There are a few good ways to get your performance power tools at more reasonable prices while maintaining the quality of the tools themselves. The few things that you want to concentrate on when you are deciding on your purchases are which tools you need, the performance that the tools offer, and the equipment’s quality for maintenance and long life.
First, jot down what jobs or projects that you have coming up and those that you anticipate in the future. Next to each one, put down what type of tools you will need especially when it comes to making your jobs easier. Finally make a final list of individual tools that you would like to buy starting at the top for the one you would use the most to the bottom as the least used tool.
Concerning the performance of the tools, take a drill as an example. You can purchase a plain drill to drill holes in wood and/or metal; read the description to make sure that it can drill into metal. Most drills do not work well when drilling ceramics, concrete, or masonry things. For that you will need an impact hammer driver-drill along with the proper bits. This tool, just like you would expect, hammers the bit onto the surface beating little pieces off until you get the right size and depth that you want; the more impacts/blows per minute (IPM/BPM) the tool generates, it will get that hole done faster, and the higher the torque, the faster your work will go too. The next step up from the impact hammer driver-drill is the impact driver; this usually has more impacts/blows per minute and more torque to get things done even faster than the impact hammer driver-drill. Similarly, a drill could be fitted with socket type bits to use to attach fasteners or drive bolts, but an impact wrench will get the job done even faster. Also, if you use the right tool for the job, the time and money saved on the job will translate into extending the life of your other tools because a drill-driver used to put a hole in some masonry is going to abuse the tool and shorten its life.
Another example are saws. There are many types like circular saws, reciprocating saws, jig saws, band saws, cut-out tools, multi-tools, and chain saws to choose from depending on your needs. Here again there is a saw that fits the needs of different situations. If you use the proper one for the job, you will spend less time on the job and not have to do more work to clean a rough job up afterwards. Believe it or not I have seen some folks do demolition work with a chain saw and ruin the chain when it hit nails, whereas, a reciprocating saw with the right blade would cut through that like butter.
Almost any tool is available now as a cordless or battery operated model; with the improvements in batteries that have been made over the past decade, there is really no need now to use tools with cords that just get in the way and can be dangerous hazards. NiCads and lithiums are the most popular with lithium taking the lead and being the primary battery being manufactured fo most tools now. The main complaint with lithiums is that when they run out of power the just stop with no warning. Some of the manufacturers like DeWalt have started to address this issue by adding battery fuel gauge indicators to give the operator an idea of how the battery is powering down; not all batteries have this feature yet. Some of the companies have made huge strides in how the batteries charge. For example, Makita has a built-in shock absorbing feature and a built-in memory chip in the battery to communicate with the Optimum Charger to allow for a more efficient charge during the charging process to optimize the battery’s life by actively controlling the current, voltage, and temperature; the charger has a built-in fan to cool the battery to increase the battery’s life. One point to note when using these newer lithium batteries is if they become extremely hot, allow them to cool back down, and watch out that they do not get so hot that they explode.
Some tools come as brushless models now. This increases the efficiency of the motor and cuts down on the maintenance by not having to replace the brushes as they wear down. Keep an eye out for the tools with special clutches that release when the tool binds; this will save replacing your clutch and motor, thereby extending the tool’s life.
With the most recent improvements in plastics, many of these performance power tools now have softer hand holds and lighter weight as well as better ergonomics to allow the user to work more comfortably for longer periods of time which means less time off a job to rest, and in turn, time and money saved overall.
Many hammer/impact type tools have built-in vibration controls, but many do not. That is one feature that varies across the board. Within a certain company, models that are almost identical may or may not have a vibration reduction feature, so if you want this feature, check the specific tool you are interested in very carefully.
The quality of the tools which you purchase can vary considerably. Unless you really cannot afford good quality tools or you just need something to get the job done now and don’t want to rent a tool, you should really think about buying for the tool’s quality. This is because a well-maintained tool can last for many years, if not your lifetime. The actual cost of the tool spread out over that many years will end up being less costly over the long run as opposed to having to buy several of the same lower quality tools in the same time period. This is why things like the previously mentioned anti-binding clutch-motors, vibration reduction, and battery-charger efficiency and cooling features are so important to extend the life of your new tools while making maintenance easier like with the brushless features and being more efficient at the same time.
The choice of what power tools to get is different for each one of us because we each have individual needs depending on what jobs or products we work on. Take the time beforehand to figure out what you really need instead of impulse buying. Maybe even buying a group of power tools together like a combo deal or bundled package could help you out over the long term. Remember quality performance power tools are an investment.