What are Power Tools? – A Comprehensive Guide



What is a power tool

When it comes to tackling DIY projects, the world of power tools might initially seem daunting, conjuring images of loud noises and potential accidents.

But fear not! We’re here to demystify the realm of power tools, helping you grasp their functionalities and find the perfect fit for your projects.

Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a newbie, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about the right power tools for your needs.

Unveiling the Power Tool Universe

For those unfamiliar with the term, a power tool is any device that operates using a power source other than direct human effort. These versatile tools find applications in construction, home improvement, industrial tasks, and more.

In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the world of power tools, focusing on the three main categories: Electric, Pneumatic, and Gas-powered.

Power Tool Categories

Power Tool Categories

Electric Power Tools

Electric power tools are a popular choice for home DIY enthusiasts due to their portability and ease of use. These cordless tools harness electric motors to manipulate materials and get the job done efficiently.

The battery platform system, managing rechargeable batteries, ensures their longevity and performance. Cordless power tools under this category include drills, impact drivers, hammer drills, and reciprocating saws.

Battery Platforms

Two common battery platforms for electric power tools are Lithium-Ion and Nickel-Cadmium. Lithium-Ion batteries store energy by transferring lithium ions between electrodes, providing power on the go.

On the other hand, Nickel-Cadmium batteries convert chemical energy to electrical energy and can endure multiple charge cycles.

Pros of Electric Power Tools

  • Mobility: Cordless tools offer freedom from cords, making your projects hassle-free.
  • Battery Interchangeability: A single battery system can power multiple tools, reducing the need for numerous batteries.
  • Variety: From gardening to woodworking, electric power tools cater to various tasks.

Cons of Electric Power Tools

  • Battery Dependency: Running out of battery mid-task can cause delays.
  • Power Fade: As battery charge decreases, performance might diminish.
  • Limited for Heavy-Duty: Not ideal for heavy-duty projects due to power limitations.

Corded Power Tools

Corded power tools excel in delivering consistent and high power output, making them suitable for heavy projects. These tools maintain their force consistently and are excellent choices for demanding tasks.

Types of Corded Power Tools

  • Hand Power Tools: Angle grinders, sanders, power saws, and drills are popular handheld corded tools.
  • Stationary Power Tools: Typically found in workshops, these include table saws, miter saws, sanders, and band saws.

Pros of Corded Power Tools

  • Consistent Power: Uninterrupted power supply ensures steady performance.
  • High Power Output: Corded tools offer more power compared to their cordless counterparts.

Cons of Corded Power Tools

  • Limited Mobility: Corded tools require a power source, restricting portability.
  • Dependency on Power Outlets: Lack of nearby power outlets can be problematic.

Pneumatic Power Tools

Pneumatic Power Tools

Pneumatic power tools harness compressed air to operate. Paired with a compressor, these tools provide high torque and find extensive use in shops. Impact wrenches, polishers, snips, grinders, nail guns, and hammers fall into this category.

Pros of Pneumatic Power Tools

  • High Torque: Pneumatic tools offer impressive torque output.
  • Minimal Power Fade: Air-driven power tools maintain performance over extended use.

Cons of Pneumatic Power Tools

  • Compressor Requirement: Pneumatic tools need a compressor, limiting mobility.
  • Shop Environment: Ideal for stationary environments like workshops.

Gas Power Tools

Gas power tools are predominantly outdoor tools, catering to tasks like tree felling, lawn maintenance, and more. Chainsaws, lawnmowers, trimmers, tillers, and augers are typical examples.

Pros of Gas Power Tools

  • Extended Run Time: No need to wait for batteries to charge, allowing continuous use.
  • High Power: Gas tools offer substantial power for demanding outdoor tasks.

Cons of Gas Power Tools

  • Noise and Pollution: Gas tools can be noisy and contribute to pollution.
  • Maintenance Intensive: Internal combustion engines require more upkeep.
  • Starting Challenges: Improper priming or maintenance can hinder easy starts.

Storing Power Tools

Storing Power Tools

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of storage techniques, let’s underscore why proper storage matters. Power tools are not just tools; they’re investments in your projects and your passion for craftsmanship. By storing them correctly, you:

  • Extend Lifespan: Proper storage minimizes wear and tear, allowing your tools to last longer and provide consistent performance over time.
  • Ensure Safety: Well-maintained tools are safer to use. Loose parts, rust, or damaged cords can lead to accidents if not addressed promptly.
  • Save Money: Replacing tools due to improper storage can be costly. By caring for your tools, you avoid unnecessary expenses.
  • Boost Efficiency: Imagine grabbing a tool from storage, only to find it tangled amidst a mess. Organized storage ensures quick access and efficient workflow.

Storing Electric and Cordless Power Tools

Cleanliness is Key

Before storing any power tool, it’s crucial to clean it thoroughly. Dust, debris, and moisture can accumulate during use and compromise performance over time. Wipe down the exterior using a dry cloth, and use a soft brush to remove debris from crevices and vents.

Battery Care

For cordless power tools, paying attention to battery health is paramount. Before storage, charge the batteries to around 50% capacity. Storing them fully charged or completely discharged for extended periods can degrade their lifespan. Keep batteries in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Protective Cases

Many power tools come with protective cases designed to snugly hold the tool and its accessories. These cases are ideal for storage, as they shield your tools from dust, moisture, and physical damage. If your tool didn’t come with a case, consider investing in padded or hard-shell cases to ensure their safety.

Wall Mounts and Pegboards

For easy access and organization, wall mounts and pegboards are excellent options. Mounting your tools on a wall not only saves space but also keeps them visible and within reach. Use sturdy hooks and brackets designed to support the weight of your tools.

Storing Corded Power Tools

Coil Cables Neatly

For corded power tools, managing the cables is crucial. Loosely coiled cords can get tangled and damaged. Invest in cable organizers or use Velcro straps to keep the cords neatly wrapped and tangle-free.

Soft Pouches

Corded tools can benefit from soft pouches or tool bags. These pouches provide a layer of protection and prevent dust and debris from settling on your tools. Ensure the pouch is clean and dry before placing the tool inside.

Storing Pneumatic Power Tools

Air Compression

Pneumatic tools often require compressed air to operate. If you have an air compressor, drain any moisture from its tank regularly to prevent rust. Store your pneumatic tools in a clean, dry environment to avoid damage caused by moisture.

Secure Cabinets

If you have a collection of pneumatic tools, consider investing in a secure cabinet with ample space for storage. This not only protects your tools from environmental factors but also adds an extra layer of security.

Storing Gas Power Tools

Fuel Considerations

Gas power tools, like chainsaws and lawnmowers, require proper fuel management. Use high-quality fuel and store these tools in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Empty the fuel tank before long-term storage to prevent fuel from deteriorating and causing starting issues.

Dry Storage

Gas tools should be stored in a dry, sheltered area to prevent moisture from corroding metal parts and causing rust. A garage or a shed with proper ventilation can be an ideal storage space.

General Storage Tips

  • Labeling: Label the cases, pouches, or containers to easily identify the tool inside. This saves time and helps maintain an organized workspace.
  • Regular Inspection: Perform periodic inspections to ensure your tools are in good condition. Address any signs of wear or damage promptly.
  • Climate Control: Extreme temperatures and humidity can damage your tools. If possible, store them in a climate-controlled area.
  • Tool Maintenance: Even in storage, occasional maintenance is essential. Lubricate moving parts, check for loose screws, and ensure the overall integrity of your tools.

Power Tool Safety

Power Tool Safety

While power tools offer immense advantages, they also come with inherent risks.

Due to their high-powered nature, mishandling or misuse of power tools can result in accidents, causing serious injuries or even fatalities. Thus, ensuring power tool safety is of paramount importance for every user.

Manufacturers provide detailed safety guidelines and instructions with their products. Users must familiarize themselves with these guidelines and follow them diligently.

Some key safety practices include:

  • Wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as safety glasses, hearing protection, and gloves.
  • Inspecting tools before use to ensure they are in proper working condition, with cords and batteries intact.
  • Using the right tool for the specific task, avoiding makeshift modifications that can compromise safety.
  • Operating power tools in well-ventilated areas to prevent exposure to fumes or dust.
  • Disconnecting power sources before changing attachments or performing maintenance.
  • Keeping tools out of the reach of children and untrained individuals.


Armed with a comprehensive understanding of power tool categories and technologies, you’re now well-equipped to make informed choices. Consider your specific project requirements, working environment, and power source limitations to select the ideal power tool for the task at hand.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each power tool type allows you to tailor your choices to your needs. With cordless electric power tools offering mobility, corded tools delivering consistent power, pneumatic tools excelling in high torque, and gas tools conquering outdoor challenges, your DIY journey will be smoother than ever.

Ready to embark on your power tool shopping journey?

Now that you’ve gained insights into the world of power tools, you can confidently select the tools that align with your DIY goals and future projects. Remember, the right power tool can turn a daunting project into a satisfying achievement.

Power Tools FAQs

Got questions about power tools? We’ve got answers! Dive into these FAQs to demystify the world of power tools and gain a clearer understanding of their functionalities.

1. What are power tools?

Power tools are devices powered by sources other than human effort, such as electricity, compressed air, or gas. They’re designed to make tasks easier and more efficient, ranging from DIY projects to industrial applications.

2. What types of power sources do power tools use?

Power tools can be categorized based on their power sources: electric (corded and cordless), pneumatic (air-powered), and gas-powered. Each type has its own advantages and best-use scenarios.

3. Which power tool type is best for DIY projects?

For DIY projects, electric power tools are often ideal due to their portability and ease of use. Cordless options, powered by rechargeable batteries, provide mobility without the hassle of cords.

4. How do I maintain cordless power tool batteries?

To maintain cordless power tool batteries, charge them to around 50% before storage. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Regularly check and clean battery terminals for optimal performance.

5. Can I use pneumatic tools at home?

Pneumatic tools, powered by compressed air, are commonly used in workshops. While they offer high torque, they require an air compressor to operate, making them more suitable for fixed work environments.

6. What’s the benefit of corded power tools?

Corded power tools provide consistent and high power output, making them great for heavy-duty tasks. They’re especially useful when you have access to a power outlet and need reliable performance.

7. How do I store gas-powered tools safely?

Gas-powered tools, like chainsaws and lawnmowers, should be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. Empty the fuel tank before long-term storage to prevent fuel deterioration and starting issues.