Cordless Power Tools - Cordless Convenience
Why choose cordless power tools?
Cordless power tools are a great idea if you feel as if you’re always tripping over your own feet. When you switch to cordless, you do away with the hassle of wires leading to the power supply. This means a lot less clutter in your workspace, and it’s safer too. Convenience is a major reason for buying cordless power tools.
However, they do have their disadvantages. The main problem is power. When you get rid of the bulky cords, you also lose some of the tool’s va-va-voom. Some of them are so underpowered, they’re almost useless. As a general rule, you should buy the most powerful cordless tool in your price range.
Battery technology for cordless power tools is advancing, so under-power issues may soon be a thing of the past. Six volts was once the norm, but now it’s routine to find tools with up to 24 volts of power. But it’s not just about the voltage; it’s also the life of the battery pack and the length of charge. You don’t want to be stopping to recharge every few minutes in the middle of a job, and you don’t want to be throwing away a battery pack after only a couple hundred recharges.
NiCD (nickel cadmium) battery packs are the best option for long battery life, since they can be recharged between 600 and 800 times. NiMH (nickel metal hydride) batteries only manage about half that.
A battery’s storage capacity (the length of its charge) is measured by its amp-hour rating. One amp-hour is equal to one amp of current for one hour. The rating is determined at a 20-hour rate. That is, the number of amps that can be delivered for 20 hours before the voltage drops to 10.5 volts. Amp-hour ratings on batteries for cordless power tools vary from around 1.2 to around 3.5.
Dewalt and Ryobi are two of the main players in the world of cordless technology. Dewalt cordless power tools include cordless drills, saws and screwdrivers. Ryobi cordless power tools include drills, circular saws and a choice of hand-operated vacuum cleaners. However, many other manufacturers also produce cordless tools, and the recent improvements in battery technology make it likely that this trend is set to continue.