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Unread 11-01-2018, 10:55 PM
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Billfred Billfred is offline
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It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

1293 has soldiered on for a good decade or so on a suite of Porter-Cable 18V NiCad power tools. They still work, but they're definitely showing their age and first-party batteries are getting harder to find. (We're a little leery of non-UL packs, even before accounting for us having a UL mentor.)

So we're in the market for the first time in a while for drills (including an impact one), a sawzall, and ideally a circular saw but we can certainly soldier on with the Porter-Cable one for a while longer.

Wirecutter's drill guide puts a Bosch model as their upgrade pick, which is the only tier of drills any robotics team would entertain: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/th...ill-driver-kit

Being on a Bosch team for several years with Garnet Squadron, I know they make an excellent tool...but I also know people swear by their preferred brand of tool. So, who are you using in your shop and how do you feel about them?
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Unread 11-02-2018, 12:03 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Milwaukee all the way, home and the team. They are professional grade tools.

Last season we had the Milwaukee drill and impact and a Bosch drill that a parent had brought in for the season. None of the experienced builders would touch the Bosch drill because of the chuck that always came loose. This year we area adding a number of other M12 tools including the power pop rivet tool.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 12:09 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

997 has been using dewalt for the past 4-6 years and we really like them they take up vary little space which is nice for packing and tight assemblies. my only complaint is that their batteries don't last a super long time but they last long enough for us most of the time. the one thing i don't know about is the new dewalts though, they did have somewhat of a downfall in quality in the last couple years and did a complete tool refresh and i haven't had any experience with them.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 12:12 AM
cscottm cscottm is offline
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr V View Post
Milwaukee all the way, home and the team. They are professional grade tools.
Would like to chime in on this, in complete agreement.

My old team, 2502 was extraordinarily fortunate to have a new sponsor donate us a full set of Milwaukee tools. The sponsorship company, Replenx, based out of Eden Prairie partnered with Milwaukee to donate us a full set, and it was absolutely fantastic to replace our aging Ryobi set.


Commenting for that positive sponsor plug
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Unread 11-02-2018, 12:26 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Another +1 on Milwaukee, and another shameless sponsor plug. We are fortunate to have Northern Tool and Equipment as a sponsor, and we have recently started accumulating a set of Milwaukee tools. I think we have a couple of drills, a 90 degree drill, a couple of impact drivers, a reciprocating saw, and now a vacuum.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 12:37 AM
sanddrag sanddrag is offline
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

At 696 we've been running Ryobi for about 10 years if not more, and I've run it at home for about 20 years. Few other brands beat the variety and selection, and the prices are good. The cheapest black/grey batteries are not great and do die after a year or two, but I have not had one of the good batteries with the led bar graph charge meter fail. I like the brad nailer, hot glue gun, fan, and LED flood work light. I also like the old blue swivel head incandescent flash light.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 12:56 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Joining the Milwaukee train. The team has had the same cordless Milwaukee drill since it started in 2013 and I suspect they will still have it in 2023. Most of our other hand tools are also Milwaukee, barring the occasional times a mentor brings a supplemental drill of their own.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 06:40 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Milwaukee for us as well.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 07:47 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

I'll point out a couple ideas when it comes to power tools and a couple brands that I would trust buying tools from today if I was looking for something new.

The biggest two choices you have to first make is are you looking for a wired or battery pack option and do you want to go with a commercial model or industrial model?

If you are looking for your biggest bang for you buck and for longevity of life, I would suggest going with the wired DeWalt brand tools. Not only are they still made through eight American facilities, their service, support and quality are second to few. You can find all of the tools you are looking for individually, and while you will pay a little more, it is unlikely in the next 25 years you would have to replace those tools with a new model.

If you want the freedom and mobility of a wireless option, and still your best bang for your buck, I would suggest going with the DeWalt XR 20 volt max tools. What you are looking for can be found all together in a combo kit with multiple batteries and charger(s) or individually by the piece, sold in most big box tool and home improvement stores.

No matter the tool line, if you go with a battery pack style, skip the 12 volt NiCad and NiMH technologies still out there, and go straight for the Lithium Ion packs. Typically these would be 18 volt options and most are labeled as 20 volt (max), with corresponding "smart" chargers meaning you don't have to worry about overcharged batteries or temperature sensitive charging any longer. If you find the newer solid state Li-Ion batteries, even better. Also if you go for batteries, get extras so you aren't stopped from working while they charge.

Lastly a few brands other than DeWalt that I would suggest. Obviously if you go with American made you will be paying a little more, but that typically also means improved technology and higher quality resulting in longer life of the tool.

For industrial brands I would suggest Ingersoll Rand and some of the pro grade DeWalt and Stanley lines (such as Mac).

For more economical commercial grade tools beyond DeWalt I would suggest the following American brands
  • Stanley
  • Black and Decker (Stanley owned)
  • Porter Cable (Stanley owned)
  • Craftsman (now Stanley owned and mainly back in America)
  • Milwaukee
  • Klein Tools

Other international brands may be a bit more affordable, due to Chinese and other industrial factories and lower quality components, but are still good tools and I would still buy them.
  • Bosch
  • Hitachi
  • Makita
  • Ryobi

Lastly don't be afraid to go to multiple stores (and to look online) to compare prices, ask for discounts, and hold the tools; last thing you want to do is buy a tool that isn't comfortable to hold or easy to use and waste a lot of money. There are many options out there, and many will be good for your team, ultimately it will come down to what you like and trust as an investment.

[PS- DeWalt has their plastic molding factory in Cheraw, S.C., and I think it would be an awesome place to try to get a tour of for any team.]
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Unread 11-02-2018, 08:10 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Makita LXT. Batteries last for friggin' ever.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 08:18 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

5 years ago we were at the same decision point and decided to go with the Milwaukee M12 ecosystem.


Our Priorities when choosing a system:
a. safety/ease of use for novices
b. number of tool options with same battery size/style
c. quality
Feedback on M12 system after 5 years:

a. safety/ease of use = excellent
small size gives novices more comfort and confidence. Just right amount of power for novices.
Note on safety: For experienced users, the drill/drivers might be considered underpowered. But:
do not choose tools that will overpower, and hurt, inexperienced users.
The high torque of many 18 and 20V tools make them a poor choice for novices.
b. options in tool ecosystem - excellent and expanding

c. quality - pretty good
we have a drill/driver (one of six we bought) with a failing internal ratchet mechanism on the chuck -

plastic case of M12 battery is not great - we've had several fail in various ways under the typical use/abuse of a high school robotics program - larger, heavier battery option is more robust

Otherwise quality of various tools (sander, 90 deg driver, vacuum) has been fine.

Last edited by James3245 : 11-02-2018 at 08:28 AM.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 08:35 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Our shop has a mix of Dewalt and Black and Decker for low load applications (wood).

Our small team is helped by one of our awesome mentors who brings in his Milwaukee set and I have to be honest, probably the best set of tools I've used.

I bought myself a new set of Porter Cable 20v MAX drill and drivers, super happy with them so far.

I'm currently pursuing more Porter Cable and Dewalt tools via our awesome local sponsor - Stanley Black & Decker.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 08:36 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Personally I like the Dewalt 20v series of cordless tools.
They've got really solid construction and are reasonably priced for what you get.
I also HIGHLY recommend their brushless drills, which seem to be both more powerful and more battery efficient, in my experience, than their brushed counterparts.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 08:38 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfred View Post
Being on a Bosch team for several years ...
^That's us. +1 for Bosch. Powerful and balanced.
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Unread 11-02-2018, 08:55 AM
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Re: It's 2018. What cordless tool brand are you buying into?

Quote:
Originally Posted by marshall View Post
Makita LXT. Batteries last for friggin' ever.
This is true. We've had some for about 10 years, still going strong. I did burn up a drill though, but I still like the drill.
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