Power Tools Buyers Guide

The Coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have given us a lot of time to wrench on our motorcycles – good thing riding motorcycles on the open road is about as socially distant as you can get. Still, the fact remains that turning a wrench on your bike, whether to perform basic maintenance or even a complete teardown, is a part of the ownership experience many of us enjoy (or at least tolerate). While a good set of basic hand tools is an essential part of anybody’s garage, when you’re ready to step up your game then it’s time to get some power tools.

Here we’ve assembled a few of the basic must-haves for anyone looking to expand their tool chest to include some battery-powered goodies.

DeWalt DCD771C2 20V Max Lithium-Ion Compact Drill/Driver Kit - $97

Quite possibly everyone’s first power tool, presenting your battery-powered compact drill/screwdriver. This one is of the DeWalt variety, but as you likely already know, there are several like it from several different manufacturers.

One of over 180 DeWalt products utilizing their interchangeable 20V battery system, the drill/driver has an ergonomic design, comfort grip handle, and can spin up to 1,600 rpm (without load). There are 15 clutch settings, with a 1/2-inch chuck size.

Bottom Line/The first thing to buy when upgrading your tools.

Porter-Cable 1/2" 20V Max Impact Wrench - $175

Countershaft sprockets can be hard to loosen with regular hand tools. That’s where something like this Porter-Cable 1/2-inch 20V impact wrench comes in really handy. With tons of power to loosen some of the most stubborn bolts, instead of getting out your breaker bar, all you have to do is pull a trigger and let the impact wrench do the work. While the drill/driver might be your first power tool, the impact wrench might be the one getting the most use.

This Porter-Cable unit can spin up to 1,700 rpm, with an advertised 330 lb-ft of torque. The LED light makes it easier to reach bolts in dark or hard to see areas, and the wrench feels balanced in your hands even with the battery installed (the battery is included, too).

Bottom Line/This will be your most-used power tool.

Milwaukee 3/8-Inch Cordless Ratchet - $187

Even if you have ratcheting hand tools, the simplicity of pressing a button and having the tool do all the ratcheting can’t be overstated. This 3/8-inch cordless ratchet from Milwaukee has a 3/4-inch head for really tight spaces and delivers up to 35 lb-ft of torque. The metal trigger is variable, giving the user greater control of how fast or slow to fasten or unfasten the bolt. The housing is steel for greater durability, and extra convenience comes from the “fuel” gauge battery level indicator to let you know how much juice you have left.

Bottom Line/A super convenient tool when you have lots of bolts to fasten

Makita Cut-Off/Angle Grinder Kit - $445

The other items above might be more useful on a daily basis, but the angle grinder is quite possibly the most satisfying tool to use. If for nothing else than the massive sparks you can let fly for your next social media post. But if you actually do need to do something like clean up some welds, an angle grinder/cut off wheel, like this one from Makita, is a valuable tool.

Two 18v lithium-ion batteries are included in this kit, hence the price. Makita’s exclusive Automatic Speed Change Technology automatically adjusts speed and torque during operation for optimal performance. There’s a rubber handle for comfort, and the soft-start brings the disc up to speed gradually for less kickback to the user and to help prolong the bevel gears.

Bottom Line/Perfect for making sparks.

Dremel Lite Rotary Tool - $44

Maybe the unsung hero of the tool chest, rotary tools like the Dremel are useful when you need to make detailed cuts or grinds, or need to sand a small, specific area.

With the Dremel tool specifically, it features the EZ twist nose cap to change accessories at the tip quickly and, well, easily, without tools. You can also adjust the speed from 8,000 rpm to 25,000 rpm to have just the right amount of spin for the job. The 4V lithium-ion battery is easily charged with the included USB charger.

Bottom Line/For those hard to reach places

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