Are Cordless Hand Tools a Good Choice for Beginner Woodworkers?


As a new or interested woodworker, you will be faced with some expensive purchases. This article is intended to help you make some smart choices as you start out so that you will be able to maximize your purchases and budget for all of your project needs. One of your first decisions might be whether to purchase a cordless set of hand tools or stick with the corded options.

A beginning woodworker should seriously consider purchasing corded products over battery-powered hand tools to start out with. This will allow you to maximize your inventory of tools while budgeting for other necessities like materials. There are several reasons I believe this to be true. Let’s look at a few of them.

I know that there is a lot of advertising pressure to buy the “New and Improved” cordless tools that are abundantly available today but is this the best choice?

Corded Power Hand Tools

Corded power tools have been around for a really long time. Back in 1895, the German engineering company C&E Fein tool company strapped an electric motor onto a manual drill and introduced a hefty 16 1/2 pound electric drill. Black and Decker introduced a much lighter and faster handheld drill patterned after the Colt 45 about 20 years later in 1916.

A sample of handheld power tools for the beginner might include:

  • Circular saws
  • Screwdrivers
  • Drills
  • Grinders
  • Rotary hammers, Routers
  • Scroll Saws
  • Reciprocating Saws
  • Impact Driver
  • And probably some I have not seen yet

They were adapting their design to the diverse needs of the users. That is why in the market, we can find countless models of the same power tool. The corded tools generally have exceptional power, where cordless tools have to conserve energy so may have less power. Generally, users are more attracted to corded tools when they do not have to leave the shop. They are functional, inexpensive, and the plug-in cable is not a problem because there are ways to make it longer when needed.

Cordless tools (powered by a battery)

Tools also evolve over time because the activities carried out in the world of carpentry or related careers constantly become heavier and more abundant. Corded power tools became cordless tools, which work by an integrated battery. Generally, those found on the market are lithium.

More and more tools are converting to a cordless model. They are being heavily marketed and many think that corded models are either no longer available or they are “inconvenient”. Among the cordless tools that you can find, these are the most recent tools to enter the cordless consumer world are:

  • Cordless Routers
  • Cordless (no compressor) nail guns
  • Leaf Blowers

Basically, these cordless tools are a more advanced version and relatively more comfortable than the classic corded tools. The advantages of this type of tool are inclined towards practicality and mobility, for example:

  1. The task of maneuvering it or moving it from one job site to another is straightforward.
  2. It is ideal when doing work in a place that does not have access to electricity.
  3. If a task is to be performed in a location with limited access, these tools are ideal.
  4. It offers greater safety when carrying out work in wet locations or at heights.

Despite all the above advantages -which corded tools do not have- the usable time of cordless tools is very limited. Currently, there are not all the tools necessary for various jobs in this version. In this respect, corded power tools have the greatest advantage.

Advantages and disadvantages of battery-powered tools

Today, many power tool manufacturers market their cordless lines without their batteries. This allows users to broaden their search for tools without paying for expensive batteries each time a purchase is made. But at the same time, it raises an extensive debate about which battery should be chosen given the diversity that we will find in the market.

It is clear, however, that a good battery will benefit whatever cordless tool is on hand. Since it is the battery that enables the tool to operate, the choice of the type of battery technology is almost as important as the tool itself’s choice.

For example, if the capacity, charging time, or storage characteristics of the battery do not match the user or the work to be done, the most expensive and sophisticated tool could be totally useless.

Today cordless tools have a wide application, and more and more powerful and versatile models are constantly emerging. This results in a continuous evolution of the technology of the batteries they use, so the potential buyer must know about designs, performance, specifications, and characteristics of batteries to keep up with the industry.

However, if you are starting in the world of carpentry or some other profession where you need to choose which one is the right tool for you, you should consider that opting for cordless tools is synonymous with making an additional expense on lithium-ion batteries and take into account its high cost. If you don’t dedicate yourself 100% to these activities, you won’t see as many benefits in the long run.

Proper use of power tools

Power tools require care and knowledge to use them properly, not only to avoid accidents but for the work to be as optimal as possible and have a long useful life.

Some tools seem to be very easy to use. However, certain recommendations seem very basic, but that can be very useful when you are doing work or once it is finished.

Check carefully

Before using any manual tool, it is important to check the state of conservation, especially when these are not used every day or when several people use them at the same time. Check the condition of the handles, chips, tips, edges, or the adjustment of the nuts, checking that they have not deteriorated, broken, or rusted.

If they have poor features, remove them immediately for replacement or repair. You should do these scans monthly.

Quality

Using good quality tools, with a correct design, with adequate resistance and durability, and well-established handles or handles allows better performance. Verifying that hammers, pliers, knobs, pliers, and other elements work properly also prevents accidents.

Proper use

The tools used in each task must be made for this purpose; otherwise, it may cause serious accidents or damage to materials. Besides, each object has a technical limit, which you must respect. For example, screwdrivers should not be used as chisels, nor pliers as hammers or the like.

Transport

When it is necessary to move the tools, it is important to do it safely, avoiding, for example, putting nails, bits, or screws in the pocket, since they could cause a major accident, in a fall or trip. There are items such as kangaroos that are worn on the waist and suitable toolboxes, suitcases, or organizers for this purpose.

Storage

Tools should always be stored neatly, cleanly, and in a suitable place out of the reach of children. If the power tool uses a cord, it is important that they do not bend when stored because they can break and be damaged.

Avoid leaving the tips or edges unprotected and store each type of element in each space. When the utensils are kept in an orderly manner, it is easier to select the precise object and avoid the use of others that are not appropriate.

What should be taken into account when purchasing power tools?

1. What characteristics are you looking for?

What are the really necessary features that the tool that you need should have? Like any other product, there are power tools that have features that are nice but not essential. They make them more ergonomic or aesthetic, but they do not improve their functionality.

Before buying any power tool, do a little research on what kinds of features most models have. From there, it is possible to decipher which ones are essential and which ones are extras.

For example, if you buy a drill, you may require a particular bit size for a project or a certain level of power to work with certain materials you have. These are characteristics that are needed to get the job done. The rest, such as the handle or the color, are interesting but not absolutely essential details.

2. To Cord or not to Cord?

Each type of tool has its benefits, for example, power tools that have corded, have a higher power, and are constantly feeding on electricity to function properly. The only problem that exists is the limitation when moving around, or if you do not have a plug near the area where you will be working.

However, the cordless tools helped eliminate the mobility problem because users have the freedom to work anywhere and at any angle they want. One of the biggest disadvantages of cordless tools is that their power is not that high. Besides, they have a higher cost, and users are always concerned about recharging the batteries.

To my point – for the beginner – a corded drill can be purchased for less than the cost of a Ni-Cad battery alone. After you are sure you want to continue with the hobby or even decide to turn it into a business, nothing beats the convenience of a cordless tool. Just be sure that you can afford to replace the battery every 3 to 5 years before you commit.

3. Safety level

It is important that when choosing which tools to purchase, one of the key points to take into account is safety. If we get carried away with cost, many may turn toward inexpensive tools, but they may be unsafe and cause serious injury to users.

Pay attention to the opinions of sellers and people who have used the brand you have in mind to acquire, research, and make the best possible decision.

4. What is the true cost of the purchase?

The true cost of purchasing a power tool often goes beyond the price on the label. Depending on the tool purchased, it may be necessary to purchase additional accessories and other essentials, such as blades, straps, bits, and other items, as we wear them down.

Research what is included with the tool’s purchase and consider the price of any extra accessories you may need. Weigh these additional costs into the tool’s total price to make sure it still fits your budget.

Also, if you are going to lean towards buying cordless tools, a good tip is to buy tools in kits. Kits are often packaged with all of the accessories you will need and priced to save you money.

Is it advisable to invest in cordless tools if you are a beginner?

If you are just starting in the carpentry world and have not yet decided to dedicate yourself fully to this activity, I personally do not recommend you invest the extra money in cordless tools. Corded tools will work perfectly for you, giving you the power and security you need while you learn more about this trade. This strategy will also let you try out more tools and have a budget left over to buy proper wood for your projects.

Resources

If you would like to check out some corded tools, visit your local hardware store or big box store. If you would like the convenience of shopping online, Here are several tools I have my eye on. As the banner on top says, when using these links, this website profits from the lead (no extra cost to you) and that helps us continue to produce content.

Corded Tools

Cordless Tools

Sources

John McCormick

I have been woodworking since being introduced to the hobby in High School. I enjoy woodworking as a hobby and would like to share some of what I have learned with the world. I have recently built a CNC router system and I have enjoyed learning this new dimension of the hobby.

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