Faster Fixes: New Cordless Tools Are More Powerful, Run Longer

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If you like using cordless power tools but pine for longer battery life and more power, it’s time to take a second look at some old favorites. Portable tools are good choices for farmers because they are often working on equipment and other projects in the field, and stopping to charge tools or go back to the shed for more powerful ones can offset cordless convenience. That is changing, however.

According to a recent article in Farm Industry News, major tool companies have put hundreds of new cordless tools on the market in the past year alone, with advanced motors and transmissions—as well as improved battery life and ergonomics.

They enable faster work, too, according to the article: “Low speeds on a cordless tool used to range from 250 to 300 rpm and now range from 450 to 500 rpm. The same thing has happened for high speeds, which used to range from 1,200 to 1,300 rpm and now users will find between 1,700 and 2,000 rpm.”

Wil Granger, Product Manager with tool manufacturer Porter-Cable, commented on how electronics in cordless tools have been a major point of innovation in the industry.

“Five years ago, if you looked at what made up a tool, it was a very mechanical tool, meaning that the power came out of the battery, went through a switch, through the motor, through the transmission and out of the chuck. . . . What you see now is a lot of electronics in these tools, talking between the battery and the tool, and it’s really optimizing performance throughout the tool because it knows the limits of the motor and the transmission.”

Run times also have moved up, according to Granger: “If you look at five years ago, a 1.3 or 1.5 amp-hour battery was pretty much the ceiling of where you were at. Now, you see most manufacturers moving to a 2 amp-hour on a compact battery, and on a large battery you’re going from 2.6 amp-hours to 3 and now to 4 amp-hours.”