Power tools are an absolute necessity for anybody who wants to build or repair anything. This is an obvious statement, but what may not be so obvious is the choices that people face when selecting a brand of power tool.
On the surface, it seems that all of these power tool brands do the exact same thing. And while it definitely appears this way to a layperson, anybody who has experience in using power tools knows that there are small but very significant differences in these brands.
Selecting the correct brand of power tool as well as the correct type of power tool will make any crafting job much easier. This guide will serve as a complete resource to making this process less complicated than it needs to be.
Types of cordless power tools
Before exploring this subject, it is important to understand the necessity and value of any given cordless power tool. Since it is preferable to do crafting and yard work performed outdoors, the demand for cordless power tools is understandable.
While most sets of cordless power tool sets do come with most of the tools necessary for any project, there are still different types of sets of tools. This is important to know because different sets have different power schemes, batteries, and connections.
For example, some of these cordless power tools contain rechargeable batteries, and some contain batteries that cannot be charged and need to be replaced.
On the topic of batteries, it is also a good idea to know if the power tool that you need uses batteries that are brand specific or not. For example, if a power tool developed by Bosch only runs on batteries made by Bosch and nothing else, you will need to prepare accordingly..
Most cordless power tools can do all the things that any power tool that uses a cord can do. Whether they are drills, wrenches, or saws, most of these tools can do whatever is necessary.
One power tool that is in high demand is the multitool. A smaller version of a drill or a saw, the multitool can help with drilling or cutting smaller spaces. This can be extremely useful when cutting or building bigger objects.
Before even considering what kind of cordless power tools you may need, you need to also understand where you use the majority of your power tools.
If you use all your power tools in your garage and have a well organized workstation, you may not need a cordless drill or a cordless saw.
If you do the majority of your work outside, it would be a good thing to acquire cordless versions of some of the larger power tools that you possess.
The five best cordless power tool brands
There exist dozens of cordless power tool brands, but five of these stand out as being the most notorious, effective, and the most reliable.
While this does not mean that no other brand should be trusted, it does mean that if you are in the market for cordless power tools, it is very likely that you will be able to find whatever power tool you need among these five.
Founded over a century ago in 1886, Bosch does not particularly specialize in any kind of tool, but they do provide nearly any power tool that is necessary. Their power tool division is relatively new, emerging in 2003.
Bosch tools are manufactured and distributed worldwide. Most of their manufacturing comes out of Mexico and China, but they also have manufacturers in Europe and the United States.
If you are in need of any given type of power tool, Bosch is a good brand to begin your search. However, if you are expecting any of their power tools to be made in the United States, you might want to look elsewhere.
Different than Bosch, DeWalt makes most of its materials in the United States. Founded in 1922 by Raymond DeWalt, who the organization is named after, all of their materials are clad in yellow and black, which are colors that are symbolic of the city of Pennsylvania, where the organization was founded.
DeWalt has been producing and manufacturing cordless power tools since 1994, making them a bit more experienced than Bosch. If you are expecting your power tools to be made in the United States, you can count on DeWalt.
Makita was founded in 1915 outside of the United States, and they began specializing in power tools very early compared to most other power tool manufacturers. This gives Makita a significant edge in their development of power tools.
Makita began making power tools in 1958, which is a clear half century before Bosch began making them. They began introducing brushless motors into their power tools in 2004, which was only a year after Bosch opened their power tools division.
Anyone who is even slightly interested in power tools with brushless motors would do well to look through Makita’s catalog.
Milwaukee specializes in two things. The first is their battery technology. Being one of the first power tool manufacturers to utilize lithium batteries in their power tools, Milwaukee made the decision to be very innovative in their production.
The second thing is design and aesthetics. While most power tools can look pretty plain and be a little difficult to use for newer users. Knowing this, Milwaukee designs their power tools with these things in mind.
People who are new to using power tools will have an easier time if they choose Milwaukee.
Like Bosch, Porter Cable is a manufacturer that operated mostly in the United States, but currently ships their tools out of Mexico and China.
Porter Cable’s past mistakes led them to collaborate with much larger organizations that did not involve power tools. The most significant of these was Black+Decker, which has for a very long time been a manufacturer of more than just power tools. This gave Porter Cable the incentive and the ability to be much more reliable than before.
Because of their history with Black+Decker, which is known for being extremely reliable, Porter Cable is just as reliable by association. While they are similar to Bosch in that they do not specialize in anything, Porter Cable is similar in that they have grown into a very reliable manufacturer because of their past mistakes.
10 Cordless Power Tool Reviews
Cordless Electric Ratchet Wrench Set, AOBEN 3/8″ 12V Power Ratchet Tool Kit with 2 Packs 2000mAh Lithium-Ion Battery and Charger
A significant issue that most people who use power tools have is working in the dark. While most of the work that involves power tools takes place during the day, there are times where it is necessary to do this kind of work in the dark.
One nice thing about Aoben’s cordless wrench set is that it does provide some light in the form of an LED light at the front of the unit, which will allow work to be done in the dark.
If they are running for too long, cordless power tools can overheat batteries. This is not a major issue with this particular wrench set, as it comes with an air cooled motor which will stabilize the working temperature of the batteries. This does not take away from the power of the fastener either: It can still operate as fast as 280 RPM.
Anyone who is doing long term projects that may take a long time will either need to buy more batteries or look elsewhere. The batteries in this particular set will last about 2 hours, and will take 1 hour to charge. While it is possible to swap these batteries out during any long term session, this can be bothersome.
Here’s the problem with most hammer drills. Very few of them are compact, and many of them need all kinds of connectors in order to operate properly. While it is common for hammer drills to require a few connections, some of these drills require more than is necessary.
DeWalt has created a cordless hammer drill that only requires the battery, the base, and a drill bit in order to operate. This makes things much less complicated and because DeWalt’s cordless hammer drill is so light, it is much easier to carry around than most other drills. This makes it very convenient for anyone who is doing carpentry outside, where it is common to go back and forth from the tool shed or shop.
Because it is so light, the drill bit does have some trouble staying balanced. It is not as sturdy as most other cordless hammer drills, and while there is a normal balance discrepancy that should be expected, DeWalt’s cordless hammer drill is a lot more unbalanced than most.
While it is a good thing that it has two speeds, it is very likely that anybody using this drill will probably not be able to take advantage of both speeds and instead just use the slower speed for this very reason.
The term “power tool” is often suspect, especially when it comes to cordless ones. A recurring problem that these tools have is that they are not as powerful or as durable as power tools that are wired. This is especially true with hammer drills, and it is a concern.
Milwaukee has developed a cordless hammer drill that solves most of these problems. It comes with a right angle handle, which provides it with the same amount of torque as any given DC powered drill.
Another fantastic thing about Milwaukee’s cordless hammer drill is that not only does it only use one battery, but two of them come in the package. These batteries are rechargeable, but if you want to replace them, it is possible to replace them with batteries that are not brand specific.
The chuck of the drill tends to have a problem holding down smaller drill bits. Any drill bit that is smaller than 1/16 will have a tough time staying on the chuck. This is likely because the torque is comparable to DC powered hammer drills.
Another issue with Milwaukee’s cordless hammer drill is that it does not have adjustable speeds. There is only one speed and that can lead to some issues.
Anyone who is interested in not only one or two cordless power tools, but a full set of cordless power tools will want to consider picking up this particular set of power tools from DeWalt. The set includes nearly every power tool necessary for any project. It comes with a recip saw, a drill, an oscillator, among other very necessary power tools that are designed for heavy duty projects.
It is also very easy to carry all of these tools around, as DeWalt’s set comes with two big cases to carry everything in the set. These cases are also extremely durable, and will withstand almost any kind of impact.
This particular set also comes with a bluetooth speaker, which is a nice touch and always a nice addition to any environment where these tools are being used. The speaker is quite loud and is just as powerful as any other common bluetooth speaker.
There is one major drawback to this particular set, and that is how the batteries for the tools in set are managed. DeWalt’s cordless power tool set only comes with one charge station. This makes things problematic when it comes to how these batteries are charged.
It is also not possible to use other batteries to charge the tools in this set. They will only be able to be charged with batteries from the manufacturer, which makes things even more problematic.
Cordless hammer drills are very common, but the problem with most of them is that they do not offer much in terms of versatility. Cordless hammer drills and impact drivers are usually not sold in a group.
What sets porter-cable’s set apart from the others is that it has a hammer drill as well as an impact driver. This is very useful, as most projects that require a hammer drill will also require an impact driver. The issue of having a hammer drill as well as an impact driver is solved with this pair of power tools.
Porter-cable’s drills also have a lot to offer when it comes to power and versatility. Both the drill and the impact driver have two variable speeds, which makes things much easier when it comes to projects that require different torque speeds.
The motor of these drills is brushless, meaning they will last a little longer than those drills that contain motors with a brush. This comes in handy when jobs require a little more time in terms of drilling.
One issue with porter-cable’s set is that it runs on batteries that are specific to porter-cable. No other battery will work with this set, and if a new battery is necessary, it needs to be ordered from porter-cable. This can be troublesome if a new battery needs to be sought right away.
Bosch CLPK233WC-02 18-volt Wireless Charging 2-Tool Combo Kit with 1/2-Inch Brushless Drill/Driver, Impact Driver, 2 Batteries, Wireless Charger and Bag
While it is becoming more and more standard for both impact drivers and impact drills to be packaged together, they are usually not as versatile or as powerful as their corded counterparts. If they aren’t limited in the kinds of temperatures they can operate at, these cordless drills contain brushed motors that just are not as powerful as drills that are bound to a cord.
Bosch’s drill set not only has brushless motors, but also has a cool pack design. A very unique and rare type of drill design, this cool pack design allows for the batteries of these particular power tools to perform much longer than most. This lets batteries remain cool for a lot longer, which extends the battery life.
Another nice feature of Bosch’s drill set is the fact that it contains wireless charging. While most other wireless power tools contain chargers that must be plugged in, this particular set can be charged wirelessly. This makes things very convenient when working outside.
Most drills offer multiple speeds. Unfortunately, Bosch’s set does not have this feature, and this can make things troublesome as it is easier to tighten certain bolts with different torque speeds.
Some of its users also complain about the trigger being finicky, sometimes failing to operate the drill when pressed all the way down. While this could be dismissed as something that is normal for any drill, it still is a concern.
Brushless motors are becoming more and more common in most power tools, specifically drills. Generally, these brushless motors allow for these drills to operate at very impressive speeds, but Makita has taken this concept one step further with their set of drills.
The motor of these particular drills are electronically controlled, which actually matches torque levels to the RPM levels of either of the drills in this set. This is very useful as it allows the speed of the drills to vary even more than usual.
Variable speeds are something else that Makita specializes in on a completely different level than most other cordless power drills. The hammer driver drill is adjustable on not just one speed, but two. This is incredibly useful for anyone who is working with different kinds of bolts, as these bolts often do require different drill speeds to tighten and loosen.
A lot of cordless drills include multitools and side handles, which make them much easier to work with and operate. Unfortunately, Makita’s set does not include either of these and they will need to be purchased separately.
Some users of this tool set have stated that there are inconsistencies with the torque ratings. While this might be expected with older models of drills, it is not acceptable with today’s fine tuned drills.
For anybody who wants a cordless circular saw as well as a cordless drill, Black+Decker has a lot to offer. Although the circular saw is a standard five inches around, it is possible to cut through up to two inches.
The circular saw also lasts a little longer than most other circular saws, being able to make as many as eight cuts before batteries must be swapped.
Most power tool batteries will eventually lose power even when they are inside of a power tool that is not running. While this is unavoidable, Black+Decker’s cordless power tools do not use a lot of power when turned off. In fact, it is possible for Black+Decker’s batteries to hold a charge for 18 months.
Both the drill and the circular saw in this set contain a two speed gearbox, which makes it versatile and ideal when doing what is necessary to build things.
The problem with Black+Decker’s tool set is that it only comes with one drill. Most who use power tools know that it is necessary to possess a driver drill as well as an impact driver drill. While the drill in Black+Decker’s set seems to be useful for many different situations, most know that it is a good thing to have both kinds of drills.
The fact that Black+Decker’s set only comes with one drill takes away from some of the versatility of this cordless power tool set.
Ryobi P884 One+ Combination Lithium Ion Cordless Power Tool Set (6 x Power Tools, 2 x Compact Lithium Ion Batteries, 1 x Charger, 1 x Contractor’s Bag)
Most cordless power tool “sets” usually only include 2 or 3 things, usually two drills and a circular saw or a drill and a circular saw. While drills and saws are very common and regarded as the most useful power tools, other power tools are also helpful.
Ryobi’s power tool set includes a lot more than just drills and saws. It contains a multitool, a reciprocating saw, and a work light. This allows for a much smoother experience when using power tools for carpentry and building.
Charging the batteries of these power tools will not be a chore either. Instead of multiple chargers, Ryobi’s power tool set has one charge station that will charge any given battery within a half hour. The charger also has a meter that tells when a battery is charged.
There are a few issues with Ryobi’s charging station. The first is that it can only charge one battery. While it is a good thing that the charging station will charge all the necessary batteries in the set, there are also a lot of power tools in this set. So if multiple batteries need to be charged, this will be an issue.
Another issue with the batteries is that they can only be charged with a 120 volt outlet. This can cause some issues for those who prefer 220 volt outlets.
Cordless multitools can be very useful. These are generally not included in most cordless power tool sets, and it is unfortunate because multitools are are very good complement to their larger drill and saw counterparts.
Dremel has come out with not only a multitool that can complement any cordless power tool set, but a rotary multitool, which is part of an intricate kit. This kit includes almost any attachment that a multitool could possible need, featuring well over a dozen different attachments.
A multitool with this many attachments will complement any kind of cordless power tool, and possessing Dremel’s multitool will decisively eliminate any need for any kind of multitool, including the multitools that may be included in any other cordless power tool set.
The charger base for Dremel’s multitool leaves something to be desired. The base connects vertically to a wall outlet. This would not be a problem if the battery could be taken out and charged, but the entire multitool needs to be placed in the base before it can be charged, and this can be problematic.
While it is still possible to cut hard surfaces with Dremel’s multitool, the drill will stop when met with certain particularly hard surfaces. This can also cause problems especially when it comes to maintaining momentum when cutting hard surfaces, which is important in some cases.
Nearly anybody who desires to build things or perform carpentry will benefit a lot from cordless power tools. Since most of this kind of work does take place outside, it makes sense to possess power tools that do not use a cord.
Cordless power tools also make indoor workspaces much more organized, and can free up a lot of room for other tools that are necessary to build whatever needs to be built.
When looking for a cordless power tool set, it is important to know what kind of cordless power tools you need the most. Some power tools in your possession do not need to be “upgraded” to being cordless, especially if you do a lot of power tool work inside.
All things considered, cordless power tools make a very welcome addition to anything that you use for building and carpentry projects.