How to choose the right power tool

09/06/2011

By Alex Breingan

How to Choose the right power tool for your project

We LOVE DIY in New Zealand and we REALLY LOVE our power tools!

The temptation is to get as many tools as you can afford and we do love a bargain too, which can mean you end up with a power tool that isn’t necessarily the best one for the job, or in fact the best one at all! If you don’t think you have the right tool for your project and to get the best results s with the project, it is important that you choose the right power tools.

There are so many to choose from that it can be difficult. There are many things to consider for all types of power tools. Most of us have a special kind of name we are faithful. Price, quality and warranty factors that influence are strong influences on making that power tool purchase.

Who buys power tools? Men right???

It may surprise you, but 29% of power tools are bought by women. Some are probably for their own personal use and others are gifts for ‘him in the shed’!. When in doubt about what to get a man, go for a power tool. (Seriously it’s a winner every time). Just make sure that it is a good one and he’s not already got one that is similar. Take a look at the Ryobi range on their website if you want some ideas click here and take a look.

Power saws:

There are a fair few options here, so if you overhear your hubby moaning in the run up to his birthday or Christmas that he needs a new saw, make sure you find out what kind he is referring to. Here are the main types of power saws. Circular (known also as a skill saw)

Jigsaw Drop saw (also known as a mitre saw)

Reciprocating saw

When choosing a saw, make sure it’s the right one for the project and also has the right blade. This is going to make a difference on the type of cuts you end up with. Rip blades cut the grain of the material. A deep tooth on the blade will help remove the material as it cuts. Crosscut blade has teeth on both sides of the blade, so as the saw glides across the material, the alternates sides of the saw blade will give you a very nice cut. Combination blades are available and are commonly used instead of switching between transverse knife blade & rip. The lower the teeth, the stronger section it will be. Combination blades with a lot of teeth will give you the cleanest cut. Special blades are available for different materials (such as metal or plastic, hard or soft wood)

The right power tool with the right accessories will help make any kind of project goes smoothly, and affect the quality of output. In many cases, you may well need various tools to get the job done properly, but take the time to figure out which one will work best. Weigh the pros and cons of each one. It will also depend on the tools you already have. Will buying a new power tool help you carry out more and better projects? Yes probably, but it may not be worth the expensive only if you plan to use once or twice.

Hand tools Size & strength are very important whey you choose the right tools. Many people do not take this into account. Try these models are displayed in the shop. If the tool is very heavy, imagine what it would be like to use all weekend building the deck. Some of the smaller hand tools that are designed to go into a very small area so may be a better option than the big fancy grunty one on special that you are drawn to. If you’re left handed like me, most power tools are fine for you. Sometimes the safety button is on the wrong side for your preference for example, but not a major. You can use most power tools as either a right or left hander. Cordless drills.

There are dozens of these on sale in NZ and dozens of different brands in all the DIY stores. BUT they are NOT all the same. A cheap cordless drill will be a big waste of money. Trust me, my first one was until I learnt that you get what you pay for. Go for a named brand first off and secondly one that has a few key features including: High and low torque settings (low for doing up screws, high for drilling) Lithium ion battery. This will last longer and gives a full power operation rather than slowly losing power.

Ryobi do a very good range of cordless drills called the One + range. The battery fits all the Ryobi one plus range of drills, jigsaws, circular saws, line trimmers etc…. My tip is get 2 batteries as you can always have one in use and one on charge.

Read the owners guide. I know, they do print them for a reason! Owners guides supplied with any power tool give you great tips on what projects to be used for.

Go on line:

Before buying a power tool and before starting a project, get on line and google it. Find out what tools you need and you will find information on the best power tool to use for the job. You will find some very helpful tips probably for the project as well. It is the perfect combination to use a power tool you know how to operate, fits in your hands, and is designed for the project you are doing.

And if you’re stuck for advice, tune in to Design & Build on RadioLIVE every Sunday or send Alex an email from his page on this website and he’ll help you out.

Alex Breingan presents the Design & Build Show Sunday 6am-9am on RadioLIVE

source: data archive