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A1 Handyman
Which Power Tools to Get?

I am starting a new Handyman business, w/ funding available up to $10K. I've got 25 yrs. DIY experience, and plan on doing this full-time. I presently own a Makita BHP451 18V drill/driver, and a 70's vintage Craftsman 10" radial arm saw, along w/ a multitude of misc. hand tools. I have DIY skills in carpentry, electrical, and plumbing.

Here's my question: If you were in my shoes, which brand and type of power tools would you recommend I get? Specific names and models would be appreciated!
Thank You

A. Spruce
Re: Which Power Tools to Get?

For cordless stick with a single brand and voltage so that all your battery packs are interchangeable. It will make life easier in the long run. I happen to be a DeWalt fan, so that's the one I recommend.

Cordless tools will only get you so far. DO NOT waste your money on a cordless sawzall. The do not have enough power, torque, or useful battery life to be of any value. I've used a few different brands over the years and I really like the Millwaukee. It is smooth and powerful, and if you get the top dog it's counter balanced so there's very little vibration while in use. For power drills, again, Millwaukee and their Hole Shooter. For a circular saw I've always preferred a worm drive over a side winder, more control, more power. The only brand I've liked is Skil.

As a general, I carried a Dewalt 18v saw/drill combo that did 95% of the work. The times I needed something bigger I had the Skil and Milwaukee equipment. That was the bulk of what I carried daily.

The only other things that I think is vitally important is a vacuum. Mine was a 1 gallon shop vac. At the time, DeWalt had not come out with their cordless vac or I'd have had THAT one. As a matter of fact, I was constantly haranguing the local DeWalt Rep that they needed to come out with a cordless unit. And finally a foxtail broom with dust pan. Cleanliness is next to Godlieness in the eyes of a client. My motto is to leave the place cleaner than the way you found it.

Re: Which Power Tools to Get?

spruce thinks like me, i have almost the same setup. i 100% agree with sticking with the same cordless tool brand and i use dewalt also.....a few things that i carry and use on a regular basis that spruce didn't mention are....the dewalt cordless finish nailer, the bosch 10" portable table saw, i absolutely love how easy it is to move around, a 12" sliding compound mitre saw, i have the dewalt one with the stand and extensions. i also keep a small 10" regular mitre saw if i know i'm going to have some small stuff to cut, it's alot easier than lugging around the dewalt one. i have a worm drive circular saw but i don't use it very often, it's a great saw and i love it but it's heavy to tote around all the time and it takes up more space than a regular one. i have a manual flooring nailer which i use much more often than the pneumatic one i have, the pneumatic one only comes out if i'm doing more than about 30-40 sq ft of flooring. an orbital and a regular palm sander. a small laminate router comes in handy quite a bit. and lastly, since we're talking power tools, one of each length of powercords, 10', 25', 50', and 100' and do yourself a favor and buy decent ones that can be coiled easily on very cold day.

A. Spruce
Re: Which Power Tools to Get?
MLBSF wrote:

spruce thinks like me ...

Great minds think alike. ;):D

I just listed the "must have" "go to" type tools that pretty much everyone needs. I didn't go into pneumatic nailers or chop saws because it really depends on what the job or personal specialty is whether you need them or not. I had a portable tablesaw for a while, but it wasn't worth the effort to haul it around and set it up, it also wasn't strong enough to do much.

I started with a Delta 10" chopsaw and upgraded to a 12" DeWalt. My nailers are all Senco - brad, finish, framer, roofer. Since you brought up nailers, we have to talk about compressors. I prefer compact compressors over pancake because, well, they're compact and are more stable. Mine is an oiled, double piston (Superior is the brand name ) and it's much quieter than any oil-less compressor. My hoses are all rubber 3/8" which resist kinks and twists much better than the cheasy cheapy nylon wrapped type of hose. I use this compressor for everything, including spraying texture, it doesn't like the texture so much, but it does it well if you know the trick.:D

The trick: install a ball valve on the hose at the gun to control the airflow and adjust the gun nozzle in combination with the airflow to get the texture pattern you need.

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