The right power tools can turn a tedious, time-consuming job into one
that is easy, fast, and safe. While power tools were once reserved
for the serious professional, there are now so many affordable power tools
on the market that even a do-it-yourselfer has no reason not to add them
to his tool inventory.
Portable power tools can make a job even easier, because many of them
allow you to work anywhere — the house or the yard — without
having to be near an electrical outlet. Common portable power tools
include drill drivers, circular saws, jigsaws, reciprocating saws,
sanders, routers, power planers, rotary hand tools, and nailers and
Electric Drills: The cordless electric drill can be used for so
many purposes, that it can be considered the most basic power tool for
professional and hobbyist tool users alike. Electric drills can
drill holes, drive screws, and remove screws, as well as sand, grind,
file, rasp, and buff. Cordless drills are classified by battery
power. Higher voltage batteries cost more, but they also run for
longer periods of time between charging. Drills come in many sizes
and often have variable speeds for use on a wide variety of jobs.
Many portable drills come with a number of accessories that allow them
to accomplish many different tasks. For portable electric drill
reviews, visit these
Consumer Search and
Fine Woodworking cordless drills pages.
For cordless drill selection criteria and safety tips, please visit CordlessDrills.us.
Circular Saws: In addition to being used by professionals, a
portable circular saw is the perfect tool for individuals who do their
own remodeling and maintenance. A portable circular saw can be
carried directly to the work site, which means that you don't need to
haul lumber and other heavy materials into the shop. Circular saws
are sized by blade diameter. All circular saws feature two
standard adjustments: cutting depth and angle. Miter guides,
rip fences, and protractor guides are the most common accessories for
circular saws; these saw accessories ensure that your cuts are straight
and accurate. For circular saw reviews, visit these
Consumer Search and
Fine Woodworking circular saws pages.
Jigsaws: Because it can make both straight and curved cuts, as
well as cut bevels and angles, the jigsaw is one of the most versatile
tools for both the professional woodworker and the hobbyist. A good
jigsaw can do almost everything a circular saw can do. Jigsaws
come in a wide variety of models and ranges, from light-duty,
single-speed models to heavy-duty variable-speed tools. For jigsaw
reviews, visit this
Fine Woodworking jigsaws page.
Reciprocating saws: Reciprocating saws are similar to jigsaws,
but their blades are heavier, their strokes are longer, and their motors
are more powerful. Reciprocating saws are commonly used in
demolition work, and they can also be used to cut openings for outlets,
pipes, doors, and windows. For reciprocating saw reviews, visit this
Popular Mechanics reciprocating saws page.
Sanders: There are basically three kinds of portable
sanders: belt sanders, orbital sanders, and random-orbit
sanders. All three types of sanders are designed to remove surface
defects and smooth the finish, but depending upon your project, you may
need more than one sander. Belt sanders are heavy-duty sanders
used for preparing wood for finish sanding or removing defects.
Orbital sanders are best used for finish sanding, while random-orbit
sanders are the most versatile of sanders and can be used for both rough
sanding and fine sanding. For portable sander reviews, visit these
Popular Mechanics and
Fine Woodworking sanders pages.
Routers: Routers are used for shaping the edges of a workpiece;
they can create molding patterns, make raised-panel doors, make dovetail
and box joints, shape edges, and cut internal designs. Routers can
also cut grooves, dadoes, rabbets, and mortises. Routers come in a
variety of weights, and heavier routers handle the most heavy-duty
work. For portable router reviews, visit this
Fine Woodworking routers page.
Power Planers: Power planers do the same jobs as belt sanders,
but they do them more finely and quickly. Power planers are
necessary tools for the cabinetmaker, but do-it-yourselfers use them as
well for smoothing, tapering, sizing, and leveling edges and flat
surfaces, as well as planing doors and trim for proper fit. For
portable planer reviews, visit this
Fine Homebuilding power planers page.
Rotary tools: Portable rotary tools are great for professional
craftsmen doing detail work, but they are also handy for amateurs who
want to use them for hobbies and crafts. Rotary tools feature
speeds up to 30,000 RPM and are capable of spinning a variety of
bits. For more detailed rotary tool information and reviews, visit this
Rotary Tools website.
Nailers and staplers: A portable nailer or stapler is the
essential tool for anyone who wants to fasten things quickly and
accurately, including trim, carpet, ceiling tile, insulation, and other
materials. For portable nailer information and reviews, visit this