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A Simple Guide to Power Tools for New Buyers

A Simple Guide to Power Tools for New Buyers

In this article is JPT has intended as an introduction to the most commonly types of power tools you may use or think about while buying.

This has been made possible thanks to a good amount of our personal experience, tools testing, and many hours of research.

It’s not always easy to classify power tools. But JPT attempted to categorize them into sections and subsections, trying to get them organized as best we could.

You can easily navigate through them from here.

Electric Handheld Power Tools

Begin with compact and ergonomic tools, primarily powered by electricity.

Power Saws

1. Circular Saw
Circular saws are tools that many people know about. They use a spinning blade to cut things like wood, brick, or metal. Before, they were mainly used for straight cuts, but now some can do more. Some saws let you change how deep they cut or the angle of the cut. This gives you more options for cutting.

Before you buy one, think about what you need and how much you want to spend.

Even though the blade is usually enclosed for safety, always be careful when using a circular saw, just like with any other power tool.

2. Track Saw
Track saws, also called plunge saws, are a special kind of circular saw that moves along a guide rail for accurate and long cuts.

Unlike regular circular saws, these saws go into the material at a depth you choose before cutting. So, you can cut all the way through or make shallow grooves as needed.

Some track saws have a helpful riving knife that follows the blade to reduce the chance of kickback and blade pinching.

These saws are easy to carry because they're lightweight, and they stay steady thanks to rubber strips under the guide rail.

If you want a tool for quick and precise long cuts, a track saw might be just what you need!

3. Reciprocating Saw
A reciprocating saw works like a handsaw, moving its blade back and forth.

People also call it sawzall, recip saw, or hognose.

These saws are handy for building, tearing things down, fixing stuff, and making changes to your home. Depending on the blade you use, you can cut different things like metal, wood, or drywall. There are special blades for specific jobs, like breaking things apart or making really clean cuts.

Most new reciprocating saws let you change how fast they go. They come in different types, from less powerful ones to heavy-duty ones meant for big construction jobs. So, you have lots of options to pick from.

4. Jigsaw
gsaw is a bit like a smaller version of a reciprocating saw because it moves back and forth. But, it's more precise because it has a stable base called a soleplate.

Jigsaws are really good for cutting curves and odd shapes in things like wood or metal, which other power saws might not do as well. Some even let you tilt the base, so you can cut angles up to 45 degrees.

Drills & Drivers

1. Drill
Now, let's talk about the most popular power tool— the drilling machine.

Using a power drill is easy. You just attach a cutting or driving tool to the drill's chuck, which is connected to a motor making it spin fast. When you press the spinning tool against what you want to work on, you can quickly drill holes or drive screws.

If you want to do things like making a hole or tightening a screw in a snap, you definitely need a drill.

There are also drills made for specific jobs. Keep reading to know more about them.

2. Hammer Drill
A hammer drill, also known as a hammering drill, is a special type of rotary drill. It has a cool feature that makes a hammering motion, which helps drill through things faster.

People usually use hammer drills for tough stuff like concrete, stone, or masonry.

And here's the neat part: you can use them for regular drilling and driving too! Most of them have a switch that turns off the special "hammer" thing, so you can use the drill just like a regular one. That means you can use it for screwdriving, woodworking, or metalworking too.

3. Impact Driver
An impact driver is a handy tool that's great for quickly driving screws.

Even though they might look a lot like regular drills, the main difference is on the inside. Impact drivers have a special part that gives quick bursts of strong twisting force, making it super efficient at driving screws. These bursts, or "impacts," also help the driver bit stay firmly in place on the screw, so it won't slip or spin much.

If you have a job with lots of screws, using an impact driver can save you a bunch of time and make your job easier.

4. Electric Screwdriver
Electric screwdrivers and impact drivers both do the same thing – they drive screws. But these tools are smaller and lighter, so you can carry them easily and use them in tight spots.

However, it's important to know that they're not as powerful as impact drivers, so they might struggle with really tough jobs.

If you're thinking about swapping or adding to your regular screwdriver set with something lighter and more convenient, you might like an electric screwdriver. It's a good move for your wrist too!

5. Impact Wrench
An impact wrench, also known as an air gun or impact gun, is like a powerful socket wrench. It works by spinning really fast, and this speed lets it deliver a strong twisting force, or torque, without needing a lot of effort from you.

Mechanics often use impact wrenches to quickly loosen nuts on wheels of cars and trucks.

If you ever have stubborn nuts and bolts to deal with or need to tighten things up pretty well without being super precise, an impact wrench could be useful. They can run on air, electricity, or be cordless. These days, the cordless electric ones are getting more popular.

Grinders & Sanders

1. Angle Grinder
An angle grinder, also called a side or disc grinder, has a motor that makes a disc spin at a right angle. Depending on the disc you put on it, like a diamond cut-off disc or a polishing pad, it can do different jobs.

This tool is pretty versatile. You can use it for grinding, cutting, and polishing different materials. For example, it's handy for smoothing the edge of a piece of metal after cutting it.

But using an angle grinder can be risky, so it's important to wear safety gear. Also, make sure your work is held securely, and never use the grinder without its guard or handle.

If you're curious about the best angle grinders this year and want help choosing the right one, check out our article on the top-notch angle grinders in the market.

2. Belt Sander
A belt sander has a motor that spins a pair of cylinders, and these cylinders hold a strip of sandpaper that keeps moving in a straight line. This setup lets you do different sanding jobs.

Because belt sanders are big and strong, they're really good at taking away wood fast. They're also great for making rough surfaces smooth, leveling things, and shaping them.

But, they might not be the best for detailed finishing work. If you use fine-grit finishing sandpaper on it, though, you can still get a pretty good result.

3. Orbital Sander / Random Orbital Sander
An orbital sander, the one on the right, has a motor that makes a sanding surface move in circles to remove stuff from a surface. It's not too rough, mainly used for finishing touches when you need to do fine sanding or take off a bit of material.

Now, there's another sander that looks kind of the same but works differently. It's called the random orbital sander, the one on the left.

This sander not only makes its sanding disc spin but also move in tiny loops. This helps stop swirl marks and lets you work faster.

Random orbital sanders are in the middle between heavy-duty belt sanders and light-duty finish sanders. They're handy and often leave very little work to do after you're done using them.

Other Power Tools

1. Rotary Tool
A rotary tool is pretty simple—it's got a motor that spins a tool really fast. Because there are lots of different attachments, you can use it for all sorts of jobs like grinding, sanding, carving, and more, on materials like metal, plastic, or wood.

There are two main types:

  1. Dremel Tools: These are small, precise, and run on electricity.
  2. Other Rotary Tools and Die Grinders: Die grinders are a bit bigger, not as precise, and can be powered by electricity, compressed air, or even hydraulics.

Dremels spin super fast but don't have a lot of power. Die grinders don't spin as fast, but they're more powerful.

So, when you're thinking about getting one, decide if you want more precision or more power.

These tools are so handy with all their attachments that once people start using them, they can't imagine not having one!

2. Router
Routers have a motor that runs on electricity or air, and it drives a spindle. On this spindle, there's a special cutting tool called a router bit that sticks out past a flat base.

This setup makes routers great for digging out or "routing" areas in tough stuff, especially wood or plastic. But because there are lots of different router bits you can use, routers are also awesome for many other jobs like trimming, cutting, or shaping.

So, with a router, you can make straight or rounded edges, shape things, carve out grooves, design patterns, and do a bunch of other cool stuff.

Routers are a must-have for people who work with wood, and they're pretty amazing for anyone who likes tools that can do a bunch of different things!

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