Guide to Buying Power Tools

Guide to Buying Power Tools - Quicken Loans Zing Blog Are you looking to buy a new power tool for a particular home project? Or do you want to get your dad, uncle or brother a great Christmas gift, but don’t know much about power tools?

If you’re not used to working with power tools, going to buy one can be really daunting. If you’re just looking at drills, for example, there are so many different models, brands and price ranges. You can spend from $20 all the way up to several hundred dollars. How do you decide on which power tool you need? Well, I’ve broken down the stats of some of the basic power tools – check ‘em out!

Retailers

These days, you can buy power tools just about anywhere, in stores and online, but my favorite places to shop are The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears and the ever-popular Amazon.com.

Popular Brands

There are a whole lot of different brands of power tools, so I’ve collected some of the main ones. All of these companies have multiple models and wide price ranges, but I’ve ranked them from least to most expensive, generally speaking. As with anything, price doesn’t define the quality.

Now let’s look at some great tools every man needs in his tool room.

Drills

  • Cord/cordless. Cordless are a lot more popular and WAY easier to use, but if you’re using a drill with a cord, you’ll never have to worry about running out of battery power.
  • Drill drivers. These are the way to go in my opinion because you can drill the holes in the wall, for example, and then drive in the screws with your drill.
  • Power is also something you need to think about. Generally, drills go from about 9V to 20V. While 19 or 20 volts is nice, 12V-16V should be enough for most home projects. Of course, if you’re shopping for a guy, the more power the better.
  • Torque. Drill torque goes from about 100lbs on up. Again, for most home projects, a midrange drill and torque is plenty for the job.

Impact Drivers

You can also buy just the impact driver, basically an electric screwdriver. It’ll drive the screws faster, tighter and save your wrist some wear and tear. Just like drills, impact drivers come in a wide range of prices, sizes and voltage.

Your best bet is to check out some consumer reviews, and pick one that has a good balance between your price range and needs.

Saws

There are the same kinds of variety and choices with saws as drills, and there are two kinds of electric saws that I think everybody should have in their home:

  • Circular saws are great for a variety of jobs, and you can buy a bunch of different types of blades for cutting through wood, plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, brick, cinder block and concrete.
    • Circular saws go from about $25 on up, and your choice depends on what kind of work you need it for.
    • Power is measured in AMPs, generally around 8-16 AMPs.
    • There’s also blade size to think about. 7 1/4” is one of the most common.
  • A reciprocating saw (often known as a Sawzall, named by the Milwaukee brand who invented it) is one of my favorite power tools because of its great versatility.
    • You can spend from under $100 to several hundred for one of these babies, but there’s not too much you can’t do with them.
    • These saws cut through wood; nails; PVC, copper and metal pipe; and drywall.
    • Just like the circular saw, there are a lot of different blade types and lengths for the specific job you’re engaged in. Usually, the saw will come with one or two basic blades to get you started.
    • Recip saws have a power range similar to circular saws.

Power Sander

Electric sanders are another must-have for any home. They are huge time-savers and do a much better job than you’ll ever be able to do by hand. I have a DeWalt orbital sander and it’s great.

  • Belt sanders vibrate back and forth in a line.
    • They do a quick job, but you sacrifice control.
  • Orbital sanders have a square sanding pad and vibrate in a very tight circle.
    • Orbitals will take longer to get the job done, but they give you a lot more control.
  • Random-Orbit Sanders are orbital sanders with a round pad attached so you have double orbiting action. This type is more aggressive, but there’s a correspondingly higher chance of over-sanding if you’re not careful.
  • Sanders go from about 2-8 AMPs and range from $30 to several hundred depending on which features you want.

Finally, if you’re planning on getting more than one power tool now or in the future, pick tools that use the same batteries so you can interchange them as you’re working. Also, pay attention to the warranties. Most power tools come with some kind of warranty, either from the manufacturer or retailer.

If you’ve got any other knowledge or tips for buying and using power tools, please let us know!

 

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2 Responses to Guide to Buying Power Tools

  1. Steve Davis December 12, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Milwaukee Power tools are great, I have had many Milwaukee products in the past and have been really impressed with the price and quality of them. They are definitely a brand that I would recommend to others.

  2. Jameswilliam February 14, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Power tool companies have patents on their features, and sometimes the extra feature is worth the extra money. So buying a tool according to your project is the best idea to save some money.

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