Monday, December 13, 2010

Power Tools vs. Hand Tools

There is a lot of debate in the wood working and cabinetry industry about which tools are better, Power Tools or Hand Tools?

A Hand Tool is defined as a device for performing work on a material or a physical system using only hands. Hand Tools can be manually used employing force using your hands alone or using electrical current but still employing your hands as the main force.  Practically every type of tool can be a hand tool and many have also been adapted as a power tool.

What sets a hand tool apart from a power tool is that power tools get their motive power from motors or engines rather than from human mechanical action.

A power tool is defined as a tool powered by an electric motor, an internal combustion engine, a steam engine, compressed air, direct burning of fuels and propellants, or even natural power sources like wind or moving water. Power tools are either stationary or portable, where portable means handheld.
So what’s the big debate about?

Hand tool enthusiast argues that power tools take away from the traditional way of doing things.  While Power tools fanatics say that using power tools brings speed and accuracy to projects.

Pros of Hand Tools
Hands tools are less are less expensive than Power Tools.
They don’t use electricity as often which lowers electrical bill.
Hand tools are safer to work with than power tools.
Less noise and vibrations while working. This lowers the risk of hearing loss.
A more hands on experience with project.
Safer than power tools.

Cons of Hands Tools
One of the biggest risks working with hand tools are misuse by handler such as using a chisel as a screwdriver.
Improper maintenance of tools cause rusting and accidents.
Takes longer to complete a project.
The accuracy and precision of project might be of less quality.

Pros of Power Tools
A smoother more accurate and professional finish on projects.
There will be less time spent working on projects.
Less user fatigue.
Modern power tools come with cordless features which are safer.

Cons of Power Tools
More expensive to use and buy.
Very hazardous to use if user not properly trained.
Cords and extensions needed for electricity increases potential hazardous conditions.
Moving parts increase chance for bodily injury.

As you can see there are pro’s and con’s to utilizing both kinds of tools.  When it comes down to the debate, it’s about your personal preference.  Some people like to stick with tradition with hand tools while others may prefer the accuracy and speediness of power tools.

One person stated when asked the question of the debate that “My attitude on tools (hand or power) is to buy the best you can afford”.  Maybe you can use that same philosophy or just use both.

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  1. Very nice, detailed, and informative post! I really enjoyed it. Thank you, thank you!


    Best wishes,