Straight Talk Articles

Drilling Down: 4 Efficient Cordless Tools for Dad
June, 2021

Dear Pat and Brad:

With Father’s Day coming up, the kids and I are thinking of getting my husband some new rechargeable power tools. Do you have any recommendations? When is the extra cost of cordless worth the investment? – Alli

Dear Alli:

Great idea! If the father you’re buying for is a tool guy, rechargeable tools are fun gifts.  And as a bonus, they can be used by the whole family.

 

Rechargeable cordless tools are most worth it when the corded version is the least convenient. For example, a drill is something you usually move around with and often use outside, so a cordless drill is much more convenient and a good investment.  On the other hand, a table saw is usually not the first choice of cordless tools because it doesn’t need to be moved repeatedly during a home project

 

Good cordless tools are usually less expensive if you buy them as part of a set instead of one tool at a time. And since each line of tools uses a unique battery, you can’t mix and match between brands. So, it may cost less in the long run to buy a cordless starter kit with a few helpful tools and a battery, and then add tools to the set as needed.

 

Here are a few cordless tools that the father in your family should love!

 

1. Drill

As one of the most-used power tools, a drill should probably be everyone’s first cordless tool. Using a corded drill can mean constantly moving the cord around furniture, other tools or your own feet.  Cordless drills are so easy, and the technology has improved so they have more power and hold a charge longer.  Light duty drills are smaller and less powerful but easy to use for small jobs.(1)

 

2. String trimmer

A string trimmer is a quick way to trim weeds and grass near walls, bricks and rocks. If your family uses an old gas trimmer around the yard, it’s time for a change. Two-stroke engines pollute(2) and need regular maintenance. Electric trimmers are more energy efficient and quieter.  You can find standalone models for between $50 and $150 (3). It’s worth paying more to get a highly rated model that should last longer.

 

3. Leaf blower

If the father in your family uses an old gas leaf blower, you can do him and your neighbors a favor by giving him a cordless leaf blower, which is more energy efficient, much quieter, and less polluting.

 

4. Flashlight

LED technology is amazing – today’s LED flashlights can produce 20 times as much light as the old incandescent ones.(4)  And there is huge variety, from tiny key chain lights to headlamps to waterproof spotlights.(5)  A flashlight can usually give better light than a cell phone app, especially if you’re working in a tight space like under a sink. A flashlight often comes as part of a cordless tool set, or you can buy a standalone unit that recharges using a USB port on a charger, USB wall socket or mobile phone battery.

 

Batteries make cordless tools possible.  Lithium-ion batteries are gaining popularity, even if they’re more expensive, because they hold power longer.(6)  They also have a longer life, but they still degrade over time and may need to be replaced in about three years.(7)  It’s worth buying a reputable brand of cordless tool so you can be confident you will be able to find a replacement battery.   Lithium-ion batteries should not be disposed with trash, because they are a fire hazard and contain toxic chemicals.(8)  Your solid waste disposal service should have information on how to dispose of these batteries properly. 

 

Hopefully we’ve helped you choose a gift your husband, and the other handy people in your household, will enjoy using for years!

 

This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information on cordless tools, go to the June 2021 more information page.

 

FOOTNOTES

(1) https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cordless-drills/buying-guide/index.htm

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1247506/

(3) Found at homedepot.com March 9, 2021.

(4) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flashlight

(5)https://www.thespruce.com/best-flashlights-to-buy-4143303

(6) https://www.familyhandyman.com/project/cordless-tools-buyers-guide/

(7) https://www.protoolreviews.com/how-long-do-lithium-ion-batteries-last/

(8) https://greencitizen.com/lithium-ion-battery-recycling/

 

cutCord-june21.jpg

Rechargeable tools help avoid the risk of a cut cord, which can bring a shocking end to a home project. Source: Brad Thiessen