Lithium ion cordless tools are proving to make life much easier for builders and other tradesmen.
Feedback from a number of Building Today readers show brand loyal users have only good things to say about their preferred brand’s new range of products and would not switch readily, but across the board admit their brand’s competitors have good product offerings too.
Undecideds reckon it’s much of a muchness between the top names, and are led by price. However, all respondents are impressed with how fast the batteries charge and that they deliver constant strength, and do not start to fade half way through the job.
This is what five respondents with experience of a range of Bosch, DeWalt, Hitachi and Makita lithium ion and nicad products told Building Today.
Napier-based Thompson Power Tool Centre owner Daniel Fazakerley says he has sold a number of Bosch 36V lithium ion drill drivers to, among others, the Port of Napier and Chubb.
“These people do heavy-duty work on heavy duty materials. The Bosch is a good seller, but then this is a specialised market. People buy this drill driver for the high torque, and in my experience it has tonnes of power,” Mr Fazakerley says.
“These are serious buyers, and the product absolutely delivers. And I have had no complaints so I guess they are happy!”
Wayne Fritchley, of Fritchley Plumbing in Tauranga, bought his Hitachi lithium ion drill from Tauranga Power Tools and Servicing. He uses it mostly with a 25mm augur to drill through woodwork to install plumbing in about five houses per week.
The victim of a recent theft, he is so happy with the product’s performance that he replaced his stolen Hitachi lithium ion drill with two of the same.
“It drills the holes smoothly and easily. It’s quick to charge and well balanced in my hand. The lithium is so much lighter than the nicad — that’s great.
“I’m too busy to listen to sales talk, so I bought the Hitachis because it’s the only drill I use. I know it works for me, it’s strong and delivers all the torque I want from it,” he says.
Hastings-based Hector Jones Ltd owner Roderick Gay says he and his team always put new products through their paces.
“We are hands-on people, and have to make sure the tools are up to the job.”
They tested the Bosch 36V drill running a 38 ml x 600ml augur through a post, which it did “effortlessly”. They also cut out some locks.
He reckons it is a great drill to use on steel, and is especially impressed with the battery technology.
“Lithium ion technology is certainly taking off and is here to stay. The 36V is a good heavy-duty tool, giving people the power they want. Customers are demanding more in terms of product performance, and the 36V can do anything you throw at it,” he says.
“It is also well priced — not the most expensive one, but up there at the top in terms of performance and quality.
“It is well-balanced, it doesn’t fall over easily, the weight is right and it fits well into the hand. What I really like is that you can charge the battery today and in six months it will still have 90% of its charge — especially helpful with the spare battery,” he says.
He unconditionally recommends the product to his customers. “It is good value for money.”
Dean Patena, factory team leader with Lexicon, a sign manufacturer in Albany, uses a mix of DeWalt, Makita and Hitachi cordless lithium ion and nicad tools.
He recently bought a DeWalt lithium ion kit with a saw, drill, sabre saw and torch on a special offer from Placemakers in Albany.
“Sign manufacturers cut everything — wood, aluminium and steel. We need tools with a lot of grunt so decided to give the DeWalt lithium ion a try and got a nice T-shirt into the bargain at a very good price.
“I am very happy with my product mix. The brands are pretty much the same to me, but the lithium ion delivers so much more convenience. I will replace old tools with lithium ion, as good specials come up.
“I’m getting a really good run out of the new DeWalt 36V tools. They have not let us down once, they have what I want and do the job very well. I’m getting good value for money.
“These tools run about six hours a day, every day, so they do a fair bit of work and need to be up to it. The batteries need to charge fast, there’s no time to mess around,” he says.
Dave Washer, operations manager for Roofing Systems Ltd in Mr Maunganui, recently bought a 18V Hitachi lithium ion cordless drill.
He says Hitachi is his pick of choice. “I like its durability and, very important, it’s easy to get parts,” he says.
“The drill works for me. In our job we require durability of both the battery and the machines, and I got good value for money here.
“The drill works hard every day, all day, and has a diverse role, from fixing roofing screws to drilling rivets. I like its light weight which is important when you carry it all day in a tool belt.
“I plan to replace nicad equipment with Hitachi lithium ion as the older tools go down. I had a great run out of them, which is why I will stick with Hitachi.”
Now he says it’s just a question of actually getting his hands on the new drill to work with it.
“Not as easy as it sounds — my colleagues like it too!”