For peer review, new FAQ section: Power Tools. Draft 2

I think I have incorporated most of the comments from the previous thread, so hear is a revised version. There is now a section on specific tools and what one can do with them - contribuitions for this section especially would be welcome!
***
Choosing a portable power tool
Choice of power tool is a topic that comes up for discussion at regular intervals on uk.d i y, which frequently generates long threads of opinion and counter opinion! (aka arguments, and flame wars!) Much of this discussion seems to stem from different peoples understanding of what “DIY” is all about, as well as each person having often conflicting needs and expectations.
To help focus discussion, this section of the FAQ sets out some of the various tool buying policies that are routinely suggested. If you use this to identify which policy most closely resembles your favoured approach, you should be able to solicit advice from the group that takes this into consideration, and will save you needing to wade through too many heated debates!
What do *you* mean by DIY?
This is not as daft a questions as you may think! Since it will have a big impact on the tools you will consider “suitable”. DIY will mean different things to different people. For some it will be about saving money, for others it may be a relaxing hobby. It could be as simple as occasionally erecting a shelf, or changing a tap washer. For others it could be as elaborate as building their own house! For many today (especially if you live in the south east) DIY is often the only option because finding good trades people willing to actually quote or even turn up for work on some jobs is getting increasingly difficult!
It is safe to say that the tool you purchase with the expectation that it will live in a cupboard for 362 days of the year, may well be very different to the one with which you indulge your hobby of fine furniture making five days a week. So before deciding on much else, it is advisable to decide on what level of use you anticipate making of the tool.
Class of tool:
There are a huge variety of power tools available from the general purpose to the highly specialised. Almost every DIY shop will not only stock a selection of well know brands, they will often offer their own range of “own brand” tools, and prices for similar looking tools can range from as little as £5 to well over £500. The choice can seem bewildering. Understanding the way in which these different ranges of tools are marketed and distributed can go a long way to help understanding this large range.
Budget tools
The prices of budget tools in recent years have fallen dramatically. The majority of tools are manufactured in the far east and then “branded” for the eventual retailer. It is not uncommon to find exactly the same tool available under several different “brands” where the only difference is the label and the colour of the case. Since access to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is limited, getting any after sales service and spares for these tools can be difficult or impossible. Often the retailer may offer more attractive warranty terms to mitigate some of these limitations. So if a tool breaks during its warranty period, then the retailer will simply replace it. However if it breaks after this time, the tool will need to be discarded and a replacement sought. Although a long warranty may seem attraction remember that you may need to factor in the cost of your time should frequent trips to the shop be needed to acquire a warranty replacement.
High End tools
At the high end, tools are often built and assembled by factories owned by the brand maker, or built for them by OEMs to the brands own specification and quality standards. There will be a service and support network that will enable tools to be repaired, and spare parts obtained. Needless to say this backup and support has to be paid for in higher tool prices.
Mid Range tools
The mid range can be even more confusing since it can encompass tools from the “edges” of both categories above – often with the range of tools available under one brand spanning a good proportion quality and price range available. It is also an area with a large number of suppliers, sellers, and advertisers, each competing for your money.
Where should I buy from?
Many tools are available from a wide range of sources including the big name DIY shop, to the specialised independent tool supplier. A growing market sector is the dedicated “online” seller.
For easy availability of budget and mid range tools, it is hard to beat the big DIY shops. If you want the best and most knowledgeable advice and after sales service you will need to seek out a dedicated tool merchant. If you are looking for the best possible price the online shop will often give it to you.
There are cases where a average quality tool purchased from an above average retailer will offer some of the benefits and after sales care that usually only comes with much higher price tools.
The purchasing factors
Assuming you have dismissed hiring a tool, there are some are obvious factors like features of the product and its price that you will consider before you buy, but some are more subtle. For any given purchase you will need to weigh up these factors, since they may often be different for each tool you buy.
1)    Tool features 2)    Purchase Price 3)    Availability of spares and support 4)    Tool quality (and quality of results achievable with it) 5)    Total cost of ownership (factoring in your time to buy and maintain the tool, cost of spares etc) 6)    Comfort of use (Not only ergonomic design, but also factors like weight, noise, vibration, effective dust collection) 7)    Speed of operation 8)    Availability of suppliers (and service where applicable) 9)    How much you anticipate the tool will be used 10)    How long you need it to last 11)    Brand image
Buying policies:
The disposable tool
This is an easy one! Sometimes a tool is needed for a specific job and then that is it. Chances that it will be used again are slim. Often hiring a tool is a good way to meet this need, but that will not always be cost effective or practical if you are going to need it on an ad hoc basis spread over several weeks.
In this category tools from the cheaper end of the market can be ideal, often you are not too concerned what the life expectancy of the tool will be, so long as it gets the job done. If it lasts longer then that is a bonus.
Almost any DIY shop will have a suitable supply of tools. The down side it that the quality of the tool compared to a hired one may be inferior since the hire shops will typically buy top end tools so as to get the best life out of them, make sure they stand up to the abuse dolled out in unskilled hands, and to keep their trade customers happy! The tool may also be less comfortable to use, achieve lower standard of results, and take longer. Finally, you either need to store or otherwise dispose of the tool when the job is done.
The second hand tool
Don’t dismiss this option! Sometimes places like hire shops will sell off surplus tools. If you can find one that has not been hammered to the edge of its useful life this can be a way of picking up a top quality tool for not much money.
The buy to try approach
Sometimes you are not sure how much actual use you will make of a particular tool, but you can’t be sure until you have a chance to try one for yourself. Hiring can be a solution here although you would need to a specific project in mind. The alternative is to buy one from the budget or mid range, to see how you get on with it. You may find that your purchase satisfies your need, or it may be a stepping stone to something better. It also means when you do buy “something better” you have a much clearer understanding of what features to look for and which ones can be dismissed as “fluff”.
The “buy several” approach
The own brand tool may not offer the reliability and performance of a more expensive tool. However the price is often such that some people advocate buying more than one of each tool, often for the less than the price of a single better tool. Should a tool fail, you simply discard it and switch to its replacement and carry on working. (The same policy can actually be applied to any type of tool in any price range if it is important that you can carry on working, not just the “DIY shop special”, Even expensive tools bought for business use may fall into this category).
You can have several tools “on the go at once”. With things like drills this may equate to faster working since you will not need to stop to swap between say a drill bit and a screwdriver bit, just pick up a different tool.
You need to balance this with the fact that the money spent on two tools may buy one of better quality, which may outlast the two cheaper ones, give better results, and be nicer to use. Also you will need more storage space if you have several of each!.
The mid range choice
This is the hardest range to purchase from, because there is a huge choice, and it is not possible to make blanket purchasing decisions based on brand for example. Each brand will have good and not so good products in this class. Buying from this range is often what the ad men call an “aspirational purchase” (i.e. you would like something better, but budget dictates you buy something similar but cheaper!).
Mid range tools are often well suited to the less intensive user. The results and quality of work that can be produced will often be higher than with lower end tools, and some after sales service and support may be available (this is often true where the manufacturer sells tools in several ranges (like B&D or Bosch for example). You have ready availability of tools and lots of competition keeps prices low. You may find that the quality, comfort of use, speed etc, may still be lacking.
The “top quality” approach
Sometimes only the best will do. If the work you want to do demands the highest quality of finish, or you want the utmost comfort and ease of use from your tools then this might be the approach for you. You can expect tools in this category to stand up to intensive every day use, even for “trade” purposes. Reliability should also be better than the other groups, and spares and after sales service should be readily available. Ideally suited to the serious DIYer, the tradesman and craftsman. You will be getting the smoothest operation resulting in good finish and low operator fatigue, with good finesse of control. If you have a habit of being a bit “heavy handed” with your tools then remember these were designed to be used and abused on building sites! Sometimes there is just the satisfaction in using and owning “the best”
The tools are going to be more expensive, and are more likely to be stolen if not carefully looked after! Note also that just because repair services are available there may be down time waiting for repairs to be carried out.
Mains or Cordless
Over recent years the number of cordless (i.e. battery powered) tools available has grown enormously. In many cases available power is but an extension lead away and so you may not “need” a cordless tool. There are some items (drills / powered screwdrivers notably) for which the cordless tool is desirable as a class of its own - often in addition to a mains equivalent. If in doubt as to whether to go cordless (for things other than drills) you are probably better sticking to mains.
There are a few “givens” with cordless tools: they cost more, and will often deliver less power than a similar price / size mains tool, and if you use them infrequently then they will be flat when you want to use them!
There is also a huge range of difference between the best and the worst examples. The worst cordless tools are virtually useless. The best can be used as non stop work horses.
The single biggest influence on the quality and usability of a cordless tool are its batteries and their charger. It is simply not possible to purchase good quality rechargeable cells at very low cost. Many budget cordless tools are sold at a price that is less than the wholesale cost of a decent set of batteries. So something has to give! The quality of the batteries will affect how long it runs, and the power or torque available. The quality of the charger will affect how long the batteries take to charge, and more importantly, how many times you can recharge and still get useful performance from the tool. Batteries will need replacement eventually. With a budget tool this will usually be a non economic exercise (assuming spares are available), with a higher end tool it may well be more expensive than you expect.
The other influence on performance is the quality of the motor and speed controller used. A good one will deliver lots of torque and control, even at low speeds. The poorer ones will only deliver torque at high speeds which is far less useful.
Are more “volts” better
In the quest for more power, performance and speed from battery operated tools, there has been a slide upwards in battery voltage. This suits the marketers well since there is a nice “number” to use a sales hook. The bigger the number the better right? Err, no not always. The more volts, the more cells, the bigger and heavier the tool will be. If you want a nimble easy to use drill/driver this is not a “good thing”. Then we come down to quality of batteries again: a top end 14.4V drill will out perform a 18V or 24V budget tool for just this reason, while being smaller and lighter into the bargain.
Which brand is which?
Identifying which of the above groups a tool belongs to is not always straight forward. Many people will not even agree which is which. Some brands may make tools in several distinct categories, (which may or may not be distinguished in some way). In recent years many of the big name makers have acquired smaller brands so as to be able to compete in several different ranges without confusing people as to which market they are aiming for (i.e. B&D own Elu, Skil, and DeWalt)
Budget brand tools:
NuTool, JCB, Many DIY shop “own brand tools”, Power Devil, Ferm
Mid range tools
Bosch (green bodied), Black & Decker, Skill, Wicks own brand (grey bodied), Freud, PPPro (B&Q), Ryobi
High End
Makita, Trend, Bosch (blue bodied), Hitachi, Festool, Fein, Lamello, Freud, Elu, Metabo, DeWalt, Atlas-Copco/Milwaukee, Panasonic
All about Different Tools
The following section lists lots of tools, why you may want them, and highlights specific things to look for that are particular to the tool.
[feel free to jump in here guys and gals and provide some sections! – this could go on a bit]
The jigsaw
This is an example of a tool where there is a massive shift in performance as you move from budget to high end. To the extent that a high end tool is to all intents and purposes a different tool to the low end. It makes answering the question “why would I want one?” a bit tricky since the range of things you might do with a good one is much wider that those you would contemplate for a poor one. Hence it is simpler to treat these as two separate types of tool:
The budget / mid range jigsaw:
Ideal for cutting curved lines, (indeed without practice, that may be the only type you can cut!). If you need to cut out shapes, (i.e. hole for a sink in a worktop), or make some ornate woodwork this may be the tool for the job. If you need a jigsaw then there are few alternatives, there are some jobs that only a jigsaw will do. The speed of cut is relatively slow (ones with pendulum action will cut faster (and rougher)). The tools are pretty small and light. They are often a bit uncomfortable to use since you get a fair bit of vibration. They are not suited to being a general purpose saw (a circular saw will often be a better choice). The quality of the cut is moderate, and will need a fair amount of sanding etc prior to finishing if it is to be on display.
Features worth having include tool less blade change (sometimes called SDS just to confuse), an illuminated cutting line is nice, as is a dust blower that keeps the cutting line clear of sawdust.
The high end jigsaw
This will do all of the things the budget one will do. However it is a far more general purpose tool. It cuts quickly and smoothly with little or no vibration. It is much better at cutting straight lines, and can often be used with a straight edge or rip fence without the blade wandering to “interesting” angles. Tool less blade change is a given, as is a good speed controller. The base plate will be a solid cast metal rather than a flexible pressed steel one. With a fine or medium blade it will also give a very fine finish to a cut.
The Drill
The SDS Drill
The Sander
The Circular Saw
The Planer
The Router
The Biscuit Jointer
The Reciprocating Saw
The Mitre Saw
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

What, no comments? Can't believe you all think it is now perfect!
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

I have no quibbles with the current draft, at least! It sets out lots of the relevant factors, doesn't ridicule different buying policies, and has lots of specifics. I particularly valued the section on cordless tools and the wide differences in battery quality.
If anything, I'd drop the more ambitious 'ways in which particular tools differ' sections at the end (well, the section on jigsaws and the placeholders for the others) for now. It's a big extra chunk of effort, and I think you should rest for now ;-) Of course if others want to chip in with words for the empty sections, so much the better.
Stefek
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Stefek Zaba wrote:

I see what you are saying... it seemed like the logical place to go next, although as you highlight there is plenty work required to get this section to a really useful state.

Yup some words for the other sections would help.... I could do the router and drill sections easy enough, but more input on things like planes, sanders, circ says etc. would be good (just noticed I forgot to include angle grinders!).
A good amount of it could be culled googling posts to this group in fact.
--
Cheers,

John.

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Stefek Zaba wrote:

OK done another bit:
The Drill
We can deal with two types here: the mains and the cordless.
Mains Drills
Probably most peoples first DIY tool purchase. Essential for the classic DIY task of affixing shelves, but also able to make holes in most materials, sand (quick and rough), grind, polish, polish etc… if you start looking at all the add on gadgets you can get a drill becomes a very versatile bit of kit.
Drills in their most basic form are single speed with rotation in one direction only. These are fine for drilling in wood, and also ok for many polishing, sanding and grinding operations. The are also pretty small and hence can be handy for getting into tight spaces like between joists etc.
Adding things like variable speed and reverse expand the range of tasks that can be done safely like screw driving, and drilling metals. The addition of a gearbox with two or three speed ranges also add the ability to use less speed and more torque for tasks that will benefit. The other usual addition is that of “hammer” action. Hammer is perhaps overstating the facility a little, "vibration" might be better! This gives you some capacity to drill hard stuff like masonry at the expense of lots of noise.
For big, or deep holes in masonry (especially really hard materials like concrete or engineering bricks) the recent advent of the SDS drill will wipe the floor with any hammer drill as well as adding some party tricks of its own.
The bigger more powerful drills can turn tools like big hole saws, core bores (for big holes in masonry), and are good at mixing stuff with a suitable mixing paddle.
For basic operations the budget tools will do pretty much what the high end ones will. Spending more money will buy you better endurance from the motor (you can run it longer without rest periods, and it will last longer), better speed controllers, and more robust gearboxes. Bearings will improve and become more impervious to dust (handy if you do much masonry work, or lots of grinding and sanding). If looked after, even a basic drill should last years (there must be countless 30 year old Black and Decker drills floating about).
Cordless Drills
The cordless drill is a godsend any time you need a drill and the freedom from a mains flex. Ideal for screw driving (where the DC motor will provide a much smoother delivery of power than many mains drills). If you assemble flat pack furniture then a cordless drill will save many hours of work!
The spread in performance between budget and high end is very marked in cordless drills (far more so than with mains drills). The cheaper end of the market can be pretty disappointing – to the extent that it is often better looking only at the mid range or up. Remember a good amount of money will need to be spent on batteries and charger before you are going to get decent performance.
Two types are readily available, the Drill/Driver and the Combi Drill. The latter adds a hammer action. The former will be cheaper and in many cases more than adequate if backed up by a mains or SDS drill for times that hammer is needed.
Most will have a speed controller, this essential feature when implemented well, will greatly enhances the usability of the tool. Some better tools implement a rotor break that will stop the rotation when you release the trigger. This helps to avoid accidentally driving a screw too far into the work, stripping threads etc.
Many will have a variable torque limiter. This will allow you to set how much to tighten a screw. It can make the task of putting in lots of small screws quick and easy since you can be quite ham fisted with the trigger, in the knowledge that the drill will back off before you over do it! With better tools the repeatability of the limiter improves.
Having more than one battery is to be very much recommended. If you have three and a good charger, then chances are it will keep going all day, and you will be worn out long before it is!
What type of cordless do I want? If you are talking about a good quality tool with decent cells then the limits of performance are roughly:
9V will do most do most wood drilling tasks, but will struggle with bigger spade bits. Hammer action will be a tad feeble but better than none. Screw driving will start to have difficulties with 4” and bigger screws into softwood.
12V will get your 4” screw driven home with more authority and better performance on masonry.
14.4V will deal with pretty much any screw, handle smaller hole saws, and make a pretty reasonable stab at hammer action.
18V+ will swing a 5” hole saw, mix a bucket of plaster, and stick a 6” roofing screw into solid wood without any difficulty. It is at this level you match the power of a smallish mains drill, but with far more finesse and controllability. However the weight and size is creeping up so it pays to choose one with a nice balance to it.
If you are looking at the £29.95 18V combi drill special on the back of your screwstation catalogue then all bets are off, but it might make a nice dumbbell!
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.null typed:

Only the wife is Perfect, but it's a reasoned argument that's hard to fault.
Found this in the last Argos catalogue p150, graphically shows why cheep tools can disappoint some. ;-( Scan at http://tinyurl.com/4jx2z
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I guess she told you to say that..... :-)

Oh dear......
This really does show how much of marketing game all of this is for the retailers.
- The plate of the saw is very obviously bent and in the most obvious place.
- The user is wearing gloves - basically unsafe practice with a circular saw.
- But it does have a laser and a soft grip.
- .. and with names like Challenge and Xtreme it must be really good and suitable for sustained use.
- I suppose that "Challenge" can be seen in a number of ways.
What a crock of shit.
--

.andy

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Andy Hall snipped-for-privacy@hall.nospam typed

No, she calls me Mr Wonderful, I call her Miss Perfect, im sure you needed to know that. :)

Ahh no, the base plate is not bent, the operator is putting too much downward pressure on the handle, which is distorting the flimsy badly designed base. (You only get what you pay for applies here.)
The real question is, could someone who is aware of this tools limitations achieve a straight cut. ?
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wrote:

LOL!
I have the version of this saw without the laser. I've used it and thought it was fairly good and am quite pleased with it. It came with an extra finer toothed blade.
The going rate for a cheap saw like the Challenge is around £25-30, though for £40 you can get an entry level Skil. The Skil only has a 40mm depth of cut, though being smaller is less unwieldy.
I'd like to hear what sort of circular saw people have, what they have used it for and what it's good/not good at.
cheers, Pete.
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On Thu, 10 Mar 2005 13:44:12 +0000, in uk.d-i-y Pete C

Many years ago I bought a B&D circ saw as one of my first bits of DIY kit. It was flimsy and I soon found its limitations but it served me well through those learning years when money was tight too. I've now got a 2.4kw 235mm Triton saw mostly used in their work-cemtre. http://www.triton.net.au/products/saw_2.html
Still have the old B&D and still occasionally use it for light work to save dismounting the Triton.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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Pete C wrote:

have
People may baulk at this after all the unrealistic comments so far, but to get real, I've yet to find anything wrong with the challenge ones. Sure the blades wont give you a perfect edged cut, but they do the job without problem.
And soleplate flimsy? hardly.
Of course they could be better, but theyre surprisingly good for the money, and I'd recommend them if you want a low cost circ saw.
NT
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typed:

fault.
Nothing wrong with the saw. The man is holding it still while the photo is being taken, probably a number of shots. It looks like it is being pushed up by the blade.
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On Wed, 9 Mar 2005 09:32:46 -0000, in uk.d-i-y "Doctor Evil"

Oh dear, I am in agreement with IMM. Not with the "Nothing wrong with the saw" bit though - it certainly looks flimsy. I'm going to lie down in a dark room now.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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typed:

cheep
is
pushed
Can you take some tablets as well.
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On Tue, 08 Mar 2005 13:35:54 +0000, in uk.d-i-y John Rumm

I'm a bit busy to give it proper attention at the mo, but I'll be back soon.
Phil The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk / The Google uk.d-i-y archive is at http://tinyurl.com/65kwq Remove NOSPAM from address to email me
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Now without all the comments:

regular
Opinions do vary.
The main buying policies are explained.

saving
house!
that
furniture
A wide range is available, sometimes covering the range from £5 to £300.

impossible, but also not important, since a new tool is generally cheaper than a repair anyway.

mitigate
the
obtained.
range of

and
big
growing
Argos is also useful.

beat
or uk.d-i-y.

that might be worth a paragraph actually, since it is often an option in peoples minds, though not one I'd often encourage.

often
maintain
For a single job, a cheap disposable tool is often the lowest cost option, cheaper and more convenient than hiring.

side
inferior
the
out
yes, but by the time you get it its probably f---d. This is a real problem with hired tools; if youre travelling to a job, try the tool out before you go.

results,
dispose
sell
the
why else would they sell them? Even the stuff theyre hiring out can be like that.

If youre not sure how much youll use a tool, a budget one will enable you to try one, and find out what things to look for if you do want to upgrade later.

the
it
can
into
drills
On some jobs that can save ages.

tools
ones,
A wide range of brands and qualities. Individual brands may make tools of significantly varying quality.
Bear in mind if tempted, and many are, that megapacks of drill bits bundled with tools can be junk in some cases.

may
frankly I regard that as more of a millstone. I dont like the downtime and aggro that accompanies repairs.

may
lacking. yes, and it can be pretty good too. Quality varies.

the
the
if sometimes pricey

good
remember
Sometimes
repair
be
Yes, and I think that needs serious emphasis, it is a real problem with decent tools. It can put people out of action for 1-2 weeks. This is where budget backup tools come in, even cheap old sht can get the job done.

an
There are

to
things
will
always, and much less. Its inevitable. Codless is a feature you will pay for. To make codless tools affordable, heavy compromises are made. They have to be. Codless tools are rated in volts instead of watts precisely because they are not comparable, and they dont want to tell you how big the difference is. This is getting into what I'm properly qualified in.
Take a circ saw for example: the motor power is so much lower that other compromises are made to squeeze acceptable performance. The blade has larger tooth spacing to speed up cut, though it gives a rougher finish. The blade may be thinner to reclaim some lost cut speed, but you will then have a much weaker blade, and one with a less clearance from cutting edge to blade body, making jams much more likely. And you still have lower cut speed after all that, and poor duty cyle as well.
Take a codless scerwdriver: expect a fraction of the power, far lower top speed in order to reclaim some of the lost torque, often cheap plastic gears to trim the price, low duty cycle motor to trim price, and low duty cycle batteries.
This isnt some personal pet issue, there is a big difference, and the mfrs try to disguise it as much as poss. You only need look at the sizes of the motor in mains vs codless drill to realise just how much difference exists. Electronics is my subject.
The other difference is tool life. In short, only buy codless when you specifically want the codlessness, or only expect light duty use with slower and more limited abilities.

them! i make it a rule to recharge after every job, no matter how little its been used.

worst
can
cordless
to
budget
cost
...in most cases everything has to give, to try to get acceptable price.

batteries
Whereas midrange mains kit usually lasts decades.
One can repack the batteries with sub-c cells oneself for way less money.

a
we come

Bear in mind opinions do vary to some extent:

kinzo, challenge, silverline,

'Skil' I think it is. Not sure tho.
And why did someone call their tools 'peepee pro'??
I cant remember if it was erbaurer or ryobi that kept getting slated as the worst of all brands by the woodwork reviewers.

tool.
-
Budget jigsaws suffer from blade bend, twist, misalignment, wander, and blade snapping due to bending sideways during work. They must be steered by twisting to keep them in line, using them agaunst a straight edge will simply break the blade. Cutting is slow, the cut edge a mess, and expect blade breakages.

hole
the
alternatives,
not
fair
called
dust
a
little
given, as

metal
it
SDS drills operate in 3 modes: drill drill and hammer hammer only, no rotation.
Descriptions routinely fail to mention which functions the machine does. Beware, many dont do all 3.
Look for: sensible weight, ie 2.2kg not 5kg one that does all 3 functions! a brand name that will survive chisel position lock when used in hammer mode.
SDS Downsides: Sds drill bits are several times the price. Cant put hex bits in an SDS chuck

so many types... a whole faq in itself probably.

Many Low cost circs do a fairly good job. Avoid power devil, have had problems with the blade guard. Low priced laser line ones often have an unalignable laser line.
Avoid that 1970s one for £1, it has no riving knife and no blade guard, both dangers, and performance best described as pathetic.

there is a technique needed for electric planes, and not everyone gets the hang of it. When going onto the workpiece, all th weight needs to be put on the front end of the plane. When coming off, all weight should be on the rear end. Otherwise you'll gouge lumps out at one end or the other.
There is no blade guard, the blade is still spinning when the motor noise has stopped, and the lightest touch can take a finger off, so always treat with respect, never get cocky.

Low cost ones suffer from: plastic bases that bend out of alignment as you press the workpiece down poor blade that can burn the wood imperfect alignment all round failure to extract dust
Avoid the uncommon rock bottom ones that use a steel tipped blade. Such blades cut slow and dull fast.
Check the dimensions of cut are adequate for your uses.
Prices: £26-£400.
I wonder if its worth mentioning the old hammer drill tricks used in the days of non-hammer drills? Occasional diyers may only have non hammer types, even today.
NT
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John Rumm wrote: !

No news is good news. It looks pretty good to me, and I don't know enough to comment further, well done for making such an effort.
-- Holly, in France. Holiday home in the Dordogne, website: http://la-plaine.chez.tiscali.fr
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John Rumm wrote:

Good job...
I think in this draft you've dropped any mention of what I consider to be one valid reason for not going for top-end power tools, and that is their nickability. I suspect most people who take their tools out of their home or business premises do so without insurance, so it's not a trivial issue. A collection of four or five high-end tools could easily represent a >£1K investment; very attractive to thieves and potentially disastrous to lose; the equivalent in cheapo brands could probably be had for 130 quid - far less desirable to John Q Lowlife, and an 'affordable' loss if the worst did happen.
David
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Have you checked out the Axminster catalouge? They rate power tools into Hobby, Light Trade, Trade & Industrial.
They use some interesting criteria including the expected 'hours per week' use.
Dave
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Lobster wrote:

Ta
High end tools, second para begins "The tools are going to be more expensive, and are more likely to be stolen if not carefully looked after!"

Yup, perhaps more emphasis is required.
--
Cheers,

John.

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