I don’t often recommend particular manufacturers, or brands, or models of tools, equipment, etc. When I do, it’s never because I’ve been asked to do so, but because I’ve tried them myself, and found them worth having. I do so because I reckon my friends and readers would like to know about something that can be honestly recommended, without bias or ulterior motive.
In that light, I think it’s time to give a big shout-out to Black & Decker’s 20V range of handyman’s tools and hand-held appliances. I’ve been undertaking a fair amount of work in our Texas home, into which we moved just over a year ago, and my older nickel-cadmium battery-powered tools simply weren’t up to it any longer. The batteries would no longer hold a charge for very long, and some of the tools were big and clunky by modern standards – not surprising, really, since they were more than a decade old, and there’s been a lot of progress since then.
I shopped around online and in local hardware and home improvement stores, but I wasn’t impressed by the prices demanded for ‘big-name’ brands such as DeWalt, Makita, etc. Miss D. and I aren’t poor, but we’re not rich either. We live relatively frugally, and try to spend our money wisely. I really couldn’t see spending close to $1,000 on the tools I needed.
In thinking about alternatives, I noticed that Joel has had good things to say about his Black & Decker 20V drill/driver, and has added to his arsenal a reciprocating saw and a chainsaw using the same batteries. He found that the reciprocating saw went through batteries at a brisk rate, but that’s not surprising – those things chew power – and it’s not necessarily a disadvantage if one has spare batteries. Comparing the prices of the B&D range of tools to their major competitors, they were usually significantly cheaper, and I know Joel gives his tools a good workout: so I took the plunge.
I bought this drill/driver and this sweeper/leaf blower to start with, planning to get more tools as I went along. They proved very useful, particularly the drill/driver, which is lightweight, yet powerful enough to get some pretty big jobs out of the way. (For example, I was able to drive 6″ screws through 4×4 uprights into plugs in brickwork without trouble, something that had been hard work for my old drill/driver unit.)
The standard batteries had a charge life adequate for my needs, but in case I need to use them for extended periods, I’ve bought a 2-pack of replacement batteries and a high-speed charger. I’ve since added a small chainsaw to my Black & Decker arsenal.
In general, I’ve been very impressed by all these tools. They appear to be more than adequate for home handyman use, and get the job done to my satisfaction. Over the course of the next few months, as funds allow, I’m going to add a garden cultivator/tiller, a reciprocating saw and a string trimmer/edger to our collection, all using the same batteries we already have. Given that both Miss D. and myself have physical limitations, their light weight and good ergonomics should prove very useful to both of us.
In short, a highly satisfied “Thumbs Up” to the Black & Decker 20V range. For domestic and handyman use, it seems to offer very good value for money. Recommended.
(No, I haven’t been offered anything, in cash or in kind, to recommend B&D. I bought and paid for all the tools I’ve mentioned with my own money. I just like to share a good thing, when I find one, with my readers and friends.)