Cordless Tools and Prices
Price is something that we are all familiar with. The cost of fine wine, the cost of a luxury automobile, and the cost of an extravagant home are all considered luxuries. A fine drink, a reliable car and a sturdy home represent sweet spots where function becomes the most affordable.
Cordless power tools exist in a similar situation. Cheap cordless tools will often fail to meet the needs of anyone, and expensive cordless power tools tend to be reserved for people whom make their livings with these tools. People who fall in-between these two categories will have the toughest time finding the right cordless tool when they search solely by price.
The good news is that there are a number of ways to determine the true value of a cordless power tools imply be examining the features that they provide while using the "price" of a tool to gauge their quality.
The features a tool includes generally represent the most important part of picking the best cordless power tool. Pages from reliable review sites such as The Best Cordless Drills for Under $100 attempt to compare the various features as they're found in professional tools to the ones included in tools under a certain price range.
Brushless motors are probably one of the most notable features. The typical cordless power tool utilizes motors that physically connect as they operate, which in turn causes the brushes of the motors to undergo wear. They also create more heat, tend to be heavier, and have anywhere between half to one-third the lifespan of drills built to fulfill the needs of contractors and similar audiences.
Brushless motors avoid this problem by utilizing no-contact technologies. These motors last longer, produce less heat, and weigh less than their brush counterparts. The only disadvantage is that these motors tend to be foudn only in significantly more expensive power tools.
Similar features, such as compact drills or saws, exist. These features are typically found in DEWALT and other high-tier brands of power tools, which in turn means that you generally have a reliable power tool when you find these features for less.
That's one example of how features may make for a better value when the price of a cordless tool is less.
Batteries: NiCad vs. Lithium-Ion
Nickel-cadmium batteries have traditionally be the go-to- power source for portable power tools. These batteries are incredibly reliable when they are drained completely and charged on a regular basis.
The Prominence of NiCad Batteries
This is the reason that NiCad batteries tend to be used in situations where tools are used for prolonged periods. The batteries are cheap, reliable and incredibly efficient in these situations. Firefighters, for example, generally replace their NiCad batteries in tools like walkie talkies once every few years because of how much use they undergo.
The problem with NiCad is when you don't use the tool enough to drain the battery. This leads to memory problems, where the NiCad battery "settles" at a certain capacitance. This leads to the death of the battery, as it is unable to continue holding the same amount of charge.
Enter the Lithium-Ion Battery
Lithium-ion batteries have become increasingly popular in the world of portable power tools because they do not suffer from memory problems in the same way that NiCad batteries do. You merely need to ensure that the lithium-ion battery stays charged to ensure that it can enjoy a long life
After about two to three years, lithium-ion batteries will begin to lose their capacitance. Replacing them is more expensive than replacing NiCad batteries if you are in a situation where nickel-cadmium batteries would perform in a more cost-effective way.
This makes lithium-ion batteries ideal for users whom only use their power tools on an occasional basis.
Another marked advantage of lithium-ion is the higher energy-to-weight ratio. This means you get more energy in your lithium-ion battery pack than you would if you were to use a NiCad battery pack with the same weight, which in turn means that lithium-ion is extremely popular in 20V tools. These tools tend to deliver more power with a sharp decline as the capacitance declines, which means you can squeeze just a little bit more out of lithium-ion batteries.
NiCad or Lithium-Ion?
If you use your power tool in a situation where you will regularly be able to recharge it, or you don't mind
carrying one or two extra battery packs to save money, then nickel-cadmium batteries are the way to go. They're cheap, effective and perfect for contractors.
If the quality of your work and the the weight of your tools are important, then lithium-ion batteries will provide you with a superior value. They're a little more expensive, but they're best for a variety of situations. Lithium-ion will likely replace NiCad as larger, more robust forms of cordless tool batteries become prevalent.
Look for Great Features in Cheaper Tools
Makes like BLACK & DECKER, DEWALT and Milwaukee are great at providing high-quality, contractor-level features in tools designed to be just a bit better than entry-level do-it-yourself tools. This makes these brands a great place to start when you're looking for effective power tools for less.
When in doubt, look for higher-quality features in cheaper power tools. These tools likely won't be the best of the best, but they will be better than the other options you have. This can help you find the best power tools for the cheapest prices, which in turn can help you get more value out of your tools than you would otherwise.