Want to get the best deal on cordless tools but don’t know how? What are the things that make or break the choice for the ideal power tools? With so many products available nowadays, you can get overwhelmed by choice. And it’s not only the tools you have to consider, but the batteries and chargers matter too. Spending a ton of money if you have it is easy, but getting the best value for your hard-earned money is hard. Knowing how to care for and use the tools can be the difference between expensive batteries that die after a couple of months of use, and batteries that last for up to 5 years. Without further ado, here are a few tips that will sway you in the right direction.
Tips for Buying Cordless Power Tools
Go for Tools that Use Lithium-ion Batteries
Lithium-ion batteries have become the standard batteries for power tools in the past few years. Even though they cost double or more compared to other types of batteries, they’re worth every cent. They’re lightweight and compact, run at top power for much longer, and they can go for two to three times the charge cycles than nickel-cadmium batteries. Additionally, they can sit for months without losing their charge.
However, they do have a few disadvantages. For instance, they don’t perform as well as nickel-cadmium in extreme temperatures. As aforementioned, they are more expensive, but competition is slowly driving prices down. Plus, with the invention of smart chargers and extreme weather performance features, they stay cool while charging and work longer in extreme temperatures.
To get the most out of your lithium-ion batteries, don’t discharge them completely. Running it until it’s completely discharged can reduce its lifespan. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you don’t discharge it below 20% before recharging it again. Speaking of charging, recharge them frequently. Contrary to what many people think, charging lithium-ion batteries even when they’re partially discharged is a good thing. Moreover, it’s important to charge lithium-ion batteries at the right temperatures, in the 5-25°C range.
Shop for Cordless Tool Combo Kits
Buying cordless tool combo kits instead of individual tools can go a long way in making the most out of your batteries and chargers. Combo kits include several different cordless tools used for gardening, construction or DIY projects. This can save you a lot of money down the line, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing the batteries, chargers and accessories are compatible with all of your tools. You can then buy bare tools from the same manufacturer, which can also save you money by not having to buy extra batteries and chargers.
Prioritise Tools With Brushless Motors
Brushless motors are more efficient and provide longer run times than brushed motors. Most pro-grade tool manufacturers offer at least a range of tools that use brushless motors. These motors eliminate the physical connection/friction between parts, reducing energy waste. According to most manufacturers, brushless motors are capable of increasing tool run-time by 50% and more. However, tools using brushless motors cost more than their brushed counterparts, and are generally limited to impact wrenches, drivers and drills. But, with advancements in this technology, prices will eventually come down, and you’ll find brushless motors in most, if not all, tools.
Typically, the batteries are the most expensive part of your tools, and a poor-quality charger can negatively impact its lifespan due to improper charging and overheating. Smart chargers feature electronic sensors, voltage and temperature controls that read the chip inside the battery and adjust charging accordingly. Some smart chargers feature fans that blow air through the battery to cool it, so that it can be charged without overheating.
Don’t Write off Corded Tools
Even though cordless tools are more convenient in a wide range of applications, you shouldn’t write off the use and benefits of corded tools. In heavy-duty applications that require a lot of power, corded tools are arguably better. Tools like reciprocating saws and circular saws simply deliver more power, and will virtually last forever. Most corded tools are lighter in weight, as there’s no need for a battery. On the downside, you’ll need to have power mains nearby at all times. As a result of having a stable power source, they provide more consistent power. In other words, the tool will operate at 100% power at all times. Another disadvantage is that the cord can pose a safety hazard. It can also get damaged, making the tool useless. Replacing the cord is expensive or straight-up impossible, in which case you’ll have to buy a new tool.
So, as a general rule of thumb, contractors who perform minor or light- to medium-duty jobs will be better off with cordless tools, whereas professional builders and construction workers who work on heavy-duty applications will typically require the power and consistency of a corded tool.