In the simplest terms, a power tool is a tool that is driven by a supplementary power source and mechanism, beyond physical effort of the user. The most common power tools like drills, saws, and cutters are powered by high-power brushless DC motors, which make them suitable for both corded and cordless iterations. Brushless DC motors also make these power tools more lightweight and portable.
Power tools have a wide range of applications, although they are perhaps the most ubiquitous in the construction industry for their apparent advantages over traditional hand tools. Here are a few of them.
High and Variable Speed
The most obvious benefit of using power tools is speed. Tasks that can otherwise be time-consuming— such as driving screws into concrete or sawing through a massive tree trunk—can be easily completed with the help of power tools.
Some power tools also have different gear settings, to accommodate different power, speed, and torque outputs necessary for specific tasks.
Power tools usually come with multiple attachments that can be used to accomplish different types of jobs. For example, a power drill have different bits that allows it to bore holes on concrete, ceramic, wood, and other materials. Circular saws can be fitted with serrated or abrasive blades that helps it cut through wood, stone, metal, and more.
Cordless power tools further increases versatility, as these can be carried even in places where there is limited access to electricity—say you have a construction project in a rural area—or in cramped places where cords may be considered a hindrance.
Because of the external power source, there is simply more force behind a power tool, making it more effective than a traditional one. For example, it is almost impossible (or extremely difficult and time-consuming) to drive screws and hammer nails into concrete using hand tools. However, with the right power tools like a drill or impact driver or a nail gun, these tasks can be quickly accomplished with much less effort.
Power tools can also perform jobs that are simply impossible for hand tools. A perfect example is jackhammering concrete, asphalt, or rocks.
Power tools can help workers become more efficient in their tasks, and therefore be more productive in the field. Instead of laboring for hours, they can easily complete their jobs in less time and can move on to other tasks or take a much-needed rest. Workers will also be able to focus on the quality of their output.
Less Physical Strain
Not only do traditional hand tools need more physical effort to use, they also often require repetitive movement. These can cause undue physical stress to the workers and may even result in injuries. For example, manual cable cutters were known in the industry as “rib busters” because a worker supported the handle using his chest to apply the necessary force to cut the cable. However, with a power cutter, cables, especially those 400 MCM or thicker, can be instantly cut without too much physical effort.
This is not to say that power tools don’t have their disadvantages. In fact, when used incorrectly or are improperly maintained, power tools do carry a risk for causing injuries. However, construction is a physically demanding, time-consuming job. Construction men and women need all the help they can get to make their line of work more efficient and convenient, and power tools are among the most accessible and practical solutions in achieving this goal.