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Best Power Tool Sets

Updated August 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 26 Models Considered
  • 10 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 151 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best power tool sets

    Last Updated August 2018

    There are many excellent cordless power tool sets on the market, designed to meet the needs of everyone from keen amateur to full-time pro.

    It's tempting to go for the big bundle – the kind of comprehensive kit that covers just about everything you'll ever need, and there can be advantages having a well-stocked workshop. Alternatively, you'll save money if you just buy a couple of tools, those that you really need right now.

    The cordless tool sets in our final selection satisfy a variety of needs. There's something for the beginner, the more accomplished DIYer, or the professional tradesperson.

    If you're ready to buy, these are the kits we recommend. For those who'd like more detail on the various aspects of a good power tool set, we've compiled the following review.

    There may be tools in the set that you've never used before. If possible, practice with them on a piece of scrap. Get used to them before committing to the real job.

    Why buy a power tool set?

    There are a number of good reasons:

    • Buying a power tool set should give you considerable savings over buying each item individually.

    • If you know a first-time homebuyer, a good basic set of DIY tools may not be glamorous, but it's one of the most useful gifts you can give.

    • For the professional, a complete, interchangeable power tool set provides great versatility. It's an investment you won't need to make again for many years.

    • If you've made do with old corded tools, and they're past their prime, replacing everything at once with cordless upgrades is often the most economical approach.

    • Buying cordless power tools together ensures that batteries and charger are compatible across the whole set.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some tool sets include consumables, like drill bits and saw blades. This is a nice addition, especially if you're giving a power tool set as a gift. Everything the recipient needs to get started is there in the kit.

    Choosing your power tool set

    The best power tool set for your particular needs will depend on the kind of work you expect to do, and how often you do it.

    Cordless tool quality can range widely. It's not that low-cost models necessarily have faults. They can give years of reliable service. However, some brands make tools to satisfy people for whom cost is a big part of the equation. Others make the very highest quality tools possible – because professionals, and a few committed amateurs, are prepared to pay a premium for them.

    If you're on a modest budget, you'll likely look at a different tool set to the one a carpenter, plumber or other tradesperson would choose. DIY power tool sets offer tremendous value for those who will use them occasionally. Pro-standard power tool sets cost noticeably more – but performance and durability are higher.

    Okay, budget is a major factor. You might approach choosing a power tool set by seeing how many tools you can get for your money. Quantity over quality. Bargains can be found, but it's not the method we recommend. Buying cheap tools from lesser known manufacturers often leads to disappointment. Working life can be very short, and the tools frequently don't offer the value you thought they would.

    Instead, choose a recognized brand. It's better to have fewer, quality tools in your combo kit. You can still find bargains and make big savings. Several brands offer a choices for DIY users and you don't have to spend a fortune.

    If you have more money to invest, it's our opinion that you'll never regret buying a top quality cordless tool set. It's not an expense, it's an investment. Models from the leading brands offer tremendous power and versatility.

    The question then, is which are the actual tools do you need?

    EXPERT TIP

    Cordless angle grinders may not have the power of corded models, but torque reaction when starting is still considerable. Make sure you have a good grip.


    What should be included in your power tool set?

    Fortunately, with so many different power tool sets available, it's almost like you can find one tailor-made for your needs. Nevertheless, there is a kind of progression taken by many lines of tool sets. Small, cordless kits focus on two or three indispensable items. Things you might use less often are added as power tool sets get larger.

    • A drill/driver and a saw are the two basics. It's surprising how many jobs just these two tools accomplish. The saw supplied can vary. Some sets include a circular saw, best for cutting straight lines through planks and large boards. Others include a jigsaw, which can cut all kinds of shapes and provide great versatility. A reciprocating saw is another good all-rounder, though these are seldom included at the budget end of the market.

    • The next step up frequently includes an impact driver. They're invaluable for the serious DIYer. An additional saw (or even two) is another common option.

    • Power tool sets of six or more pieces usually include a grinder/cut-off tool. Some include an oscillating multi-tool. These generally feature a scraper, plus a blade for cutting holes in wall boards and plywood panels. A sander might be included, though they are rare.

    • A work light is always a useful addition. More than just a flashlight, these are usually self-supporting because of the battery on the bottom. They can be positioned at different angles, to provide lighting while leaving your hands free.

    • A couple of the cordless tool sets we looked at don't consist of separate tools, but have a base unit (that looks a lot like a drill/driver) and a set of interchangeable heads. If you're looking for an economical DIY set, it's an approach worth considering. Combo tool kits come in a convenient box - though getting everything back in neatly again can be a challenge!

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Whatever work you're doing with your power tools, get into the habit of always wearing goggles or safety glasses.

    A note about tool specification

    We can't go into detail about individual tool specification here; there are just too many. However, you do need to check carefully.

    The majority of power tool sets are representative of the manufacturer's normal range. Most tools are exactly the same model you would buy individually, but as a kit they offer better value.

    However, that's not always the case. It wouldn't be fair to say that inferior tools are included, but specification and sizes may not be what you expect. Don't rely on what you think you can see in a picture. Check the actual figures. Images of the product can be misleading.

    How much do good power tool sets cost?

    Normally when we review a range of products we can give a good idea of the price you'll pay. However, because of the enormous variety available, that's almost impossible with power tool sets. How do you compare a two-piece Black+Decker DIY combo with five professional tools from DeWalt?

    The main reason to buy a power tool set has to be to save money. Otherwise it would make more sense to buy each item individually. The price you pay will depend on the number of items in the kit, and the brand. "You get what you pay for" holds particularly true here.

    Black+Decker are arguably the best known name in homeowner or DIY tools. Brands like Hitachi and Porter-Cable are trusted for their mid-range equipment. DeWalt tools are the professional option. If you can find like-for-like to make a comparison, you'll probably see a spread of a couple of hundred dollars between budget cordless tool sets and premium alternatives.

    Although batteries fit all the tools in a given kit, don't assume they also fit other tools from that manufacturer. Battery technology changes rapidly. They may not be compatible, even if they look the same.

    Tips

    • A case or tool bag is always a good idea, and even more so with a kit of tools that you want to keep together.

    • There is no “best” power tool set. There are the tools you need, and those you don't! It's tempting to buy a big set – and they provide great value – but if you end up with a couple tools you'll never use, you might have spent more money than you needed to. Given the choice, always buy fewer tools, of better quality.

    • A big advantage with some power tool sets is the inclusion of two batteries – one can be charging while you carry on working. It's not true of all combos though, so you might want to consider the price of an additional battery when making your decision.

    Warranties could be seen as an indicator of how much confidence a manufacturer has in its tools. One year is a minimum. Some offer three or more.

    FAQ

    Q. Is there much difference between 18V and 20V batteries?
    A.
    No. Those manufacturers who quote 20 volts are typically stating peak power. When running normally – which is almost all the time – these batteries supply closer to 18 volts.

    When comparing battery power, you want as many amp hours (Ah) as possible – this maintains power for longer durations. Check the anticipated run time and recharging time to get an overall picture.

    Q. Do interchangeable heads deliver the same performance as stand-alone tools?
    A.
    There's no reason why they shouldn't, but there's a proviso. We would expect an interchangeable tool set to be as good as individual tools from the same manufacturer. That's not the same as saying a budget model – whether stand-alone or one with swappable heads – is as good as a professional-grade tool.

    Q. What's the difference between a reciprocating saw, a tiger saw and a sawzall?
    A.
    None really. They're all names used by different manufacturers for the same type of saw. It's a very handy tool. You can cut a variety of materials just by changing the blade. As with any cordless tools, true capabilities are closely related to the power available.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Jeff
      Jeff
      Editor
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
    • Melinda
      Melinda
      Web Producer