It’s convenient when your drill and sander use the same battery. However, due to the battery-compatibility ecology of power tools these days, purchasing a drill entails committing to an entire universe of equipment.
Purchasing power tools, like any other purchase, necessitates some consideration – but determining where to begin with your home toolbox can be perplexing. Jessica Foster, Home Depot Associate Merchant of Power Tools and Accessories, advises a few questions to ask yourself before heading to the power tool department to get you started.
How do you intend to employ your power tools?
Every power tool system offers battery voltage possibilities, and Foster claims that different voltages have distinct advantages depending on how you intend to use your instruments. Before investing in a system, consider how you’ll use your tools today and in the future. Are you a devoted do-it-yourselfer, a seasoned pro, or something in between? Do you want to go cordless for more than simply tools? For example, do you want to go cordless in the yard and for in-home cleaning?
If you’re only going to be doing simple jobs around the house, you can use lower-powered tools. However, if you want more versatility, go larger. “The 12V tools provide adequate power for most routine household tasks, while the 18V tools provide greater power and flexibility to tackle big and little chores,” explains Foster. “Understanding your project’s needs, both now and in the future, will assist you decide which battery platform to use.”
Another tip: Keep in mind that batteries are not interchangeable between brands, platforms, or voltages, so choose the best one for you and stay with it.
How much money do you intend to spend in the future?
Similarly, you may be willing to pay a higher price for a more costly drill right away if you anticipate using it regularly, but keep in mind that the price you start with is the price you’ll be stuck with in the future. “Always consider the type of tools you want, the platform they are a part of, the other tools on this platform, and the pricing point you want to stay in,” adds Foster.
Each battery line also offers possibilities for customers who are new to power tools, expanding with new tools, or seeking for ways to add more batteries to their toolkit. “Buying a combo kit instead of a number of individually priced instruments is a good way to save money and start creating a home workshop if you’re new to power tools,” adds Foster. “Bare Tools or Tools Only (without battery and charger) are also a less expensive option to grow your system, rather than buying kits after you’ve already created a foundation of tools and batteries.”
How specific do you want to be?
Fortunately, depending on how specialized you want to get with your home tasks, power tools come in a variety of price points. Foster suggests Ryobi as an entry-level price point, Ridgid and DeWalt for more experienced DIYers, and Makita and Milwaukee as higher-end price points for contractor-grade work, because they offer premium options and more niche tools, such as a drywall cut-out tool, a soldering tool, or even a high capacity grinder for demanding jobs.
How frequently do you intend to charge your batteries?
The ability to charge power tool platforms prior to use is a big selling point, but depending on the tools and tasks you’ll be working on, you may require more or less battery run-time. According to Foster, run-time is often based on the application being executed as well as the tool and battery being used, and a greater amp-hour battery (such as a 6AH) will have longer run-times than a lesser amp-hour choice (like a 3AH). A 3AH battery on a drill should also provide more run-time than a 3AH battery on a circular saw (a more demanding application).
Typically, however, you won’t have to be concerned about battery life. “The beautiful thing about the batteries and chargers we offer is that they’re smart batteries,” Foster explains. “This means that the charger will only ‘tap off’ the battery for any additional charge it requires while resting on the charger.”