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If you're a DIY enthusiast, an electric screwdriver is a must to help speed up everyday jobs. Tighten and loosen all screw shapes and sizes by interchanging bits. It can be especially useful where lots of screws need to be tightened quickly and precisely.
Before you buy an electric screwdriver, decide what types of jobs you will be doing and bear in mind:
The electric screwdriver's power is measured in Volts. Most are cordless and are powered by a rechargeable battery with a charging cradle. Generally the higher the Voltage, the more efficient the screwdriver, and the more work can be done before it needs recharging.
A screwdriver can either come in a simple-to-use straight design, a pistol shape or can be multi- positional. The straight electric screwdrivers are the most basic, whereas the pistol shape helps to access awkward angles, and a multi-positional screwdriver will give you the best of both worlds.
A screwdriver's rotating force, known as torque, can be varied according to the size of the screw - some need more force than others. While a screwdriver with lower levels of torque will be sufficient for occasional day-to-day tasks, a screwdriver with variable torque and a higher range is better suited to more involved assembly jobs where there are lots of different screw types required.
This is new technology used in rechargable batteries that means they can be much smaller, so screwdrivers are much more compact, lighter and easier to use. The added benefit of lithium ion technology is that the battery will not run down while the screwdriver is idle (like other models).
A light built into the screwdriver to help visibility in dark conditions.
Buying guide to buying jigsaws
A must for any toolbox, jigsaws make straight, curved and internal cuts through a variety of materials including wood and ceramic tiles. Unlike heavier circular saws that cut just straight lines, jigsaws offer the combination of cutting agility with portability and lightweight size. They can make light work of many cutting jobs including holes in worktops and openings for electrical sockets.
As with all power tools, the more features the jigsaw has, the more expensive it's likely to be. However, no matter which brand you opt for, jigsaws operate in the same way using a tiny vertical blade that moves up and down at a rate of up to 3,000 strokes per minute. They're not the fastest saws, but they're precise and easy to manoeuvre. Think about the types of jobs you need it for and then decide on the type of jigsaw and features you'll really benefit from.
Battery operated jigsaws are convenient - they can be flexibly used anywhere in places you can't get too with a corded jigsaw. Although cordless models can cut tough materials, it drains the battery quicker so they're best for softer materials such as wood. They also have a limited run time.
Mains operated jigsaws are better suited to tougher cutting jobs or continuous use. Corded models are generally better for regular use and for tougher materials such as thick boards, light metals and hard woods.
A jigsaw's speed is measured in RPM (Rotations Per Minute). For occasional use, or for less demanding jobs, a single jigsaw speed may be sufficient. However, a variable jigsaw speed that can be adjusted for different materials, is a good all round option. Some materials such as wood benefit from a fast saw speed which reduces vibration, whereas other materials may get too hot and require a slower speed which also allows more control. When used with the right blades, variable speed provides cleaner, faster cuts through different materials.
As with any saw, the key to getting the best cutting result from a jigsaw is to choose the right blade for the job. Jigsaw blades are classified by the number of teeth they have per inch (tpi). The higher the blade's tpi, the smoother the finished cut and the lower it is and the quicker the cut.
Jigsaws work better through thinner materials, as blades can bend and overheat when cutting through material that is too thick. Depending on the material, jigsaws may require fine, medium or coarse cutting blades with a variety of teeth. High speed steel and Bi-metal blades are used for wood and light metal, Cobalt steel blades are also good for wood and metal but are harder and more durable. While Carbide grit blades are used to cut masonry board
A quick blade release feature enables a quick blade change which is handy if you're dealing with lots of different materials.
The jigsaw's orbital action, which is rather like a pendulum motion, moves the blade side to side as well as up and down. The added motion allows the jigsaw to cut faster, reduces jamming and extends the blade's life. Most orbital action jigsaws have settings that adjust the amount of side-to-side motion depending on the material being cut.
Take the hard work out of DIY with a good drill. It's likely to be one of the most versatile and useful tools that youbuy. It will save time and make easy work of drilling holes into wood, metal and concrete, as well as drive screws and fasten bolts given the right adaptors. It's worth getting familiar with a drill's main features before you buy.
The higher your drill's power rating, the quicker and better performance it will give. A drill's power is indicated by Volts for corded drills and watts for corded. Generally, the more powerful the drill, the more expensive it's likely to be.
A drill's speed is measured in RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) and it plays an important part in how it performs. Single speed drills are not as flexible at dealing with different materials as those drills with variable speeds.
Many drills come with a hammer or percussion action that can tackle harder and heavier materials such as concrete. Using a pounding action, it pushes the specially toughened tungsten carbide tipped (TCT) masonry bits in and out at high speeds of thousands of beats per minute. Hammer drills can be tricky to control so a secondary handle or grip can make it easier and more comfortable to use.
The drill's chuck holds the bit tightly in place and its capacity dictates the largest size of bit the drill can take. A chuck capacity of 10mm will suit most users' needs. There are 3 types of mechanism: key operated, keyless or SDS. The most suitable depends on the type of drilling that needs to be done.
Key operated models are generally more secure as the chuck is tightened using a key. This helps to keep the drill where you want it, even when tackling hard materials. However, as some key adjustment is required, bits take longer to change. Keyless models normally come with a standard 13mm chuck and as there is no key, bits can be changed quickly. SDS chucks lock bits into place using a fast keyless mechanism. Often available on the top of the range drills, the SDS system is good for using on tough drilling jobs.
There are other useful features which are all designed to make drilling easier including:
This allows you to set the maximum depth of the hole that you want to drill.
Front secondary handle
Two handles enable you to get the best balance and position to apply more pressure and accuracy, especially helpful for more control when using the hammer action.
By reversing the direction of the drill, it's quicker and easier to remove. It's also handy if you're using a screwdriver or bolt adaptor.
Integrated magnetic bit holder
It's easy to lose small drill bits. An integrated magnetic bit holder provides a convenient place to store them exactly where you need them - on the drill itself
Buy a power drill from The Online DIY Shop
When you've got a tough cleaning job ahead, a pressure washer will help you save time and effort. It blasts a powerful jet of water to help lift dirt and grime off a number of outside surfaces from brick walls, garden furniture and roofs to driveways, patios and cars.
·How do pressure washers work?
·Pressure washer accessories
·Choosing the right pressure washer
·Using your pressure washer safely
How do pressure washers work?
A pressure washer is a machine that increases water pressure and then distributes the water in a controlled manner. The combination of water flow and pressure created by your machine is what provides the rinse and cleaning action. It's plugged into the mains electricity and can either be connected to a mains water tap, a water tank or a water butt via a garden hose. If you use a tank or water butt you need to attach a filter as there's a risk of sediment getting into the machine. Make sure the tank always contains plenty of water. If it runs dry, you may damage the pressure washer.
Before you tackle a job, adjust the pressure and try out on a small area first to gauge the maximum amount of water needed for effective but safe cleaning. Pressure is measured in bars, with lighter cleaning jobs such as a dirty car needing around 100 bar, while tougher and harder to reach jobs like the roof needing at least 120 bar.
By attaching nozzles you can increase cleaning power by up to 50%, and optional attachments designed for specific jobs will get jobs done more effectively.
A pressure washer is a really efficient alternative to a garden hose. It uses about 400 litres of water an hour to provide up to 25 times more pressure.
Pressure washers are rated in two ways - by water pressure and water flow.
The water pressure rating measured in bars, indicates how much pressure is available for cleaning. Generally, the more pressure the machine delivers, the more power it has to lift dirt.
Just as important is the amount of water that's delivered, which is measured in litres per hour. The more water the pressure washer distributes, the faster debris can be washed away. Both pressure and flow are important in determining the right washer for the jobs you'll be doing, and both affect how much time it will take to do the work.
Here's a guide to what pressure you are likely to need to need to carry out the most common domestic cleaning tasks:
Light tasks - 100 bar
·Garden equipment: furniture, tools, barbecues, compost bin
Medium tasks - 110 bar
·Cars and other vehicles
·Swimming pools, hot tubs and spa pools
Tougher jobs - 110-130 bar
·Paths, driveways and patios
·Brick, stone and concrete walls
Also think about:
·How far away from the water and electricity supply you will need to reach. You'll need a sufficiently long cable and hose.
·Storing and maneuvering the pressure washer. Wheels and a handle are useful, as are upright models where you have limited storage space.
·An auto stop/start feature that will prolong the life of the motor.
·A detergent tank that will provide extra cleaning power by releasing the right amount detergent in the waterflow.
·A built in storage compartment that safely tidies away trailing cables and hoses.