A Look into Cordless Combo Kits
Whichever one you buy, the circular saw, drill, and batteries are the guts of the system.
Synopsis: Cordless tools are overtaking their corded cousins. Case in point: cordless drills. Does anyone own a corded drill anymore? Now, cordless drills are being packaged with other cordless tools: circular saws, reciprocating saws, and jigsaws, to name a few. When you buy a cordless tool, you’re really buying into a system of cordless tools. In this review, Andy Beasley presents a big-picture overview of what’s available in the combo kit world, and a small-picture test of 18-volt drills and circular saws, which are the main reasons for buying a combo kit. A sidebar on battery technology contains a handy do’s and don’ts section.
Cordless convenience is unsurpassed, so it’s no surprise that the cordless-tool market has mushroomed steadily. In fact, more than 100 million cordless tools have been sold in the past 20 years. And because you can’t run a DeWalt saw on a Bosch battery, most buyers stick with a single brand. This built-in brand loyalty means that there’s more at stake when selecting among the confusing array of combination kits, and yes, the array of combination kits can be confusing. There are two-piece kits and eight-piece kits. Some kits cost less than $200, and others could rival your mortgage payment. With all these choices, it’s no wonder that using the tools is far easier than choosing them.
Focus on the saw, drill, and battery system
To limit this review to a manageable number of tools, I chose the smallest kits that contained a drill and saw, and pushed them through a series of standardized tests. For most contractors and do-it-yourselfers, drills and circular saws are the most useful tools. Plus, I figure that if a manufacturer can get those two right, chances are the other tools in the kit also will perform…