Power Tools

Home repair essentials

What's the first thing many homeowners rush out to purchase once they've moved into a new home? Power tools! Redecorating, renovating and regular home upgrades all provide the perfect excuse to update your power tool collection.

What you need

Before you hit the hardware store, consider the tools you need. If you're focusing on your garden this year, aim to buy tools that will be of use for that project – not the projects you hope to tackle in the future.

Advertiser Links for power tools

Cordless power tools are very popular because of their convenience. Cordless tools like drills, hand vacuums, staple guns and nail guns will come in handy for all sorts of projects. You can use them for everything from drywalling to putting up a new backyard fence to fixing your dining room table.

Air tools are also gaining popularity because they are often small and light but get the job done just as well as conventional tools. Also called pneumatic tools, air tools are driven by gas but are otherwise the same as many cordless power tools available on the market.

If you're going to be tackling some larger tasks, you should consider investing in your own heavy duty power tools, rather than paying a store to do the work for you or borrowing a friend's tools. Heavy duty tools like chainsaws, lawn mowers and roto tillers should last you many years if you take proper care of them.

Popular Power Tools:

Drill

There's more to drilling than punching a hole in a piece of wood, so before you choose your power drill, you need to decide what type of hole you need. Once you have determined the purpose, you can choose which of the many drills available best suits your needs. Cordless drills are a handyman's best friend. When you're using a cordless drill, you don't have to worry about a cord getting in your way or limiting your range of motion. As long as your cordless drill battery is charged, you're good to go!

After you have decided on your drill, it's important to choose a drill bit. This is the tip of the drills – the piece of metal that actually creates the hole. Drill bits come in many shapes and sizes, such as the spade bit, lip and spur, masonry bit or twist drill bit. There is also a diamond drill bit, made to fit a diamond drill. These drills are used on delicate items like mirrors, stones, tiles, shells and beads.

On the other hand, if you need to drill through a heavier, brittle material, you might want to try a hammer drill. Also called rotary hammer drills, these tools are like drills and hammers combined in one – the spinning drill is accompanied by a rapid hammering motion to break and crumble materials as efficiently as possible.

Saw

There are many types of saws and saw blades, all of which are appropriate for different sorts of projects. If you are cutting baseboards or molding, you will need a miter saw to produce accurate edges that fit together. Miter saws sit on a table top and are a type of circular saw. Circular saws have round blades that spin at high speeds to create quick, accurate cuts.

On the other hand, reciprocating saws move in a push-and-pull motion, with a flat blade moving back and forth. Jig saws are a type of reciprocating saw. A jig saw is ideal for artistic purposes, like cutting out small pieces of wood.

Chain saws are heavy-duty equipment and require safety gear. When shopping for chains saws, look for safety features and opt for high quality, since this is a major piece of machinery. And for those hard-to-reach projects, try a pole saw. These saws are attached to the end of long arms, so you can use them in awkward or high spots.

Buying tools on a budget

Want the tools without the hit to the wallet? Search for discount power tools at home improvement stores. This may mean you have to purchase your tools at the wrong time of year, but you will have them ready and waiting for when you want to use them. You could also buy used power tools. Imagine all those wannabe handymen who have discovered that home renovation really isn't for them. Take advantage of their situations and pick up good-quality tools at low prices at garage sales, from classified ads and through word of mouth. Let friends know what you're looking for, too; they may know somebody who is looking to sell.

Buying reconditioned power tools will also save you money. While they aren't brand new, reconditioned tools are usually top-quality brands that have been sent back to the manufacturer for a small fix or to have a wonky part replaced. In other cases, a trained professional may have tuned up the tool. If you are considering reconditioned power tools, be sure that you trust your source and are confident in his or her abilities to make imperfect tools better – and safe.