One of the biggest problems getting started with a do-it-yourself home improvement project is having the right power tools.
How do you choose the right power tools for the job, and not waste money buying the wrong tools?
Easy, just take the advise from someone who has already been through the woes of wasting money on the wrong tools — the tools that break, the tools that are the wrong size to be versatile for more than one job, and the tools that just don’t live up to their claims.
I’ve invested quite a bit of time researching, and testing these tools to find, what I believe are, the best power tools for the money. So you can be confident in choosing any one of these great do-it-yourself tools for your toolbox.
If you are looking for commercial grade tools, see my Commercial Power Tools page.
Recommended DIY Power Tools
Makita DF030DW 10.8v Compact Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver KitAt only 6-3/16 inches long and weighing in at only 1.9 lbs. this ultra compact impact driver not only reduces operator fatigue, but can get into the tightest places with ease. And while in those tight spots the built in LED light illuminates the work area brilliantly. Don’t worry about power as this little gem has a two speed variable transmission, and produces 200 in/lbs of torque! Enough power for most jobs. This ultra compact impact has become the favorite of many maintenance professionals, electricians, cabinet installers, traveling professionals, and the smart DIY ladies out there.
The kit includes two 10.8V Ultra-Compact Lithium-Ion batteries and an ENERGY STAR rated battery charger for efficient charging power, tool holster, and hard travel case. With Makita’s 3 year warranty I think you’re totally covered on this one.
Makita BTD142HW 18v Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver KitIf you’re looking for the best light weight impact driver, here it is. I’ve had mine since they came out and use it commercially on a regular basis. Less weight (under 3 lbs) means less fatigue. But don’t let the light weight fool you, this impact’s variable speed motor has plenty of power. Getting into tight spots is easy with an impact that is only 5-3/4 inches long, and has a built-in L.E.D. light, to illuminate the work area. Makita’s lithium-ion batteries offer 2 1/2 time as many batter cycles as standard Ni-Cad batteries, and the charger safely charges a battery in as little as 15 minutes. That means you’re always ready to go. If you haven’t used an impact driver yet, you’ll have to give it a try. These amazing tools can drive screws, of all sorts, drill and even drive lag bolts with ease. No stripping while driving or removing screws. And the best part is less effort on your part, as this tool does all the work for you.
This kit includes two 18V compact lithium-ion batteries, 15-Minute Rapid Optimum Charger, and tool case. The travel case has a convenient spot to hold a small case of your most used bits, and a built in holder for the standard chuck. For the casual do-it-yourselfer or contractor this is definitely the wise choice.
One last note; I think incorporating a belt hook, on Makita’s next model, would be a useful convenience.
See DIY Cool Tools for Makita’s 3/8″ keyless chuck conversion for this impact driver.
Milwaukee 6391-21 7-1/4 inch Circular SawThis Milwaukee right handed saw is my new favorite DIY power tool. I’d been using a 16 lb worm drive saw for years, but now I’m really enjoying the lighter weight, as well as the ergonomics of this great saw. The ladies will love this saw too, as the tilt-lok handle adjust to most applications, making it very easy to handle. This saw is for right handed DIY’ers. With the blade on the left side of the saw you can easily see the blade, guide, cutting line. This makes it much easier to cut a straight line, not to mention safer. The tilt-Lok handle can be adjusted back for vertical cutting, forward for horizontal cutting, or anywhere in between. The kit comes with a carbide-tipped saw blade, blade wrench, and storage case. A left handed model is also available.
So if it’s time to get serious about buying a circular saw, look no further.
See “Are You a Righty or Lefty?” for tips on how to choose a circular saw.
DEWALT (DWS713) 10-Inch Singe Bevel Miter Saw
This is my favorite inexpensive high precision miter saw. It’s 15-amp motor provides plenty of power for making crosscuts and miters with ease. The thumb-actuated stops make it easy to make miter adjustments, and the elastomer horizontal handle provides great comfort and control.
This is definitely the best all around miter saw around, and comes with a 10-inch TCT blade, extended fence, dust bag, vise assembly, box wrench, and hex bar wrench. And best of all, it comes with Hitachi’s five year warranty!
So if you’ve been looking for a reasonably priced miter saw, look no more, this is it! Enjoy.
Porter-Cable 343K 5 inch Random Orbit SanderThis sander has a soft rubber grip that provides great comfort as well as minimizing vibration. Hook and loop sanding pads makes for quick changes, and the enlarged plastic hood over the pad allows you to get into tight corners without damaging the pad or your project. For safety the automatic brake engages when you set the sander down. Clean up and maintenance are easy with the removable cap, and the dual dust ports can accommodate 1 inch and 1 1/2 inch vacuum hoses. This reasonably priced, high quality orbital sander will easily meet most do-it-yourselfer’s needs.
Hitachi CJ110MV Top Handle Variable Speed Jig SawThe top-mounted LED light, a powerful dust blower to improve cut line visibility, and a tool-less blade change system make most any job a snap. For comfort, ease of use, and the 5 year warranty you can be assured that your money has been well spent.
Hitachi CR13V 10amp Reciprocating SawIf there’s demo work to be done, then you’ll need a reciprocating saw. Often called a “sawzall”, this type of saw is an excellent tool for cutting studs away from plates, cutting nails and just getting into those places a standard circular saw won’t go.
A sawzall is very similar to a jig saw, with it’s foot and oscillating blade, but the sawzall blade is much wider, and longer, and a sawzall has much more power.
Most sawzalls are very similar in design but vary in power and features.
The most important features to look for are the ability to change blades quickly without the use of tools, and a comfortable weight and grip. As control is everything when using a sawzall. And of course a great warranty.
That’s why I recommend the Hitachi CR13V, as it provides all the features we’re looking for in a reasonably priced reciprocating saw.Hitachi’s tool-less blade change system not only makes changing blades really fast, but you can also install the saw blade with the teeth facing either side of the saw. This provides extra flexibility for getting into hard to reach places. The easy grip D-handle, and a weight well under 8 lbs provides the safety and ease of control you need.
As far as power goes, the 10 Amp motor with electronic feedback control gives you all the power you’ll need for most jobs.
And Hitachi’s five year warranty completes the list of features we’re looking for, and assures excellent service for years to come.The Hitachi CR13V comes with an all-purpose blade, hex bar wrench, and heavy-duty carrying case for easy transport and storage.
Helping you succeed with speed, with the best and most reasonably priced reciprocating saw, the Hitachi CR13V.
For answers to your specific DIY questions, just ask you DIY Consultant.