Electric tools come of age

by Andy Bryenton

No so long ago petrol was king when it came to handling outdoor power, and the average tradesperson would carry a can of two-stroke mix everywhere.

Times have changed, and there are now some serious tools which run exclusively off electricity, raising the possibility of charging up a whole array of batteries direct via inverter from the ute or van itself. These are no weak or retiring versions of their petrol counterparts either. Here are three of the best, which are beloved of modern trade professionals, and might be a good match around the farm as well.

Stihl invented the world’s first electric cut off saw specifically for those circumstances where it’s too far to run an extension cable. Compact and lighter than its petrol opposite number, the TSA 230 can cut tiles to size, bricks for masonry projects, and even comes with an abrasive wheel to slice steel like a roast dinner. Weighing in at 3.9 kilograms, the TSA 230 can cut to a depth of 70mm and keep going continually for up to 15 minutes on a single battery. That’s a quarter hour of powering through stone and steel, which is pretty impressive. Makita has made cordless drills for years now, but they have upped the ante with the super powerful DHR 242Z. A hammer drill, which is as serious as those that run a cable or even a small petrol motor, this monster weighs far less than you might think and can tackle drilling tasks into the toughest materials. It’s also designed to fit Makita’s portable dust extraction system, and it has an easy to operate slide chuck for quick switch-out of bits.

Husqvarna is as at home with chainsaws as Makita are with drills, but once again their cordless range is a step up in practicality and power. Take, for example, the 535i XP, a chainsaw, which weighs less than its petrol stablemates but has been designed with the carpenter and tradie in mind as well as the home firewood user. Quieter, with less vibration and lower maintenance costs, this saw can even be attached to a battery backpack for all-day use without a recharge and far from power points.