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Power tool Reviews and Buying Guide

Power tool Reviews and Buying Guide

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Disclaimer: Uncle Bob is the first to admit that one man's trash is another man's treasure. You may find that you've had years of success with a tool that's been given a lower rating here. Good for you, and may you have many more years of happiness together with your tools. This buying guide is by no means the final say on any brand or make. It is merely one guy's opinion that you can take or leave as you choose.

When purchasing any sort of tools, you will have a few categories: the best at any cost, the stuff that's not going to last you too long when put under pressure, and the best value (which is inexpensive but still good quality). That's not to say that the second category is bad, you just have to know what type of tools to use for which projects.

If you have the money to spend (just cause you're one of those or because you've saved it up), then you can really be picky. For most of us average guys with average sized wallets, there is a little more thinking involved. First you have to decide what you really value and what you are willing to compromise on. Brand names, features, add on's, color, performance, life span, and price are all good considerations that you have to weigh according to your needs and preferences. Warranty might be the best determining feature for you, while occasional full-speed power is imperative for someone else. Keep your preferences in mind when purchasing.


Bosch- This is a clear example of you get what you pay for. Bosch has been making quality products for over a century, and, like whiskey, they're only getting better with time. Be prepared to shell out more for these tools, and be prepared to enjoy them for the rest of your life. Bosch gets top ranks for all types of saws, comes in the professional version and the at-home version, and is color coordinated for your convenience.

Hilti- Hilti specializes in fastening equipment as well as construction and demolition tools. My friend summed it up when he said, "I'll only work with a Hilti. They're on the higher end of the price tag, but, hey, the boss foots the bill." Need I say more?

Metabo- Again, you are dealing with a fine quality German company that produces reliable products. Pay a little more, and get the best hammer drill on the market.

Milwaukee- Milwaukee is a tool company for the pros. There's no messing about with these tools, all high quality, all dependable, durable and down right fantastic. Enjoy sawzalls, routers, and drills of superb make. This is not a cheap company in quality or price tag.


Black and Decker- This is a great company for light projects. Occasional uses or simple touch ups can be done efficiently with a B&D. I wouldn't try using these tools for heavy-duty projects, however. In general, they don't withstand the heat. But if you are looking for a fairly good quality tool for less and you don't intend to be putting it through really rigorous ordeals, B&D is great. Many DIYers have sworn by this brand.

Delta- The best way to get something good from Delta is to look and see where it is being manufactured. The overseas products are a far cry from their US of A counterparts (not that we're surprised). On the other hand, the American versions are of superb quality, on par with their high end products within the confines of this price bracket. Get a demonstration from the floor model, if possible, and look out for minor defects in performance or control.

Ryobi- I've gotten mixed reviews about this company. Some people will swear by it, while others reserve the purchase for if you are really strapped for cash, but need to get something done. From what I've seen, Ryobi can help you out. These tools don't have the longest life span and lack some of the more specialized features, but they are all around good tools and at a price that won't make you think twice. Their oscillating spindle sander is top rate. Careful not to overwork these tools, they can get hot pretty fast. One great thing I will say about Ryobi is their One+ series. Unlike most companies, Ryobi created a system in which any of these tools can use the same battery pack and charger. Anyone who's ever used tools will understand the tremendous benefit of this feature.


DeWalt- DeWalt falls into our third category. That is, it is probably the best buy for serious home improvers or casual professionals. More expensive than the second category, but less than the first, DeWalt delivers real quality products with lots of attractive features like extra power and durability. In fact, one of my most esteemed colleagues in the field swears by DeWalt, as do many of his associates. This is definitely one of your best choices if you can afford to spend just a bit more, particularly their drills and biscuit jointer.

Craftsman- Nay-sayers claim that this cover name company has lost popularity over the years due to a decline in quality of their products. Craftsman used to be a high-end power tool supplier, but is now falling nearly on par with B&D. However, even assailants say you can still find the original quality, but you've got to search for it. That being said, I would like to make a counter statement in the name of the Greatest Craftsman that ever lived, my Dad. Many serious home improvers and professionals swear by this company's tools, and rightly so. That's because Craftsman tools come with a lifetime guarantee. If anything goes wrong, they replace them FREE. Any company willing to back their products for an entire lifetime is sending you a solid message about their wares. This is good stuff.

Hitachi- This is another fabulous brand that will not cost you an arm and a leg. For some reason, Hitachi has taken a bad rap in the publicity field, but the anonymity of this brand is not due to a lack of quality products. Hitachi puts out high quality products at affordable pricing. They are sometimes hard to find, but shop around, they are worth the search. Hitachi's specialty is concrete tools.

Porter Cable- This company makes excellent quality tools in almost any area. Their cordless drills leave something to the imagination, but most of their other products are top of the line especially air tools. They also have a decent return policy: 30-day trial, if you don't like it, return for a full refund. Only a superior company would make such an offer. They were also voted #1 in the battle of the brands, for what it's worth.

Makita- Makita has several middle ground tools, usually lighter weight than say DeWalt, and in general good quality. Not top rate, but not too expensive either. Many people enjoy the weight to power ratio of these tools.

In closing, frequency of use and individual as well as general project needs should determine quality of purchase. A highly specific tool that will only be used very infrequently need not and should not be an expensive purchase. On the other hand, if this is a tool that you will be using daily or even weekly, do yourself a favor and spend the extra money now. You will save yourself time, money and frustration in the long run. Also, a casual diy-er will be better off spending less on a lesser quality tool than a professional since accuracy and precision are not as vital as for the highly devoted or professionals. Hope these power tool reviews will assist you in your purchasing endeavors. Check out our tips on how to buy the right power tools. Feel free to write in with comments or your own experiences, and happy tooling.

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