If you have the preconceived notion that power tools are cumbersome, tangled messes of hardware, but the truth is, things have progressed far beyond that in recent times. Builders gives us a breakdown showcasing the benefits of new cordless power tools, which would make an ideal gift for you or that handy-individual in your home or family.
One of the most exciting innovations to hit the world of power tools is the advent of the universal power platform. In simple terms, a universal platform is a single battery that is compatible with a whole range of power tools. That means you can buy a combination pack – a cordless drill, say – with a battery and a charger. When you need an angle grinder, you don’t have to buy another battery pack and charger with it – you just get the power tool. You can keep on adding to your range, building up a wide and versatile collection of power tools all of which run off the same battery.
A universal system like this has a range of advantages for both professionals and DIY enthusiasts. Firstly, it saves you money, because you won’t have to buy additional batteries or changers every time you add a power tool to your collection. But it also makes your life simpler, because you can get more done wherever you are with a single battery and a range of tools. There’s no fuss and confusion about which battery belongs to which power tool, and no dithering with multiple chargers. This makes a huge difference when you’re working on site – no risk of forgetting a battery. It makes it easy to swop between tools as you work, too. On the flipside, it also means that when it comes to replacing old batteries, or buying extras, your new batteries will serve all your power tools.
These new cordless ranges have been made possible by the recent massive improvements in battery technology, particularly lithium-ion (often referred to as Li-ion) batteries, which have many advantages over their predecessor, the nickel cadmium battery.
Lithium-ion batteries are smaller and lighter, so they can pack more power – 18 volts for a power tool gives you all the power and versatility you need. It’s enough for drills, angle grinders, circular saws, sanders and more, plus a whole range of garden tools. Their power doesn’t fade as the battery runs down. Instead, they deliver full power until all the charge has been drained from the battery.
These batteries take less time to charge and they keep their charge for long periods, so they won’t run flat if left in storage (although you will have to recharge them every six months or so). They make life simpler in that they have no memory effect. This means you can charge up partially-run-down batteries. With all these benefits, it’s no wonder the lithium-ion battery has become the kingpin of the cordless revolution.
What to look out for?
Make sure the system is based on an 18 V battery, which has ample power for a wide range of power tools, but is light and small enough to be convenient and easy to use.
Check the Amp hour rating – this is shorthand for how long the battery lasts while in use. The systems usually come with a big battery with a 3 Amp-hour rating, and a smaller, lighter one with a 1.5 Amp-hour rating. The big ones last longer; the small ones charge quicker.
Some systems include advanced features such as microchips that monitor temperature and control the amount of power going from the battery to the power tool. This means the battery will automatically cut power when there’s a jam, preventing motor damage, and also improving efficiency so the batteries last longer.
Seek out batteries with rugged protective casings and rubberised shock-absorbing protection. Other features such as double clips also make them more sturdy, and less likely to be disconnected by mistake.
The 18 V lithium-ion battery at the heart of the Ryobi One Universal Power Platform is compatible with Ryobi’s entire Universal Power Platform range of tools. It powers Ryobi’s Driver Drill XD-18, Circular Saw XCS-140, Angle Grinder XG-115, Impact Drill XHD-1820, Impact Driver XID-150, Reciprocating Saw XRS-18, Jig Saw XJ-50 and more. The three Amp-hour battery pack can be recharged in 90 minutes, while the 1.5 Amp-hour pack takes just 45 minutes to charge.
Check out Ryobi’s cordless power tool range here.
And if you need some help around the house? Builders has more incredible DIY tips and tricks that you can check out HERE. And for all your other DIY needs, remember that you can register and shop online at Builders.