Q: Rechargeable power tools are on my gift list with Father’s Day approaching. Any recommendations? Are they worth the investment?—Jesse
Answer: Rechargeable cordless tools are worth the investment when the corded version is the least convenient option. For example, a power drill that’s used inside and outside the house is more convenient and a worthy investment. Here are a few recommendations:
Power drill: As one of the most-used power tools, a drill should be everyone’s first cordless tool. Using a corded drill can mean constantly moving the cord around obstacles or your own feet, which can be dangerous. Cordless drills are easy to use, and improved technology means they have more power and hold a charge longer. Light-duty drills are smaller and less powerful, but good for smaller projects.
Lawn tools: Simply put, cordless electric trimmers and leaf blowers are more energy efficient, quieter and less polluting than gas trimmers.
Flashlight: LED flashlights can produce 20 times as much light as the old incandescent ones. They range from tiny keychain lights to headlamps to waterproof spotlights. A flashlight often comes in a cordless tool set, or you can buy a single unit that recharges using a USB port on a charger, a USB wall socket or a mobile phone battery.
A word about batteries
Batteries make cordless tools possible. Lithium-ion batteries are more expensive, but they hold a charge longer. They also have a longer life, but they still may need to be replaced in about three years. It’s worth buying a reputable brand of cordless tools so you can be confident of finding a replacement battery. Do not dispose of lithium-ion batteries in the trash as they are a fire hazard and contain toxic chemicals; your local waste disposal service can tell you how to dispose of them.
PAT KEEGAN and BRAD THIESSEN write on energy efficiency for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.