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Shift your home D.I.Y. projects into high gear with our guide to the best power tools for your workshop.

 

The power seven

Discover how simple and rewarding it can be to perform basic home maintenance projects yourself or try your hand at more creative projects, like carpentry. With seven essential D.I.Y. tools in your home workshop, you can tackle all kinds of projects, from assembling furniture to sawing timber to bathroom renovations.

Cordless drill

A cordless drill is invaluable for both creating holes and driving screws. “A two-speed gearbox allows more control, as the first gear gives you a slower RPM [revolutions per minute] and delivers more torque [rotational force] as you drive screws,” says Andrew Murray at Ozito. “The second gear has higher RPM, allowing you to drill holes in harder materials such as steel.”

Why you need it: Using a hex bit, this cordless tool helps you put flatpack furniture together quickly.

A hand holding a Ryobi cordless drill, drilling a hole into a grey outdoor wooden fence

Jigsaw

Jigsaws are compact and versatile, helping you to swiftly cut through timber, plywood, melamine and other materials, making it an essential D.I.Y. tool for any workshop. Its narrow blade tackles curves and complicated shapes, but it’s great for straight lines, too. A base plate can also be tilted to make bevelled cuts.

Pendulum action, a feature of many jigsaws, makes the end of the blade tip back and forth as well as going up and down, resulting in a more aggressive cutting action. However, for the neatest cuts – or when working with brittle materials such as acrylic – it’s best to keep pendulum action off.

Why you need it: Jigsaws are amazing at cutting curves in sheet materials.

Angle grinder

The angle grinder is an unsung hero when it comes to D.I.Y. tasks around the home. While it’s well known for cutting and grinding metal and masonry – for example, when you need to trim a steel bracket for an awkward custom fit – its high revs make it the ideal tool for a variety of other applications.

With a stripping disc attached, this power tool can remove moss or paint, while a diamond multi blade is suitable for everything from masonry, stainless steel and reinforced concrete, to timber with nails in it. For safety, always disconnect the power plug or remove the battery before changing the wheel on an angle grinder.

Why you need it: Slices through metal like butter.

Multifunction tool

It can cut through timber, plastic and metal, saw out grout from between tiles, flush-cut the ends off dowel and make short work of detail sanding into the tiniest of spaces. Usually sold with a basic array of blades and attachments, a multifunction tool’s magic lies in the high-speed side-to-side motion of its accessory head. The easily interchangeable attachments and accessories can be mounted at various angles, increasing the power tool’s adaptability and allowing you to work in confined areas.

Why you need it: One of the most versatile power tools. Breezes through seemingly impossible plunge cuts.

A hand using an Ozito multi function tool to sand the top of a wooden panel

Rotary tool

Boasting a maximum speed of up to 35,000RPM, this power tool is compatible with miniature attachments such as grinding wheels, engraving bits and sanding drums for high-precision D.I.Y. work. If you’re performing detailed tasks such as creating an intricate model, sharpening knives or engraving the kids’ sports gear, the first thing you’ll reach for will be your rotary tool.

A cordless version is extra convenient for in-situ work, such as sanding down the edge of a sticking door without removing its hinges. Use a mini brush wheel for cleaning rust from hand tools and other objects with notches and crevices that are tricky to navigate.

Why you need it: Restores lawnmower blades to razor-sharp.

Sander

The type of power sander you choose will depend on what you’re most likely to use it for. If you often do small-scale work with lots of corners and crevices, a palm sander with a triangle-shaped pad will be your best option.

For larger surfaces, such as sanding doors or furniture prior to painting, consider adding a random orbital sander to your workshop tool kit. The sanding disc won’t get into tight corners, but you don’t need to double up on sanders – most multifunction tools (see above) come with triangular pads for detail sanding.

Why you need it: The ultimate tool for upcycling and paint prep.

Person using an orbital sander to sand the top of the bedside table.

Circular saw

This high-torque must-have tackles long, repeated cuts in materials from thick timber to plywood and metal – with the right blade. The base plate can be tilted for bevelled cuts and raised or lowered for exact cut depths.

When the cutting edge starts getting dull and sawing more slowly, it’s time to look into new attachments – upgrade the performance of your saw by choosing a high-quality replacement circular saw blade. “More teeth on the blade will give you a finer finish, while less teeth cut more quickly and result in a rougher finish,” says Justin Goode at Irwin.

Why you need it: Effortlessly powers through long, straight cuts, even in thick pieces of timber.

Are cordless power tools better?

In most cases, Ozito’s Andrew Murray recommends opting for cordless tools as a starting point when buying power tools. “It takes away some of the safety factors surrounding 240V electricity and the occasional issues of having a cord trailing behind you,” he says. “Once you have a battery and charger pack, there’s a whole range of bare tools (sold as ‘skin only’) that you can use with the same battery platform.”

There is one exception, though. “There are some benefits to using a mains-powered jigsaw, as there’s often more torque and strokes per minute (SPM) delivered from the motor,” Andrew explains.

Keep in mind…

  • Safety tip: Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, earmuffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.
  • If using a drill or circular saw to cut timber, work in a well-ventilated area.

Want to recycle old power tool batteries?

Check out our national battery recycling program.

 

Photo Credit: James Moffatt, Ryobi, Ozito, Richard Weinstein


Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.