By Grainger Editorial Staff 1/1/17
Every contractor has that go-to, essential power tool that he or she uses on every jobsite. It may be because of the tool’s versatility, ease or power. Here is a list of must-have power tools that contractors can’t live without.
The reciprocating saw is an essential power tool for any remodeling work or demolition. It cuts right through almost any material; electricians, plumbers and general contractors alike reach for the reciprocating saw to get through pipes, nail-infused studs or even cast iron. Since the saw blades are available up to 12 inches, the reciprocating saw can get into even the tightest of spaces that no other tool can manage.
Multi-tools have interchangeable heads so that they can be used for many kinds of applications. An oscillating multi-tool can be used for trimming, sanding, pipe cutting, paint removal—you name it. Many oscillating tools come with a variety of attachments including, wood blades, metal blades, sanding pads and adapters. This is a good tool to have when condensing your toolbox because it helps eliminate the need for more equipment.
The angle grinder is a spinning disc that moves at extremely high RPMs. Angle grinders are used for many different applications–it all depends on the disc you choose. Buffering discs can polish metals. A grinding wheel is used for cutting metals or sharpening metal edges. Dry-cut diamond wheels are used for cutting tiles, ceramics and other masonry substrates. Angle grinders are also the tool of choice for grinding mortar because you can do so without damaging the bricks.
Odds are you probably use your cordless drill more than any other tool. However, if you are in the business of driving a lot of screws, you may want to consider the impact driver. These tools are made to drive screws quickly and efficiently even through the toughest of materials. Impact drivers use a hammer-like gear that adds torque through the driver’s rotation; this is similar to a hammer drill but with the extra force being rotational rather than linear. They also tend to be smaller, lighter and require less effort from the user, so they are ideal for contractors who spend most of the day with a drill in their hands.
There are many options when it comes to power nailers. The firing method may be the most important factor when choosing among these essential power tools. A nailer with contact, also called bump, drives the nail in simply by bumping the tip against your substrate. This is a preferred firing option for contractors who want to drive a lot of nails in rapid succession. Sequential firing requires that the user pull a trigger to drive a nail. This method is ideal in situations where it is important to measure a precise firing angle. Power nailers may be pneumatic, electric (corded or cordless), or fuel injected.
Of course, one of the most important factors in a power tool is the power. Essential power tools become nothing more than fancy paperweights without the juice. When shopping for power tools, be sure to check the type of power it uses. Every type of power supply has its pros and cons and knowing these will help determine the right type of power for your particular needs.
Pneumatic tools are a class of power tools that get their power from a blast of compressed air. These tools require an air compressor to run, rather than relying on electricity. Pneumatic tools offer a lot of punch and traditionally have been able to provide more torque than electric tools.
A cordless power tool can go anywhere you do. However, they only work if they have enough juice in the battery to run the tool; the more difficult the job, the more power the tool will use. That is why it is important to fully charge batteries before using them.
When a battery-operated tool isn’t doing the trick, contractors will opt for a corded tool instead. Using a corded power tool ensures you have a steady power supply, even if the job starts to get tough. Since using a corded tool tethers workers to a power outlet, extension cords make sure your tool can reach as far as you need it to.
There is no replacing the speed and efficiency of a power tool on today’s worksites. Manual functions such as driving screws, nails, cutting or sanding are the exception and are typically only performed on the rare occasions. Ensuring you have these essential power tools on your work trucks means having the resources to get the job done right.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.