Get it right first time – follow these five steps to making the right choice of power tool.
1. Consider your needs
Decide what you want to do. If it’s casual weekend DIY, you may not need industrial-spec equipment. However, having said this, it’s better to have too much power or performance than too little. So don’t go too low-end.
2. Get the right tool for the job
Familiarise yourself with what each tool does. For example, some cordless drills are good for drilling into wood and steel, but not into concrete. For this, rotary hammer action is required. This is stated clearly in the product features.
3. Know what your tool can do
Get clued-up on lingo such as rpm (revolutions per minute), torque (measured in Nm or Newton metres) and voltage or wattage depending on whether the machine is powered by battery or mains. Generally, the higher the wattage, the more powerful the cordless tool. However, Nm is actually most important, as it’s the tool’s torque output. Having tools with torque settings you can change is useful as you can make adjustments depending on whether you are drilling into tough or more pliable materials. As far as drills are concerned, rpm is also very important. Go for a product that enables you to adjust it. So, for example, you would choose the low-speed setting for driving screws, and the higher speed for drilling holes. Being able to control the speed of the drill bit depending on the material type will extend and improve the performance of the drill bit. This is important when drilling into steel or aluminium material.
4. Consider the limitations
Before purchasing a cordless power tool, take note of the amp-hour rating of the battery, how many batteries are included, what type and if it comes with a charger. NiCad technology is being phased out due to international sales trends favouring the better lithium-ion technology platforms. Lithium-ion batteries are the best in terms of performance and size, they hold the charge for longer, are lighter and have a longer lifespan. A constant discharge rate means that power won’t suddenly drop off. A higher amp-hour (Ah) rating will indicate the battery’s capacity. The higher the rating, the longer it will last. Charge time is important too, as it means less downtime.
5. Familiarise yourself with the manufacturers
Get clarity on the various brands that are available. Durability and quality can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, as does the warranty. Many manufacturers also have a professional range and DIY range. If you plan to use your tool over a long period of time, opt for a product with a longer warranty for added peace of mind. Quality power tools are an investment and if used correctly will deliver many years of superior performance.
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