How to Find the Right Power Tool For You
Choosing a power tool that best suits your specific needs can be a rough process, but it’s one that certainly deserves your time and attention. Using the wrong power tool can be a completely deflating, disappointing experience – save yourself a world heartache by simply remembering these steps to find the right tool for you.
The first, and perhaps most important step begins with determining your degree and type of use. Simple household maintenance requires an entirely different set of tools than do industrial projects. Of course, you may use industrial grade tools to tighten your cupboards and door jambs but this isn’t always realistic – nor is it ever a good idea to use sub-par power equipment on a professional project. You want to make sure you invest in the best power tools for the applications they’ll be used for – for example, you wouldn’t use a steak knife to spread butter on bread just as you wouldn’t use a butter knife to tear into a top sirloin. If you go to your circular saw, power drill, or another power tool only a few times each year, it’s certainly not necessary to buy the most powerful tools on the market, however, if you use your tools often and heavily, you’ll definitely want to throw down a few more dollars for a higher-quality tool.
You may also consider manufacturer. Some craftsmen are loyal to one brand or another and some brands are certainly better than others (this difference usually reflects in pricing). Favoring one manufacture(s) over another can more precisely define and simplify your search. Additionally, just as all craftsmen have a specialty, so do manufacturers. Certain brands build the very best of a certain tool – for example, Milwaukee is known for producing some of the absolute best reciprocating saws, and Bosch for the best jigsaws. The master behind each type of power tool can usually be found with just a bit of research.
Do some research and set a budget. Spending too much and spending too little are common missteps in finding the best power tool, and it’s definitely an easy mistake to make; if you have a limit already in mind, you’re much more likely to stick to it. It is important to remember though, that cheap and expensive power tools are cheap and expensive for a reason. The expression “you get what you pay for,” is perhaps at its most true in the tool industry.
Determine whether you are in the market for a tool kit or if you need only one single tool. Often you may find kits available that include the most frequently used power tools like a drill, impact driver, and reciprocating saw. This is obviously a more expensive investment than buying a drill alone, but if you need these other power tools, it’s certainly more economical to buy them in a kit than to buy them all separately. This is also helpful if you prefer cordless tools – buying multiple cordless tools from the same manufacturer means you can usually swap a battery between different and multiple tools.
Determine your preference between cordless and corded power. It’s best to understand the limitations and benefits of both types before making this distinction – corded power ensures a constant power source and eliminates hassling with chargers and batteries, it also tends to be more powerful and lightweight. They are, however, tethered to a wall which means limited mobility, use, and strained power with the use of extension cords. Cordless tools, on the other hand, can go anywhere you can go, and with always improving battery technology, they are a powerful, reliable source of portable power with no hassle of a dangling cord.
Tool warranties are often an underrated asset. Having a good warranty with your tool usually means you’re buying from a company that entirely trusts their product will satisfy you – this is a good feeling to carry with you on the job. Most industrial manufacturers include a one year warranty on corded power tools, batteries and chargers, and a three year warranty on cordless tools. Of course, this is only standard – some manufactures offer less and some much more. Hitachi includes a ten year warranty on most of their cordless lithium-ion line.
Lastly, if you can, it’s good to hold the tool before you buy it. Simply being able to feel the tool in your hands to ensure comfort and functionality can be a big indicator of whether the tool is a good fit. Some manufacturers also offer a (around 30 day) Satisfaction Guarantee – this allows you to use the tool once or twice before determining if you’re entirely happy with the investment.
Ultimately, finding the best power tool is only these few steps away. In the meantime, good luck and happy crafting.
Specializing in tool parts & web communications, Mallory joined M&M Tool 4 yrs ago adding to their over 150 yrs combined experience. For over 70 yrs M&M Tool has provided the best service to the tool industry with replacement parts, sales, & service to woodworking products, machinery & power tools. Visit M&M Tool’s power tool recommender to find the equipment that best suits you.