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Build and repair with home power tool essentials

Whether you're setting up shop at your home or in a separate space, it's a good idea to have all the tools you need before tackling any projects big or small in advance. In addition to the dozens of hand tools, such as screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, vise grips, socket sets, handsaws and pliers, you should also have certain power tools as part of your usual arsenal.

Power drills

Outside of hand tools, the most important power tool that you should have in your home shop is a power drill. Not only can power drills create holes in woodwork, metal and other materials, but they also work great as a driver screwing and unscrewing screws with a simple push of a button. You have the choice between a corded and cordless drill, although many cordless drills have batteries that work with other cordless power tools. Some even come with two batteries so you can charge one while working with the other one. When purchasing a power drill, you want to make sure that it comes with plenty of drill bits, along with a chuck key to tighten and loosen drill bits. Tools to consider that are related to power drills include hammer drills, right-angle drills and impact drivers.

Saws

Handsaws do a good job on woodworking projects but can be tiresome. Cut the amount of time for your projects down significantly with power saws. The types of saws to consider include circular saws, reciprocating saws, chainsaws, tiles saws, jigsaws, band saws, miter saws and table saws:

  • Circular saws are rounded tools with jagged teeth that cut through sturdy items including metal, masonry and concrete
  • Reciprocating saws move back and forth and use a thin, narrow blade that's ideal for cutting tubing and plastic
  • Chainsaws have a linked chain on the blade so that they can cut through thick items like wood and pipes
  • Tiles saws, also known as flooring saws, are specifically for cutting for cutting tiles for floors and walls
  • Jigsaws are ideal for intricate cuts, such as curves or others that don't need to be straight
  • Band saws are large saws that raise and lower a blade via a pulley system to make precision cuts
  • Miter saws are ideal for making angled cuts, as they can pivot at 45-degree angles to the right or left
  • Tables saws are like a cross between a band saw and a circular saw and are ideal for cutting long wooden boards

Air tools

This category of power tool includes all the tools that operate using air compression to deliver force. The most common of these are nail guns or staple guns. These tools make fastening items together, such as wooden boards, simple and quick. A nail gun can hammer nails in many times faster than by using a hammer by hand. There are also power wrenches and ratchets that work using the same principle. These are ideal for people who work on vehicles often at home or for a job.

Woodworking tools

The most common power tools used in this category are sanders and polishers. However, you should know the difference between the types of sanders available, such as their intended purpose:

  • Portable belt sanders, also known as sheet sanders, are the most powerful available; these have a handle that stick out to one side and a bag behind to catch wood shaving and dust; works best on flat surfaces
  • Orbital finishing sanders are lightweight and are ideal for doing precision sanding, such as touch-ups; these have a square sanding surface, are typically held with one hand and have a bag to catch debris located behind the sander
  • Random-orbit sanders have a round sanding surface but operate much like orbital finishing sanders
  • Belt-and-disk sanders are dual-purpose sanders that do what both a disk sander and a portable belt sander do, although the belt on a belt-and-disk sander is usually longer than that on a portable belt sander; these are also not handheld sanders and must be placed on a level surface
  • Oscillating spindle sanders are also not handheld and work like drum sanders except they oscillate at the same time

Other types of sanders in this category include orbital buffers (ideal for polishing vehicles), mouse sanders (smaller versions of belt sanders) and rotary sanders.

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