As everything seems to be DIY these days, having a few versatile tools in your belt can greatly increase the number of home projects you can take on yourself. While there are numerous tools on the market, from hand to power, the top 5 power tools are the cordless drill, circular saw, miter saw, table saw, and the jig saw.
Cordless drills are very handy to use as you can operate the powerful drill without being tied to an electric outlet, or having to bother with extension cords. This allows for a great freedom of movement, especially when moving from project to project. Long cables are also costly, so a cordless drill means saving a few dollars on not having to buy any extra cords.
Any carpenter working a construction site will need a circular saw. Circular saws also have other uses such as in woodworking projects in need of fine details. When paired with a straight edge, the circular saw can cut sheets of plywood as precisely as a table saw, but with more ease and freedom of movement. Additional blades can also be purchased for circular saws for finer precise detailing, such as cutting in curves.
Miters saws are your go-to cutting tool in terms of precision. They are ideal for detailed cuts like bevels, square, or mitered cross-cuts. The miter saw is basically a circular saw, but secured onto a spring-loaded arm allowing the saw to change positions at differing angles to the board being cut. You pull the arm’s end down, which pushes the blade into the board. Miter saws can cut a minimum of 45-degrees to the right or left and can also cut beveled up to 45 degrees. The miter saw can cut miters and bevels simultaneously. When it comes to making cross-cuts on boards, the miter saw is considered by most woodworkers to be the most accurate power tool. It is also user-friendly with a simple angle gauge on the base, and the bevel angle can be locked into place.
Although likely the most expensive woodworking tool to purchase, it is seen as the most important and useful. There are three main types of table saws: Cabinet saws, Contractor’s saws, and Hybrid saws.
Cabinet saws are known to be the most expensive table saw type, likely due to their size and weight. Usually, they come attached to a very heavy table. Underneath the saw table, there is a cabinet in which the motor is enclosed. The saw’s gearing and trunnions are both precise and strong. Generally with a 3HP to 5HP motor, the saw in its entirety can weigh over 600 pounds, why many a workshop is centered around it.
In contrast to the cabinet saw, contractor’s saws are portable and lightweight and are designed to be carried from job site to job site. The table is made from lightweight aluminum with the motor connected to the saw’s outside. With a contractor saw, the priority is portability, rather than accuracy of power like the cabinet saw. Contractor’s saws range in size from a 1HP small motor to a 1-3/4 horsepower saw on a larger table.
As the name implies, hybrid saws give you the best of both worlds: cabinet and contractor’s. Hybrid saws vary in features. Some use a heavy-duty saw table the same height as the cabinet saw, while other hybrid saws borrow the lighter-weight tables of the contractor’s saw. The hybrid motors, however, are generally no higher than two horsepower.
A jig saw is seen as the perfect saw for beginners. It allows for circular and curved cuts in stock. While band saws offer more accuracy, for beginners, the jigsaw is more than enough. When selecting a jig saw for purchase, choose one with orbital action and is corded. Make sure the blade can be changed with ease and that it fits well in your hand.
When it comes to building up your workshop, it can be overwhelming deciding which are the top 5 power tools to invest in. A cordless drill is a must for any woodworker, and when it comes to saws, consider what you will be using them for, the kinds of cuts you want to make, and how portable and lightweight you want them to be.