Cordless Tools   

Thinking about buying a cordless tool? Read this first.

Both a corded and a cordless reciprocating saw | Construction Pro Tips
Construction Pro Tips

Cordless Tools

With the advances made in cordless tools, you may wonder, “Why would I buy a tool with a cord, air hose or a gas tank?” It’s true that cordless tools are becoming the choice that makes the most sense more times than not, but there’s still a place in your tool arsenal for a corded tool. I will make a case for owning both kinds and explain which one might be the best choice for you.

Brushless motors

Lithium-ion batteries have been around for a while now, but the first versions had reliability issues and really didn’t increase performance all that much. But eventually, battery technology got better, and then brushless motors hit the scene. New-and-improved lithium-ion batteries teamed up with brushless motors have created whole new world of long-lasting, long-running durable tools that can often times compete with the power of corded tools. Not all tools these days have brushless motors, but manufactures are working hard to convert most of their tool line up. So, yay for brushless!

Outdoor power equipment

If you would have told me ten years ago that we would have battery powered backpack blowers, weed whips, snow blowers, lawn mowers (riding and push) chainsaws etc., I would have laughed out loud. But now the joke is on me. Let’s face it, cordless outdoor power equipment tools are a legit option for a Pro or DIYer.

I recently had to cut down a 90-ft. tree for my father-in-law. I used a gas-powered saw to fell it but was able to cut the whole tree up on a cordless saw draining less than two batteries. I may not have needed the gas saw at all. I was super impressed. I also loved the fact that I could have a conversation with my father in-law without having to yell over the racket of a big snorty gas-burner. And yes, I do actually like talking with my father-in-law.

Cordless screw guns

Another great example of use for cordless tools is installing drywall. When finishing a basement, addition or full house, it can get a little crowded by the time you get three-plus guys in a room, a wall stacked with drywall, a drywall lift, and a handful of corded tools with extension cords. By the end of the day, your cords can look like they’ve been twisted up by a professional hair braider, and I’m not joking about that. Sure, charging and replacing batteries takes a little time, but these new corded tools allow pros to work a full day on just a couple batteries. And untangling cords at the end of the day is a major time-waster. Also, a jobsite littered with cords is a fall-related-injury ready to happen.

Why buy a corded or gas operated tool?

There are still a few scenarios where a non-battery-operated tool makes sense: First, they are usually cheaper, especially if you don’t own other tools that share the same battery platform. I’m usually a guy who says, “Buy the best tool for the job.” But if you need a tool that is only going to get used once in a blue moon, you may want to skip the battery. Again, this is epically true if you don’t own any other tools that use the same batteries. Some batteries don’t like sitting on a shelf for years at a time.

Power and run-time are two other reasons you may want to choose a non-battery tool. Generally speaking, gas and corded tools provide more torque. And as of right now, cordless tools cannot keep up with air-powered tools that crank out tons of fasteners at a super high rate like roofing guns and sheathing staplers.

Cordless Pros: 

  • Can work in remote areas without needing access to power
  • Quieter
  • You don’t have to fight a cord or hose
  • No trip hazards
  • Safer when working on scaffolding or a roof
  • Easier to hook on a belt or carry in a tool bag
  • No harmful fumes
  • No need to store gas
  • No engine maintenance

Cordless Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Charging and swapping out batteries
  • Usually less torque
  • Can be heavier with the battery weight
  • Not great at high volume tasks