When shopping for tools, there are two options available: hand tools and power tools. DIYers and homeowners often have a hard time deciding which one is better. The answer will depend on the needs, preferences and budget of the user.
Before making a decision, it helps to have an understanding of the differences between these two tool types, their advantages, and their drawbacks.
Hand Tools vs Power Tools: What’s the Difference
What’s the difference between hand tools and power tools?
Hand tools are exactly what they sound like – tools that require manual labor to use. Power tools have a power source that allows them to operate automatically and without human intervention.
That power source may be a battery, air compressor or electricity.
Power tools also have motors and other mechanisms that allow them to run more efficiently and more powerfully than their manual counterparts.
Manual tools have fewer moving parts, and their designs are simple in nature.
To recap: power tools use a source of power (i.e. battery or electricity) to run, while hand tools rely on human power to operate.
The Pros and Cons of Hand Tools
Hand tools have their advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to consider these pros and cons when choosing tools.
The Benefits of Hand Tools
One of the primary benefits to owning hand tools is that there’s no need to worry about mechanical or computerized parts breaking. Hand tools have few moving parts, so they tend to last longer than their powered counterparts.
Hand tools also give users more control over the tool’s movement, which is ideal for wood carving and tasks that require finely detailed work.
Because hand tools require human power to run, they are always available for use. There is no need to worry about recharging batteries and power outages. These tools can be used any time.
With most manual tools being lighter in weight and more compact in size, they are also travel-friendly.
The Drawbacks of Manual Tools
The most obvious drawback to using manual tools is that they aren’t as powerful as their powered counterparts.
It also takes more time to complete tasks because of this lack of power. It can take two or three hits with a hammer to drive a nail into a piece of wood, but it takes just one squeeze of the trigger to drive a nail with a nail gun.
Hand tools are also less accurate than power tools because they require human power and don’t move at the same high speeds power tools move.
The Pros and Cons of Power Tools
Power tools are found in garages all over the world. While they certainly have their advantages, there are some drawbacks that also need to be considered.
The Benefits of Power Tools
The main benefit to using power tools is their power. Equipped with motors, these tools use a power source, like a battery or electricity, to run. They are far more powerful than manual tools, which contributes to many of the other benefits these tools offer.
Greater power also means greater accuracy and time saved on projects. Power tools are usually more precise because they move quickly, and some have guides to make cutting more precise. More power also means that jobs get done far more quickly than they would with a manual tool.
Some power tools also handle tasks that are nearly impossible with manual tools. The jackhammer is a great example of this. Try driving nails or screws into concrete with a simple hammer. The powerful jackhammer can take care of this task with ease, which allows contractors to secure concrete anchors into walls to secure them to concrete floors.
In many cases, power tools (while dangerous themselves) are safer than manual tools. Cutting down a large tree with a manual saw takes longer and is far more dangerous than using a chainsaw.
The Drawbacks of Power Tools
There aren’t many drawbacks to power tools, but the two main ones are: reliance on power and failing parts.
Power tools require a power source, which means they cannot be used if the power is out or batteries are depleted. These tools also have more mechanical parts, which means they are more prone to failure.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to use a power or hand tool will depend on the job and level of accuracy and power required.