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Buying Guides Drills & Impact Tools Impact Wrench

Best Impact Wrenches in 2019

You know the frustration of trying to remove nuts and bolts that just won’t seem to budge. There is one tool that can make the job easier – an impact wrench. If you’re not well-informed about the ins and outs of this handy tool, you could end up with an impact wrench that is more trouble than it’s worth. Before you can pick one by its features, you need to know more about how they work and the different types that you can buy.

impact wrench

How Do Impact Wrenches Work?

In essence, it’s all about creating a lot of torque. Inside every impact wrench, there is a motor and a hammer-shaped mass. Once the impact wrench draws power, the hammer spins at a rapid rate, which gives the motor energy. As the motor’s energy builds and the hammer rotates, the motor drives the hammer into the tool’s anvil. As a result, you feel little impact, and you get more torque than you can produce on your own.

When Would an Impact Wrench Be Helpful?

Besides the enormous amount of torque, there is another benefit that comes from using an impact wrench – precision. This makes impact wrenches a must-have for auto mechanic shops and car enthusiasts alike. Impact wrenches are also commonly used for heavy-duty industrial applications and small at-home jobs. During times when you’re dealing with a rusted or stubborn bolt, an impact wrench becomes a lifesaver.

cordless impact wrench

How Do Impact Wrenches Differ From Torque Wrenches and Impact Drivers?

Impact wrenches, torque wrenches, and impact drivers may be closely related in some ways, but their purposes are much different. While not an everyday tool, impact wrenches are great for removing bolts, nuts, and other fasteners. On the other hand, impact drivers are suitable for driving screws and other drilling activities. Finally, torque wrenches are well-adept at making exact adjustments.

What Type of Impact Wrench Should I Buy?

These tools are categorized by the way they’re powered. Corded impact wrenches are relatively lightweight. However, staying mindful of their power cord can become burdensome. On the other hand, cordless impact wrenches offer total portability because they operate on battery power. However, the battery adds a little more weight, and you have to keep it charged.

Hydraulic impact wrenches are another variety. These tools give the most torque, but they are only used on industrial jobs and construction sites. The second most powerful impact wrench is the pneumatic one. Pneumatic impact wrenches don’t weigh as much as corded or cordless ones, but you must keep it attached to an air compressor.

electric impact wrench

Which Style Is Better – The Inline Style or Pistol Style?

Impact wrenches can further be categorized by the way they look. Pistol-style impact wrenches look similar to electric drills. Due to their ergonomic design, pistol wrenches are more comfortable to hold, and they cause less hand strain during long working periods.

The other style is called an inline impact wrench. These wrenches are slim, and the anvil is either aligned with the wrench’s body or crooked at a right angle. If you need to reach in tight spaces, inline impact wrenches are well-suited for those tasks.

impact wrenches and drivers

Top 5 Impact Wrenches

5 Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench

Every tool should be as easy to maintain and use as this pneumatic impact wrench by Ingersoll Rand. It features a trigger control that’s positioned on an ergonomic handle that’s meant to eliminate wrist strain. This impact wrench is also compact and lightweight, measuring just 7.8 inches long and weighing a mere 5.8 pounds.

Ingersoll-Rand-231C-Super-Duty-Air-Impact-Wrench

Don’t be fooled by the tool’s small size. Thanks to its dual-hammer design, the wrench can reach a maximum speed of 8,000 RPM. In turn, the tool can put out 600 foot-pounds of torque, easily removing those bolts and nuts that just won’t budge. For precision tasks, you can control the torque via the adjustable power regulator.

Read our in-depth Ingersoll Rand 231C Super-Duty Air Impact Wrench Review

As soon as you buy this pneumatic impact wrench, you can use it because it comes completely lubricated. With its pressure-feed lubrication setup, you’ll find maintenance to be hassle-free. To protect your new tool, Ingersoll Rand offers a 1-year warranty.

Check how much you can save, buying the Ingersoll Rand 231C Impact Wrench on Amazon >>>

4 DEWALT DCF899B 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque 1/2″ Impact Wrench

When you need a durable impact wrench that provides high performance, the DCF899B MAX XR by DeWalt is a great buy. This cordless impact wrench is easy to handle with its weight of 5.8 pounds and length of 8.81 inches, and its pistol grip has a textured rubber coating to help keep your hand steady.

DEWALT-DCF899B-20V-MAX-XR-Brushless-High-Torque-1-2-Impact-Wrench

It may be small in size, but the MAX XR is built tough. It boasts a shear-resistant anvil, and it has a secure dentin pin that prevents you from dropping your sockets. Within this impact wrench, there is a long-lasting brushless motor that puts out as much as 700 foot-pounds of torque at 2,400 impacts per minute.

Read our in-depth DEWALT DCF899B 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque 1/2″ Impact Wrench Review

For times when you need to control the torque, simply uses the triple-speed switch that turns the hammer as fast as 1,900 RPM. The cordless impact wrench also has an LED light that offers visibility in dark workspaces. For your convenience, you can monitor the battery life from the fuel gauge, and you are covered by a 3-year limited warranty.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DCF899B Impact Wrench on Amazon >>>

3 Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench

The Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Impact Wrench is every auto mechanic’s dream tool. At 4.6 pounds, the 2235TiMAX is featherlight in your hands. Its length of 7.6 inches means the tool is workable in tight areas. Plus, it comes with a 2-year warranty for your peace of mind.

Ingersoll-Rand-2235TiMAX-Drive-Air-Impact-Wrench

You also get an amazing amount of torque that maxes out at 1,350 foot-pounds at its highest of four power positions. In reverse, the torque is still impressive at 930 foot-pounds. When you need to go back and forth from forward to reverse, the button is easy to maneuver with just one hand.

Read our in-depth Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Drive Air Impact Wrench Review

No matter how often you put the impact wrench to the test, it will never let you down. It contains a twin-hammer mechanism and a steel wear plate. In addition, the housing is made of titanium, protecting it from long drops and hard usage.

Check how much you can save, buying the Ingersoll Rand 2235TiMAX Impact Wrench on Amazon >>>

2 DEWALT DCF899P1 20V MAX XR Brushless High Torque 1/2″ Impact Wrench

Here is one for the at-home handyman. This cordless impact wrench kit from DeWalt comes with everything you need for user-friendly performance, including a powerful 20-volt lithium-ion battery, a charger, an integrated LED light and a one-half-inch detent anvil.

DEWALT-DCF899P1-20V-MAX-XR-Brushless-High-Torque-1-2-Impact-Wrench

You’ll also appreciate the ergonomic design of the pistol-style handle and the ability to select one of three speeds that range from 400 to 1,900 RPM. It’s also easy to hold and carry thanks to the tool’s weight of 7.2 pounds. If you do drop the impact wrench, it’s rugged enough to survive falls up to 8 feet.

The brushless motor inside of the cordless impact wrench produces 700 foot-pounds of torque and as much as 1,200 foot-pounds of breakaway torque. With its strong impact mechanism, this tool can hammer away at a rate of 2,400 impacts per minute. If you ever have a problem with the MAX XR, DeWalt offers warranty coverage on it for 3 years.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DCF899P1 Impact Wrench on Amazon >>>

1 DEWALT Bare-Tool DC820B 1/2-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Wrench

Do you want an impact wrench that can get the job done fastLook no further than this cordless impact wrench made by DeWalt. The hammer spins at a top speed of 2,400 RPM, allowing the ultra-durable frameless motor to generate 1,740 inch-pounds of torque.

DEWALT-Bare-Tool-DC820B-1-2-Inch-18-Volt-Cordless-Impact-Wrench

It’s also featherlight at only 2.2 pounds. Plus, the impact wrench’s short length of 5.75 inches means it can fit into places where bulky impact wrenches can’t go. Don’t worry about comfort because the impact wrench has a no-slip pistol grip. For extra help in poorly lit areas, the tool offers a 20-second delayed LED light.

With its metal transmission, you’ll get years of reliable use from this impact wrench long after the 3-year warranty expires. However, if you must have it repaired, the first year of service comes at no additional charge. All you need to put this tool to use is one of DeWalt’s 18-volt nickel-cadmium batteries.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DC820B Impact Wrench on Amazon >>>

air impact wrench

Regardless of your level of fix-it know-how, automatic tools make life easier. When you have a long to-do list, you don’t want an inefficient power tool slowing you down. No two impact wrenches are alike, so you can’t just get the first one you see. Before you purchase one, you need to know what set of features make an impact wrench a worthwhile buy.

Impact Wrench Torque
In the world of impact wrenches, torque takes the top spot as far as features are concerned, and there is no torque that’s considered too high. Therefore, you should pass on any impact wrench with a torque under 500 foot-pounds. Besides the maximum force behind the turn, make sure there is a control that lets you regulate the power for those precision tasks.

best cordless impact wrench

Impact Wrench RPM
The number of rotations per minutes is just as important as the torque. The more rotations an impact wrench can make, the less effort you have to put forth. When you are fastening, a fast RPM equates to getting the job done quickly.

Impact Wrench IPM
IPM, or impacts per minute, is a measurement of an impact wrench’s hammering action. Like the torque and the revolutions per minute, the higher the IPM, the better. An impact hammer with a rapid IPM will make more contact with the target.

best cordless impact wrench 2018

Impact Wrench Anvil
The anvil size differs from one impact wrench to the next, spanning from one-fourth an inch to three-fourths an inch. There are also anvils as large as 2 inches, but the big ones are used for industrial applications. You also have to look at the type of anvil. A detent pin holds the socket tighter, but it takes longer to swap sockets. There is also a hog ring, which is great to have if you frequently change sockets.

Impact Wrench Motor
As with every tool, there is always a debate between brushed and brushless motors. Brushed motors are generally cheaper, driving down the cost of an impact wrench. However, brushless motors don’t have moving parts that cause the friction that leads to breakdowns.

pneumatic impact wrench

Impact Wrench Battery
The type of battery in a cordless impact wrench determines the stability of the tool’s performance from start to finish. Usually, the battery will be nickel-cadmium or lithium-ion. Nickel-cadmium batteries are less expensive, but they cause the impact wrench’s motor to slow down when the battery gets low. This is not the case with lithium-ion batteries. Plus, lithium-ion batteries can hold a charge for a longer period of time.

Impact Wrench Ergonomics
Comfort counts. You want an impact wrench that is easy to hold. Therefore, the grip should be contoured, rubberized or textured. Don’t make the mistake of picking a heavy impact wrench, thinking it will be more powerful. The key to reducing wrist strain during long projects is using a lightweight impact wrench. Additionally, a lightweight impact wrench is easier to carry around a job site.

impact wrench 2018

Impact Wrench Durability
Obviously, an unreliable impact wrench does you no good. As mentioned earlier, ones with a brushless motor are less likely to break. However, the material out of which they are constructed also matters. Durable impact wrenches are made of steel or other metal, not plastic. They may even have a titanium housing and metal transmissions.

3 Recommended Impact Wrenches


SaleBestseller No. 1
20V MAX Cordless Impact Wrench with 1/2” Chuck,...
  • POWERFUL & SUPERIOR PERFORMANCE: With powerful motor, this impact wrench delivers 2035 in-lbs of max torque...
  • MEET YOUR NEEDS: Suitable for tightening or loosening nuts and bolts, automotive repair, body shop maintenance...
  • VARIABLE SPEED & 3 BRIGHT LED LIGHT: Variable speed trigger provides you with added control while in use....
Bestseller No. 2
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Impact Wrench Kit, Brushless,...
  • Brushless motor for superior performance
  • Heavy duty impact mechanism with max torque 700 feet/ pounds; breakaway torque 1,200 feet/ pounds
  • 3 speed selector switch for control
Bestseller No. 3
Milwaukee 2767-20 M18 Fuel High Torque 1/2-Inch...
  • Provides maximum productivity by removing stubborn and high torque fasteners up to 2X faster than the...
  • Most compact cordless High Torque Impact Wrench in its class at 8.39" in length
  • Industry leading 4-mode drive control with bolt removal mode, allowing for ultimate control.




Categories
Buying Guides Drills & Impact Tools Guides Impact Driver

Best Cordless Impact Drivers in 2019

Back in the days of yore, impact drivers were used exclusively by professional mechanics and builders for contract jobs, but today we find them becoming a crucial part of a DIY-hobbyist’s collection of power tools. The thing that makes impact drivers so great is their ability to deliver rapid bursts of high torque for driving screws of any shape and size.

DEWALT DCF885C1

DEWALT DCF885C1

Furthermore, with the right bit, an impact driver can work similarly to a power drill. The great thing is that its high-power motor makes it work even more efficiently than a regular cordless drill.

A quick stroll down the power tool’s aisle in your local hardware store will show you the wide selection of different impact drivers available. The great thing is that you have many different specs and features to choose from, but the bad is that with so many choices, it’s normal for first-time buyers and even experienced ones to find the right model that fits their specific needs. The following portion of this article will provide you with a brief buying guide of impact drivers and the most crucial features to take into consideration.

Power Source

Like many handheld power tools, impact drivers come with or without power cords. Generally, corded impact drivers offer more power, but cordless models are much more portable – something that every contract worker is looking for. In this article, we’re going to focus only on cordless models since there is a higher demand for them.

BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C

BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C

Brushed vs Brushless Motor

In general, there are two different types of motors installed in impact drivers: brushed and brushless motors. Brushed motors are the classic type that is slowly being replaced by brushless motors.

Brushless motors don’t have any brushes that will wear down over time, meaning that it requires fewer visits to the maintenance man and will be usable for many years longer than the brushed variety. Performance-wise, there aren’t any significant differences.



RPM, BPM, and Torque

There are three important variables that can help you determine how well an impact driver performs. These are RPM, BPM, and torque. RPM (rotations per minute) can be an indicator for helping you know how efficient the tool is. BPM (bumps per minute) is the number of hammer-like bumps for driving screws through dense materials. Torque is the amount of force applied while the bit rotates (measured in inch pounds). Greater RPM, BPM, and torque mean more power and better efficiency.

Makita XDT111

Makita XDT111

Chuck Size

The size of the chuck determines the size of the bits that are compatible with an impact driver. The largest commonly used size is half an inch, but you can get a lot of work done with weaker ¼-inch chucks and bits. Large bits are for more heavy-duty jobs whereas small bits are for quick driving jobs that require limited amounts of torque.

Comfort

Like any handheld power tool, comfort should be a priority when choosing an impact driver. Try and find a model that offers an easy-to-grip plastic or rubber handle. The weight of an impact driver can also affect how comfortable the tool is, but you honestly won’t have any trouble finding any lightweight, compact impact driver.

DEWALT DCF885C1

DEWALT DCF885C1

LED Light

More often than not, you’ll need to use an impact driver in poorly lit areas (e.g., closets, under the hood of your car, or even under your car). There are several impact driver models from various manufacturers that are equipped with LED lights near the chuck. However, you probably shouldn’t fully rely on these LED lights for proper illumination and also invest in a high-lumen LED torch.

Hitachi WH18DGL

Hitachi WH18DGL

Top 5 Cordless Impact Drivers

Impact drivers are naturally versatile tools that can be used in a wide range of applications, but some people, especially first-time buyers, might have some difficulties finding an appropriate model. This is understandable since a quick internet search will literally yield thousands of results.

No need to worry, we’re here to help. The following list contains our picks of the five top-performing cordless impact driver models.

5 Milwaukee M18 Impact Driver

The first impact driver on our list is from the infamous manufacturer of red-colored power tools: Milwaukee’s M18 2656-20. Keep in mind that this is a bare-tool kit, meaning you need to purchase the 18V battery RED Li-Ion battery, battery charger, and hex bits separately.

The proprietary 1.5-amp frameless motor generates up to 2,750 RPM, up to 3,450 BPM, and up to 1,500-inch-pounds of torque. This should help users finish a wide range of different jobs, though some of the more heavy-duty tasks like driving screws through dense surfaces may pose a problem. Nevertheless, for the average hobbyist, mechanic, and furniture-maker, the M18 2656-20 can be a reliable impact driver for most jobs.

Milwaukee M18

Check how much you can save, buying the Milwaukee M18 Impact Driver on Amazon >>>

4 Hitachi WH18DGL Impact Driver

The WH18DGL from Hitachi is another great impact driver worth considering. This kit includes the impact driver, a single 18V rechargeable Li-Ion battery, and a battery charger. To get started with this tool, you’ll have to purchase your own ¼-inch hex bits.

The 3-amp motor generates up to 2,400 RPM and 3,200 BPM at 1,280 inch-pounds of torque. The total weight of the tool with its battery included is only around 3.1 pounds, and it also features a handy LED light near the chuck for keeping your work surface properly illuminated. When working on different surfaces with different screws or bolts, you can alter how much power to deliver by playing around with the touch-sensitive trigger.

Hitachi WH18DGL

Check how much you can save, buying the Hitachi WH18DGL Impact Driver on Amazon >>>

3 Makita XDT111 Impact Driver

The XDT111 from Makita – another Japanese-made impact driver – is definitely worth mentioning. The four-brush motor has two speeds: a low setting that provides 2,900 RPM and the top gear that delivers up to 3,500 RPM. This tool provides up to 3,500 BPM with 1,460 inch-pounds of torque. This ¼-inch impact driver weighs only around 3.9 pounds – battery included – and measures in at only 5-3/8 inches long from chuck to end.

The kit includes the tool, a hard carrying case, an 18V Li-Ion battery, and a rapid charger that can fill a battery from 0 to 100% in only 40 minutes. There are also LED lights for keeping your work surface lit up for easy visibility.

Makita XDT111

Check how much you can save, buying the Makita XDT111 Impact Driver on Amazon >>>

2 BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C Impact Driver

No list of handheld power tools is complete without including at least one BLACK+DECKER model. The BDC120C is a ¼-inch impact driver that runs off of a super-powerful 20V battery. The kit comes with the tool, the battery, a rapid charger that fills a battery to 100% in less than 40 minutes, and a screwdriver bit to get right down to work.

The 1.5-amp motor delivers up to 3,000 RPM and 3,900 BPM at a maximum torque of 1,375 inch-pounds. The amount of power-delivery is determined by how hard you press the touch-sensitive trigger. What’s impressive about this unit is that despite being equipped with a brushed motor, the heat produced by the spinning brushes dissipates much quicker than in other comparable impact driver motors.

BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C

Check how much you can save, buying the BLACK+DECKER BDCI20C Impact Driver on Amazon >>>

1 DEWALT DCF885C1 Impact Driver

The final and number one pick on our list is the DFC885C1 from DEWALT. The company has built a reputation on manufacturing some of the world’s most reliable and efficient power tools, and the DCF885C1 is no exception.

Weighing in at only 2.9 pounds, you’ll hardly feel the weight of the unit even when working overhead and at odd angles. Although the chuck is ¼ inches, the 1.5-amp brushed motor provides enough power that you can attach 1-inch bits with an adapter. Using the touch-sensitive trigger, the impact driver can deliver up to 2,800 RPM and 3,200 BPM at 1,404-inch-pounds of torque. Three LED lights are placed conveniently near the chuck to provide more than enough light for illuminating dark spaces.

DEWALT DCF885C1

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DCF885C1 Impact Driver on Amazon >>>

Final Remarks

Impact drivers are ingenious tools that don’t just drill holes but also have the capacity to drive screws and tighten nuts and bolts. Back in the day, impact drivers were considered to be exclusively used by professionals and contract workers, but today we can find impact drivers in almost every hobbyist’s collection of handheld power tools. If you need to fix up your car, hang pictures, or put furniture together, an impact driver can be your go-to tool.

Milwaukee M18

Milwaukee M18

There are numerous specs and features to keep an eye out for when scouring the market for an impact driver. The most important of these include whether it’s corded or cordless, whether it has a brushed or brushless motor, its speed and power ratings, the size of the chuck, how comfortable it is to grip and use, and whether it has forward-facing LED lights. As long as you know the basics and understand what you need an impact driver for, finding the right model should be much easier to do.

Of course, even if you do know what you want and need, you’re going to be bombarded with thousands and thousands of different impact driver models to choose from. To help you with your search, we’ve compiled a list containing the top five cordless impact drivers available. They are all made from the world’s most popular manufacturers of power tools, but the one that takes the cake is the DCF885C1 from DEWALT. The company has established a reputation so great that an overwhelming number of people – professional and hobbyists alike – swear by the name.

DEWALT DCF885C1

DEWALT DCF885C1

The DCF885C1 is a simple 1.5-amp ¼-inch impact driver that gets its power and speed from a powerful 20V battery. The motor delivers more RPM, BPM, and torque that professional workers are looking for. Even hobbyists can enjoy using this tool as the touch-sensitive trigger can be used to deliver as much or as little torque and speed as you need.

3 Recommended Impact Drivers


SaleBestseller No. 1
DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill Combo Kit, 2-Tool...
  • ERGONOMIC DESIGN: Lightweight tools designed to fit the user's needs
  • INCREASED VISIBILITY: The DCF885 features a built in LED with 20 second delay after trigger release
  • INCLUDES: (1) DCD771 Drill/Driver, (1) DCF885 1/4 inches Impact Driver, (2) 20V MAX Lithium Ion 1.3 Ah Battery...
Bestseller No. 2
Makita XDT131 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless...
  • BL Brushless motor delivers 1, 500 inches pounds Of max torque
  • Variable speed (0 3, 400 RPM & 0 3, 600 IPM) for a wide range of fastening applications
  • The BL Brushless motor eliminates carbon brushes, enabling the BL motor to run cooler and more efficiently for...
Bestseller No. 3
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX Impact Driver Kit (BDCI20C)
  • High Performance Transmission delivers 1375 in-lbs of max torque
  • Quick Release 1/4" Hex Chuck
  • Compact & Lightweight for ease of use




Categories
Buying Guides Guides Miscellaneous Planer

Best Wood Planers in 2019

Wood planers, also known as thickness planers, are handy tools for shaving down materials to the proper size needed for construction furniture. With a wood planer in your shop, you can ensure that both sides of your material are completely parallel to each other. Both professional craftsmen and simple DIY-hobbyists can find value in having a wood planer available since it can make quick work of shaving down numerous boards into a uniform thickness.

WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN 6550

In this article, we’re going to briefly discuss the important specs and features of a high-quality wood planer. We’ll also give you our picks of the best five wood planers available today.

What to Look for in a Wood Planer

When researching the best wood planer, there are several features and specs to take into careful consideration.

Feed Speed

The feed speed determines how much time it takes for the wood planer to smoothen the surface of the material fed into the machine. The best wood planers should generate two different cutting speeds: one quick speed for initial dimensioning and another slower speed for a smoother finish.

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP 12

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP



Knives

There are several types of knives used in a wood planer. They can be straight, segmented, or spiral-shaped. They can also either be disposable or sharpened. They each have their own uses and pros, so make sure you find a model that utilizes the type(s) of knives you need for your thicknessing tasks.

Cutter head Speed (CPI)

The cutter head speed, measured in cuts-per-inch (CPI), indicate how many cuts are made on the surface of the material per inch that is fed into the machine. The higher the cutter head speed, the smoother and more prepared the board will be for further processing. In addition, a quicker cutter head speed generally means an increase in feed speed, though it’s always better to prioritize cutter head speed over feed speed.

DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer

DEWALT DW734

What Does a Wood Planer Do?

Chip Ejection Port

Like most woodworking power tools, wood planers produce a heck of a lot of debris that could potentially burst into flames when left resting under an overheated machine. One of the most effective ways of eliminating this risk is by getting rid of wood chips, shavings, and dust straight from the source. Make sure your wood planer comes with a chip ejection port which is compatible with your shop vac or dust collector.

Portability

Unless you’re a serious furniture builder who makes a living off of building high-quality furniture in an efficient manner, then you’re most likely in the market for a portable bench-top wood planer. In that case, find a model that’s easy to carry but can be mounted on your workbench without needing a huge amount of clearance in the outfeed.

DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package

DEWALT DW735X

Material Support

Although portable bench-top planers are considerably more compact than industrial planers, this doesn’t mean that they can’t support large boards. Some of the best wood planers can support materials of up to 6 inches tall and 12 inches wide. To help support super-long boards, you may need the help of infeed and outfeed tables.

Top 5 Wood Planers

Now that we understand the basics of what makes a good wood planer, the only thing left to do is decide which model to get. As you already know, the market is saturated with wood planers, both good and bad. To help you with your purchase decision, we’ve compiled a list of our picks for the best five wood planers available on the market right now.

5 DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer

Our first pick is one of DEWALT’s most famed wood planers: the DeWalt DW735. Its 15-amp motor is able to deliver cuts of up to 1/8-inch thick in boards of up to 6 inches tall, 12-1/2 inches wide, and 19-3/4 inches in length. It also comes with two cutter head speeds – the first for dimensioning that delivers 96 CPI and a higher gear for finishing at 179 CPI.

DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735

The DW735 comes with a three-blade setup for superior finishes. The blades are disposable but are marketed to last for at least 30% longer than traditional disposable straight blades. This is a portable 80-pound unit that can be mounted to your workbench if needed.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW735 on Amazon >>>

4 PORTER-CABLE PC305TP 12″ Thickness Planer

PORTER-CABLE is another popular power tools manufacturer that produces some of the best wood planers. In our opinion, their best workbench model is the PC305TP. This planer packs a 15-amp motor that delivers 96 CPI for the initial smoothening and 179 CPI for super-fine finishes.

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP 12

PORTER-CABLE PC305TP

This machine comes with the standard dual-blades setup. You can utilize both sides of each blade before needing to purchase and install replacements. The machine can support boards of up to 12.5 inches wide, 6 inches tall, and more than 3 feet long. However, you need to take extra care when setting up the infeed, and outfeed tables since even the slightest wiggle can render several inches from the front and tail ends of your boards utterly useless (snipe).

Check how much you can save, buying the PORTER-CABLE PC305TP on Amazon >>>

3 DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package

The third-place spot goes to the DW735X from DEWALT. Honestly speaking, DEWALT’s DW735 is so good that it deserves two spots on our list. The only true difference between the DW735 and DW735X is that the latter comes with infeed and outfeed tables which can support materials of up to 6 inches tall, 13 inches wide, and 33-1/2 inches long.

DEWALT DW735X Two-Speed Thickness Planer Package

DEWALT DW735X

In every other respect (motor, cutting depth, cutter head speed), the two are completely identical. Because the DW735X comes with two aluminum tables for supporting longer material, the overall weight of the unit will increase to 95 pounds. If you’re going to get the DW735, do yourself a favor and pay a little more for the X version since buying the feed tables separately will cost you more than getting them in a single package.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW735X on Amazon >>>

2 DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer

It’s no surprise that DEWALT makes a third appearance on our list due to their expert craftsmanship and design of their products. The DEWALT DW734 is similar to the previous DEWALT models, but it doesn’t come with a second cutter head speed for extremely fine finishing. Instead, you get a single gear (96 CPI) for both dimensioning and finishing your material.

DEWALT DW734 15 Amp 12-1/2-Inch Benchtop Planer

DEWALT DW734

It comes with both infeed and outfeed tables that support material of up to 33-1/2 inches long, 12-1/2 inches wide, and 6 inches tall. Another unique feature is the four-column carriage lock that virtually eliminates the risk of snipe.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW734 on Amazon >>>

1 WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

The final product on our pick for the best five wood planers is the 6550 from WEN. This amazing machine features a 15-amp motor that produces 96 CPI and 176 CPI for dimensioning and finishing, respectively. It can support material up to 6 inches tall and 12-1/2 inches wide. The foldable infeed and outfeed tables are made of solid granite, meaning that their shape won’t warp over time, ensuring high-quality finishes as long as the machine is functional.

WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN 6550

It has a dual-blade setup, and the blades can be reversed to give you twice as much use out of each blade. Adjusting the depth of each cut is simple to do with the help of the rubber handle. A full rotation of the handle adjusts the height of the blade by 1/16 of an inch, and it has a maximum cutting depth of 3/32 of an inch.

Check how much you can save, buying the WEN 6550 on Amazon >>>

Conclusion

Both DIY-hobbyists and professional woodworkers can find value in a wood planer. Wood planers are a must-have tool to have in the workshop if you regularly need to adjust the thickness of multiple large boards. Instead of using a hand sander or a table sander to adjust the thickness of your board – a process which is both time-consuming and inaccurate – feed your boards through the machine and watch as the blades shave fractions of an inch off the top for a clean finish.

DEWALT DW735 13-Inch, Two Speed Thickness Planer

DEWALT DW735

There are several factors to consider when looking at wood planer models. The most important features are feed speed, number and shape of the blades, cutter head speed, chip ejection port, weight and portability, and material support. Bench-top wood planers are limited in cutting capacity compared to industrial-grade machines used in professional woodworking factories, but for the common man or professional furniture builder, a portable bench-top wood planer will do just fine.

WEN 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer

WEN 6550

In this article, we’ve provided you with our picks of the best five wood planers you can buy today. Three of the five best models are made by DEWALT, which is no surprise since DEWALT basically dominates the power tools industry. However, the best-performing model is the WEN 6550. What sets this machine apart from the rest is that the infeed and outfeed tables are made with solid granite that won’t warp over time and perform extremely well in preventing snipe.

Wood Planer Buying Guide Infographic




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Buying Guides Guides Miscellaneous Power Generators

Best Honda Portable Generators in 2019

A portable generator can be the perfect power solution when you don’t have the means to purchase a standby generator or if you need a source of electricity when you’re far away from an electrical outlet. This machine can supply power to all of your devices and home appliances in the event of a blackout. When going on camping trips, it’ll provide electricity to power up your TVs and refrigerators.

Honda EU2000I Portable Generator

Honda EU2000I

Why Honda

If you’re scouring the market for a portable generator, most likely you’re going to run into more Honda-made models than any other brand. In general, Honda portable generators are the most reliable types you can get, though Yamaha and Briggs & Stratton do give it a run for its money. Normally, Honda-made units will experience fewer maintenance issues and last for several years.

What to Look for in a Portable Generator

Before picking up a portable generator, here are some important specs to pay close attention to.

Power Source

The majority of portable generators use either gas or liquid propane as a power source for providing energy to your devices and home appliances. The more environmental-conscience of us might consider solar-powered portable generators the better option. They both have their pros and cons, so it’s up to the user to decide which fuel source works better for their own unique situations.

Honda EU2200i Portable Generator

Honda EU2200i



Wattage Capacity

There are important numbers that indicate the wattage of a portable generator: the surge wattage which is the maximum capacity at which the generator can kick-start an appliance to life, and the running wattage which shows the total load the generator can support. Generally, we want the two numbers as high as possible or at least able to cover what electronics we plan on plugging in.

Inverter Technology

The most high-end portable generators come with inverter technology which offers cleaner energy for powering up sensitive devices such as laptops, Smartphones, and tablets. These generators are also extremely silent, making them the perfect option if you need a generator to take on camping trips.

Honda EU3000iS Portable Generator

Honda EU3000iS

Low-Oil Shutoff

Nobody wants to constantly or even periodically check on their portable generator to see the oil gauge and how much is left in the tank. The best portable generators should come with a low-oil indicator and automatic shutoff. This feature will prevent permanent damage to your machine, extending its life for many more seasons to come.

Wheels

Even though portable generators are “portable,” beefier machines with higher wattage capacities can weigh upwards of 200 pounds – a strain on the shoulders and back to lift. Some portable generator models may not come with wheels, forcing you to purchase them separately and costing your anywhere around $100. Save yourself the time and trouble and find a model with wheels if the portable generator is too heavy to carry around.

Number of Outlets

Check to see that your portable generator comes with multiple outlets. Most models do, but generally speaking, four outlets is the magic number. The total load is spread out evenly among the outlets, but you should only ever utilize every outlet during emergencies or when you’re far away from other electrical outlets – e.g., camping trips in the middle of the woods.

Honda 7000W Portable Generator

Honda 7000W

Noise Level Production

Another important feature is the noise levels produced by a portable generator. Nowadays, it’s easy to find portable generators that produce less than 80 decibels even when running on a full load. The best Honda-made portable generators take it to another level by releasing only around 60 decibels maximum on high capacity.

Tank Displacement and Runtime

Obviously, we want a machine that uses fuel efficiently, providing more power for fewer fuel costs. Displacement lets you know how much fuel can sit inside of the tank at full capacity (measured in cubic centimeters or gallons), and the runtime indicates how long the machine can provide energy, usually at a quarter- or half-load.

Best Honda Portable Generators

After extensive research and testing, we’ve come up with a list of the four of the best Honda portable generators you can use for both emergency situations and outdoor expeditions. They might not meet your exact requirements, but overall, they operate well, inexpensively, and without fuss.

Honda EU2000I

The first Honda-made portable generator on our list is the amazing Honda EU2000I which is arguably one of the best lightweight and compact 2,000-watt inverter generators available today. It features an eco-throttle system which enhances overall fuel-consumption by limiting how much is used based on the load.

Honda EU2000I Portable Generator

Honda EU2000I

Due to its inverter technology, you can use this portable generator to charge up your laptops and Smartphones on weekend outings with the family without worrying about damaging your devices. It’s also a whisper-quiet machine that has a noise-production range between 53 and 58 decibels. On a single 98.5 cc tank of gas, the EU2000I can provide clean, efficient energy for up to 8 hours on a quarter-load and 3.5 hours on a full load.

Honda EU2200i

This 2,200-watt Honda EU2200i portable generator is another high-quality machine that delivers super-clean energy to power sensitive devices thanks to its inverter technology. The tank only holds onto 0.95 gallons of gasoline, but this is enough to power up many important home appliances for up to 8 hours when running at a quarter-load.

Honda EU2200i Portable Generator

Honda EU2200i

Like the EU2000I, this portable generator can be carried around from place to place due to its lightweight (47 pounds), compact design. It’s also safe to use in the wild since it produces only up to 57 decibels of noise. With two of these devices on hand, you can connect them both using a parallel cord which provides up to 4,400 watts of power. Essentially, the EU2200I is operationally similar to the smaller EU2000I, except it packs 200 extra watts to supply power to more or larger devices.

Honda EU3000iS

As you can already guess, the Honda EU3000iS is designed to supply up to 3,000 watts of power – more than enough for plugging in and running TVs, refrigerators, and charging multiple devices simultaneously. In emergency situations, this portable generator can be used as a standby device for supplying power to your home.

Honda EU3000iS Portable Generator

Honda EU3000iS

Like the other models on this list, this generator uses inverter technology to supply cleaner power more efficiently for charging laptops and other sensitive devices. One amazing feature is its super-quiet operations, producing only 57 decibels maximum, considering its maximum wattage capacity and size.

It lives up to the Honda name by being fuel efficient – on a single tank of 3.4 gallons of gasoline; you can get up to 20 hours of power. If you get this model, you should consider investing in all-terrain wheels (sold separately) since, weight in at 75 pounds, carrying it to and fro might be a little too much to handle alone.

Honda 7000W

The last Honda portable generator on our list is a beast – the Honda 7000W portable generator. Although it’s a portable machine, the wattage capacity means the machine will weigh significantly more than the previous models (250 pounds). Because of the added poundage, this machine comes with its own set of all-terrain wheels and a pull-out handle for easy maneuverability.

Honda 7000W Portable Generator

Honda 7000W

Similar to the previous models here, the 7000W also uses inverter technology for powering sensitive home appliances and electronics. Although it’s a fuel-efficient model, it’s the least efficient on our list – providing 18 hours of power on a single 5.1-gallon of gasoline. However, this is understandable since larger machines require more power to operate and provide greater quantities of electricity.

Honda Portable Generators: Conclusion

Portable generators are handy devices to have during blackouts and taking with you to family outings. If possible, only consider getting a portable generator that comes with inverter technology since it’s the only type that will safely power a laptop computer and charge your sensitive electronics.

Honda EU2000I Portable Generator

There are several reasons why you should choose Honda as your go-to company for portable generators – they’re a market leader, their products are of high quality, and they can last you for many years before experiencing its first maintenance issue. Even though other brands manufacture generators that perform well, there’s very little risk if you choose Honda.

In this article, we’ve provided you with four of Honda’s best portable generators, ranging from a light 2,000-watt to a massive 7,000-watt beast. These two portable generators and the other two in between work flawlessly and deserve a lot of praise for being an excellent emergency and outdoor generators.

Honda 7000W Portable Generator

3 Recommended Portable Generators


SaleBestseller No. 1
Honda EU2200i 2200-Watt 120-Volt Super Quiet...
  • This popular model can operate a wide variety of appliances, making it perfect for portable use at home,...
  • So quiet, your neighbors will thank you. The EU2200i operates at 48 to 57 dBA, which is less noise than a...
  • Need more power? Add a second EU2200i for additional power.
Bestseller No. 2
WEN 56203i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter...
  • Extremely quiet operation comparable to the sound of a normal conversation according to the US Department of...
  • EPA III and CARB-Compliant 79.7cc 4-Stroke OHV engine produces 2000 surge watts and 1700 rated watts
  • Fuel shutoff maximizes the generator’s lifespan by using up the remaining fuel in the carburetor before...
Bestseller No. 3
WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800-Watt Portable Inverter...
  • Extremely quiet operation minimizes noise; EPA III and CARB Compliant
  • 212cc 4-stroke OHV engine produces 3800 surge watts and 3400 rated watts with a half-load runtime of up to 8.5...
  • Fuel shutoff maximizes the generator’s lifespan by using up the remaining fuel in the carburetor before...




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A-Check Guides

Top 5 Best Service Jacks of 2019: Buying Guide

The key to being a DIY god is not having the most expensive tools and equipment for getting the job done. It’s all about doing it as economically and efficient as possible. If you’re looking to do at-home car maintenance, the first things you need are a pair of reliable service jacks.

Arcan XL20 Black Service Jack Heavy Duty



For any car enthusiast, service jacks are a piece of equipment that they cannot live without. How are you going to service under your vehicle when you can’t even get it off the groundWe don’t have to tell you that cars are heavy, nor do we need to let you know that if one falls on you (God forbid), then it’s pretty much game over for you.

How reliable are Service Jacks?

Unfortunately, using service jacks to lift your car is not 100% foolproof. You could end up pinching your fingers in the screwing mechanism, or (God forbid) the car can come crashing down due to failure.

Service jacks are mainly used to lift your vehicle off the ground, giving your access to the belly of the car and the ability to remove wheels. They’re not meant to keep your car in the air for extensive periods.

Arcan XL20 Black Service Jack Ultra Low

If you need to keep your car propped up for hours at a time, consider getting jack stands along with your service jack. These stands slip beneath your car, next to the spot where your car is jacked up, and come with anti-slipping features for added safety.

How many Jacks do I need?

The number of service jacks needed depends entirely on what you plan on doing. For emergencies such as changing tires, a single jack that lifts the flat tire off the ground is all you’ll need.
If you’re doing more extensive maintenance underneath your car, then you’ll need all the help you can get to safely lift your car before slipping in jack stands.

In this case, you’ll need at least two to keep your car perfectly balanced. Setting one jack stand at a time while lifting another part of your vehicle with a single floor jack can be a recipe for disaster, no matter how many chocks you place around your car’s tires.

Differences between Service Jacks and Car Lifts

If you need a tool to lift your car off the ground, there are many different ways of doing it. in this article, we’ll focus mainly on service jacks, but let’s go over car lifts quickly.

Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Steel Floor Jack

There are several types of car lifts that cost between a couple hundred to more than ten grand. Depending on the type of car lift, you can lift your car several feet off the ground, giving you additional parking space beneath. Car lifts are also great for pro mechanics who need an unobstructed view of what’s going on underneath.

Service jacks simply lift one part of your vehicle and give you access to the wheel and parts underneath. They’re considerably cheaper and a heck of a lot more portable. For the average DIY-er or car owner, using service jacks for light-duty car maintenance is all you’ll ever need to prop your vehicle up.

Top 5 Best Service Jacks

It may not be hard deciding on which type of service jack you want, but it can be a pain finding the right model. To assist you on your shopping endeavors, we’ve compiled a list of our top five favorite service jacks. A quick note: these are all floor jacks (we prefer sacrificing storage space for safety and convenience).

Blackhawk B6350

The Blackhawk B6350 is one of the most highly commended floor jacks based on customer reports. With a comfortable handle and 3-1/2-ton (7,000-pound) weight capacity, most car owners would be happy to have a B6350 in the trunk of their car.

Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack - 3.5 Ton Capacity

The B6350 is made of heavy-duty steel and comes with rolled side plates. This guarantees that the jack will prove you with car-lifting abilities for several years beyond the 1-year warranty period. You’ll love the durable design when lifting your car to the jack’s maximum height of 22 inches.

This floor jack has fast-lift technology where the saddle is raised quickly with each pump of the handle. But after making contact with your car’s lifting point, the arm rises slowly to give you maximum control over how high to lift. A built-in bypass design is helpful in preventing over-pumping, which could potentially damage the internal pistons.

However, there are a few notable drawbacks of the B6350, the most prominent of which being its tall profile. This floor jack isn’t designed for use under cars with less than 6 inches of ground clearance. Also, it is a lot heavier and bulkier than most floor jacks, although its casters help slide the tool on the ground.

ToolPowers

Sunex 6602LP

Appearance-wise, the Blackhawk B6350 and Sunex 6602LP don’t look a lot alike. However, it’s not the looks that matter – when it comes to performance, there’s not a lot that the Sunex 6602LP can’t do.

Sunex 6602LP 2 Ton, Low Rider Service Jack

This floor jack is a lot smaller than the Blackhawk. It has a maximum weight capacity of 2 tons (6,000 pounds), making it suitable for a wide range of smaller vehicles. If you have a truck or SUV, this is not the floor jack for you.

But if you have a low-riding sports car, then the 2-3/4-inch height profile of the 6602LP is perfect. Despite it being slow short, its lifting arm can lift 6,000-pound cars off of the floor at a maximum height of 24 inches!

Rapid Rise Technology helps you get the job done a lot quicker compared to most floor jacks. With the double-piston system, it only takes 6-1/2 pumps to lift your car to the maximum height. This is done using the long, padded 43-inch handle (51-1/2 inches when vertical attached to the floor jack) that offers a ton of leverage for optimal lift per pump.

It’d be nice if the saddle were padded, so you don’t accidentally scrape your car’s axel or lifting point. Also, several customers have experienced leaking within the first month of purchase, but Sunex’s customer support has been extremely helpful in accommodating complains and even sending replacements (backed by a 1-year warranty)

ToolPowers

Arcan XL2T

The Arcan XL2T is a compact floor jack with a low profile and high-raising arm. Like the previous model, this floor jack is limited to 2 tons (6,000 pounds). It’s not just a sleek-looking jack either; it’s got all the features – and more – that make this floor jack an awesome buy.

Arcan XL2T Black Low Profile Steel Service Jack - 2 Ton Capacity

Quality is the selling point of the Arcan XL2T. The entire unit is made of steel that is coated in an anti-corrosion coat of black paint. The construction of the XL2T meets all sorts of safety standards, so you can rest assured than you’re getting a perfect floor jack that won’t come crashing down during crucial moments.

When at rest, the XL2T measures in at only 2-3/4 inches high. The lifting arm can rise as high as 24 inches in less than ten pumps (dual-piston support), giving you a ton of room to move when working under your vehicle. Just like the previous model, this unit’s limited weight capacity and clearance space does not make it the right floor jack for trucks and SUVs.

On the arm, you’ll find a wide rubber pad that cushions your vehicle as it lifts. The width of the pad also helps in spreading out the weight of the work.

ToolPowers

Liftmaster 3-Ton Floor Jack with Quick-Lift

The Liftmaster may look like an ordinary floor jack, but its simplicity is the key to its quality. Its 3-ton (6,000 pounds) weight capacity makes it a great solution for small- to medium-sized vehicles.

Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty Ultra Low Profile Steel Floor Jack with Quick Lift

Except for the handles and wheels, the entire unit is made of anti-corrosion steel that will withstand moist environments. This is necessary when working outdoors when you have a flat in the rain.

This is a low-profile floor jack that measures at 3 inches high (slightly larger than the previous two models). Using a dual-piston design, it can lift heavy SUVs to 22 inches high. With quick-lift technology, this Liftmaster floor jack can jack up a car to the maximum height in less than ten pumps after making contact with your car’s lifting point.

The Liftmaster is also equipped with paddings that prevent damage to your car. On the saddle, the hard rubber disc makes its way into all of the notches, reducing the amount of metal-on-metal contact. The lower part of the handle is encased in long rubber tubing to prevent dents in your car’s frame and door.

If you’re looking for a floor jack that’s straightforward, made of durable materials, and you don’t care about appearance, then the budget-friendly Liftmaster could be the right jack for you.

ToolPowers

Arcan XL20

Finally, we have another floor jack model from Arcan. This time, it’s the XL20 – the smaller brother to the XL2T.

Arcan XL20 Black Service Jack

Both of the Arcan floor jack models are designed to lift to 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of car off the ground; the the XL20’s lifting arm is slightly shorter. At most, the XL20’s arm lifts at a max height of 18-1/2 inches (less than 15 pumps after initial contact), which is more than enough space to change the wheel of a sedan or hatchback. Its low profile of 3-1/2 inches helps it slide under shorter cars, but pickup trucks may prove to be too tall for the XL20.

One ingenious little feature of the XL20 is the built-in breaker bar. The long handle can be used to tighten or loosen stubborn bolts with the correct adapter. The handle is also covered in foam to prevent accidental scratches and damage to your car’s door while jacking it up.

But the real value of the XL20 is its steel wheels. If you’re looking for a new floor jack, most likely your old one’s wheels have fallen off or become warped in a way that does not provide level work. The XL20’s durable steel wheels won’t dent or bend, so you’ll have a great jack for use on all types of surfaces.

ToolPowers

Service Jacks Buying Guide

If you’ve read the description of each of our picks of the top five service jacks, then you’ll see that there aren’t very many things to consider before making a purchase. If you decide not to go with any of the five mentioned above, then the only things you’ll need to keep in mind are the following.

Weight Capacity

Before you decide to purchase a set of service jacks online, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine whether those jacks are right for your car. Although service jacks can lift several tons of metal, they’re not indestructible, and getting the wrong model could end up costing you a fortune on repairs.

Arcan XL2T Black Low Profile Steel Service Jack

Consult your car’s owner’s manual or check online about how much your vehicle weighs. It’s also a good idea to purchase service jacks that have weight ratings that are higher than the weight of your car. That’s just common sense.

Profile

The next thing to consider is how far off your car is from the ground. Once again, check the owner’s manual or online about how much vertical clearance there is from the ground to your car’s frame. You can also go about doing this by manually measuring the distance with a ruler. Service jacks can be as small as 2-3/4 inches or as tall as 6 inches.

The height of the jack should be smaller than the minimum distance between your car’s frame and the ground. Although the jacking point of your car may be several inches higher than this, it’s important that the jack doesn’t cause any damage to the frame of your car first.

Maximum Lifting Height

You should also be aware of how high the jack can lift your vehicle. Higher isn’t always better or cost-effective, especially when dealing with shorter cars like sedans and hatchbacks. As long as the jack can lift your car from its jacking point to allow several inches of clearance between your car’s wheels and the ground, then you’ll be fine.

Sunex 6602LP 2 Ton, Low Profile Service Jack

Trucks and SUVs will require a higher maximum lifting height since their axels or other lifting points may be several inches higher than in sedans.

Material

Next, take a close look at what sort of materials go into making the service jack. The two most widely used materials are aluminum and steel.

Aluminum service jacks are lighter than steel but just as strong. Certain aluminum models can be even stronger than steel jacks in terms of longevity. They typically have the same lifting heights and profiles as their steel counterparts. Aluminum is also naturally non-corrosive, so if you live in a particularly rainy or snowy part of the globe, aluminum is the way to go. The only drawback is that they can be several times more expensive than steel jacks.

Blackhawk B6350 Black/Red Fast Lift Service Jack

Steel jack frames are several times heavier and larger than aluminum. Comparing the aluminum and steel jacks of the same size, the steel jack will have a lower weight capacity rating. They’re also prone to corrosion if not properly cared for or covered in weatherproof paint. Storing steel jacks can be a problem unless it comes in its carrying case. The good news is that they’re less expensive than aluminum.

Types of Service Jacks

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about floor jacks, but maybe you’re looking for something differentHere, we’ll go over the most popular types of service jacks to help with car maintenance.

Scissors Jacks

Scissors jacks are the most common type of service jack available. If you’ve ever purchased a brand-new car, it most likely came with its own set of scissors jacks.

Blackhawk B6350Fast Lift Service Jack

A scissors jack kit consists of the jack and a crank handle. To use one of these, you simply place the jack beneath the jack point of your vehicle (check the owner’s manual if you still have it). When the jack is correctly positioned, insert the crank handle into the hole that connects to the screw drive. Turning the handle one way will jack the car up while turning in the opposite direction will bring your car back down.

Scissors jacks are the lightest type of service jack, making them easy to store in your car’s trunk. This is the only benefit of scissors jacks compared to other types. These are typically slower to use and a lot more dangerous due to their narrow top bases. Plus, there’s a real risk of getting your fingers trapped in the turning mechanism (scary).

Farm Jacks

Farm jacks, also known as high-lift jacks, are the tallest type of service jack. If you need to raise one side of your vehicle or other object by several feet, then you need a farm jack.

To use a farm jack, place it under the axle of your car or as close to the center of an object’s base. Lift the handle and press it down until it’s reached the desired height. To bring it back down, move the handle up slowly so it doesn’t come crashing down.

Sunex 6602LP 2 Ton Service Jack

You may be wondering why you’d ever need to lift your car up to 48 inches off the ground. Well, if you’re offroading and get trapped in mud, scissors jacks won’t do you much good. However, since farm jacks are long and slender, they don’t offer a ton of stability, so it’s not the best jack for doing at-home repairs.

Bottle/Whiskey Jacks

Bottle jacks are one of the most versatile jacks available. They’re small in size so you can store one in the trunk of your sedan or hatchback. They use a hydraulic system of pistons and fluid to lift several tons of metal to more than a foot off the ground.

Using a bottle jack is sort of a combination of both scissors and farm lifts. Place the jack beneath the lift point of your vehicle, insert the handle, and pump the jack until your car has reached the desired height. To bring your car back down, put the notched end of the handle on the release valve and turn counterclockwise carefully.

Liftmaster 3 Ton Heavy Duty

The major downsides of using a bottle jack include having to be close to the vehicle as you operate the jack, and it being a bit too tall for shorter cars. Plus, they’re not 100% reliable on their own; you’ll need jack stands to support the car after lifting it with a bottle jack.

Floor Jacks

Like bottle jacks, floor jacks rely on pistons and hydraulic fluid to lift one side of your car. They have lower profiles and slip beneath vehicles of almost any size. They’re a lot larger than most types of service jacks, but the wider base sits on top of wheels that make it extremely easy to navigate beneath your car.

Using floor jacks is almost exactly like using bottle jacks, except you don’t need to be in such close proximity to your vehicle. Instead, place the jack on the ground, slide it beneath your car until the saddle is right beneath your car’s lift point, insert the handle, and pump until it has made contacted and lifted your car to the right height. To release the jack, remove the handle, place the notched end on the release valve, and turn counterclockwise slowly.

There’s nothing too bad about floor jacks – they offer a ton of stability, they’re easy to use, and they’re a lot safer than the previous service jacks types. The only real issue with floor jacks is that they have more moving parts than other service jacks, so they’re more prone to damage and wear over time.

Arcan XL2T Black Steel Service Jack

Conclusion

After reading this article, you should have a pretty good idea about what service jacks are, how each type is used, and what to look for when shopping for a pair of jacks. The most important factor to consider is whether the jack can lift your car.

When it comes to jacking your car up, safety should be your priority. Service jacks aren’t meant to keep cars up for hours at a time, so consider getting additional accessories like jack stands and/or chocks to further simplify the lifting process.




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A-Check Guides

Top 5 Best Rubber Mallets in 2019: Buying Guide

What tool should you use to knock uneven wooden workpieces into place or remove dents from thin sheet metalA correctly configured hydraulic press would work if you have the budget of a small city, but for the average Joe, a rubber mallet just makes much more sense.



Rubber mallets are very simple tools that serve a mighty purpose – to gently bash objects into place without leaving craters in their wake. A condensed piece of rubber sits atop a long, sturdy wooden handle that gives enough leverage to deliver powerful blows with each short-ranged swing.

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass

Rubber mallets are generally extremely lightweight and require several well-aimed whacks to gently nudge objects in place. Their large, blunt faces make it easy to aim but also quite poor for precision work. Furthermore, it’s important that you exercise caution when using a rubber mallet as swinging the tool too hard could result in the mallet bouncing off the target and hitting you square in the face.

Wood Mallet vs. Rubber Mallet – What’s the Difference?

While shopping for a mallet, you’ll most likely run into two mallet types – wood and rubber.

Wood mallets are extremely versatile but in the woodworking context. Uses of wood mallets include driving dowels, assembling dovetail joints, and chiseling. The wood used to make the mallet head typically made of beechwood, so marring or creating dimples in wood pieces is hardly an issue.

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet

Rubber mallets are a lot more flexible in construction and usage. The soft mallet head delivers an even softer blow than wood mallets – a definite plus when working with more delicate pieces like softwood, ceramic tiles, plastic, and sheet metal. Additionally, rubber mallets often find their way in woodworking shops for the same purposes as wood mallets.

If you’re undecided between choosing wood or rubber, the latter is the much safer, more versatile option to get.

Do I need a Rubber Mallet?

The rubber mallet is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you could own. This tool is commonly used in woodworking, metalworking, and home repair projects.

In woodworking, rubber mallets are used in both constructing and deconstructing furniture. A metal claw hammer can be used in its place, but you’ll run the risk of marring the surface regardless of how many layers of cushioning you use. Also, when cutting intricate details into the wood, a rubber mallet can be used to gently drive the chisel without damaging the workpiece in any way.

Rubber mallets are also in metalworking projects where sheets of metal need to be pounded flat or to a specific shape. However, due to the shape of the rubber mallet’s head, it’s usage in metalworking is undoubtedly limited, especially when working with thicker pieces like beams, bars, and tubes.

And finally, in home-repair jobs, a rubber mallet can prove to be an indispensable tool for a wide array of projects. From sliding and leveling tiles to installing carpeting, a rubber mallet can be the most gentle, accurate tool for doing so.

Top 5 Best Rubber Mallets

Shopping for a rubber mallet may sound like a no-brainer (it’s a piece of rubber attached to a wooden handle, right?), and for the most part, you’d be right. However, the numerous rubber mallets on the market can make settling on one particular model or design a bit of a challenge. But worry not, dear reader, as we give you our picks of the top 5 rubber mallets.

Great Neck Saw RM8 Rubber Mallet

Perhaps the most rubber-mallet-looking item on our list is the RM8 from Great Neck. The RM8 consists of a simple, 8-ounce, double-sided rubber head attached to a thin, wooden handle. There’s nothing too complicated about the RM8. However, with great simplicity comes great complication.

Great Neck Saw RM8 Rubber Mallet

This rubber mallet, head, and handle, weighs roughly 8 ounces. The lightweight design makes the RM8 far too delicate for demanding jobs like leveling tiles, driving chisels, and flattening sheet metal. However, for light-duty jobs like assembling furniture or wire shelving units, this rubber mallet is exactly what you’ll need. We’ve also noticed that the rubber chips off rather easily with each bump of the mallet head.

The thin handle, which sounds like a good idea initially, can be a bit too thin for our liking. If you have small hands, then the RM8’s handle won’t be an issue, but for those with larger-than-life palms and digits, you may need to wrap the handle in several layers of tape to give it a comfortable grip.

Another thing we noticed was that the RM8 swells AWFUL straight out of the packaging. And we’re sad to report that the smell doesn’t fade, even weeks after purchase. It’s not so bad that it’ll turn your stomach, but it’s still surprisingly foul.

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Alltrade 648336 16Oz White Rubber Mallet

The 648336 (catchy name) is one of the most durable, well-balanced rubber mallets on our list. It outshines the previous mallet which should be used sparingly. As for the 648336, this mallet can be used all day and night without the slightest hint of wear.

648336 16Oz White Rubber Mallet

Firstly, you’ll notice the rubber mallet’s white color. This isn’t just for aesthetics – though it is pleasing to the eye – it also prevents discoloration on your workpiece when bashing it into place. You may want to refrain from using this on greasy surfaces since there’s virtually no way to remove stains from the mallet head.

The weight of the entire tool is a hefty 16 ounces, which is bulky enough for more demanding jobs like flattening laying paver stones, driving chisels, and assembling furniture. This is a must-have feature for those hunting for a mallet for everyday use.

The 648336 also has a long, steel handle for added leverage. The handle is covered in a durable rubber padding that, combined with the lightweight build of the mallet, should allow you to swing accurately for hours.

What else can we say about the 648336It’s an absolute beast in woodworking, mechanic, and home touch-up jobs. It may be a bit too large for precision work – e.g. driving chisels – but for everything else, this rubber mallet is a great choice.

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TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce

The 30603 (what’s with the numbered model names of rubber mallets?) from TEKTON is another force to be reckoned. For medium- to heavy-duty hammering needs, this rubber mallet is the one to go with.

TEKTON 30603 Fiberglass Handle Rubber Mallet, 16-Ounce

The rubber head and handle together weigh 16 ounces for more challenging hammering jobs. The soft, rubber mallet head delivers a sensitive blow to your workpiece that won’t leave craters or marring. Of course, you shouldn’t swing the mallet with all of your might, but if you were to be so reckless, the soft head absorbs most of the shock from misses so it won’t jump back at you.

Not only that, but the lightweight fiberglass core inside of the poly-jacketed handle dampens vibrations by a lot. No longer will misses create localized tremors up your arm and shoulder with every missed strike.

However, the 30603 does have one rather significant issue: the mallet head. Firstly, the head isn’t that securely fixed onto the handle, meaning that it has the potential to go flying if not retightened every so often. Also, the rubber will start to chip the second the mallet is in use. Thankfully, the chipping problem isn’t so bad so you can continue using the 30603 for many years after purchase.

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Coleman Rubber Mallet with Tent Peg Remover

The Coleman Rubber Mallet is another wooden-handle-and-rubber-head tool. Simplicity is key with the Coleman, but it does have one added feature that most don’t: a tent peg remover.

Coleman Rubber Mallet

But first, the basics. The Coleman Rubber Mallet is a simple 16-ounce mallet with a durable rubber head and not-so-shock-absorbent wooden handle. Ironically, this tool was specifically designed for outdoorsman for driving pegs or stakes into the ground, but the lack of a shockproof handle and grip means extreme risk of self-injury when driving pegs into compacted earth.

The tent peg remover is located on the butt of the handle. Before using the peg-removing tool, you may need to loosen the tent peg a bit since there’s a very real risk of it becoming detached from the rubber mallet entirely.

There have been some complaints regarding the durability of this rubber mallet. The rubber head tends to chip rather easily, and using it to force stakes into hard soil is not going to do the tool any favors. Another concern is the odor that comes from the rubber when taken out of its seal. Whether Coleman is using an inferior-grade rubber or just has a stinky production facility is as good of a guess as anybody’s. And just like the Great Neck RM8, the foul smell won’t disappear until you dispose of the tool.

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TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black and White Rubber Mallet with Fiberglass Handle 25056

The TopBuilt 25056 arguably one of the best rubber mallets available. The weight distribution of this tool gives it balance for precise work. For a mallet belonging to the 16-ounce weight class, you probably won’t find one that works as beautifully as the 25056.

The most unique feature of the TopBuilt 25056 is its dual-color rubber head. With both colors at your disposal, you won’t have to worry about gunking up the white end when striking greasy objects or leaving streak marks when striking brightly colored tiles. The 25056 offers the best of both worlds in a single mallet.

This rubber mallet features a soft head that’s perfect for light- to medium-duty whacking. The softness of the head practically eliminates the risk of marring your work when missing the target. However, there is a downside to this. Namely, the rubber material won’t last very long as it chips a lot quicker than normal.

The 25056’s handle has a fiberglass core encased within a composite fiberglass and epoxy resin body and rubberized gripping pad. The handle is tougher than any wooden handle could ever hope to be, so the lifespan of this tool is limited to how long the rubber head lasts.

TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black and White Rubber Mallet with Fiberglass Handle 25056

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Rubber Mallet Buying Guide

Rubber mallets may seem like straightforward tools that don’t require much thought before purchasing, but that’s simply not the case at all. Without knowing what to look for in a rubber mallet, you might end up getting some cheap model that won’t last you two weeks.

TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black

To help you find the right rubber mallet, we’ve created a quick of the specs and features that matter most.

Rubber Durability

How can we find out whether a rubber mallet’s head will last for yearsWell, it all comes down to the flexibility of the rubber. Dense, inflexible rubber is great for driving stakes through the ground, but it will wear down much more quickly than a slightly bendable mallet head which is incapable of doing more demanding hammering tasks. If you need a harder rubber mallet, you may want to opt for a cheaper one since they need to be replaced more frequently.

TopBuilt 16 Ounce Black and White Rubber Mallet

Weight

A rubber mallet typically falls into one of three weight categories – 8 ounces, 16 ounces, and 32 ounces. The heavier the mallet is, the more effective it is at driving or moving thick, heavy materials.

But heavier mallets are also harder to lift and control, so you’ll have to take into consideration how much you can lift and how hard you can swing the mallet. Generally speaking, a 16-ounce mallet will cover most of what you would ever need it to do.

Flat-side Diameter

Although we didn’t mention this when talking about the best rubber mallets, it’s still something worth considering. The size of the mallet’s flat-side plays a role in determining how precise it is.

Narrower mallet heads are great for fine-tuning adjustments, whereas a wider mallet is mainly for driving stakes, pegs, or disassembly. All of the models above are at least 2-1/2 inches in diameter.

Handle Construction

Crazy vibrations are common when swinging a mallet, especially when you aim wrong and hit next to your target. But the materials used to construct the mallet’s handle can help in cushioning the blow.

Rubber mallets with wooden handles are inexpensive, but they don’t absorb shocks as well as handles with a fiberglass center. Furthermore, fiberglass handles are tons more durable than wooden handles, so if you’re thinking of investing in a mallet that’ll last for years, then fiberglass is the way to go.

Tool Length

The size of the handle is also an important consideration to make when shopping for a rubber mallet. Longer handles provide greater leverage to drive an object harder and deeper. Any handle that’s longer than 12 inches should provide you with both gentle tapping and hardcore destruction abilities.

White or Black Mallet Head

Mallets live in a black and white world. The color of the rubber can either stain your work piece or become stained by it. When working under the hood of your car, in a woodworking shop, or out in the wilderness where staining the rubber mallet is a possibility, then a black rubber mallet would be the better option since it conceals stains quite easily. When laying ceramic tiles, the white-colored mallet won’t leave a visible streak.

What about Metal Hammers with Rubber Caps?

You may come across a metal hammer with detachable rubber caps. These are technically rubber mallets, but the hidden metal can create such a force that it leaves dimples in wood, cracks in the plastic, and shattered tiles. Plus, these are considerably more expensive than the common rubber mallet because it’s made up of a mix of metal, rubber, and composite materials.

Final Remarks

As you can see, rubber mallets are identical in shape, but we can’t deny that some models are simply better than others. There’s no real way to avoid cracking or chipping the rubber head, especially as it grows older and wiser with time, so the one true way of determining whether it’s of a higher quality is by looking at the handle.

In our picks of the five top rubber mallets, we’ve selected cheap, replaceable models and others that cost more but last much longer, so there’s something for everybody!




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A-Check Guides

Top 5 Best Hoist Car Lifts in 2019: Buying Guide

Spending all day under your car while flat on your back can do some real damage to your neck, shoulders, and back. Not only do you have to twist and turn your body in a cramped environment, but you may have to do so blindly while reaching for tools that always seem to roll just out of reach. If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably put off automotive work just to save some ache and strain on your lower back.

APlusLift HW-10KBP 10000LB Two Post Floor Plate Auto Hoist Car Lift



Automotive businesses have a pretty good sense of how to get things done. One of their most invaluable investments is a car lift. Granted, car lifts look like they belong in professional garages, but that’s hardly the case. The selection of car lifts is vaster, easier to install, and cheaper than ever.

Double your Parking Space

Would you leave a $3,000 gaming rig outdoors all nightYou’d probably remember to bring a basketball inside, so why would you park your vehicle in your driveway where it’s susceptible to vandalism and stolen parts?

You could argue that your garage has enough floor space for one vehicle, and renovating your garage is a cost that you’re just not ready to make. Well, there’s some great news for homeowners with one-car garages: a car lift can double your garage by taking advantage of unused air space. Assuming you have vertical clearance, a car lift can list one of your vehicles into the air, leaving more than enough space for your second to park just below it.

XK USA L1000 10,000LBS Two Post Lift Car Auto Truck Hoist

This is a cost-effective solution for those with high-end sports cars who don’t want to expose their babies to nature’s harsh elements. During the winter time, just lift your previous up on the car lift where it’ll be safe from sleet, snow, and mud.

Not just for Cars

While car lifts are mainly used to keep automobiles off of garage floors, they’re much more than that.

If you have seasonal vehicles like motor boats, riding lawn mowers, motorcycles, lawn tractors, or speed boats – all of which take up a tremendous amount of garage space during the rainy and snowy months – then a car lift can help eliminate their floor prints.

XK 9,000 LB Over Head L 2910 2 Post Lift

With a car lift in your garage, you can use the extra space for other things likes building your woodshop or… storing other junk, you don’t use regularly. A car lift is a valuable space-saver by lifting things out of the way and out of mind.

Types of Car Lifts

Shopping for car lifts isn’t as straightforward as you might have hoped. There are several types of car lifts available that make finding the right one for your garage quite a challenge. Here, we’ll explain briefly the three main types of garage car lifts.

Hinge-Type Car Lift

This type of car lift raises the car off your garage floor through a series of jacks, hydraulic, or pneumatic systems and hinged beams. To lift your vehicle, you simply need to drive over lifts that lie flat on your garage floor and ensure that the lifts are appropriately positioned on the perimeter of your car’s frame (rocker panel boxes or suspension attachments). The maximum height of a hinge-type lift is 48 inches.

XK 9,000 LB Over Head L 2910 2 Post Lift Car Auto Truck Hoist

These are the most compact type of car lift that doesn’t need to be bolted onto the floor, allowing you to adjust its positioning when needed. However, the jack and hinge system lifting your car won’t leave any parking space beneath.

Two-Post Car Lift

Two-post car lifts are the most popular type around. It uses two metal arms that are attached to two metallic posts on the left and right to lift your car high up off the ground. They are further split into two different categories: symmetrical lifts that hold support the middle section of your car, and asymmetrical lifts with offset posts that allow you to open your car’s doors when lifted.

The maximum height of two-post car lifts can be anywhere from 70 inches to more than 140, more than enough clearance to pass a Hummer. And some are even strong enough to carry a Hummer!

Four-Post Car Lift

Instead of parking on lifts to raise your vehicle, a four-post car lift uses two runways where you drive your car onto before bringing it into the sky. Four posts support the front and back ends of the left and right posts by a hydraulic piston and heavy-duty cables. However, because all four wheels need to make contact with the runway, doing wheel-off maintenance requires additional jacks and beams to lift the car off the runways (dangerous!).

The height capacity is similar to the two-post car lift’s range – between 70 and 140-plus inches – but it can hold a heck of a lot more weight than two-posters.

Top 5 Best Hoist Car Lifts

Although car lifts have become increasingly cheaper in the recent past, you could still end up spending quite a bit of money on one, thereby making finding the right car lift that much more crucial. As a reference, we’ve included five of our favorite car lifts that are available online. Continue reading to learn a bit about each car lift model and whether one of them is right for your garage.

XK USA L1000 2-Post Hoist Car Lift

The first hoist car lift on our list is the L1000 from XK USA. This is a 2-post model with symmetrical lifts where both arms are equipped with rubber padding to prevent scratches and dents when (accidentally) opening your car’s doors while lifted. This set also includes mounting bolts if you’d like to keep it stagnant in one position in your garage.

XK USA L1000 10,000LBS Two Post Lift Car Auto Truck Hoist / 12 Month Warranty

The L1000 has a maximum carrying capacity rated at 10,000 pounds. The combination of its heavy-duty 5/16-inch cables and 5/8-inch base plate keep the car lift steady when lifting several tons of metal.

The posts measure in at 111-1/4 inches while the arms can raise your car to 78-7/8 inches off the floor. The distance between the posts is 100 inches – more than enough space for sedans and SUVs to park under safely.

The L1000’s 3-HP motor requires only about 60 seconds to lift a 10,000-pound vehicle to its maximum height. The self-lubricating nylon sliders ensure that the pulley system remains effective for many years.

This is a great 2-post car lift for those looking to do wheel-off maintenance. The arms are long enough to grasp onto your car’s frame using rubber pads, allowing the wheels to spin freely or detach entirely.

However, this isn’t the best car lift for trucks. The included truck adapter increases the lift height to 81 inches, but the arms are much too short to grab the frame.

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XK USA L2910 2-Post Hoist Car Lift

Made from the same company, the L2910 is the little brother to the previous model. The 2-post, 111-1/4-inch model uses the same 3-HP motor and pulley system to lift cars off the ground with its frame-engaged, padded arms. Each arm also has the same padding to ensure your car door’s safety while lifted into the air.

XK 9,000 LB Over Head L 2910 2 Post Lift Car Auto Truck Hoist / 12 Month Warranty

The only difference between the L2910 and the L1000 is its maximum lift capacity. This model has a rating of “only” 9,000 pounds, which is far greater than the weight of an average SUV. Like the L1000, this model uses reinforced 5/16-inch cables and a 5/8-inch base plate between each post for maximum stability and reliability.

The L2910 can lift cars as high as 78-5/32 inches off the ground (81 inches with the truck adapter). This model also has a 100-inch drive-through width clearance so you can double your garage space by parking a second vehicle underneath.

Although this hoist car lift does an excellent job at lifting, the quality of the arms’ pads has been questionable at best. For sedans, the pads stay in place without any trouble, but trucks and other similarly sized vehicles may cause the pads to shift ever-so-slightly.

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XK L1100 2-Post Hoist Car Lift

The L110 from XK USA looks identical to the previous two models. The L110, similar to the L1000, has a maximum lift capacity of 10,000 pounds.

There aren’t that many differences between the L1000 and the L1100. Other than their identical weight capacities, they have the same drive-through width clearance of 100 inches, the same self-lubricating nylon system, and the same arm reach distances.

The two most noteworthy differences between the two are the L1100’s increased post length of 143-5/32 inches and the slightly lower maximum lift of 78-5/32 inches. With the included adapter, this lift can lift trucks to 81 inches high. Also, the L1100 comes with two sets of truck adapters that let you extend the posts for extraordinarily tall vehicles and garages.

The motor in the L1100 is no different from the other XK USA models. It’s a 3-HP beast that requires only up to 60 seconds for your car to reach the maximum lift height. The chain and pulley mechanism should always be thoroughly lubricated with its self- lubricating system.

The L1100 is a larger version of the L1000 with the inclusion of a second set of truck adapters. In every other regard, they’re identical in every which way.

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APlusLift HW-10KBP 2-Post Car Lift

APlusLift is another popular manufacturer of home car lifts. Their HW-10KBP model is a symmetrical 2-post lift that carries up to 10,000 pounds.

APlusLift HW-10KBP 10000LB Two Post Floor Plate Auto Hoist Car Lift / 12 Months Parts Warranty

The HW-10KBP drives cars up and down using a system of hydraulic cylinders and chain drives on a pulley. The 3-HP motor raises cars to the maximum height in only 50 seconds. The drop speed is a bit slower, giving users enough time to move any obstructions that could damage your vehicle. A double-point safety forces users to check both sides before bringing the arms down.

This is a budget-friendly solution for those with large trucks looking to double their garage parking space. The arms can stretch out up to 49-1/5 inches for grasping a truck’s frame without the risk of the protection paddings slipping, making this a much better solution for truck owners.

The HW-10KBP has a maximum lift of 75 inches, but with the truck adapter installed, you can extend it to 81 inches. The 113-4/5-inch posts are made of durable 13/64-inch double-S-shaped columns for quick, snap-on installation while still ensuring very little movement when the arms rise and fall. The posts sit 100 inches apart from each other to allow another vehicle to park underneath your lifted truck.

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APlusLift HW-10KOH 2-Post Car Lift

Finally, we have the larger HW-10KOH from APlusLift – another symmetrical 2-post lift with rubberized paddings on each arm to cushion your car’s doors when opened. At first glance, the HW-10KOH looks the same as the HW-10KBP. In fact, except for the taller posts, they are identical in every single way.

APlusLift HW-10KOH 10000LB Two Post Overhead Auto Hoist Clear Floor Car Lift / 12 Months Parts Warranty

The HW-10KOH comes with two 143-3/5-inch posts positioned 100 inches apart. This car lift also has a maximum of 75 inches, but the included truck adapters increase the lift capacity to 81 inches for taller vehicles. The adapters are built of the same 13/64-inch steel in a double-S shape with quick-connect brackets for easy installation.

The lifting mechanism is powered by a 3-HP motor and hydraulic cylinders that only needs 50 seconds for lift off to its maximum height. Dropping the vehicle back onto the ground is much slower to guarantee a safe landing. The double point lock release system is extra insurance, so your car doesn’t bump into any objects on its way down.

Customers of the HW-10KOH can’t get enough of how easy the system is to use. Straight out of the box, everything is practically ready for setup. The only thing you’ll need is to make sure your garage floor can handle the large metal posts, and you’re good to go.

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Hoist Car Lift Buying Guide

Although their price tags have become increasingly cheaper in the last decade or so, you’ll still need a healthy budget before purchasing your very own garage lift. To help you find the right lift for your home on your first try, take a look at our brief car lift buying guide.

XK 10,000lbs Car Lift L1100 2 Post Lift Car Auto Truck Hoist

Post and Lift Height

The reason why car lifts exist in the first place is to safely store heavy objects, such as sedans and trucks, off of the floor. The only way you can prevent damage to the roof of your vehicle is by ensuring that your garage is at least several inches – better yet, feet – taller than the car lift’s posts. Keep in mind that if you own a truck and have to use truck adapters on your car lift, then you may have to have more than a foot of clearance space above the top of the posts.

XK 10,000lbs Car Lift L1100 2 Post Lift

Weight Capacity

For obvious reasons, the weight capacity of a car lift is of the utmost importance. If you get something that’s too weak, then prepare to spend a small fortune on car and garage repairs.

Before choosing a car lift, check with your car’s manufacturer about its weight (while you’re at is, ask them about the height as well). This will let you know whether any of the five-car lift models mentioned above is right for you.

Sufficient Ground Support

Although most residential concrete garage floors are durable enough to support car lifts without cracking, it’s important that you stick to the specific guidelines provided by the car lift’s manufacturer. Two-post car lifts require stronger concrete flooring compared to four-posts since pressure is divided between fewer posts.

APlusLift HW-10KOH 10000LB Two Post Overhead Auto Hoist

Not only should your floor be perfectly level, but it should also be a certain thickness and strength (PSI). Ask a company sales rep to explain how thick your garage floor should be and how much pressure it can handle before settling on a car lift.

Above- or In-Ground Car Lift?

Throughout this article, we’ve spoken exclusively about above-ground car lifts, but if you’re looking for something that will “beautify” your garage, an in-ground car lift could be for you.

In-ground car lifts are what you’ll typically find in professional garages. They use two cylinders that rise out of the floor to lift the arms or runways to lift your vehicle. However, there are a ton of installment issues you need to deal with before getting an in-ground lift. One such issue is digging at least 8 to 9 feet into your garage’s floor to install the cylinders – something which could cost several thousands of dollars to do.

One major drawback of in-ground car lifts is the inability to store anything underneath. The cylinders rise out of the floor, leaving no parking space below the arms or runways. Stick to an above-ground car lift like any of the models mentioned above and you won’t have to worry about this.

APlusLift HW-10KOH 10000LB Two Post Overhead Auto Hoist Clear Floor Car Lift

Frame-Engaging or Wheel-Engaging?

Frame-engaging car lifts, such as the five mentioned in our picks of the five best car lifts, use arms that lift your vehicle by its frame, allowing the wheels to spin freely. Wheel-engaging car lifts require you to drive the wheels onto the arms before raising it off the floor.

Deciding between the two is a matter of determining your automotive repair skills. Do you prefer doing your own off-wheel maintenance or would you rather trust a professional mechanicIf you’re just looking for something to save space in your garage, a wheel-engaging 4-post lift is for you. In this case, you’ll have to have considerably more cash on hand.

Self-Lubricating

The chain, pulley, and even hydraulic cylinder systems take a tremendous amount of load when lifting several tons of metal off the floor. Because of this, it’s important that they are lubricated at all times, so they don’t snap or fail in any way, possibly resulting in dropping your car several feet onto the ground in less than a second.

The best models, such as the ones mentioned above, have their own self-lubricating mechanisms in place to guarantee smooth sailing for several years. As long as the lubricant tank is properly topped off every so often, you won’t need to worry about premature failure.

APlusLift HW-10KBP 10000LB Two Post Floor Plate Auto Hoist

110V or 120V?

Manufacturers generally offer their customers a choice between 110V and 220V motors. The latter uses considerably more energy but can lift and drop your vehicles much quicker (but still safely) than the former.

We’d recommend sticking to a 110V motor. Choosing 220V means hiring a professional electrician to tamper with your garage’s circuiting by poking numerous, large holes into drywall. Another reason why 110V motors are preferable is that in the case of power failure, you can drop your vehicle by connecting the car lift to a portable generator.

Some car lift motors are designed to work on both 110V and 220V, but you should always ask the sales rep beforehand. Assuming dual-voltage capabilities could end up in disaster.

Safety Features

Safety is number one priority when it comes to owning and operating a car lift. Without the right safety features in place, in the event of a power outage or sudden failure, you can end up spending more on repairs than the actual car lift.

Keep an eye out for double-point lock systems; arm restrains, chain safety devices, and the rubberized padding. All of these are insurance measures that prevent damage from occurring to the body of your vehicle in the worst-case scenarios. It’s also a good idea to have a portable generator on hand.

Conclusion

There you have it, folks – a quick guide on what a car lift is, why you need it, and how to find the right one for your garage. We’ve also provided you with our picks of our five favorite car picks made by two extremely reputable manufacturers that supply to most parts of the world.

XK USA L1000 10,000LBS Two Post Lift

In a nutshell, the benefits of owning a car lift are two-fold: storage and simplified automotive maintenance. If you’d like to increase your garage space without physically expanding it by several square feet (an endeavor that would potentially cost over tens of thousands of dollars), or you would like the fix up your car from below without an aching back afterward, then consider investing in your very own car lift.




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Buying Guides Drills & Impact Tools Guides

Best Cordless Drill-Driver Combo Kits in 2019

One of the most effective ways to make the switch from corded to cordless power tools is with purchasing a cordless combo kit. These kits will provide you with several batteries and power tools so you can get straight to work. Combo kits can come with a variety of different tools, some costing more than $2,000 and others considerably cheaper. Most combo kits come in two or four tools, the latter being more popular, but the former being a great option for people looking to build up their collection of cordless power tools gradually.

DEWALT DCK240C2

DEWALT DCK240C2

Finding the Right Cordless Drill-Driver Combo Kit

There are literally hundreds of different cordless drill-driver combo kits available, choosing the right kit for you that much more difficult. The following segment will focus on the most important specs and features to consider when shopping around for such a kit.

Number of Batteries

When searching for combo kits, ideally you’ll want to receive as many batteries as there are tools. Some cordless drill-driver combos might come with only one battery that’s compatible in both tools, but the best kits will give you a battery for each.

Bosch CLPK22-120

Bosch CLPK22-120

Carrying Case or Bag

Since you’re buying multiple tools, you’ll want to have a designated case or bag to place them in. We prefer hard carrying cases over bags since they work better at keeping your tools in place without bumping up against each other.

Drill and Driver Specs

Since you’re getting a cordless drill and impact driver, you’ll want them to work quickly and powerfully. The following specs are the most important to consider.

Makita CT226

Makita CT226

Motor

There are two types of motors generally used in power tools: brushed and brushless motors. The former is the classic type of motor that produces a lot of heat and requires constant maintenance in replacing the brushes, whereas the latter dissipates heat much more effectively but is the costlier option. Brushless drill-driver combo kits are the better option, but brushed drills and drivers can be used in the exact same applications while producing identical results.



Power Output

The rating used to describe the power capability of power drills and impact drivers is units-watts-out (UWO) which measures the combination of speed and torque. Quicker speed and more powerful torque are generally preferred over lower ratings, but for most home applications, virtually moderate speed and torque-power will do.

Comfort

Drills and impact drivers are used in both horizontal and vertical orientations, and many jobs call for drilling holes or driving screws overhead. Find a model that fits comfortably in your hand and won’t cause fatigue in your arms and shoulders with its weight. Most cordless power drills and impact drivers are light – around 4 to 7 pounds – so lightweight versions of these tools won’t be too difficult to find.

Milwaukee 2897-22 M18 Combo Kit

Milwaukee 2897-22 M18

Battery Voltage

Basically, the voltage rating of a cordless tool’s battery determines how much power it delivers to the tool. A higher voltage means more power, making it more suitable for heavy-duty work such as in professional woodshops and auto shops. The most powerful cordless drills and drivers will come with batteries of up to 18 volts.

Top 5 Drill-Driver Combo Kits

The previous section focused on the various specs and features to consider when shopping for a drill-driver combo kit. Now that we understand what makes a good combo kit, the only thing left to do is find the right kit. To help you in your search, we’ve made a list of our picks of the best five drill-driver combo kits that work beautifully and have been highly praised by their customers.

5 DEWALT DCK290L2 Combo Kit

The first combo kit on our list is the DCK290L2 from DEWALT. This kit comes with a 3.0-amp power drill and impact driver that feature brushed motors. The kit includes 20V batteries, one for each of the tools. The drill has a large ½-inch chuck and 3-speed transmission with speeds of up to 2,000 RPM. The impact driver comes with a ¼-inch hex chuck.

DEWALT DCK290L2 Combo Kit

The brushed motor generates up to 2,800 RPM and up to 3,200 IPM with 1,400-inch-pounds of torque. This combo kit would suit first-time buyers and hobbyist DIY-ers extremely well. The entire kit comes in a carry bag with several compartments to store the battery charger, tools, and batteries.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DCK290L2 on Amazon >>>

4 Milwaukee 2897-22 M18 Combo Kit

The next two-tool combo kit on our list is the infamous 2897-22 M18 from Milwaukee. This kit contains a hammer drill and an impact driver. The ½-inch hammer drill is especially impressive as it delivers up to 2,000 RPM and 1,200-inch-pounds of torque, while the 5.0-amp motor on the ¼-inch impact driver produces up to 3,700 IPM and 1,800-inch-pounds of torque.

Milwaukee 2897-22 M18 Combo Kit

The amazing thing about this kit is that the power of both tools is housed in compact cases – the hammer drill is 7.75 inches long, and the impact driver is only 5.25 inches. Their 18V REDLITHIUM batteries offer at least 30 minutes of run time before needing to be recharged.

Check how much you can save, buying the Milwaukee 2897-22 M18 on Amazon >>>

3 Makita CT226 Combo Kit

Makita’s two-tool combo kit – the CT226 – contains a 3/8-inch drill driver and ¼-inch impact driver. They both run off of 12V 2.0-amp batteries. From their chuck sizes and battery capacities, it’s fair to say that these tools are designed for light- to medium-duty applications. The drill has a two-speed transmission that can spin up to 1,700 RPM while generating around 250-inch-pounds of torque.

Makita CT226

The impact driver delivers up to 970-inch-pounds of torque while hammering out 3,500 IPM. These are two extremely lightweight tools that weigh less than 2 pounds each, basically eliminating the risk of fatigue. The kit comes with two 12V batteries, a charger, and a handy carrying case.

Check how much you can save, buying the Makita CT226 on Amazon >>>

2 Bosch CLPK22-120 Combo Kit

The CLPK22-120 combo kit from Bosch contains a 3/8-inch drill driver and a ¼-inch hex impact driver. They are both powered by 12V batteries, making them suitable for general house renovation and minor auto maintenance applications. The drill has a two-speed transmission that reaches speeds of up to 350 RPM and 1,350 RPM with a maximum torque of 256-inch-pounds.

Bosch CLPK22-120

The motor in the driver can deliver up to 2,600 RPM with 3,100 IPM at a maximum torque of 930-inch-pounds. The 12V batteries require 60 minutes of charging before reaching full capacity. A single charge can provide power to each tool for about 30 minutes. The entire kit comes in a handy carrying case in which the tools often scrape up against each other.

Check how much you can save, buying the Bosch CLPK22-120 on Amazon >>>

DEWALT DCK240C2 vs Bosch CLPK22-120: Combo Kit Comparison

1 DEWALT DCK240C2 Combo Kit

The final item on the list of our top five best drill-driver combo kits is the DCK240C2 from DEWALT. This combo kit contains the DCD771 ½-inch drill-driver with the two-speed transmission (450 RPM and 1,500 RPM maximum speeds) and the DCF88C2 ¼-inch impact driver (2,800 RPM max speed at 1,400-inch-pounds of torque).

DEWALT DCK240C2

Both of these tools are powered by super-beefy 20V batteries that provide power for up to 45 minutes on a single charge. It takes about 1 hour of charging time for the batteries to reach 100%. The kit comes with a carrying bag with separate compartments for each tool, charger, and batteries. This kit is designed to for heavy-duty house renovation and car maintenance applications.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DCK240C2 on Amazon >>>

Final Remarks

If you’re looking to switch from corded to cordless, then there’s no better way than going with a combo kit. Some of the most comprehensive cordless combo kits will set you back thousands of dollars, but if you want to make gradually build your toolset, then you’ll want to find a kit with only the most crucial tools. Some of the most vital tools you’ll need are a power drill and an impact driver that have several applications in the home, in woodshops, and in auto shops.

DEWALT DCK290L2 Combo Kit

DEWALT DCK290L2

There are literally hundreds of different drill-driver combo sets available, so it’s important to do a bit of research before purchasing a kit. There are several important specs and features to consider, such as the number of batteries included in the set, what type of case it comes in, and how well the tools actually perform. If you can find a kit that comes with one battery per tool, a good hard or soft carrying case, and high-speed and –torque drills and drivers, then you’re good to go.

DEWALT DCK240C2

DEWALT DCK240C2

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of our picks of the best five cordless drill-driver combo kits out there. Generally speaking, brand-name companies such as DEWALT, Milwaukee, Makita, and Bosch won’t disappoint. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best two-tool combo kit, we highly recommend going with the DEWALT DCK240C2. This kit is built for heavy-duty applications both in and outside the home. They are having long-lasting batteries and a quick charge, so there’s very little downtime in between charges.




Categories
Buying Guides Drills & Impact Tools Guides

Best Pocket-Hole Machines in 2019

The best woodworkers try their best to conceal screws whenever possible. A neat, flush finish is what separates the amateur, DIY furniture-maker from the pros, so if you’re looking to up your game, you should make every effort to do the same. One of the best tools to do this with is the pocket-hole jig.

Kreg DB210 Foreman Pocket-Hole Machine

Kreg DB210

We all know how the pocket-hole jig works: you clamp down your jig onto your stock to pre-drill holes at an angle. There’s no doubt that this is an extremely effective tool to help hide screws, but what if you’re looking for a quicker way to go at itConsider investing in a pocket-hole machine, instead.

A pocket-hole machine works just like the classic pocket-hole jig, but it makes quicker work of otherwise time-consuming clamping, measuring, and drilling at low angles. Some machines come with a built-in drill so you don’t need to have a power drill on hand to make pocket holes. Other models work just like the ol’ fashioned pocket-hole jig, but they come with better clamping systems, fence protection to prevent drilling through your wood, and locking mechanisms to make drilling holes in multiple boards easy and accurate. To cover up the pocket holes, you can fill them with plugs that you made yourself or that are premade by a manufacturer.

PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG Pocket-Hole Joinery System

PORTER-CABLE 560

What to Look For in a Pocket-Hole Machine

Pocket-hole machines come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, weights, and – most importantly – prices. Before you head out to purchase a pocket-home machine, you’ll want to make sure they fit the following criteria.

Clamping System

When drilling pocket holes, we want to make sure that our stock is kept securely in place while the built-in drill or power drill bit can penetrate without causing too much movement. The best pocket-hole machines and jigs should come with strong-grip clamps that are adjustable to the width and/or length of the board.

Castle TSM22 Pocket Hole Machine

Castle TSM22

Locking Mechanism for Repeated Drilling

A locking mechanism is a simple yet effective way to help produce repeated pocket holes in similar sized wood boards. With the traditional pocket-hole jig, you’re left measuring each board every time before making drilling holes at an angle in your stock. Pocket-hole machines come with various locking mechanism – front-to-back locking against the back fence, and even side-to-side locking against stops.

Adjustable Back Fence, Depth Gauge, or Depth Collar

When drilling pocket holes, we don’t want the drill bit to pierce too far into the wood board which can leave a weak web or pilot hole for screwing two boards together. There are several ways manufacturers help woodworkers with making the perfect pocket-to-pilot hole ratio, and it’s all in the back fence, depth gauge, or depth collar. Depending on the model of the machine, you may get one or several methods to ensure perfect pocket holes every time.

High-Speed Drilling

Pocket-hole machines can come with built-in drills, and for this type, it’s important for the motor to deliver ample drilling speed to make neat cuts. Like power drills, you’ll want something that goes at least above 1,500 RPM.

The Castle 100 Pocket Hole Machine

The Castle 100

Which Pocket-Hole Machine to Get

As we mentioned before, there are several types of pocket-hole machines – those that come with built-in drills, and those that require having a separate power drill to make pocket holes. Our list of the top 5 pocket-hole machines includes both types.

What is a Pocket-Hole Machine and How to Use It?

5. Shop Fox W1833 Pocket Hole Machine

The fifth-place position goes to Shop Fox’s W1833. It has a heavy-duty table design which allows users to rest large stock on while they use an integrated drill to cut pocket holes on the bottom-facing portion of the stock. Using a downwards plunging motion, the drill will come up at a 6° angle to make the ideal pocket hole with appropriate webbing and pilot hole ratio for each of your boards.

Shop Fox W1833 Pocket Hole Machine

It comes with an adjustable back fence to prevent excessive penetration, and two side locks to help make accurate, repeated pocket holes with every plunge. One drawback is the clamp which moves down to press against your stock as you pull the handle – it can be too strong and can morph softwoods.

Shop Fox W1833 Pocket Hole Machine
  • Hold down mechanism automatically adjusts to the right height and clamping pressure to securely hold the work...
  • One step automatic motor actuation; just pull the lever and forward and the motor starts before entering the...
  • 10-3/16-by-6-5/16-inch cast iron table

4. Castle 100 Pocket Hole Machine

The Castle 100 is the only model on our list that has a built-in router to make pocket holes but still requires an external drill to produce pilot holes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially considering how perfect the pocket holes are made. The guide to insert small-sized bits for drilling pilot holes is at a perfect 6° angle to enhance the quality of the web.

Castle 100 Pocket Hole Machine

It’s also a compact unit that you can take from place to place, and it comes with all the appropriate locking and clamping systems to prevent unwanted movement of your stock. It also features a dust-collection port to get rid of wood shavings and sawdust.

The Castle 100 Pocket Hole Machine
  • Portable. Cuts the professional Castle Pocket. Reduces joint shift. Dust extraction port. Routed not drilled

3. Castle TSM22 Pocket Hole Machine

The TSM22 by Castle is a popular pocket-hole machine for several reasons. First, the built-in drill delivers up to 1,780 RPM to make clean pockets and pilot holes every time. Unlike other models pocket-hole machines and the traditional pocket-hole jig, the pocket hole will not require further sanding to get rid of ugly splinters or uneven surfaces.

Castle TSM22 Pocket Hole Machine

The drill located under the head of the unit makes the 6° pilot hole for proper strength when joining two boards together with a screw. In addition, to start the drilling process, the user simply steps on a pedal which sends the multiple drills into the stock, freeing your hands up to offer support in preventing movement.

Castle TSM22 Pocket Hole Machine
  • Router—Bosch 2.0hp #1617 Drill—Bosch Colt 1.0hp #PR10E Router Bit—Premium 3/8” Solid Carbide, Rough...

2. PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG Pocket-Hole Joinery System

Out of all the models on our list, the PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG is the only one that doesn’t have an integrated drill for making pocket holes or pilot holes. Basically, you’re getting a pocket-hole jig with extra features, but the extra features are its saving grace. You get accurate measurements for repeated drillings, well-built stops to prevent penetration and make perfect-sized pocket holes, and the kit includes a collar to measure the perfect depth in every application.

PORTER-CABLE 560 QUIKJIG Pocket-Hole Joinery System

One drawback of the 560 QUIKJIG is that it even though it comes with a long drill bit for making pocket and pilot holes, there’s no built-in storage space for it. If the drill bit falls and the pilot point snaps, you have to go out and purchase a replacement.

PORTER-CABLE QUIKJIG Pocket Hole Jig & Joinery...
  • Automatic depth control system allows for easy set-up for different material thicknesses
  • Variable-spaced bushings allow a variety of positions for the pocket holes
  • Self-adjusting clamp adjusts automatically to material thickness

1. Kreg DB210 Foreman Pocket-Hole Machine

Finally, the number one spot on our list belongs to Kreg’s DB210. This is another table-style pocket-hole machine that uses a plunging handle to drill pocket and pilot holes. It comes with perfect stops to make repeated drillings super easy, and the adjustable fence allows users control in determining the depth of the pocket hole.

Kreg DB210 Foreman Pocket-Hole Machine

It also comes with a dust-collection port to get rid of pesky sawdust from your workspace. The 15.0 amp motor delivers up to 2,800 RPM for clean pockets with every plunge. As a table-style machine, it’s lightweight and can even be mounted on a bench for dedicated workers. It’s also one of the most noiseless machines out there.

Kreg DB210 Foreman Pocket-Hole Machine, Blue
  • Single-step operation starts motor, clamps workpiece, and drills pocket holes
  • Creates all Kreg Joint sizes: Standard, Micro, and HD
  • Powerful 110-V, 5.0-AMP, 2,800 RPM motor provides fast drilling

Conclusion

Pocket holes are an ingenious way to keep unsightly screws out of sight and out of mind. They work to keep two boards locked together to prevent unwanted moving and wobbling, and they can be filled in with self-made or purchasable plugs.

There are several types of pocket-home contraptions out there, and the classic one is a simple pocket-hole jig which requires meticulous measuring, makeshift locking systems for repeated drilling, and a careful hand to prevent excessive penetration through your wood. If you’re not really up to the challenge of working with normal pocket-hole jigs, then a pocket-hole machine is the way to go.

Shop Fox W1833 Pocket Hole Machine

Shop Fox W1833

Pocket-hole machines do all that a simple jig does and much more. The best models come with locking mechanisms, perfect clamping systems, depth gauges or collar stops for your drill bits, built-in drills with adjustable depth, and penetration insurance.

Out of our pick on the top 5 pocket-hole machines, we feel that users can get the most value out of the Kreg DB210 than anything else on the market. First of all, it comes with its own dedicated drill so you don’t need a separate power drill to make pocket holes. Secondly, it’s lightweight, extremely sturdy, and it’s easy to use. Finally, changing bits for the built-in drill is a toolless job thanks to the quick-change chuck that uses hex bits. It delivers up to 2,800 RPM for perfect pockets with every plunge of the handle.

Kreg DB210 Foreman Pocket-Hole Machine

Kreg DB210

We understand that some people aren’t willing to invest hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars on a machine that enhances the quality of your pocket holes, but for hardcore professionals who need to make repeated pocket holes in a time-efficient manner, a pocket-hole machine can be a great investment.

Recommended Pocket Hole Machines


Bestseller No. 1
Kreg DB210 Foreman Pocket-Hole Machine, Blue
  • Single-step operation starts motor, clamps workpiece, and drills pocket holes
  • Creates all Kreg Joint sizes: Standard, Micro, and HD
  • Powerful 110-V, 5.0-AMP, 2,800 RPM motor provides fast drilling
Bestseller No. 2
Shop Fox W1833 Pocket Hole Machine
  • Hold down mechanism automatically adjusts to the right height and clamping pressure to securely hold the work...
  • One step automatic motor actuation; just pull the lever and forward and the motor starts before entering the...
  • 10-3/16-by-6-5/16-inch cast iron table
SaleBestseller No. 3
Armor Auto-Jig Pocket Hole System & 350 Piece...
  • One-Step Set Up!
  • The Armor Tool Auto-Jig is changing the landscape of pocket hole joinery and the way you make pocket holes in...
  • The color coded screw system with our Color-Coat technology makes it easy to match the screw size and head to...




Categories
Buying Guides Guides Saws

Best Metal Cutting Saws in 2019

There are several tools you can use to cut metal. Most metalworkers are probably familiar with the good ol’ fashioned hacksaw or junior hacksaw. But if you’re looking for a more efficient way of slicing through metal pipes or bars, you can turn to bandsaws, reciprocating saws, chops saws, and multi-cutters to do the heavy work for you.

DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw

DEWALT DW872

Cutting Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metal

There are two types of metals used for construction purposes. These are ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Ferrous metals – carbon steel, cast and wrought iron, and stainless steel – are foundation metals used in large construction projects. They’re the rough-and-tough metals used in skyscrapers, bridges, and even some DIY projects. These are the high-density metals that require a lot of power and super-durable blades to slice.

Non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, copper, tin, and zinc, have no iron content (rust-resistant). For liquid pipes, roofing, gutters, and outdoor signs, you should turn to non-ferrous metals. In addition, these metals are highly malleable so cutting them down to size can be done with less powerful saws.

What to Look for in a Metal-Cutting Saw

Metal-cutting saws come in all different sizes, shapes, and with different specs. These are the most important features to pay attention to.

Evolution Power Tools RAGE2 Multi Purpose Cutting Chop Saw

Evolution Power Tools RAGE2

What Saw To Cut Through MetalMetal Cutting Guide

Abrasive Disc vs Carbide Blade

When strolling down the saw aisle at your local hardware store, you’ll most likely encounter metal-cutting saws that come with two types of blades: an abrasive disc and a carbide blade. An abrasive disc is a flexible disc which grinds against the metal stock. These discs produce a whole bunch of sparks when grinding against metal which can leave residual marks on your stock (not safe for aluminum or other soft metals).

Carbide blades are rigid, durable, and produce much cleaner results when slicing through metal stock and pipes. They’re also long-lasting so you don’t need to purchase replacement blades for several months or years of use. This is a good thing too since replacement carbide blades are rather costly.

DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw

DEWALT DW872

Blade Rotation Speed

Looking at the maximum RPM of a metal-cutting saw can help in determining how powerful the unit is. Typically, we want a tool that can deliver at least 1,300 RPM for metal-cutting purposes. However, if you purchase a saw that uses abrasive discs rather than carbide blades, you’ll want a tool that delivers at least 3,000 RPM.

Blade Size

Obviously, we want the blade/disc of our metal cutter to pass through whatever size pipe or bar we place put on the chopping block. Depending on what you need, you can get some great metal-cutting saws with blades ranging from 7 to 14 inches in diameter. We suggest going for at least 12 inches to all DIY-ers, but you might also get by through all of your work with a small 7-inch blade.

Makita LC1230 12-Inch Metal Cutting Saw

Makita LC1230

Clamping Mechanisms

When cutting small pieces of metal, it’s best to keep your hands away from holding the stock since cutting metal produces heat. The best metal-cutting saws come with great clamping systems. Some manufacturers skimp out on installing a reliable stock-clamping system which can result in disaster (kickbacks, causing your metal stock to fly and hit you in the face).

Which Metal-Cutting Saw to Get

The market is saturated with some great-performing metal-cutting tools like multi-cotters, chop saws, and bandsaws. However, in our opinion, the safest and most reliable tools to use for metal-cutting purposes has to the chop saw or multi-cutter. Here is our pick for the top 5 metal-cutting saws on the market.

Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 7-1/4-Inch TCT Multipurpose Cutting Chop Saw

Evolution Power Tools RAGE4

5 Makita LC1230 12-Inch Metal Cutting Saw

Our number 5 spot goes to the Makita LC1230. It features a 15.0 amp motor which spins the blade at up to 1,300 RPM for cutting all sorts of metals – both ferrous and non-ferrous. The LC1230 can also produce mitered cuts up to 45° with depths up to 4-1/2 inches. The unit features a quick-release back fence and clamping system for holding down your stock with proper force to prevent kickback.

Makita LC1230 12-Inch Metal Cutting Saw

Makita LC1230

If you care about portability, this unit weighs only 42.5 pounds fully assembled, so carrying it to and from your truck won’t murder your back. It’s definitely the best 12-inch metal-cutting chop saw on the market.

Check how much you can save, buying the Makita LC1230 on Amazon >>>

4 DEWALT D28710 14-Inch Abrasive Chop Saw

The DEWALT D28710 is the only metal-cutting saw on our list that uses an abrasive disc rather than a carbide blade. If you’re looking for a cheap but effective option for cutting ferrous metals, the D27810 could be the perfect tool for you.

DEWALT D28710 14-Inch Abrasive Chop Saw

DEWALT D28710

It features a 15.0 amp motor that delivers up to 3,800 RPM. The pivoting fence allows for mitered cuts of up to 45°. Its 14-inch abrasive disc can cut as deep as 5.4 inches. The only problem with this unit is its somewhat underperforming fence and tension screw which sometimes leaves the metal stock wobbling dangerously under the disc. The unit weighs 36.5 pounds so it’s super light enough to lift from site to site without trouble.

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT D28710 on Amazon >>>

3 Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 Multipurpose Cutting Chop Saw

The RAGE4 by Evolution Power Tools features the smallest blade on this list. Its 15.0 amp motor provides up to 1,450 RPM for quick, clean cuts through all sorts of metals. Its 7-1/4-inch carbide can cut as deep as 2 inches, though users should only cut steel sheets as thick as ¼ an inch to be safe, making it best-suited for home DIY projects and light-duty industrial work on all types of metals.

Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 7-1/4-Inch TCT Multipurpose Cutting Chop Saw

Evolution Power Tools RAGE4

The back fence of the RAGE4 can pivot 45° to the left and right, and the reliable tension screw keeps your stock from moving even slightly while under the blade. If you’re looking for an extremely lightweight, small-blade model, this is it (only 19 pounds).

Check how much you can save, buying the Evolution Power Tools RAGE4 on Amazon >>>

2 Evolution Power Tools RAGE2 Multi Purpose Cutting Chop Saw

Oddly enough, the RAGE2 is the big-brother model to the RAGE4. It features a 14-inch carbide blade built for slicing through all sorts of materials and metals – both ferrous and non-ferrous.

Evolution Power Tools RAGE2 Multi Purpose Cutting Chop Saw

Evolution Power Tools RAGE2

The 15.0 amp motor of the unit delivers up to 1,450 RPM for easy chopping. The action swivel clamp and fence allow it to make mitered cuts at up to 45° in either direction. The RAGE2 can cut metal stock and pipes as large as 3 inches.

Check how much you can save, buying the Evolution Power Tools RAGE2 on Amazon >>>

1 DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw

Finally, we choose the rather underrated DEWALT DW872 multi-cutting saw as our number one pick. First of all, the 15.0 amp motor delivers up to 1,300 RPM. The 14-inch carbide blade is suitable for all types of materials, including both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The DW872 delivers the deepest cuts out of any item on our list (5-3/16 inches deep) so you can chop a lot of bars, sheets, pipes, and small beams with this multi-purpose cutting saw.

DEWALT DW872 14-Inch Multi-Cutter Saw

DEWALT DW872

Like the other models, you can make mitered cuts by pivoting the back fence. To help ensure that your stock doesn’t wiggle, this unit comes with an angle clamp to keep your stock nice and snug while bringing the blade down. The only drawback is that it’s the heaviest unit out of everything here (55 pounds).

Check how much you can save, buying the DEWALT DW872 on Amazon >>>

Conclusion

And there you have it, folks. This is our buying guide and our pick for the top five metal-cutting saws that can help you in your next DIY project.

There are several important things to keep in mind while searching for a reliable metal-cutting saw. First, determine what types of metal you’ll be dealing with (dense, rust-prone ferrous metals (except stainless steel which doesn’t rust) or rust-resistant, malleable non-ferrous metals.

DEWALT D28710 14-Inch Abrasive Chop Saw

DEWALT D28710

Next, decide whether you want a model which uses an abrasive disc for grinding through metals (more sparks and heat, messier finish, but cost-efficient) or a unit that uses carbide tips (usable on both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, produces few sparks and little to no heat, but a costly investment).

Depending on what sort of jobs you will be doing, you’ll want to check beforehand the maximum speed output of the motor (RPM) and the size of the blade or disc since thicker metals require a large blade to cut cleanly through. Finally, for safety reasons make sure that the unit comes with an adequate strong clamp to prevent unwanted accidents and kickback.

On our top 5 list, we provide you with metal-cutting saws with blades of all sizes (from 7-1/4 to 14 inches) as well a single abrasive disc model (DEWALT D28710). The best model, in our humble opinion, is the DEWALT DW872 which is an excellent tool but has yet to get the attention it so deserves.

Makita LC1230 12-Inch Metal Cutting Saw

Makita LC1230

It comes with a 14-inch blade that can be used for cutting through both ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and it has a cutting capacity larger than any of the other items on our list (up to 5-3/16 inches). In addition, the kit includes an angle clamp to assist in making mitered cuts by keeping your stock in place without the risk of wobbling under the blade.