Essential Equipment for the Handy Homeowner

10 Best, Must-Have Power Tools

September 17, 2009 Guides & How-To's By


From the moment ancient man first wielded tools to aid in mastery over his environment, their use has been embedded in the DNA of humankind. Men, in particular, have an innate sense of the crucial need for having the proper tool for whatever job is at hand. Granted, we’ve come a long way from roasting rodents on a hand-cranked spit, yet still we rely on the best implements that our day can muster, in order to get the job done. And we get the job done.

Granted, these tools might apply more directly to homeowners than to apartment dwellers, there’s likely something here for everyone. At the least, you can surely appreciate the ridiculous model numbers with which these tools are tagged. It’s in that spirit that Gear Patrol now salutes the power tool and suggests a list of our favorites.

Learn more about our picks on the next page.

Makita BDF452HW 18-Volt Cordless Drill-Driver

Must-Have Power Tool: Cordless Drill

makitabdf452lThere’s little doubt that every man needs a cordless drill. It just might prove to be the most versatile member of your proverbial toolbox. Delivering up to 450 in.lbs. of max torque yet weighing only 3.5 pounds, the Makita BDF452HW can keep you from stripping screws and gives you the oomph to power through any reasonable material. Its all metal transmission is built for durability, and this kit includes two batteries and a rapid charger that can juice you up in only 15 minutes.

Cost: $184

Hitachi C10FCH2 10″ Miter Saw with Laser

Must-Have Power Tool: Saw (Compound Miter)

hitachimiterIf you’re hoping to put up crown molding or chair rail, redo your deck, or maybe frame up a wall, you’ll need a miter saw at your disposal. Hitachi makes a great one, and we like the C10FCh2 for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the lightest in it’s class at 26.5 lbs. Second, it features Hitachi’s exclusive laser marking system, which aids you in achieving the old adage “measure twice, cut once.”

Cost: $172

Porter-Cable 342 1/4-Sheet Palm Sander

Must-Have Power Tool: Power Sander

portercablesanderHand sanding sucks. Make it easier by employing the powered version, like the Porter-Cable 342. Your next refinishing project will go much smoother, no pun intended. Unique to this sander is its POREX dust canister that traps dust better than standard cloth bags found on other models. Your allergies will thank you.

Cost: $39

Milwaukee 6509-22 11 Amp Sawzall

Must-Have Power Tool: Reciprocating Saw

Milwaukee makes the original Sawzall which, in case you are unfamiliar, is the ultimate demolition tool. With a dizzying array of available blades, this bad boy can be equipped to cut pretty much anything. Cordless models are available, but in the case of a Sawzall, we recommend sticking with the constant juice. Just keep the cord away from the business end of the saw. Neither studs, nor pipes, nor sheets of metal dare stand in your way when you unsheathe this tool of reciprocating destruction.

Cost: $98

Shop-Vac 962-16-00 16-Gallon Vac

Must-Have Power Tool: Wet/Dry Vacuum

shopvac1Because pretty much anything you do with any of these other tools is going to make a mess, a powerful way to clean up said mess is a must. The right Shop-Vac can help you keep your garage, car, or work area spiffy clean. At 6.25 horsepower, this vacuum won’t lack for power, and the included accessories such as extension wands and various nozzles will optimize your clean up scheme.

Cost: $130

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