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Old 09-16-2003, 08:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Northern VA
Power Tools

I need to do some things around the house and decided to invest in some reliable power tools. I am just not sure which brand is more reliable. I have heard DeWalt is DeBomb (bad joke..sorry), but it is very expensive. I am on a fixed budget and needed some advice. I was thinking of either going Ryobi or Black and Decker.

I was planning on getting a Cordless Drill, a detail electric sander, and a circular saw.
I also want a router for a few things I want to try and make but am not quite sure what the difference between a fixed router and a plunge router is. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.

I feel so unmanly not knowing these things...I'm gonna go have to drink some beer and work out and beat my woman to feel a bit more manly now.
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm probably not the best person to answer this (but I will ).
I usually go by (Gasp!) price - whatever Home Depot has on sale.

I'm willing, but just not a great DYI person - my usual answer to my wife is "Sure, Honey - I'll do it" Problem is - it always ends up looking like I did it!

At least I work cheap.

Actually, I don't think you'll be disappointed in any of the brands you've mentioned
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Old 09-16-2003, 09:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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never heard of ryobi ,
Black and Decker only if you are doing very light work that will not labour the pwer tool.
DeWalt are well worth the extra few dollars.
Personally I always buy Makita.
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Old 09-16-2003, 10:41 AM   #4 (permalink)
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im a really big fan of Craftsman tools. They are guarranteed for life, and are pretty reasonably priced.

Another plus about Craftsman, is that if you go to one of the Craftsman stores, or even to their website, you can sign up to be a member of the Craftsman Club. From that point on, you will get notices for certain weekends during the year when they take +10% off everything in the store, for Craftsman Club members only. Its free to join, I guess some people just dont want to put forth the effort in filling out the little card and sending it in! And I think you might get 10% off just for joining.

I think like anything you buy, if you buy the cheapest, you'll get crap. If you buy the most expensive, you'll probably never use it that much to justify spending that much. So I always go the middle road, and Craftsman seems to fall into that category. Plus, if its good enough for Bob Villa, its good enough for me!
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Old 09-16-2003, 11:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Its funny you mentioned that, because I just went to Craftsman's website and ordered myself a catalog. I'll probably end up going with Craftsman because like you said .... "if its good enough for Bob Villa, its good enough for me!"

edit: Thanks for all the advice/opinions.
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Old 09-16-2003, 01:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Craftsmen power tools ARE NOT gaurenteed for life...last time I checked. Only hand tools and some of those are even excluded.

I ~used~ to be a big fan of craftsmen tools until they put a few US companies out of business outsourcing alot of their production to the far east.

Home Depot carries a brand of power tools called RIGID. Pretty good stuff from what I've seen. Solid construction, and excellent warranties and follow-up of service. What I REALLY like is that RIGID is a former US craftsmen power tool producer which the HOME Depot resurrected after SEARS went asian.

From my experience Milwaukee and Porter Cable make the best power tools available. They last forever and are repairable. Most of that cheap ass, light duty, home owners grade crap by ryobi (7 tools plus a plastic dolly for 250.00 bucks???) or black and decker (hedge hog, firestorm...??? come on now)...is just that: light duty, home owners grade crap. Throw away stuff.

You definately get what you pay for.

Black and Decker IS Dewalt btw...more commercial in color, and often more heavy duty (especially the price), but usually just another b&d tool all dressed up for that contractor look.

Most independant dealers...i.e. real local hard ware stores, will match giant super store prices if you ask. Plus you get the knowledge and advice of a pro.

Now if you your budget permits and you must have absolutely positively the best. Check to see if Hilti makes what you need.

BTW...Wait a while before you think about getting a router. Plunge or fixed base. It's a pretty complicated tool with lots and lots of potential. Work on your basic carpentry skills first...circular saw, hammer or screw gun and sanding block.

enjoy,

-bear

Oh and Bob Villa is a sell out, washed up do goodnick with a bad flannel shirt collection, and ironed in creases down the front of his 'work jeans.' ;-)
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Old 09-16-2003, 04:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Lowes has a web site which also explains why you would want a 12volt vs a 24volt cordless drill (or hammer drill)...Also Consumer Reports is a good sorce for information...I personally own a Dewalt 12" compound miter saw with double bevel, which is excellent for wide crown molding and detail work. I think this tool is over the top for the average homeowner, but I like to play with wood. I also found that I do not use my 18volt cordless drill often because it is too heavy, most small household jobs are handled by a 12volt or a cordless milwaukee screw driver which works great....I own dewalt, porter cable, milwaukee, black & decker, makita, and they all work well for what I bought them for...I think it depends on if you are a professional or home owner and how you use the right tool for the job.
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Old 09-16-2003, 05:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by hotdogg
....how you use the right tool for the job.
This is always what it's about.
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Old 09-16-2003, 06:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Initech, Iowa
I used to buy Makita but they are kind of high priced. I have lately bought Ryobi and have been very happy with them. My cousins in construction and says they don't stand up for the pros but for us weekend warriors they work pretty good. Also, Ryobi now MAKES craftsman power tools for sears.
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Old 09-16-2003, 07:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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for a reasonable price, I really like Craftsman.

Consumer Reports magazine rates most power tools. You can go on Ebay and get the Consumer Report buying guide for less than 5 dollars. It profiles items that have been reported on in all the past magazines...
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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You might try harbor freight's online catalog---they sell all brands and all prices. They also have some good deals on factory rebuilt tools. I have bought a 12 volt Makita cordless drill with two batterys and the charger for $109. I also have the Dewalt 18 volt drill and 5 3/8 cordless saw...that is a very handy tool...but the drill is rather heavy to pack around for most house hold jobs...and be aware--those 18 volts have a lot of torque, and will twist a decking screw right in half.....or push it out the other side of the 2 x 4...so adjust your torque setting. As stated previously, the router is a very handy wood working tool, but is one of the most dangerous....be careful. If you live in the mid west you might check with the high scools, they used to offer night classes in wood working.
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Old 09-16-2003, 09:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yeah Harbor Freight is the way to go, especially if you do not take real good care of your tools. For the price on most of their stuff its easier to buy another one than try and fix something. I have had a 18 V drill I use for hanging drapes, blinds and the like for over 3 yrs. Well balanced, strong torque, and pretty durable (been dropped from a 6' ladder 4-5 times). It only costs $39.99 on sale. In fact I have 3 of them. figured for that price if anything happened to 1 on the job I could just use another one. (Cheap insurance as a most 18V drills start @ $120)Their other power tools (house brand is Chicago Electric) Seem pretty good too. Alot of the hand tools have lifetime warranties too! But make sure you order their catalogs, very good sales, not always shown on-line or in their stores but if you bring the ad they will honor the price.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've used Ryobi and DeWalt cordless drills. DeWalt held up great to continued use. My Ryobi worked well but just didn't have the torque of the DeWalt. Occasionally my Ryobi would overheat but that was with heavy commercial use. If I had the money, I'd get DeWalt, but for now, I get Ryobi.
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Old 09-18-2003, 07:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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My Ryobi reciprocating saw is damn near indestructible. I couldnt afford a real Sawzall so I settled with this one. Ive had it for four years now and it hasnt given me any problems. I cut a good amount of 4130 1" tube, 2X2 .25" wall square tube, and 1/4" plate on a fairly frequnt basis. Not to mention the Ryobi Vs Titanium bar incident. Its a very well made tool.
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Old 09-19-2003, 01:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Makita and Milwaukee are the only two I can highly recommend.
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Old 09-19-2003, 02:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Realistically, you do not need Dewalt quality for DIY stuff. I have a Makita cicular saw that is about 15 years old that I have built 2 houses with and done a ton of little around the house stuff with. It still works well. For the money King makes smokin' tools, craftsman are over rated and over priced, Royobi are decent and priced well, Mastercraft (Cdn tire brand) are decent quality and reasonably priced. Just stay away from tools with plastic and stay away from anything that draws more than 12 amps at 120v. If you get a beefier 13 amp saw thinking more power is good you will be pissed off running down to the electrical panel to reset the breaker all the time.

Remember plastic sucks and will not last.
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Old 09-20-2003, 05:02 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Bob Vila is an idiot. Have you ever actually seen him DO ANY WORK on any of his programs? All he does is walk around and get in people's way.

Anyways, I'll have to echo most sentiments here and recommend Makita or Milwaukee if you're doing anything more that weekend warrior type stuff. For general duties I think a Ryobi would be just fine.

Another point is not to cheap out on accessories like blades, drill bits, etc. and keep them well maintained. Sharp tools go a long way to making that tired power tool feel like new again.
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Old 09-20-2003, 05:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I have to agree with every one else.

1 DeWalt
2 Ryobi or Craftsman

The important thing is the voltage. I wouldn't buy anything less than 18V. We use the DeWalt's at work. They have good torque and with 22 mechanics going at em they take a pretty good beating.
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Old 09-20-2003, 06:39 PM   #19 (permalink)
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In my experience, Ryobi is crap - at least their drills are. They've got less torque than the competition, which means they turn slower and work harder to do it, which means their batteries die sooner. And they break. A lot.

I've had good luck with makita, but they're kind of like IBM - you pay a lot for the name. Same with DeWalt, which is VERY good but still over prices.


I'm kinda surprised no one's mentioned the Firestorm line from Black and Decker. It's a definite cut above the standard B&D fare. An 18 volt firestorm drill is more than enough for a DIY. Mine gets very heavy use (or at least it used to until I finished building my cabin) and it never faltered. Great drill.
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Old 09-20-2003, 07:16 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Location: Down South
I used to have B&D and Makita tools for around the house but over the last few years, I have replaced all of them with DeWalt tools. B&D just couldn't hold up to the big jobs and Makitas are roughly the same price (or higher) than the DeWalt stuff but not as durable.

DeWalt makes good, middle of the road, to heavy duty tools that are easy to use. Milwaukee tools are awesome but they are more expensive and are probably more tool than the average DiY guy is needing.

Your actual mileage may vary...
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Old 09-20-2003, 08:03 PM   #21 (permalink)
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well i see many people giving credit for Milwaukee and Makita, but not that many for Porter Cable. So i will through in my two cents.

At the beginning of this past summer, i started my own tool collection, (my dad has a decent radial arm saw so i have that covered) so i then thought of what i could use, so i started looking and came to the conclusion that i needed a nice router.

So i started looking around and nothing compared to Porter Cable. For their build and simplicity, there's no fancy decretive plastic parts. It took both 1/2 inch and 1/4 inch bits, had more then enough power, and is a leading standard in the industry, almost every accessory is compatible with it. So i got the 690, its the 1 3/4 Hp fixed base router. The reason why i wanted the router over any other tool is that i am planing on building quite a few speakers in my time. I have already built a Subwoofer and a pair of 10" two way monitors and this is the most versatile tool that i have ever used. Along with the router, i also got a really really nice router table from Rockler.com, its the Master R lift table, basically i don't have to take the motor out to change bits, and i can crank any hight i want, which is really handy when you are changing from a 1/2 round over to a trim bit.

I have used my router table combo so much on my last speakers that its not funny. I have a circle jig that i cut out all the driver holes, and port for, I used a pattern bit to cut out the terminal cup hole. I used the table my biscuit bit to biscuit join the front and back baffles. I also used a lock miter bit on the top and bottom edges. Needless to say i have put some hours on my PC and to tell you the truth it will take it for many more years and speakers to come.

here are some links to my table, and my monitors
http://homepage.mac.com/alrossnin/PhotoAlbum55.html

http://www.umit.maine.edu/~David_Ross/pispeaker2.jpg
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Old 09-21-2003, 03:58 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Location: P.R. Mass.
Agreed with the above Black Bear - Porter Cable is a high quality brand, as are just about all Hitachi and some Makita tools. Can't say I have had the same experience with DeWalt (DeCrap - , aka, yellow B&D tools) or Ryobi. Have some bad experience with both companies' tools dying a very premature death and them not standing behind their products/workmanship.

Also as above, for light duty DIY work, Ryobi, B&D or no-name tools may do just fine.

Last edited by apetaster; 09-21-2003 at 04:00 AM..
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Old 09-21-2003, 03:32 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Porter Cable is decent, I personally like Makita. Craftsman has become garbage, and I don't know anything about the Ryobi. I did wind up with a few black and decker items with those weird little switch out batteries, and that's handy as all hell for lightweight occasional stuff around the house.. They don't have enuff power to do much with at all tho.. The little skill saw thing I got for christmas a few years back has been oddly handy, if not plain old amusing tho....
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Old 09-21-2003, 03:34 PM   #24 (permalink)
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oh, and get a pplunge router, as well as a router table that you can mount it to... A plunge router will lock in the down position and function as a fixed router. You only need this sort of thing if you're going to be building furniture or cabinets tho.. At least that's the only real use I've had for it.
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Old 09-21-2003, 04:33 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Location: Philly
Out of curiosity does anyone have any Campbell Hausfield products? I have a small MIG welder from them and it works fine for my light duty stuff, but I am wondering about the quality of there other products like power washers and air compressors. Any horror stories?
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Old 09-23-2003, 05:45 PM   #26 (permalink)
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we have a smallish 20 gallon 5 hp compressor from CH plus and impact wrench, all have worked fine but have lead very cushy lives

apetaster i take it you don't like how those massholes drive too
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Old 09-26-2003, 11:11 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Location: Washington State
I have the following for use at work and home.
DeWalt 18v cordless drill
DeWalt Sawzall
DeWalt disc grinder
Makita 9v cordless drill
Skill circular saw
Craftsman 10" cut saw
Ryobi jigsaw
Milwaukee "holeshooter" 1/2 drill
Milwaukee hammer drill
Hornet high speed 3/8 drill (I drill safes with that one)

I work the heck out of all of these, and they've held up well with the exception of the Makita which tends to overheat. The DeWalt is a stud and will hurt you if you're not carefull. The Milwaukee drill is the best I've ever used. I suggest spending the bucks for at least the DeWalt drill, it's probably the most common tool for around the house.

Regards
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Old 09-28-2003, 12:29 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Location: Canada
My collection...

Milwaukee - 3/8 drill - the BEST - lifetime warrenty too. - did I say THE BEST ?
Makita circular saw - nice tool - does the job
Bosch jigsaw - kicks ass
Craftsman belt sander - POS
Makita orbital sander - nice tool does the job
Craftsman dremel tool - falling apart as I type exposed to light duty only

As you can see...

I am most impressed with my Milwaukee drill. It was recommended by a guy who used his for weakening tree stumps with a 16" auger bit. Used to run it till the case was too hot to hold, and then let it cool. Still going I might add.

As for De'walt - Makita etc. Look at the warrenty. In my local store the price difference to move up from Dewalt to Milwaukee was only 20-30 bucks, and the warrenty jumps from 90 days or at most a year to life time. Makes no sense to not spend those few extra and jump to the Milwaukee.

I wish they made tablesaws still ......

Oh ya - and I just had to replace the piston in my CH air compressor. Luckily I could get parts, but it should not have gone with the amount of work I make it do.
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Old 09-29-2003, 10:04 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I prefer normal more powerful drills to cordless. Cordless drills lose tons of power fast as soon as the battery starts to die. Even with a full battery they're just not as powerful as a normal drill.
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Old 09-29-2003, 10:47 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Location: Grants Pass OR
I am cabinet maker, I have used , craftsman, Ryobi, Hitachi, Bosch, Makita, Firestorm, and dealt cordless drills. the owner of my shop bought one of each 3 years ago (keep in mind these drills are used 40-60 hours/ week in a manufacturing environment). we have the Dewalt and the Bosch (recently rebuilt) left. The rest have long since been thrown away. If you're looking at routers, I have used quite a few different brands, I would not buy anything other than Porter Cable, no if's ands or buts, they have the durability, balance and ease of adjustment that no other brand can come close too. Sawzall, gotta go Milwaukee there, nothing holds up the way they do. I own a 13.2 volt Craftsman drill w/ 2 batteries and a charger,that I picked up for 40 bucks new. It's a 40 dollar cordless, I hate it, btw it's made by black and decker, not ryobi. It has no torque and it's max rpm is 600. It's a fair deal for 40 bucks, but not for 80 like they normally sell them for. My advice to you is to go to the pawn shap, get a used 14.4v Dewalt or Bosch cordless in good condition, you'll never regret it.
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Old 09-30-2003, 07:10 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Location: Initech, Iowa
Sears must be switching manufacturers daily since you say your Craftsman was built by B&D. Last Spring I bought a Ryobi 14.4v drill at Home Depot. A week later I was at Sears and there on display was my exact drill except it was black and had a Craftsman label on it. Sears is getting a little flakey lately with the tools. I've been told that they aren't honoring their hand tool warranty the same way they used to. It used to be they'd replace the tool no matter what, now if it looks like you abused the tool they won't replace it. It wouldn't surprise me if they get out of the Craftman tools business completely someday.

Last edited by Dibbler; 09-30-2003 at 07:16 PM..
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Old 09-30-2003, 07:14 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Location: Initech, Iowa
Quote:
Originally posted by NiceGuy
I prefer normal more powerful drills to cordless. Cordless drills lose tons of power fast as soon as the battery starts to die. Even with a full battery they're just not as powerful as a normal drill.
I agree if you're working in the shop but when I'm working on the outside of the house it's so much easier to just grab the cordless and head out. I recently bought a cordless circular saw and just think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I had my doubts but the thing really had some power. They're not much good if you have a lot to cut but if you have a few 2x4's or some plywood to cut there's nothing better.
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Old 10-01-2003, 10:16 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Spend extra on a good tool - you'll never have to replace it. Buy a cheap one - it will break when you most need it. Worth the extra money to get something reliable.
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Old 10-01-2003, 03:31 PM   #34 (permalink)
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any of the major brands are fine for house hold use. Don't spend the extra money. If you were a professional, and intended to use the tools on a daily basis for year to come, then I would say differently, but in all reality, for what you're doing Ryobi Makita dewalt craftsman whatever, they will all work. If I were you I would be more concerned with the battery voltage you pick, thats what really matters. 18volt or greater is the way to go
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Old 10-02-2003, 03:29 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Have a milwaukee sawzall, makita saws and drills. Love them all. Used Bosch cordless stuff down at the shop, holds up pretty good too.

The campbell hausfield stuff is kinda cheapy in my opinion. I have an electric spraygun that works fine, but is very light and the internals are sketchy.
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Old 10-17-2003, 07:32 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Location: anchorage, alaska us
i have both black and decker and ryobi cordless dirlls. the ryobi is a little heavier duty, 18 volt v. 12 volt. I prefer it, but there are many times two drills are great. one for the pilot hole,and one for the screwdriving. I also have a cordless ryobi circular saw and reciprocating saw. home depot carries ryobi. appears reliable, and more resonably priced than milwalkee or dewalt. I also picked up a cheap delta table saw, about $80. Very handy for bigger jobs.
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Old 10-17-2003, 09:34 AM   #37 (permalink)
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As others have mentioned DeWalt and Black and Decker are made by the same company - So batteries, etc are interchangeable. B&D is usually a lot cheaper so if you are needing extra batteries etc. but a Dewalt for heavy work and B&D for lighter stuff. Oh, and about Harbor Freight, they have some real bargains at times but buy namebrand stuff from them and stay away from their house brands - you definitely get what you pay for from them.
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Old 10-17-2003, 03:26 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Depends on what you want to do and how much. If you use a buy tool for $1 and use it once it is a good deal. Enough about cheap tools. The cordless drill is about the most versitile tool you can have, but can be really expensive. I you are a jobber then go for Porter Cable, Makita, and Dewalt. Dewalt is just Black & Decker's high end. I've killed Dewalt tools and I just use them around the house for building things. The Ryobi tool sets a really hard to beat. Just think $169 and you get a 2-18 volt batteries, quick charger, drill, sawsall, mini circular saw, light and a case to carry everything. Sanders, go with Porter Cable. I think they can't be beat.
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Old 10-18-2003, 09:34 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Location: Pacific NW
Quote:
Originally posted by cJoe
Depends on what you want to do and how much.
Couldn't agree more. If your tasks are mostly light duty and infrequent, the cheaper brands will suffice. If you plan on using them frequently, then spend the extra money on a good quality tool, especially the circular saw. Several posters have already mentioned some good brands you really can't go wrong with. My personal preferences are DeWalt for cordless drills, Milwaukie or Porter Cable for circular saws (worm drive), Makita for sanders, Milwaukie for saws all/recip saw, Porter Cable or Bosch for routers.
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Old 10-18-2003, 08:57 PM   #40 (permalink)
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I always like to get some bang for the buck, but I'm cheap too heh. So I went with a black and decker rotaryt tool and drill. Only power tools I own at the moment. They have served me well though. The rotary tool has taken some punishment and still works perfectly.
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