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Cordless or Corded Power Tools - Which is Better?

Posted by Katy | Toolstop on 25th Feb 2021

Are cordless tools set to take over the job site? This Toolstop blog explains the pros and cons of both corded and cordless power tools, highlighting which is best for the jobs you're carrying out.

cordless or corded power tools

Which is Better - Corded or Cordless Power Tools?

When it comes to power tools, there is a lot of thought needs to go into choosing the correct tools for the job and finding ones that will last you for years to come. If you are just starting out in the trade and looking to build up your kit, or have some DIY projects lined up, there is one question you may be asking yourself - "Should I go for corded or cordless power tools?"

In this Toolstop blog, we will explain the pros and cons of both corded and cordless power tools. Please note that this is just a guide, and you should make your decision based on the jobs you need your tools for, how often you will be using them and the type on environments you will be working in.

Are Cordless Tools Better?

With the introduction of Dewalt 54V, HiKOKI 36V and Makita 40V in recent years, are cordless tools set to take over from corded?

We are seeing more and more cordless tools being introduced to the market, and the reason being, is that with these new battery platforms, these tools are able to produce power equal to that of corded machines. Who could say no?

When you need high power output yet flexible working, cordless tools are the one. They are much more convenient for everyday use and are quickly becoming a trade favourite. But, if you need constant, extremely high power for a full days work with no interruptions, corded tools are a must!

Cordless tools are in no way inferior to their mains-powered counterparts. Each has its own benefits which we will explain below. Please note that, in most cases, it isn’t until you reach these newer battery platforms that you will be able to achieve the same power output as the corded equivalent, so like anything, they come at a cost.

cordless power tools

The Benefits of Mains Powered Tools

  • Corded Tools Advantaged & Disadvantages
  • Cordless Tools Advantages & Disadvantages

Lets talk corded tools. Whilst they are great, they come with some disadvantages.

Corded advantages:

  • Power all day long without needing to worry about running out of battery
  • Extremely high power output
  • In most cases, corded tools are typically lighter than cordless tools as you don’t need to carry around any bulky batteries
  • No need to buy extra batteries which will save money in the long run

Corded disadvantages:

  • Trailing cables are a hazard that can lead to injury
  • Cables may not stretch far enough meaning you will spend a lot of time unplugging and moving around which risks cables getting tangled
  • Corded tools need to undergo a PAT test before they can be used on the job site – this can be a nuisance as well as time consuming
  • There’s always the risk of damaging the cable – the risk of injury with corded tools is much higher
  • Time-consuming to set up and pack up the transformer needed to use a corded tool on professional job sites
  • You may not always have access to an immediate power supply

Now moving onto cordless tools. They might be the new and upcoming thing, but they too have their disadvantages.

Cordless advantages:

  • You have the freedom to roam wherever you like with no limits – there is no cable restricting your movement
  • No tangled or damaged cables in sight
  • Batteries can be used for multiple different tools – If you are invested in the one brand, your tools will work off of the same batteries from that battery platform
  • New technology means that a lot of cordless tools are now just as powerful as corded tools - brushless motors etc.
  • Extremely easy to set up. Simply attach the battery and you are good to go, no messing about with transformers
  • Can be used anywhere, you don’t need a power supply as long as your batteries are charged

Cordless disadvantages:

  • Batteries can run out quickly, meaning you need to be on top of charging them regularly. If you forget to charge them the night before a job, they won’t be of any use and this can cause setbacks
  • Batteries can take a while to charge
  • Batteries can be expensive – especially for the 36V & 54V platforms which deliver power equal to that of a corded tool. It is likely you will need to have backup batteries to power you right through the day, so building up your kit initially will be expensive

So, Corded or Cordless?

As we can see above, whilst there are more cons to corded tools than there are cordless, it all comes down to the jobs you are carrying out.

In some cases, a corded SDS Max hammer drill will be the only tool that will do the job! Carrying around a bulky battery on a cordless equivalent would be extremely tiring and fatiguing. If you are doing some occassional DIY in your garage where the cables on these tools will stretch far enough, it would be silly to invest hundreds (or even thousands) of pounds into a specific battery platform just for the sake of it.

Cordless tools now seem to be preferred on job sites and in the trade, simply because of their benefits. Cordless tool technology is constantly evolving which gives them another slight advantage to corded.

In a nutshell, cordless tools are a much safer option for site use. There is always a chance that a cable can be cut, especially when working in a largely populated space which could result in injury. However, cordless tools aren’t for everyone. They take a lot of upkeep – remembering to charge batteries, carting around a heavy battery for hours, and if you are working all day long, the expense of buying a few batteries so you constantly have power really adds up. This is a decision you need to make on your own depending on the application, how much flexible movement you need, and how much money you have to spend.

So what do you think? Are cordless tools set to take over the site in the next 5 years? Will we still see 110V on the job? We would love to know your thoughts! Either way, for now, Toolstop has you covered.

Dont panic, we stock plenty of corded and cordless tools at Toolstop:

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