offer models in all price ranges so do your homework and consult consumer reviews and reports. When choosing a cordless tool, Bosch, Ryobi, Craftsman, Delta and Ridgid offer reliable mid-to-high range priced tools, and for projects needing lots of power, consider Hitachi, Makita, and DeWalt.
Weigh the advantages of the cord or cordless tools that best meet your needs and shop online for great deals. Have fun!
About the Author:
Scott Gray is currently a home improvement, handyman enthusiast and freelance writer who enjoys providing tips to consumers who are in the market for hand and power tools like Dewalt table saws.