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What Are The Essential Power Tools To Have For DIY Repairs and Improvements?

Power tools are a necessity in every home and office. Repairs may be needed on occasion. Calling a handyman is the smart thing to do. However, some repairs are simple and can be done within an hour. If you had some power tools and of course, some training, you wouldn’t have to call a handyman. Going “Do-it-Yourself” or DIY will save you time and money.

If you had power tools, you could also conduct improvements in your home or office by yourself. Things such as putting up fixtures, replacing the door lock or the shower head can be done fast and easy. Now, if you had a workshop, you could even go as far as designing and making your own furniture!

Before you start dreaming of having a personal workshop, you have to ask yourself if it is worth the investment. Power tools can be expensive. Setting up shop will take time and money. And there’s the question of skill. Where is your skill level at when it comes to making home or office repairs?

Our best advice is to start out small. If your skill level is beginner level, opt for a few basic power tools such as a cordless drill, air compressor and a nail gun. Eventually, as your skill level progresses, you can set up a small area in your home as a workshop.

The power tools that we have included in the list can be used to make simple repairs in the home or in the office. If your skill level and experience allow, you can even use these power tools to carry out serious improvements in your own home.

Here are the 6 of the most important power tools you need to conduct DIY repairs and improvements at home or in the office:

1. Cordless Drill

Every tool box or workshop must have a cordless drill. This is probably one of the most important power tools you can ever own. With a fully-charged battery pack, you can get a variety of repairs done with a cordless drill.

A cordless drill isn’t just used for boring holes in walls. You can attach different types of adapters to handle repairs and improvements in the home and office.

You can use a cordless drill instead of a screwdriver to make work must faster and accurate. All you need to do is to insert a screw at the end of the bit. Because a cordless drill can run counter-clockwise, you can also use it to remove screws.

Are you planning to change the door knob? A cordless drill outfitted with the correct hole-saw bit will be a quick, safe and easy way to cut out the right-sized holes for your door knob, sink faucets and other fixtures that require round holes.

A cordless drill is a definite must-have among the list of power tools for homeowners.

2. Air Compressor with a Nail Gun

Driving nails into baseboards, doorways and drywalls are samples of traditional, blue collar home and office DIY repair work. However, it is time consuming and will require skill to avoid serious injury.

Having an air compressor with a nail gun will make driving nails a faster and safer activity. You will be able to do more repairs and improvements in less time and with fewer mistakes.

There are a variety of air compressors with a nail gun combo that you can buy in the market. The model you buy should be adequate enough for you to conduct simple repairs at home.

How will you know which type of air compressor you should buy? The key number you should look at is the Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). This gives you an idea of how fast the air compressor can supply air.

For nail guns, you will need an air compressor that has at least 2.8cfm with a psi or pounds per square inch reading of 90psi.

3. Miter Saw

If you plan to do some carpentry work or start on a few beginner workshop projects, a miter saw should definitely be on your list of essential power tools.

A miter saw is used to make accurate cuts on lumber or if you need to shape out moulds or angles. The blade of the saw comes in different diameters. There are 10-inch miter saws that can cut a 2-inch x 6-inch piece of wood at 90 degrees while a 12-inch miter saw can cut a 2-inch by 6-inch at 45 degrees.

A basic miter saw can only rotate unlike a sliding miter saw which can either swing or slide. If you frequently cut wider boards, the sliding miter saw should be your power tool of choice. It can cut a 2-inch by 18-inch board at 90 degrees.

4. Oscillating Multi-Tool

It’s slight, slender and compact size may not fit the description of a “Power” tool but the Oscillating Multi-Tool is a must-have in a list of power tools. The Oscillating Multi-Tool has a small, detachable head that lets you replace it with different attachments.

With this power tool, you do detailed sanding work; grinding and removal of grout. You can also do some wood cutting and shaping work. This is a handy piece of equipment to have when you want to do small projects that need a more delicate touch. Its oscillating head’s rotational movement will not scatter out dust or wood filings.

Because of its growing popularity, many equipment manufacturers have come up with their own line of the Oscillating Multi-Tool among their handy power tools.

If you’re in the market to buy one, always choose the cordless model for ease of use and better convenience. Word of caution: If you’re planning to do long-duration projects, the battery life of this power tool leaves a lot to be desired.

5. Circular Saw

A Circular Saw is a great investment if you are serious about building furniture or creating wood-based projects and handicrafts. This is one of the most essential tools for a woodworking shop.

Trust us, a handsaw alone will not get it done. As a power tool, a Circular Saw can cut through several pieces of wood in under two minutes. By comparison, a hand saw may take you 20 minutes.

Because of its power, it may be advisable to get some training courses in or to apprentice under a more experienced handyman. A Circular Saw will easily slice through bone and muscle tissue.

A cordless Circular Saw would be ideal for cutting through thinner varieties of wood. However, if you plan to use the Circular Saw for thicker cuts of wood, the corded model brands may offer more power.

6. Paint Sprayer

One of the most common improvements undertaken in a home and in an office is re-painting. Over time the time begins to tarnish or maybe you just decided to give your room, cabinets or picket fence a different look. This is where such as a Paint Sprayer will come in handy and should be on your power tools checklist.

Put simply, a Paint Sprayer will get the painting job done in record time. There are some models that use a Mason jar as its paint re-fill. This makes it very convenient because you can fill up multiple Mason jars before you start working on a project. Just close the lid and you’ll be ready for a re-fill anytime.

Keep in mind that larger painting jobs will need a Paint Sprayer that can carry and spray large quantities of paint.

A Paint Sprayer will need an air compressor. If you have an air compressor for a nail gun, that will be good enough to run a Paint Sprayer.

Conclusion

Every home or office should have a set of power tools. Whether you have to conduct small repairs or work on projects as a hobby, having the most important power tools will get the job done.

Power tools are not cheap; some types or brands can cost you a bit of money. However, on the plus side, you don’t have to hire any service provider or handy man. You should build up your skill set when handling these types of equipment.

The best approach would be to start out small by buying just one or two of the power tools listed here then slowly work on your skills. As your skills improve and you become more proficient add a few more to your toolbox or workshop from our power tools checklist

Brushless Impact Driver

What Is A Brushless Motor?

Brushless Impact Driver

To have a better understanding of what a brushless motor is, it would be best to discuss its predecessor, the brushed motor, and how it worked. Brushed motors are representative of typical DC motors. It has permanent magnets on the outside and a spinning armature on the inside. The permanent magnets are also called the stator because they remain stationary. The armature is in constant rotational motion and is called the rotor.

Inside the armature is an electromagnet which generates a magnetic field once electricity courses through it. A brushed motor uses a commutator. What is a commutator? It is an attachment connected to the motor where electrical connection is made and ensures the current that flows in direct current.

The magnetic field attracts and repels the magnets in the stator and causes the armature to spin 180 degrees. In order to keep the armature spinning, you have to alter the poles of the electromagnet. The brushes make contact with two spinning electrodes in the armature so it can switch the magnetic polarity of the electromagnet as it spins.

Although it is cheap and easy for manufacturers to set up a brushed motor, it can present a host of problems:

  • The brushes are subject to wear out eventually;
  • Sparking and electrical noise are constantly generated as the brushes are making and breaking connections;
  • ​The brushes controls the maximum speed that can be achieved by the equipment;
  • ​Because of its central location in the motor, it is difficult to cool down the electromagnet;
  • Brushes exact a limit on the number of poles the armature can have.

Technology and the introduction on power transistors gave manufacturers a way to remove the brushes. This started the development process for brushless motors.

Difference Between Brushed And Brushless Motor

The main difference between brushed and brushless motor is that with the latter the permanent magnets are located on the rotor while the electromagnets are transferred to the stator. A computer replaces the commutator and is connected to high-power transistors which charge the electromagnets whenever the shaft turns.

A dc brushless motor has the following advantages over the brushed variety:

  • It is more precise because it is controlled by computers;
  • A brushless motor does not create sparking or too much noise;
  • ​Having the electromagnets relocated at the stator instead of the centre of the motor makes it much easier to cool down;
  • ​By going with brushless tools, you have the option of adding more electromagnets on the stator for improved efficiency.

The only disadvantage of the brushless motor is that it is more expensive. However you can easily cover the cost of the investment by constantly generating cost savings because you gain more efficiency from using a brushless tool like a drill.

Despite the cost, brushless motors are slowly replacing brushed motors because of it better efficiency, smoother torque, higher level of durability and its ability to speed up operations.

Applications Of The Brushless Motor

The advantages of choosing brushless over brushed as previously discussed have made it applicable to operate small battery-powered tools because these factors help extend its battery life.

Small scale appliances that are produced in large volumes greatly benefit from the use of the brushless motor. A good example would be the robotic vacuum cleaner. By being brushless, it allows for bi-directional operation and makes it possible for the appliance to run effectively while emitting low noise.

The brushless motor is also applicable to power tools.

What are the advantages of brushless power tools?

A brushless power tool is low in weight but is capable of generating high power output. Handheld power tools such as snow blowers and chainsaws have light weight components like rotary parts and slip rings and benefit from the increased power output of brushless technology.

Even though going brushless is comparatively expensive, because small appliances are manufactured in volume, economies of scale allow the prices of these items to remain affordable. You will be able to purchase and use high powered tools that are very energy efficient and will not break your bank account.

Other appliances and equipment that have gone brushless include hard drives, pumps, electric fans, coffee makers, hair dryers, mixers and CD or DVD players.

Brushless vs. Brushed: Which One Is The Better Choice?

Companies promote devices that use brushless as “smart tools”. This is because its electronics communicate directly with the stationary windings which allow a tool or equipment that goes brushless to adjust and accommodate the task.

A good example of this “smart feature” is when you try to drive a brushless drill into a material with a soft surface such as Styrofoam. The brushless drill will sense the material has less resistance and will only draw enough power from the battery to get the job done.

By contrast, if you were to use the same brushless drill to a board made of a hard material such as Mahogany, it would draw more current from the battery in order to penetrate the surface.

A brushless tool’s power can also be modified or adjusted to become stronger. How? Because its copper windings are located on the outside of its configuration which gives it more room to become larger.

Brushed tools tend to drag against the spinning commutator. This creates friction and instances when the voltage drops and the tool or equipment loses more power or experiences a continuous loss of energy while in use. With a computer in place of a commutator, these occurrences are not likely with a brushless power tool.

However as we mentioned earlier, a brushless motor greatly benefits devices or tools that are manufactured in large volumes. They are able to reap the advantages of efficiency and greater power output without affecting the cost of the item.

Such is not the case with power tools that are not commonly purchased. The use of brushless will have an inflationary effect on its price. Although the obvious trade- off is better performance, you will have to determine whether the extra expense will be worth it.

Different Battery Packs For Cordless Drills: Does Lithium Ion And Nickel Cadmium Just Confuse You?

When you shop for any electronic product that is battery powered you’ll see a lot of confusing terms. Battery operated drills are no different and understanding the different types of batteries is very important. Especially if you rely on them all day for your job.

In this article, we try to bring you some easy to understand information to help you tell the difference between 3 of the most common types. We also look at how to figure out what type of battery best suits you.

And more important, to help you figure out the detailed technical specifications. You know the ones that look like you need to be a physics major to really understand?

All those specifications will ultimately tell you how well a product is suited to your needs. It will tell you how many charges you can expect to go through. What the voltage is and what the capacity is.

If you don’t want to constantly be switching batteries and investing in many backups, then you can make a big difference by buying something better suited. It might cost more, but in the long run it could save you money and downtime.

Quick Overview

When it comes to batteries it’s all about the types of metals used inside. One of the most common types you see advertised would be a lithium ion battery pack. In many ways, these serve the best purpose. They are reliable. They last a long time and they don’t have a memory effect (more on that shortly).

But there are two other quite suitable technologies and they are Nickel Cadmium and Nickel Hydroxide. These are generally cheaper and can be used for more powerful voltages and Watts. They do have some drawbacks though.

First of all, you will always want to fully discharge them before they are placed in the charger. This is because of a memory effect that results in part of it not being fully charged. Once this effect kicks in it can be difficult to get rid of. And the result is a battery that doesn’t last as long anymore.

The second problem is that when they are not in use they tend to discharge a lot quicker. All batteries do this over time. But Lithium Ion ones hold their charge far better. So, if you tend to go several days or weeks between using a battery then the Nickel based ones are not the best idea.

The 3 Main Types

As already mentioned there are 3 most common types of rechargeable batteries. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at them. But don’t worry, this is not going to be a boring physics lesson. A lot of the technical detail is only useful if you’re an electrical or electronic engineer.

We’ll basically highlight some of the issues that you can have with the different types. That way you can either make sure you avoid those problems. Or else you might just avoid that type of battery.

Nickel Cadmium Batteries (NiCd)

These types of batteries were first introduced over 100 years ago. The main benefit of these is that they provide quite a high amp output. So, if you have tools that require a lot of power then these do work very well.

On weight to amp ratio they are still among the best options available. One thing to be careful of though is that you have to watch out to be using the right nickel cadmium battery charger. Dependent on the output, the charge rate has to be different. Using the wrong one can quickly result in overcharging which greatly reduces the life cycle.

Nickel Metal Hydroxide Batteries (NiMH)

One of the main downsides with a nickel metal hydride battery pack is that the self-discharge rate can be quite high. If you tend to leave your batteries unused for several days or weeks at t time, then be prepared to charge them again before use.

They are nowhere near as good an option as the Lithium ones up next. But they are an awful lot cheaper. One great advantage of them is that they provide a high current right through each charge. You essentially don’t get a constant gradual reduction in output.

Lithium Ion Batteries (Li-Ion)

The Lithium Ion battery is by far the best option, but it comes at a price. The majority of power tools these days will come with one. And if you ever have a choice, then try and stretch your budget.

The first advantage is that the self-discharge rate is less than 2% per month. So, even if you only occasionally use the device, it’s unlikely to have a completely drained battery each time you pick it up.

The life cycle is reasonably good mainly because it’s easier to partially charge without the memory effect. This really justifies the cost, as you will save money over the long term by not having to replace them as regular.

You will also find that these types are a lot lighter than the others above. That means that if you have an already heavy tool, it becomes a bit less tiring to work with. Alternatively, it allows you to have a battery of the same size that lasts a huge amount longer.

What Are Manufacturers Doing?

The vast majority of mid to high-end products on the market come with Lithium Ion batteries. They last the longest on each charge and have a good overall life cycle. There might be some specialized tools out there that have very high amp requirements. These would often still use Nickel based types. That should not really be seen as a negative. The extra amps might be a lot more important for the usage.

Where companies are making some innovative improvements is in the general design of the batteries. On the inside, they’re all pretty much the same. The problem is, that you could have a drill and an impact wrench from the same company with different battery connectors.

That means you won’t be able to just interchange them. Some companies like DeWalt are now introducing bare tool products. These can use the same battery for many different devices.

Over time you could start buying all your power tools from the same company, and you’ll only need to have one set of batteries and chargers. This can save a lot of money on equipment. And you don’t have to go looking for specific batteries every time you need to change one. It reduces costs of having back up batteries and avoids hassle.

What Specifications Are Important?

No matter what type of battery you buy, there are certain specifications that you need to focus on. When you understand these, you’ll be in a much better place to really understand if you’re choosing the right one.

Obviously, the type of battery has impacts on the below specs. But it’s more important to be able to compare even batteries of the same type. You could have two Lithium batteries that look almost the same. But the devil is in the detail and just looking for the right connector could leave you short on power.

Discharge

When it comes to discharge what you need to be aware of is that all batteries will self-discharge over time. With rechargeable batteries, this can vary a lot between the three most common ones.

Nickel based technology will discharge without use at a rate of 5% to 20% per month. That is quite a lot and means that if you don’t use your power tool for a couple of months, you could end up having to charge it first.

With Lithium based devices this is hugely reduced. At most you’ll get a rate of 2% and some high-end products can give you even less than 1%. If you want to make sure you don’t lose large amounts of each charge, then the best option is always Lithium.

Voltage

Makita XDT042 18V LXTThis is what is often referred to as the size or power of your battery. You might think that size would mean physical, but not in the world of physics.

Historically, one of the most popular rechargeable options was the 18v NiCd battery. It provides plenty of power for most tools and was cheap to produce. But as with everything in life, power tools have become more powerful. And that means that you might have old batteries that fit new tools, but don’t provide enough power.

Here is a rough guide to show you the different levels of power requirements for different uses.

  • Light: 7-15v
  • Medium: 12-18v
  • Heavy: 18-36v

The most standard voltage you will find these days is the 20 V option. The good thing is that it will work perfectly well with tools that require a lower voltage.

Capacity

If you’re a hobby DIYer then this is probably not that important. Capacity is essentially how you can tell how long the battery will last. And larger capacity always means larger size.

Over the years, the size to capacity ratio has come down a lot. And companies like Tesla have made a huge contribution towards improving that ratio. And it continues to improve.

As a professional contractor in any field, you will want to reduce the amount of times you have to switch batteries during a working day. This always ends with downtime and it requires you to have more devices charging at any given time.

Memory Effect

This sounds like a strange thing to attribute to such a simple electronic device. But if you remember back to the early cell phones of the 90s, then this was actually a significant problem. What this refers to is that if you didn’t discharge a battery fully before charging it again, the part of the battery that is not charged is remembered over time. And as a result, it stops getting charged.

That reduces the overall capacity and can be difficult to get rid of. With rechargeable lithium batteries that is not the case. The memory effect simply doesn’t exist and that means you can just charge the batteries whenever you want. You don’t have to wait until it’s completely discharged.

Maximum Charges

This essentially will refer to the maximum number of times you can expect to charge a battery. You will see this referenced as the life cycle. For lithium based batteries this is one of the main downfalls. Even the best products will support a maximum number of charges of about 500-600.

Nickel hydride battery types on the other hand will give you substantially more. It would not be uncommon to get more than 1000 charges out of each one. That assumes they are charged, used and stored correctly and always fully drained.

When it comes to choosing, you really have to weigh up the different costs and options. For very high intensity use where you need to charge a battery multiple times a day, this can be a deciding factor.

Conclusion

Battery technology is constantly changing. But the uses for the different types have largely stayed the same. Capacity to size is improving for all of them, and even Nickel based ones are discharging at a slower rate.

For the majority of people the Lithium Ion based ones will work best as they hold their charge longer and have a larger capacity. But, there are very good reasons to go for Nickel. If you need to charge them a lot due to constant use, then you could end up saving money because you get a longer life cycle.

It’s a careful balance that shouldn’t be too difficult to get right.