Basic Power Tools for the Homeowner

Basic Power Tools for the Homeowner

A power drill, a circular saw, and a saber saw are all you need for most any household carpentry projects.  Homeowners are attempting more complex tasks around the house, and these three essential power tools will help speed up your weekend to-do-lists.  Here are some tips to empower you with power tools knowledge.


  • Circular Saw:  This tool crosscuts, angle-cuts, rips material lengthwise, and even bevels lumber cleanly and easily.  Choose a circular saw with thick base made of extruded or cast metal; a thin base plate made of stamped metal can warp.   A 7 ¼-inch saw means it takes 7 ¼ inch blade.  It cuts to the depth of about 2 ½ inches at 90 degrees.  Better saws are rated at 12 or 13 amps (so it doesn’t heat up easily) and run on ball bearings (for precise cutting and no wobbling.)  This combination of extra power and smoother operation make for a long life machine.  The most powerful saws are worm-drive saws and have the longest-lasting bearings; these are heavy and difficult to use; better to leave them to the trade professionals.
  • Saber Saw:  Saber saw makes curved cuts quickly in almost any materials.  When buying a saber saw, examine the base plate and the mechanism for adjusting it.  Cheaper saw base plate is flimsy and will eventually wobble making it hard to keep the blade aligned vertically.  A saw equipped with 3 amps or more can handle most difficult works.
  • Power Drill:  Decide how much speed and power you really need and don’t buy strictly by voltage.  Look for a variable-speed, reversible power drill.  A 3/8 inch drill is fine for hanging pictures and other easy tasks.   A ½ inch chuck is good for heavy duty work.  A keyless chuck makes changing bits quick and easy, but some people prefer a key chuck for a tighter grip on the bit.  Besides checking the drill’s weight, check its balance by gripping it firmly and lifting it to a wall as if to drive a screw; the drill’s chuck should point straight ahead and not tilt up or down.  For corded drill, a quality cord should flex like rubber and not feel like plastic.  For cordless drill, if possible, get an extra battery pack so you don’t have to wait for a battery to charge; battery voltage is an indicator of a cordless drill’s power; look for models rated 18 volts or higher.  For boring holes in concrete or tile, a drill with a hammer option is useful.


Maintaining and improving your home is easy with these three basic power tools.  With the two power saws, you can make straight and curved cuts precisely; the power drill allows you to make holes of almost any size and drive screws quickly and easily.  Practice your carpentry skills and enjoy the fruit of your labor.

April 7, 2016 / by / in

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