Carpenters, what cordless set do you recommend?

I have just started woodworking and would like to start a cordless collection. I'll start with the basics: drill, circular, palm sander, router. Can you all recommend a good brand. I know Dewalt is top of the line but it is out of my price range. My father has a small set of Ryobi 18v and seems happy with it. Is this a good set? Please also recommend some other necessary tools. I have several hand tools: screwdrivers, plyers, clamps.


I'll probably start building simple projects: bookshelves, a ladder for a bunk bed, a child's drafting table.

20 Answers

  • Griff
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    There is no blanket brand that is best for every single tool. And to go cordless with every tool is not wise. No, Dewalt is not top of the line, they just have a rep. This is my list on many years experience.

    Drills - Panasonic, yes Panasonic, makes the finest drills around. Pick up one of the cordless combo packs with a drill and impact driver and you will be astounded at the performance and accuracy of the tools. They are the only drill maker that delivers torque at even levels no matter what speed the chuck is spinning. In other words, other brands derive higher torque by spinning faster which makes for sloppy work if you dig in too deep or start off at top speed. These are the best cordless drills and priced near Milwaukees. I gave my Dewalt cordless to my Dad after discovering Panasonics. Don't buy a hammer drill unless you are doing extensive work with concrete drilling. If they are out of your price range, go Craftsman as their replacement batteries are dirt cheap. Keep a decent corded drill around just in case.

    Circ Saw - Many fine brands out there, but Bosch fits my hand very well. Pick up the saw and see how it fits in your hand. Circ. saws must be comfortable or you will make sloppy cuts. If you need high power and are cutting very thick pieces of wood a worm drive Skil Saw is the way to go. Comfort and weight is key and Bosch works best for me in this dept. Cordless circ saws are a waste of money in my opinion. The battery life is horrific on any brand I have used. If these are too much money for you (Bosch circ saw is around $110), then I really don't know what to say. Just buy anything that is comfortable and in your price range.

    Sanders - Porter Cable makes great sanders. Again, stay clear of cordless in this department as the batteries just can't keep up. If you are working on a tight budget, skip the sander all together and spend more on better saws and drills. Elbow grease replaces any sander at 1/100th the price.

    Router - Porter Cable again in this dept. Honestly, I won't go near any other brand router. The true cost of a router begins AFTER you buy one. Bit sets are very expensive and you may be better off buying trim that matches the type of edges you want. Cut them to size and glue on the corners.

    Those are the tools you listed. Cordless tools have advantages when used properly. Anything that runs for long periods of time (sander, jig saw, etc) will be a huge disappointment to you. If you absolutely must have one of those cordless combo sets and Dewalt is too expensive, go with Craftsman or Ryobi.

    If all you have is some hand tools and you want to make furniture properly, be ready to shell out at least $1000 on power tools. It sounds like the things you want to work on are indoor projects. For the projects you listed, skip the circ saw and buy a miter saw.

    Making things for around the house is very rewarding so keep at it. For shelves, go buy a $100 miter saw (Lowes has a Hitachi for $100 I believe as does Ryobi and Craftsman), wood glue, a Craftsman cordless drill (get corded if you do not already have one, cheap cordless drills can't match the power of a corded drill), a carpenters square, a level, and some screws. Sand the pieces first, assemble, and finish with some stain. Build up your skills with the basics first and things will make more sense when you go shopping for power tools. Have fun!

  • 1 decade ago

    I've been woodworking and remodeling for almost 20 years now and I've owned about every brand out there. For 95% of my projects, I use corded tools because I'm working in a dedicated workshop and I don't have to sacrifice power. In fact, the only cordless tool I still own is a Rigid 18v drill.

    Ryobi - I find them to be cheap espescially the new stuff. Batteries don't last as long

    DeWalt - I've owned several. They're fine, but not worth the price for a yellow Black and Decker

    Porter Cable - SUPERIOR

    Hitachi - looks more like toys than tools

    Craftsman - used to be better, some tools still OK

    Skil - good buy

    Milwaukee - awesome tools, espescially the recip saw

    Bosch - pretty pricey for what you get. I don't often like companies that make power tools in one department and washing machines in another. Kind of like GE. I think it's better to specialize.

    Makita - great tools

    Plenty of industry magazines have tool reviews you can look through. I've never bought an entire kit. Reason - I'll probably only use 1-2 of the tools on a regular basis. I'd rather buy the specific tool I want with 2 batteries and a charger.

    Evaluate what you really need and decide if you will really need cordless tools, or if an extension cord might work OK. Remeber that cordless tools are going to have less power, will need re-charging (often right in the middle of a project) and replacement batteries can cost $50 to $80 each!

    I've found when the batteries die, it's better to go and buy a whole new tool with 2 new batteries than it is to replace the old ones.

    I do think a cordless drill is avery valuable tool that you will use endlessly. But cordless circular saws are only good for light trimwork and very small projects. I would think a cordless router would kill a battery very quickly. Cordless palm sander? Maybe.

  • 4 years ago


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  • 1 decade ago

    I work in commercial construction and we use all kinds of different brands of cordless tools. Hilti is the best but very expensive. Dewalt is good but can be pricey if you need to repair it. I would recommend Makita or Milwaukee they are both a good value and a quality tool. As far as the cordless circle saw goes, don't even waste your time or money. They don't have the power to cut anything substantial. Get a corded one you will not regret it.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Most of my tools have cords, been doing woodworking for many years. Experience with cordless saws has been disappointing, not much power.

    I have a Ryobi cordless drill that works just fine, most of my recent power tool purchases have been Dewalt. I use my circular saw more than any other saw, compound miter saw often as well. Depends on what you are wanting to make. Table saw is another necessity if making cabinets or furniture.

  • Jim N
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I'm a hobbyist woodworker and collect tools rather than sports cards and other folderol. (nine routers!)

    I have several of the Ryobi 18V tools and am very happy with their performance and price. Home Depot is supporting this brand enthusiastically and perhaps more importantly replacement batteries are affordable. ($25 ea or two for $40) This is in direct contrast to major players such as Dewalt where a replacement battery can approach the cost of a new tool. Exciting news! Ryobi has just rolled out the 18V Lithium battery and it will retrofit all of the older 18V tools.

    Replacement batteries are huge to hobbyists or more occasional users since if you need a battery in 4 years, you don't want to throw away your lightly used tools.

    Now, that being said, IF I used them EVERY day in my occupation, I MIGHT choose another brand, such as Dewalt or Milwaukee 28V Lithium. However, you will pay a substantial premium for those contractor grade tools. I would be reluctant to pay the current price for Milwaukee Lithium when I could get the Ryobi, use it for two years and wait for the prices to drop as Lithium swings into greater production. The savings will likely make the Ryobi's free for the duration.

    Not to harp, but the enormous range of the Ryobi one+ line is amazing. One of my fav's! The 18V caulking gun. Granted, heavy, but sweet and makes caulking fun, fun, fun!

    IMHO, Drill, circ. saw are your basics. If you need it, spend good money on a compound miter saw AND a great miter saw stand. My personal....the Delta twin laser and the Ridgid Stand. Folds like a dream, and large pneumatic tires for easy rolling. Love it! "Tain't light, but works nice.

  • 1 decade ago

    Ryobi are good sets. I use one around the house and am about to tackle finishing a basement with them. I have no complaints about them. Very good quality for the price. A contractor buddy of mine recommended them to me. I figured they would be expensive, so I went to the Home Depot and was shocked by how affordable they are. I think I paid $200 or $250 for a 6 piece set.

    What are you planning on using your tools for? You said woodworking, do you mean professionally or just as a hobby?

    If you just do occasional work, you can get away with cheaper lower quality tools. I have a Durabuilt 9.6v (target brand) drill that I bought awhile ago. It holds up nicely for driving screws and light work. However, it wouldn't last for 10 minutes on a construction site or shop.

    Really, it is you get what you pay for. I don't think you can go wrong with Ryobi for medium duty to occasional heavy duty, but you may consider stepping up to Dewalt, Bosch, Milwaukee, ect if you are going to be using your tools to make your living.

  • 1 decade ago

    I have used all of these brands over the 30+ years of my working life. I would not trade My Craftsman cordless tools for anybody elses no matter the cost. Not only are they what I consider the best and easiest to use but the are also affordable. But as I said before, no matter the cost I would not trade my Craftsman brand tools for any others.

  • 1 decade ago

    Ryobi is OK, but I had problems trying to use them professionally years ago. The price is definitely great, if they are for hobby/occasional work. As always, there's a reason some tools cost more, they work better, are easier to use, and last longer. DeWalt is good, but pricey, especially when you consider they are the pro line of Black n Decker. If I were to buy a kit it would be Rigid. All of my Rigid tools are still working great, but if anything happens, they are guaranteed forever. You can't beat that, its better than cheap batteries.

  • 4 years ago

    If you are planning to start on your woodworking project, this isn't something you should use, it's something that you would be insane not to. Go here

    Truth is, I've been a carpenter for almost 36 years, and I haven't found anything like this for less than 10's of thousands of dollars.

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