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Old 16-05-2021, 17:38   #1
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Recommended Brands of power tools

Hi all, I recently sold our C&C 32 and my wife and I are saving for and beginning our search for our retirement boat in which we hope to travel the world. That adventure is still two years off but I am beginning to gather things we will eventually need. Right now I am looking at the tools I will be bringing for maintenance and repairs with the intention of purchasing the tools needed gradually over these next two years. Most of my power tools are 120V cord tools and I am thinking that cordless ones might be more convenient and available when away from a dock. Given we hope to travel far and wide, what should be considered in terms of charging sources, prevention of corrosion, durability, etc. I am sure their are many of you with a wealth of experience using and maintaining tools while abroad. Are their recommendations in terms of voltage of power tools, brands that have proven their durability in salt water environments, lifespan of batteries, versatility around the world, and which power tools are worth bringing on board. I have looked at a number of other threads on this topic but I haven't yet found a thread with a comprehensive discussion of brands or the useful value of specific power tools. Your opinions will hopefully assist me in my purchasing decisions. Thank you in advance.
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Old 16-05-2021, 17:59   #2
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

I can’t speak to charging on a boat, but I have quite a few Milwaukee M18 tools and they have impressed the hell out of me. Big ones I use on the boat are the orbital sander, buffer, 1/2” impact gun. Their new Fuel 1/2” impact puts my Ingersoll TiMax air impact to shame. Took out my 20mm keel bolts like butter. Truly impressive.
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Old 16-05-2021, 18:11   #3
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

Battery powered tools are a PIA. Get a small Honda/Yamaha generator to power regular 120V tools when required and have a back up for charging batteries.
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Old 16-05-2021, 18:29   #4
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

I'm about to hook up solar panels to my House Bank and Starter Bank (my yacht is still under construction). I have a 3000W inverter installed so I will be able to use 240V power tools. I'll probably have a mix of 18V/240V depending on their use.

Some of the rechargeable tools (they are all switching over to 36V?) designed for the tradesmen and quite expensive but Makita has never let me down and are less expense than the likes of Dewalt.
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Old 16-05-2021, 18:47   #5
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

Most of my many decades old power tools are Milwaukee and Bosch.

Recently I added DeWALT 20V MAX battery powered tools to my arsenal.

This link has topics showing many of my power tools (plus other stuff).

My experience w/ the DeWALT 20V MAX power tools has been positive and I would not hesitate to recommend these products.

My suggestion is to select a brand and a line, then stick with the tools offered by that manufacturer. It is very handy for a single user to swap a depleted battery w/ one from a different tool, then drop the dead battery into the charger.
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Old 16-05-2021, 19:37   #6
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

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Originally Posted by wingless View Post
My suggestion is to select a brand and a line, then stick with the tools offered by that manufacturer. It is very handy for a single user to swap a depleted battery w/ one from a different tool, then drop the dead battery into the charger.

Absolutely!

My Son (A diesel fitter) gave me his old set of Hitachi 18v tools (Drill, hammer-drill, jig-saw, rattle-gun, angle grinder, circular saw, x2 chargers) plus about 6 batteries! Yes very handy to have a fully re-charged battery when you want one.

Don't even think about buying a replacement battery from China as they will sell you a fake.
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Old 17-05-2021, 04:28   #7
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

My experience with battery-powered tools has been mixed, though the batteries (the weak point) do seem to be getting better. The one tool that I do like to have cordless is a drill. The Dewalt cordless drills are expensive but when you're sailing in remote areas you're glad for that quality and reliability. Other power tools include Dremel, Makita angle grinder (not a basic model but the more expensive and more powerful model with variable speed) and Dewalt jig saw. Also Shop Vac. When you look at the cost, power, longevity and reliability of corded vs. cordless, corded wins every time. Use the money you save to put towards a decent power system. :-)
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Old 17-05-2021, 04:33   #8
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

I have a mix of battery powered and corded tools on my boat.

The battery powered ones are much handier, so I use those for lighter duty tasks. They are perfectly satisfactory for those purposes, and my inexpensive battery-powered Bosch drill is now 12 years old and still going strong. It's by far the most used power tool on board. I use the corded tools for heavier duty tasks, where you need to apply a lot of power over a longer period of time.

We do have a heavy duty diesel generator and large inverter so the AC power is not a problem. YMMV.
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Old 17-05-2021, 05:37   #9
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

I can't agree with Boatpoker. I think that the DeWalt 1/4" impact driver is about the most versatile tool made. I like DeWalt and Milwaukee, both of which have commercial tools in their design histories.

The real change-over from corded to battery is the change over from NiCd to Li-ion batteries. NiCds really do become a PITA, as they form memories and fail to completely recharge. Those were first generation battery tools. Li-ion batteries are a vast improvement; they charge quickly, hold more power, and don't deteriorate at anywhere near as quickly.

Yes, I use corded tools as well. A corded saw, drill, and grinder are part of a good set. But for working a hose clamp at the end of your reach, it's hard to beat a 1/4" impact driver.
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Old 17-05-2021, 05:59   #10
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by My Wind Lass View Post
Most of my power tools are 120V cord tools and I am thinking that cordless ones might be more convenient and available when away from a dock. Given we hope to travel far and wide, what should be considered in terms of charging sources, prevention of corrosion, durability, etc. I am sure their are many of you with a wealth of experience using and maintaining tools while abroad. Are their recommendations in terms of voltage of power tools, brands that have proven their durability in salt water environments, lifespan of batteries, versatility around the world, and which power tools are worth bringing on board.

A year ago I sold all of my air tools, substantially all of my corded power tools, and my smallest chainsaw and replaced them all with battery tools. It's resulted in a huge improvement in convenience, productivity, and enjoyment of my working time on the boat and on other mechanical and construction projects.


I ended up choosing the Milwaukee M12/M18 systems, based on:
- the much more compact size of the M12 tools
- full coverage of the toolset I need (exceptions below)
- 5 year warranty on most tools and 3 years on batteries. (see note)
- overall excellent reviews
- well designed multi-port rapid chargers are available
- good long-term availability of tools and batteries

I like small, light tools especially working on the boat. The M12 tools are more compact than most of the competing tools and cover the tools I use most often, notably the drill, impact wrench, die grinder, and light. I have the little M12 circular saw with a 5-3/8" blade which is sufficient for what I do. I have the M12 chainsaw which is great for pruning trees but also is good for cutting large timbers to length that are too big for the small circular saw.

Most often used M18 tools are the ro sander, wet/dry vac, and fan. Wet/dry vac is useful for getting the bilge completely dry, fan is useful for drying out lockers etc.

There are gaps and problem areas in the product line though some of these have been recently closed. There is still no belt sander in this system. The soldering iron gets consistent bad reviews because a key component of it melts and fails early. They have only recently added an air compressor and an inverter/USB power source.

I have had 14 tools for a year and only one has failed -- the vacuum -- and was replaced with new, no questions asked, under warranty. I had to pay shipping to send it to the regional service center.

You want to have a good high-speed charger particularly for tasks like sanding and polishing where you run the tool continuously. I have a rapid charger that will charge any combination of 3 batteries at once. With RO sanding I get about 35 minutes out of a battery and have never actually "outrun" the charger even though I only have two batteries I use with it. It takes about 45 minutes to recharge a battery but by the time I do pad changes, inspect what I'm doing, etc. in practice the next battery is ready or at least is at 90% or so.

Milwaukee has a battery chargers for M12/M18 batteries that will run on 12v or 24v DC which would be ideal for long-term cruising. Most competing products do also.

Milwaukee also makes a 220v "international charger" that would be of interest for extended trips outside North America or on a 220v boat. I believe most competing battery systems also have 220v chargers available. They are easier to find in areas that use this voltage than in the USA.
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Old 17-05-2021, 08:50   #11
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

I have the Makita 18v tools.

Circular saw, jig saw, drill, impact, multi-tool

My favorite is their work light DML801:

https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/DML801
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Old 17-05-2021, 09:01   #12
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

I have Milwaukee and Dewalt battery powered tools on board. Some are charged at 120 volts and some at 220 volts. As I am currently in Europe, I bought a little 160 watt inverter from Radio Shack and can charge my 120 volt batteries with the inverter running from the ship's batteries and the 220 volt charger from shore power. Little inverters are not expensive and I will be picking up a 12-220 volt inverter.

Lately, the cordless tools are becoming available with batteries with more storage and at higher voltage, ie. 20v.

I am trying to avoid powertools with cords these days, once you are using a couple of powertools and a vacuum cleaner, you get a real snake's nest going on.
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Old 17-05-2021, 09:01   #13
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
A year ago I sold all of my air tools, substantially all of my corded power tools, and my smallest chainsaw and replaced them all with battery tools. It's resulted in a huge improvement in convenience, productivity, and enjoyment of my working time on the boat and on other mechanical and construction projects.


I ended up choosing the Milwaukee M12/M18 systems, based on:
- the much more compact size of the M12 tools
- full coverage of the toolset I need (exceptions below)
- 5 year warranty on most tools and 3 years on batteries. (see note)
- overall excellent reviews
- well designed multi-port rapid chargers are available
- good long-term availability of tools and batteries

I like small, light tools especially working on the boat. The M12 tools are more compact than most of the competing tools and cover the tools I use most often, notably the drill, impact wrench, die grinder, and light. I have the little M12 circular saw with a 5-3/8" blade which is sufficient for what I do. I have the M12 chainsaw which is great for pruning trees but also is good for cutting large timbers to length that are too big for the small circular saw.

Most often used M18 tools are the ro sander, wet/dry vac, and fan. Wet/dry vac is useful for getting the bilge completely dry, fan is useful for drying out lockers etc.

There are gaps and problem areas in the product line though some of these have been recently closed. There is still no belt sander in this system. The soldering iron gets consistent bad reviews because a key component of it melts and fails early. They have only recently added an air compressor and an inverter/USB power source.

I have had 14 tools for a year and only one has failed -- the vacuum -- and was replaced with new, no questions asked, under warranty. I had to pay shipping to send it to the regional service center.

You want to have a good high-speed charger particularly for tasks like sanding and polishing where you run the tool continuously. I have a rapid charger that will charge any combination of 3 batteries at once. With RO sanding I get about 35 minutes out of a battery and have never actually "outrun" the charger even though I only have two batteries I use with it. It takes about 45 minutes to recharge a battery but by the time I do pad changes, inspect what I'm doing, etc. in practice the next battery is ready or at least is at 90% or so.

Milwaukee has a battery chargers for M12/M18 batteries that will run on 12v or 24v DC which would be ideal for long-term cruising. Most competing products do also.

Milwaukee also makes a 220v "international charger" that would be of interest for extended trips outside North America or on a 220v boat. I believe most competing battery systems also have 220v chargers available. They are easier to find in areas that use this voltage than in the USA.
I love that you mentioned a chainsaw. I too have a small chainsaw and I use it for a surprising number of jobs. It's great for plunge cutting in almost any piece of wood and does a better and much faster job many places where one might use a reciprocating saw or even a jig saw. It's amazing how precise a cut you can make with a small chainsaw (mine has a 16" bar) and how easy it is. It's my favourite tool for things like cutting door or window openings in existing walls - or trimming joists and rafters in awkward spots.

If anyone thinks I'm kidding, have you ever seen chainsaw sculptures? Amazing, precise work.
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Old 17-05-2021, 09:08   #14
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

Battery powered tools should be sold at a very low price. The manufacturer can get their profit from selling replacement batteries. I gave up on the general use battery powered tools years ago. They have their place (antenna platform 60 feet in the air) but if you have mains power or air available, why go to the expense of replacement batteries?
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Old 17-05-2021, 09:17   #15
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Re: Recommended Brands of power tools

Dewalt 20 volts are very reliable. That's should suffice for 85% of your needs. They are always ready...Someone mentioned a generator and regular 110V equipment. I completely disagree.
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