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Drills, saws and more - why go cordless?

Updated on August 8, 2010
The Dewalt cordless range. Image courtesy Charles and Hudson
The Dewalt cordless range. Image courtesy Charles and Hudson

Why go cordless?

I remember using cordless power tools in college. The cordless drills we had ran on 6V batteries, barely had enough power to drill through MDF, and constantly needed recharging.

Since this time, cordless power tools have come a long way. Cordless drills, cordless saws, and angle grinders have all evolved to the point where they can virtually replace mains powered counterparts. It is now possible to buy 18 V, 24 V and even 36 V tools, that are powerful and reliable enough to be embraced by professionals all around the world.

If you are still using mains powered tools, you really need to consider whether a cordless item might not be able to serve you better. There is a real advantages that all cordless power tools have.

  1. You have increased mobility, without an extension lead trailing behind you. This means you can work up ladders, in a roof cavities, on scaffolding, and in tight corners where it's just not practical to have a power cord with you.
  2. Cordless tools are often safer. Most cordless power tools use electric brakes, to instantly spin down the blades slashed its when you take your finger off the electric throttle. Not many mains power tools have this feature, and as a result is easy to injure yourself from over cuts, or push through effect.
  3. There is no danger of electrocuting yourself. Not that I endorse working in the rain with any tools, but there are times its inevitable that you may get wet. What is if you need to fix something in the middle of a downpour? In the worst-case scenario, and you drop your electric drill in a puddle, your cordless drill won’t zap you.
  4. Lighter weight and more compact design makes it easier to work for long periods in all compositions. Building and renovating work is rarely convenient, and you can often find yourself working above shoulder height for long periods. The lighter weight of cordless tool to soon appreciated here, because it's easier to maintain this position for long periods.

These rules apply to all kinds of tools. Although cordless drills are the most common cordless power tools (there are virtually the symbol of the DIY around the world now), the same goes for tools like cordless circular saws, grinders, and Sanders.

So what's stopping you from buying cordless tools?

Some of the things you need to consider when buying a cordless drill or saw

When buying any power tool, it's worthwhile to take some time and read some reviews to see what other people have to say about it. It's only natural for companies to rave about their own products, but what do real people have to say the real experiences? Check out some  forums, or online review guides before you spend any money.

Before you buy anything, use it first. Most hardware depots will give the option of at least using a display model, and often give you the opportunity to test it out on some scraps of timber (but not a display stand). If you're buying a drill, violent fits your hand well. If you have small hands, don't be afraid to buy a smaller model-small size is not an indication of quality, or power any more. The same obviously goes for a saw or grinder.

Some people are confused by the concept of Voltage. Voltage is simply a measure of electrical power, and basically describes how fast electricity is flowing. Higher voltage basically equates to more power. That a big simplification, but it's safe to say that an 18 V drill has more power than a 12 V drill, generally speaking at least.

Most manufacturers are now producing batteries ranging from 18 to 24 V, and this will give you plenty of power for home use. If you have the option of buying your tool with one battery or two, is well worth the extra outlay to buy the two battery combination. You will find that when extended juice having a second battery is a real advantage, and most manufacturers will slug you with a huge premium to buy a second battery separately.

A Dewalt cordless drill in action
A Dewalt cordless drill in action


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    • everythingbakugan profile image

      everythingbakugan 7 years ago

      I used to swear at my old 12V cordless, but now I swear by my new 24V, nice article!