Guest Author - Dale Y the Maintenance Guy
The real age of the practical cordless tool began about 25 years ago with the ni-cad replaceable battery packs, giving hand-held power tools a level of convenience unmatched before them, and the cordless tool revolution began. Now, there are so many variations of cordless tools, that it may be hard to figure out what's what. So, I'll give you a few basic suggestions, and you can recharge your thoughts and go from there.
The key to buying a cordless tool is battery size. It's a good general rule that the larger the battery, the longer a tool will run, and the more powerful it will be. And while a lot of power is an intoxicating idea, extra run-time and power come with extra weight.
The most popular cordless power tool is a drill-driver, and generally for most home maintenance projects, that's a good place to begin. Afterall, screwing and unscrewing things is the most common mechanical maintenance practice, so that's a good start.
Now then, if you are just looking for a handy little drill for maintenance projects, then you need to go no farther than a 7.2 volt drill. They are light, easy to maneuver, and for light duty screwing, they can't be beat. They will generally come with a 3 hour charger, an extra battery and a basic drill accessory kit that will be perfect for typical home maintenance.
Truth be told, for on-the-go repairs, I have my own 7.2 volt drill-driver set, and it has never failed me. Granted, it does not have a lot of power or a very long running time, but for everyday type drilling and screwing chores, even light sanding disc applications, and wire brush polishing, you just donít need anything else, and I wouldn't be without mine.
If you are going to be involved in things like basic building projects as well as home maintenance, then I suggest something on the order of a 14.4 volt drill-driver. These have plenty of power for all but industrial jobs, and they will run a long time between recharging. PLUS, they will generally come with an extra battery and a 1 hour charger, so that realistically, you will never run out of power. 14.4 volt sized batteries also support a variety of other tools like saws, sanders, and flashlights, allowing you to add on as your need for more variety increases.
From here, there are drills and power tools that come with as much as 24 volt power capacity which equated to incredibly long running times. These tools are great forn bragging rights in the neighborhood, but they are serious and expensive overkill for just doing basic home improvement and household maintenance chores. And as a general rule, unless you are into some really serious building and commercial construction, they arenít worth the high price that you'll pay for them.
Stick with the well respected brand names like Makita, DeWalt or Milwaukee, if you want top quality, or a Ryobi and Black & Decker for decent quality at a good price. By following these basic tips, you'll have a good idea on what cordless ower tool is right for you!