Cordless Tool Kits

October 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Cordless tool kits allow you to get a lot of work done around the house, and it's usually a lot less expensive than buying the tools separately.For Scott Kleeman, his cordless tool kit sure speeds up the amount of handy work he can do around his house. "Basically, I'm saving a lot of time, which in turn I'm getting more done over a weekend."

Consumer Reports just tested seven cordless tool kits. They come with a drill, a circular saw, a reciprocating saw and a light. Testers were not impressed with this kit's reciprocating saw.

Peter Sawchuk, Consumer Reports, says "It's difficult to lock the blade into the skill reciprocating saw. It can come loose while you're sawing. That's a problem."

The reciprocating saw's model number is 9350. More kits are coming with lithium-ion batteries, which make the tools lighter and more powerful, but also more expensive. "Our tests show that you need to monitor lithium batteries. For some, when they're run down completely, they cannot be recharged," says Sawchuk.

So Consumer Reports says it's best to change your lithium-ion batteries as the tool begins to slow down, before it comes to a complete stop.

Try out the kit's tools before buying. Hold the drill at shoulder height to make sure it's light enough for overhead work and that the front end doesn't tip up or down. This will give you a good sense of whether it's going to be comfortable for you to use.

When all the tests were done, Consumer Reports found you'll have to pay more to get a good tool kit. Sawchuk says, "We found the less expensive kits have marginally performing circular saws. They're not suitable for large projects like a deck or building a playhouse."

Top-rated is Hitachi's $450 cordless tool kit. All of its tools rated very good to excellent. If the circular saw is not as important to you, you can save some money by getting the $300 Ryobi p843 tool kit.

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