3 Essential Types of Power Tools
There are 3 essential types of power tools according to three different factor:
- Power source
- Technical requirements
In this article, we’ll break down each of them.
With a quick search, here at Promaker Tools headquarters, we could confirm despite an endless sea of power tools, there’s apparently no one willing to classify them, nor experts, elderly manufacturers, specialized bloggers, or anybody else. So we took the initiative and wrote this beta power tool classification guide, for whoever needs it.
Power tools include:
Air compressors, alligator shears, angle grinders, bandsaws, belt sanders, biscuit joiners, ceramic tile cutters, chainsaws, circular saws, concrete saws, cold saws, crushers, diamond blades, diamond tools, disc cutters, disc sanders, drills, floor sanders, food processors, grinding machines, heat guns, hedge trimmers, impact drivers, impact wrenches, irons, jackhammers, jointers, jigsaws, knitting machines, lathes, lawnmowers, leaf blowers, miter saws, multi-tools, nail guns, needlegun scalers, pneumatic torque wrenches, powder-actuated tools, power wrenches, pressure washers, radial arm saws, random orbital sanders, reciprocating saws, rotary saws, rotary tools, rotary tillers, sabre saws, sanders, scrollsaws, sewing machines, snow blowers, steel cut off saws, string trimmers, table saws, thickness planers, vacuum cleaners, wall chasers, washing machines, wood routers…
We bet our drills you skipped that paragraph all the way to this one. It is indeed a large list, and it is certainly not complete. So, in order to have a better understanding of the power tool multiverse, we set them into three different categories.
1. Power tools according to the power source
As the name implies, these tools work with electricity to power their engines. They represent about 85% of all power tool manufacturing, due to their versatility, easy access, and relatively low prices. They are also the home owner’s favorite option, as unlike fuel-powered tools, they can be used safely in interiors.
There are two types of electric tools:
- Corded, which are plugged directly into an outlet.
- Cordless, which works with a previously charged battery.
Fuel tools work with combustion engines powered by some sort of liquid fuel, commonly gasoline or gasoline oil. They usually provide more power than their electric counterparts, at the cost of more weight and maintenance budget. That’s the reason why this kind of tool is more frequent within the industrial field.
Hydraulic tools function by a controlled circulation of pressurized fluid, usually a water-soluble oil, or water–glycol mixture, to a motor that converts it into a mechanical output. Hydraulic-powered tools have better performance than mechanical and electrical tools and can produce more power than such systems of equal size, even though they are more expensive and require more maintenance.
Pneumatic tools, air-powered tool, or pneumatic-powered tool is a type of tool, powered by compressed air, supplied by an air compressor. This kind of tool can also be powered by carbon dioxide compressed in small cylinders.
Most pneumatic tools convert the compressed air to work using a pneumatic motor. Compared to electric power tools, pneumatic tools are safer to use, and easier to maintain, without risk of sparks, short-circuiting, or electrocution, and have a higher power to weight ratio, allowing a smaller, lighter tool to accomplish the same task. Furthermore, they are less likely to self-destruct in case the tool is jammed or overloaded.
Powder-actuated tools are powered by specially-designed blank firearm cartridges, a.k.a “loads”, “boosters”, “rounds”, or “charges”.
In many cases, the charges are ordinary firearm cartridges with modified casings, and the bullets omitted. The .22 Short, developed by Smith & Wesson, is common. These charges may be hand-fed (single-shot), or manufactured and distributed on a plastic carrier strip. They can be subclassified in:
- Direct-acting (the charge acts directly on the head of the nail or high velocity), or indirect (using an intermediate piston or low velocity)
- Single-shot, or magazine-fed
- Automatic or manual piston cycling
- Automatic or manual feed of the charges
2. Power Tools according to the technical requirements
Household grade power tools are the ones made for house owners who like to do their own work back home. They are less expensive at the cost of power and durability. Brands like Ryobi, Craftsman, and Black and Decker, are well-known as high-quality brands in the household grade (source). Household equipment could go from $25 to $200 USD.
A.k.a heavy-duty power tools (though that’s kind of subjective), this is the toughest and more serious equipment. They are built especially for high performance during extended periods of time, on a daily basis. This type of equipment usually offers longer-lasting warranties and include special features that enhance overall performance. Makita, DeWalt, and Milwaukee are the best brands for this tier, though they also make tools for professional/commercial use. Prices of this kind of machinery could surpass the $5000 USD.
Further reading: Power tools pricing and utility: Ultimate handyman (2020)
3. Power Tools according to portability
Stationary power tools could be large machines that are not moved easily or machines that must be tightly fastened to a stationary object, like the floor or a wall, in order to function properly. This kind of tools usually have the advantage of precision, power, and smoothness.
On the other hand, portable power tools can be easily carried from one location to another, and are usually light enough to be used while being held in a person’s hands. This kind of toosl are currently leading the market.
How are Hand Tools Classified?
Depending on their applications, hand tools can be:
- Assembly tools (i.e screwdrivers, wrenches…)
- Clamping tools (pliers, clamps…)
- Striking or percussion tools (hammers, pickaxes…)
- Cutting tools (saws, cutters, chisels…)
- Joining tools (blowtorches, silicone guns…)
- Measuring or tracking tools (rules, levels…)