Three Things to Consider Before Buying a Power Tool Combo Kit

Upgrading your entire DIY tool platform is easy when you purchase a combination kit with tools that match.

Drill
Buying a kit with tools made by the same manufacturer means you can use the same batteries for everything.Makita

Nothing beats having a matched set of power tools when it comes to taking on tasks around the house. Many of today’s best cordless tool kits offer a wide assortment of drills, drivers, and saws to handle just about anything. But how do you know which kit to buy? Sticking to brand-name manufacturers will help you narrow the field, but the choices are still mind-boggling. To make finding the right tool kit easier, we’ve put some buying tips together that will guide you to the perfect home tool kit. Here’s what to look for.

Match Tools to the Job

DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Drill Combo Kit
This combo kit features a lightweight, ergonomic drill driver and a ¼-inch impact driver with one-handed bit loading.DEWALT

There are two basic tool types available: general-purpose tools made for the home DIYer and those made for construction professionals. Generally, professional-grade tools are heavier because they house batteries that can hold a charge longer for all-day work on a job site. Motors are also beefier (and weigh more) and wattages needed to power them are higher. That said, unless you’re intending to build a new home, general-purpose tools will totally cover drilling, fastening, and sawing jobs around the house for a lot less money. That said, stick to reputable brands that back their products with solid warranties.

Weight and Ergonomics

Makita Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 6-Pc. Combo Kit
Efficient BL Brushless motors are electronically controlled to optimize battery energy use for up to 50 percent longer run times per charge.Makita

Today’s top-end cordless tool batteries range up to 18 volts—powerful enough to drill massive holes through just about anything. With power, however, comes weight, which is a big thing to consider if you’re looking for cordless tools to do odd jobs around the house. Beefy 18-volt drills can weigh up to 10 pounds, while typical 9.6-volt drills tip the scales at about 3 ½ pounds. When it comes to hanging curtain rods from atop a ladder, having a lighter weight tool will make the job a lot easier. Ergonomics is an important factor as well. Back in the day, most drills had a pistol grip. Today, many cordless tools feature a T-type handle with the battery pack located at the base of the T-grip. This provides better balance overall and allows you to use the tool in much more confined spaces because your hand is out of the way.

Speed

Ryobi P884 18-Volt ONE+ Lithium-Ion Combo Kit
An 18-volt lithium battery can be recharged in as little as 30 minutes.Ryobi

A drill is going to be one of the most important tools in your kit. Most kit drills have two speeds (300 and 800 rpm) with a selector switch that allows you to toggle back and forth depending on what task you’re performing. The lower speed is great for driving screws while the higher speed is what you want for drilling nice, clean holes. In addition to this feature, look for drills that have a trigger that offers variable-speed control, so you can go from zero (when you’re just starting to sink a screw or drill a hole) to the top of the range. If you do a lot more drilling than screw driving, consider models that offer speeds up to 1,000 rpm or higher at their apex. A variable clutch that prevents you from overdriving and stripping screws is a must and many drills come with a handy light that provides peak lighting on the area you’re working on—a nice feature if you find yourself under cabinets or in a dark corner.