Read these 8 Cordless Power Tools Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Tool tips and hundreds of other topics.
Cordless power tools come in Ni-Cad or Lithium Ion battery versions. Choosing between the two isn't always easy.
If you aren't worried about the additional weight of a NiCad battery, you may wish to consider this option depending on your needs. There are also “bare tool” options if you already own a battery and charging system. You may find your system compatible with many of your cordless tool options.
Some battery-powered tools are more sensitive to temperature than their pneumatic counterparts. The hoseless nailer is a good example. This tool is adversely affected by temperatures below freezing or above 100 degrees. The battery performance and lifespan can be shortened. You may notice a reduction in power to the nailer, which will slow down or stop the job you are working on. Some of your problems may not occur on the job, but while the tool is in storage. If you keep your cordless drill and other tools in a garage or warehouse that is not temperature controlled 24 hours a day, you will definitely see a reduction in performance from certain types of cordless batteries. It is far better to keep these tools in the house or in a heated office. Maintaining a constant temperature as often as possible will definitely increase the life of your batteries.
When you are purchasing cordless tools, it's a very good idea to use the same criteria you use in purchasing a cell phone.
Cordless tools often come in kits which can mean big savings to first-time cordless buyers. Some kits include a cordless drill and saw combination, others offer cordless lights and drills. Some slightly higher-priced kits have two types of cordless saws along with a drill kit. One important difference between cordless kits is voltage. Some are 14.4 volt kits, while others are 18 volts. Some believe the 14.4 volt kits offer a good balance between the power a tool delivers and the weight of the battery. If you need a lightweight cordless tool kit, try out the weight and heft of each tool before purchasing. You may find the 14.4 volt kits work better. You may sacrifice a bit of power or torque, but this may be a fair trade for those in need of lighter tools.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: If you are on a job site where cold temperatures can zap your batteries on a lunch break or other downtime, consider purchasing a set of disposable thermal warming packs to put in your tool kit when you aren't using your cordless drill or other battery-powered items. These "hand-and-feet warmers" are non-combustible and can temporarily keep your cordless items from being drained by low temperatures when you have to step away.
Do you use a tool belt when working? It is important to pay attention to the shifting weight issues caused by the battery in cordless tools. A cordless drill, for example, carries the battery in the base. Gravity shifts the bottom-heavy tool around in the tool belt, and in some utility belt designs, the weight shift will eventually let the drill fall out of the belt. If you are working from an elevated position, this can be a real safety hazard. Attaching a cordless drill to your utility belt with a lanyard will go a long way toward preventing your cordless tool from shifting out of the belt and impacting the floor. You can also use a loop of Velcro to fasten the tool in the pouch to prevent these “bottom-heavy” tools from becoming airborne.
There are a wide variety of cordless tool chargers to choose from. If you have purchased a cordless tool that did not come with a charger (from a yard sale or an eBay purchase, for example) you should buy a charger for your make and model that offers two charging slots. This can dramatically cut your tool downtime and increase its efficiency. You may not think so when you only own a single cordless tool, but once you get used to the ease and convenience of cordless tools, you'll want to expand your cordless tool kit. A dual charging bay lets you charge the tools you aren't using while you are on the job with your other cordless units. When working with others on a larger project, you can set fully-charged tools aside so other workers can get their cordless drills, saws, and other tools charged up, too.
Are you unsure where to begin when purchasing that first cordless drill or hoseless nailer? Fortunately, help is available on the Internet. There are plenty of user reviews of cordless tools online. You can check out descriptions of name brands in action for a wide variety of different tools, and probably some you never thought of “going cordless” with. Try a Google search on the phrase “cordless tools reviews” and you'll get plenty of good results. Don't settle on a single review, try checking out a variety of different reviews on the particular make and model of cordless tool you need; you'll get a better perspective of the pros and cons of that model.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|