Cordless Tools 101
Exploring the Qualities of Cordless Tools
No Two Cordless Tools are the Same
In the world of cordless tools, there are many solutions for one problem. These solutions may, at best, appear similar, but they are never the same.
We previously explored the idea of cutting a 2" by 4" by 10' piece of lumber into 2-foot sections. This may seem like a unique conundrum, but it happens whenever you have the freedom to accomplish a solution with different tools.
Let's quickly explore another example before delving into some of the features to look for in cordless tools.
Cordless Tools by Example
Consider a cordless drill.
The most basic cordless drill is designed to simply spin a bit one way to drive a screw or bit into a material. Most drills will be able to accomplish this given the right technique.
Now consider a feature like drills with drivers. They are designed to apply a perpindicular force that drive the bit or screw into the material. This significantly reduces the amount of torque required to drive the bit, which in turn results in fewer broken bits and stripped screws.
It also makes screwing something into an object much easier.
Other features like lithium-ion battery systems, brushless motors, automatic countersinking, lightweight frames, durable frames and accessories can all make one cordless drill different from another.
What Should You Look for in a Cordless Tool?
The many seemingly minor differences in comparable cordless tools makes finding the perfect one an incredibly difficult task.
Some brands may try to draw your interest by providing flash packages, catchy names for ordinary features and so on.
In this section, we'll take a look at the most important features a cordless tool should have. We'll start with the most important, and go down the line.
1. Matching the Job's Requirements
This quality may sound like a mouthful, but it is a very simple thing. When you select a cordless tool, you want it to be able to complete the job in a manner that you can appreciate.
A reciprocating saw, for example, is ideal for demolition jobs or tree pruning (with the right blade.) A circular saw could accomplish these tasks, but it may nto do so in a way that is safe, desirable or cost-effective.
When you search for a cordless power tool, make sure it fulfills the needs you set forth.
Reusability, sometimes described as versatility, is the idea that one tool can be used for a number of jobs.
The best way to illustrate this is to look at a regular cordless drill, then to examine the interchangeable MATRIX system from BLACK & DECKER. This system allows your drill to become a lightweight reciprocating saw, sander or cut-off saw without requiring you to purchase each tool for $100+.
The more jobs yor tool can complete in accordance to the needs you set, the better a value it will provide you.
3. Battery Life
Cordless tools are unique in that they utilize a battery for all their power needs. The type of battery used to power these tools will heavily influence their usefulness.
Nickel-cadmium batteries are the standard for cordless power tools. These are designed to be used, fully drained, then recharged on a daily basis. This matches the needed of contractors and other professionals.
If a hobbyist or homeowner uses them, then a nickel-cadmium battery may fail prematurely due to teh fact that the batteries are nto drained and recharged on a regular basis.
Lithium-ion batteries do away with this problem of battery memory. These batteries are typically able of providing a heightened amount of power, which makes the tools they power even more versatile.
4. Compatibility of Attachments
The last major area of inspection for cordless tools involves how compatible their attachments are with other tools. This means having the ability to interchange battery packs, drill bits, saw blades and any other part.
If this is your goal, then your best option is to use the same brand and systems. BLACK & DECKER, for example, has a 20V MAX system that allows you to use one battery for all your tools and garden tools.
What Kind of Tool Should You Purchase?
While we've covered the four most important qualities any cordless tool should have, there are still a long list of qualities that you should research. Simple features like work lights, levels and 1/2-inch drill chucks may make all the difference in how useful a codless tool is for you.
The next step is to read about how price affects quality. This can help you acquire a crystal clear picture of how valuable a cordless power tool may be for fulfilling your unique needs.