Power tools 101

Posted on Aug 31 2015 in General, Product Picks

Whether feathering a first nest or tackling fix-it tasks around the apartment, these basic tools can help beginners take projects from DIY to done.



Gen5X Combo KitEquip a powerful DIY toolbox, ready to build, install or repair, with the five-piece, cordless Ridgid Gen5x Combo Kit. It comes with five basic pieces: circular saw, reciprocating saw, hammer drill, impact driver and LED flashlight. $399; includes two batteries, charger, three belt hooks and more.

800-466-3337; homedepot.com

Easy Adjustments

triadTap into power with the Black & Decker 20-volt Cordless Circular Saw. Whether you’re cutting wood to build a picnic table or bookcase, you can adjust bevel cuts to 45- or 90-degree angles and easily make depth adjustments for different wood thicknesses. $49 for tool; battery sold separately.

877-465-6937; lowes.com

Professional grade

Makita_XSH03M_Kit_ShotMakita takes energy efficiency up a notch with its expanded line of brushless tools, including the 18V XSH03M Brushless Cordless Circular Saw. The brushless-motor technology also gives the saw plenty of power to deliver fast cuts. $380; includes saw blade, two batteries, charger and tool bag.

888-722-8299; toolorbit.com



rockwell trans4mer in use 1Switch instantly from jigsaw to reciprocating saw — from cutting wood shapes to PVC pipe — with a Rockwell 12-volt Trans4mer 2-in-1. It offers six cutting positions and a dust blower to keep the cutting line visible. $250; includes battery, charger, wood and metal blades, and carrying bag.

866-597-3850; toolbarn.com


Hitachi Jig Saw CJ18DSLP4 SMCut out circles and other shapes with Hitachi’s Lithium-Ion Slide-Battery Jigsaw. The cordless, 18-volt tool has a base that adjusts up to 45 degrees, splinter guard, chip cover and an LED spotlight to illuminate the cutting area. $105.

866-764-2976; bigskytool.com

Over a Barrel 

Bosch JS470EB jigsawThe ergonomic barrel grip on the corded Bosch 7.0A Jigsaw helps cut straight or curved lines with comfort. No change-out tools are needed with its blade-ejection lever. $198; includes anti-splinter insert, blade, bevel wrench and carrying case.

888-492-0013; blackrocktools.com



festool cxs compact drill in useAt less than two pounds and sized to reach into tight spots, the Festool CXS Compact Drill Driver helps DIY beginners get a comfortable handle on projects like assembling furniture. Recharge the 10.8-volt lithium-ion battery in just 30 minutes. $255; includes two batteries and charger.

877-783-8899; acetoolonline.com

POWER TRIP MILWAUKEE M18 FUEL 2603 in use WEBEnjoy powerful torque for drilling holes and driving screws, with plenty of battery life, with a Milwaukee M18 Fuel ½-inch Compact Drill Driver. The soft, contoured grip lets you work in comfort over an extended period of time. $279; includes two batteries and charger.

702-891-8150; toolup.com

Becky Billingsley is a freelance writer from Myrtle Beach, S.C. Her monthly column also appears in South Carolina Living, the statewide electric co-op magazine of the Palmetto state. Product inclusion on this page does not imply endorsement; product availability and prices are subject to change.