December 12, 2020 - 8:05 am
It was yoga on a ladder. Installing that final pegboard piece on the highest portion of an 11-foot wall required snaking my spine under a garage-door track and fitting my 200-pound-plus frame in a space about 20 inches wide.
Oh, and the last part of my garage organization project included repeatedly lifting a 5-pound 18-volt cordless drill to predrill and drive 3-inch screws into studs.
Believe it or not, the most challenging part was that constant lifting of a decade-old drill, a killer to my shoulder, neck and wrist. Which led me to wish for a newer model — a lighter, more powerful upgrade.
Southern Nevada homeowners like me who recently have downsized, and many participating in the region’s continuing real estate surge, surely could use the newer generation of cordless tools. Statistics tell us this group also includes first-time homeowners, younger families and single women. Many face a list of do-it-yourself projects that could be made less stressful with the newer generation of light, cordless power tools.
Newer cordless drill models, with battery, often weigh less than 3.5 pounds compared with that 5-pounder I was using. That’s just one advantage. Newer versions also have built-in LED lighting and more powerful batteries that run longer and charge faster.
The most popular manufacturers — DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Ridgid, Kobalt and Craftsman — also offer one battery, interchangeable with dozens and dozens of their cordless products.
Many items are on sale during the holidays, so it’s a neat time to update your toolbox or surprise a friend or family member who happens to be a new homeowner.
Check big box stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot for special offers, too.
Here are a few recommendations:
Craftsman V20 Two-Tool 20-Volt Max Combo Kit
An affordable kit for the infrequent do-it-yourselfer with some neat features, including soft carrying case, charger and two batteries. The drill driver for bigger jobs offers two speeds and a half-inch chuck. The impact driver is light enough for my 5-year-old grandson to use (with proper supervision and eye protection, of course).
Model No. CMCK200C2, priced from $99
Available at Lowe’s, Ace Hardware
DeWalt XR Two-Tool 20-Volt Max Brushless Combo Kit
Because it has a brushless motor, there’s less friction. Brushless tools are more energy-efficient, and battery run time can be up to 50 percent longer. Kit includes drill, impact driver, charger, two batteries and a soft carrying case.
Model No. DCK283D2, priced from $249
Available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon.com
Kobalt XTR 24-Volt Max Half-inch Brushless Cordless Drill
More of a heavy-duty drill that compares favorably to more expensive models. For this Kobalt drill, a Lowe’s exclusive, batteries are lighter and less expensive and can operate dozens of 24-volt Kobalt tools. The drill, with a battery, weighs slightly less than 4 pounds. Built-in LED light, half-inch chuck with 24 positions. Comes with a hard carrying case, side handle, battery and charger. Five-year warranty.
Model No. KX DD 1424A-03, priced at $124
Available at Lowe’s, Amazon.com
DeWalt 20-Volt Max Four-Tool Combo Kit
Let’s go with a bigger package; this four-tool kit will help homeowners cover a variety of the most common fastening, drilling and cutting tasks. Includes kit includes drill/driver, impact wrench, reciprocating saw, LED work light, two batteries, charger and soft carrying bag. The impact wrench is a beast, especially on rusted bolts, and able to tackle tough jobs. If your DIYer works on autos and trucks, an impact wrench is a must have. I have an older version of a DeWalt kit and appreciate the versatility of the work light and the sawzall (reciprocating saw). Because it’s in a family of tools where one battery fits all, you can add tools without having to buy another battery or charger.
Model No. DCK478D2, priced from $399
Available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon.com
Bosch 12V Max Brushless Hammer Drill/Driver Kit
The accomplished do-it-yourselfer needs a hammer drill, no question. The drill rotates as it delivers a rapid number of blows — like a hammer — for cleaner holes in masonry and brick. My hammer drill weighs 5 pounds. This model, with a battery, is 2.2 pounds. Kit includes 3/8-inch hammer drill/driver, two lithium-ion batteries, charger, bit holder, four bits, belt clip and carrying bag.
Model No. GSB12V-300B22, priced from $179
Available at area tool centers, Amazon.com, Bosch.com
Less pricey alternatives
Maybe a cordless power tool is too pricey a gift this holiday season.
If you need a less expensive alternative, there are plenty.
Try a magnetic-tip screwdriver set, like the Husky 20-piece special buy at Home Depot (Model No. 246340201). It’s less than $20 and includes six slotted, six Phillips, six precision and two offset screwdrivers.
This time of year stores offer all kinds of stocking stuffers and smaller items for your favorite tool lover.
— Gary Dymski