The tool revolution
Twenty years ago few people would have predicted that today the vast majority of tools used in this industry would be cordless. Today it’s a reality.
Twenty years ago cordless tools were primarily drills. Today virtually every tool we use is available in a cordless version.
Twenty years ago, when a tradesman needed ‘real power’ he went back to the truck and dug out his corded tool – always carried because he knew he would come up against a situation where the battery powered version would run out of juice or just not have enough power.
That’s all changed. New battery technologies, brushless DC motors and computerized controls have made many of the cordless tools better than corded versions.
Probably the biggest step forward came with the adoption of lithium ion batteries. The old nickel cadmium (Ni-cad) batteries would have to be charged immediately before use because they lost charge when left sitting in the truck for a week or two. Not so with lithium ion batteries; they can hold a charge for months.
Brushless DC motors and sophisticated computer controls, which control battery operation, charging, motor, etc. came along and allowed manufacturers to optimize both the operation of the tool and battery life.
This created an ever more powerful and practical cordless technology that has been extended to an ever-widening range of tools. And it’s not just the corded tools like drills, saws, etc. that have been replaced.
Heavy-duty air powered tools like impact drivers and gasoline powered tools like chainsaws are now available in high performance cordless versions. We see cordless technology being extended to tools that most of us could never imagine it would be, such as cable type drain cleaning machines.
At the same time, at least one manufacturer has introduced a technology for larger tools that allows them to operate either on batteries or plugged into a wall outlet. And they are designed to work equally well either way.
What’s next? It’s hard to say, but I do know that the manufacturers of cordless tools are constantly scrutinizing the plumbing and HVAC industry for opportunities to expand their range. If the tool in your hand isn’t cordless, it’s likely there is a version or soon will be.