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Cut the cord!

Here are 8 super-handy rechargeable tools for your acreage.
  • Due to advances in battery and motor technology, cordless tools have come a long way in the past few years.
    Manufacturer

    Advances in technology

    Due to advances in battery and motor technology, cordless tools have come a long way in the past few years.

    No longer the wimpy little sibling to their plug-in big brothers, battery-powered devices have become the go-to tools in many homes and shops.

    From drills to chain saws, cordless tools get the job done with power, precision, and respectable run time, anywhere you need to be, without the noise, fumes, or, of course, bothersome power cords/air hoses of other power tools.

    Here are eight cordless products that will benefit you the most.

     
    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • This mainstay cordless tool has enjoyed wide acceptance for the past couple of decades.
    Manufacturer

    1. Drill/Driver

    This mainstay cordless tool has enjoyed wide acceptance for the past couple of decades.

    During that time, manufacturers have considerably ramped up the voltage (a good indicator of how much power the tool delivers), as well as amp hours (a measure of how long the tool will run on a single charge).

    Today, you’ll commonly find drill/drivers with 18- and 20-volt batteries (and some as high as 36 volts). How much voltage do you really need? Unless you plan to do heavy-duty construction work, you’ll be best served with an 18-volt drill/driver.

    It will have plenty of drilling and driving power for any task you throw at it, while being light and compact enough for comfort and better control. Some cordless drill/drivers have the ability to switch to hammer-drilling mode, which is necessary for making holes in concrete or masonry.

     
    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • You really have to use this tool to understand how easily it drives the largest fasteners or extracts the impossibly stubborn ones.
    Manufacturer

    2. Impact Driver/Wrench

    You really have to use this tool to understand how easily it drives the largest fasteners or extracts the impossibly stubborn ones.

    An impact tool performs that seeming magic by tapping the fastener many times in a rotational direction rather than applying continual and steady force as a drill/driver does.

    Most of these tools are designed for either driving/extracting screws (known as impact drivers) or doing the same with nuts and bolts (called impact wrenches).

    This innovative Bosch 18-volt Socket Ready Impact IDH182 performs both functions, because it holds ¼-inch hex screwdriver bits or ½-inch impact sockets. It’s the tool to buy if you find yourself working with screws and bolts/nuts in about equal measure.

    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • You may think of this tool as one primarily used for demolition or remodeling work, such as removing old wall studs or cutting through rusted-tight pipes.
    Manufacturer

    3. Reciprocating saw

    You may think of this tool as one primarily used for demolition or remodeling work, such as removing old wall studs or cutting through rusted-tight pipes.

    It certainly performs those tasks exceedingly well, but its usefulness really soars when you unleash the tool from a power cord.

    Take it up on a roof, to the far reaches of your property, or into the woods to cut most any material you might encounter. It’s much lighter than a chain saw and will readily cut through tree branches. You can even saw through tree roots with one – something you should never consider doing with a chain saw for fear of damaging the chain and bar.

    Gardeners can use one to saw through plant roots when transplanting or to entirely remove the dead core of tall grass clumps.

    If you damage the blade, it’s no big deal: simply discard and get a new one for a buck or two at any tool or hardware retailer. In addition to common wood- and metal-cutting blades, you’ll find carbide-grit blades capable of sawing through cast iron, fiberglass, ceramic tile, clay pipe, cement-based materials, and stone.

     

    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • Typical pneumatic nailers work great for building or repairing fences, roofs, sheds, and other structures.
    Manufacturer

    4. Nailer

    Typical pneumatic nailers work great for building or repairing fences, roofs, sheds, and other structures.

    A lot of that work isn’t conveniently located near a 120-volt AC outlet required to power a compressor. Even if there is a nearby power source, you still have to drag an air hose behind the tool and keep it out of the way. Fortunately, today you can choose from a wide variety of cordless/hoseless nailers powered by a fuel cell sparked by a small battery or ones powered only by a rechargeable battery.

    The fuel-cell nailers go about two to three times longer on a fuel cell than battery-only tools will last before needing recharging. They’re also lighter, more nimble, and more powerful. That is something to consider if you are driving nails into harder woods and laminated beams. That said, fuel cells are an additional expense (about $6 to $20 per cell depending on type and supplier), and the resulting exhaust is a little stinky.

    You’ll find the battery-only types available for framing, finishing, stapling, and brad-nailing applications. Paslode supplies fuel-cell nailers in those types plus two guns for shooting roofing nails.

    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • As long as you’re buying into a cordless system of tools, be sure to spend a few more bucks on a flashlight or lantern that accepts your tool’s batteries.
    Manufacturer

    5. Flashlight

    As long as you’re buying into a cordless system of tools, be sure to spend a few more bucks on a flashlight or lantern that accepts your tool’s batteries.

    Today’s LED flashlights will burn brightly for hours using any ni-cad or lithium- ion power source. You’ll quickly forget any past memories of dim incandescent lights powered by short-lived C or D cells.

    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • Buy one and you may never again consider a remodeling project without this tool in your arsenal.
    Manufacturer

    6. Oscillating Multi-Tool

    Many people don’t think they need this tool until they own one, then they can’t live without it. That’s because it does so many things and does them all so well.

    The tool’s business end has a shaft that oscillates back and forth rapidly in a narrow arc. To the naked eye, it appears to be simply vibrating. By putting various attachments on the end of that shaft, the tool will sand along edges and into tight corners, remove paint, plunge-cut through various materials including wood, plastic, and metal, flush-cut door trim, remove grout, and scrape away caulk and hardened adhesives.

    Buy one and you may never again consider a remodeling project without this tool in your arsenal.

    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • The odds of a mess being cleaned up improve dramatically when the right clean-up tool is nearby and when the tool isn’t big and bulky with a power cord to manage.
    Manufacturer

    7. Vacuum

    The odds of a mess being cleaned up improve dramatically when the right clean-up tool is nearby and when the tool isn’t big and bulky with a power cord to manage.

    A cordless vacuum fits the bill. Get one with at least 2 gallons of debris storage so you’re not constantly emptying it.

    Just remember to frequently knock dust from its filter to maintain good suction.

    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014
  • For a quick fill, get a cordless inflator like this Craftsman 19.2-volt model.
    Manufacturer

    8. Inflator

    What do a tractor, wheel barrow, pickup truck, all-terrain vehicle, and soccer ball have in common? They all need air from time to time.

    For a quick fill, get a cordless inflator like this Craftsman 19.2-volt model. Take one with you in case an inflatable goes low when you’re out in the field. 

    Date Published: September 5, 2014
    Date Updated: October 10, 2014

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