No matter how prepared or decisive one is, it seems the question of whether to invest in corded or cordless power tools gets virtually everyone scratching their head. – To make matters even worse, as technology improves both styles of power tool, the choice between corded and cordless has become even more difficult to make. Between power cords and batteries, each tool type offers its own set of benefits and disadvantages, but, at the end of the day, the choice depends on you; weigh the odds and choose the tool type that offers you the most with the least amount of sacrifice on your part.
Consider what you need your tool to do for you and consider how you’d like it to do that. With those things in mind, ponder the following pros and cons and, with any luck, we’ll get your mind made up. – Since it was corded tools that hit the streets first, we’ll start there – with the bad news and good news of corded power tools.
The Disadvantages of Corded Tools
First, corded tools are tethered; they are stuck within about an 8-foot radius of a power outlet and, though you can grow this radius a bit with an extension cord, you shouldn’t and, if you do, you lose power and stress the tool. Essentially, the mobility of a corded tool is limited to the location of a power source and the length of its cord. This prevents you from working in a lot of different areas and keeps you pretty much always on the ground and always in a limited space.
Of course, the cord not only limits your mobility, but the cord is a safety hazard, too. Both electrical and tripping injuries are known occur with much greater frequency around a corded tool and, despite it’s proclivity for the aforementioned deviant behavior, a cord a real delicate component and must be treated with the utmost tenderness in order to keep the thing intact. Additionally, although you can replace a power cord in an electric tool, the process can be complex and, well, is always more difficult than swapping out a battery. – Although, I’ll say some good things about cords in a minute, they are simply awkward, generally inconvenient and can stifle working momentum.
The Advantages of Corded Tools
Whether you’re stuck to the a wall or not, corded tools have a constant, non-depleting power source. This has a huge impact on productivity allowing users to work literally non-stop. This constant access to full-power keeps users more efficient and, because corded tools are typically more powerful than comparable cordless tools, they (typically) deliver a consistently better, stronger performance. The superior power output of corded tools is not just on a use-per-use basis either – if well-maintained, corded tools often have very long, healthy, fruitful lives.
Corded tools are often lighter-weight as well. Without the additional beef of a battery, corded tools stay light while remaining durable. They’re usually less expensive than a comparable cordless tool and seldom disappoint. In all, corded tools are hugely powerful, durable and they’re totally ideal for heavy-duty, high-power jobs that require both brute strength and a continuous power supply.
—Thanks for sticking around; here we go on to cordless power tools…
The Disadvantages of Cordless Tools
Simply, cordless tools do not have a constant power source. Cordless tools reply on batteries for their power and those batteries in turn rely on a charger that requires a power supply to charge them. This is a long line of accountability just to get some juice to your power tool. Though battery technology continues to improve, these batteries are still heavy and, with the exception of the more expensive Lithium Ion batteries, most tool batteries will continuously lose power as you work. This means that every minute you use your NiCad or NiMH battery, you gradually lose a little more power. Although tool batteries will give you a good run and can be replaced after they’ve kicked the bucket, they are also expensive and definitely more spendy than a new power cord.
Additionally, and simply, cordless tools tend to be less powerful altogether. They are typically heavier than a comparable corded tool and they are often more expensive.
The Advantages of Cordless Tools
Cordless tools offer unmatched portability. This allows you to run from one end of your jobsite to another and to clamor up and down your ladder without the risk or inconvenience of a dragging, snagging power cord. Additionally, the technology behind cordless tool batteries continues to advance rendering them more powerful, longer-lasting and lighter-weight than they were even last year. Cordless tools store and transport easily and because they’re available in so many voltages ranging from very small to seriously heavy-duty, the benefits of cordless tools appeal to all types of crafter from homeowners to construction professionals.
Typically, batteries can be shared between tools of the same manufacturer and voltage and, on account of their streamlined cordlessness, cordless tools are ideal for outdoor use, use in busier areas where a cord may become dangerous, and they are essential for more rudimentary or preliminary jobsites that may not have electrical service. In all, cordless tools are more mobile and more versatile.
Looking at these pros and cons and knowing exactly what you need from your power tools (and how long and often you need them to do that) will help you find the tool type that best compliments your specific work-load and working style. Good luck and, whether you choose corded or cordless, may you enjoy a long and happy life with your power tools.