Building and Construction Tools

Tested and Reviewed by Fred-in-the-shed

 

Updated 9th June May 2021

On This Page

Latest 18v Cordless Combi Drills

Best Screwdriver Bit Sets

Husqvarna Power Cutter and Cordless Water Unit

Picks, Shovels Forks & Crowbars

Best Claw Hammer

Angle Grinders

SDS Heavy Duty Hammer Drills

Roofus Angle Measuring Carpentry Tool

 
 

18v Cordless Hammer Drills Tested and Compared

 

The 18v combi drill is one of the most popular powertools for tradesmen and builders. It is powerful enough to drill into all materials and can drive in screws and fittings too. Dewalt and Makita are the biggest brands.

So which is best? Makita or Dewalt? Well the problem is that each company now make many variants on the 18v combi drill with Dewalt now on another re-incarnation of the XRP and Makita making cheaper lightweight versions and annoyingly changing the fitting system so old batteries don't fit the new tools.

 So to test them properly you need to test like for like - which is not really possible for a number of reasons.

Firstly if you look at the new models from both companies, they now use Li-ion batteries - but...

The batteries and charger technology are not the same. Both offer a range of 18v Li- ion batteries that vary from 1.2 amp hour, to a whopping 6 amp hour! Neither Dewalt or Makita Li-ion batteries retro fit their old drills and tools.

When choosing a drill take time to look at the important stats. Voltage is just current and is not a true measure of a drill's power. Look for its power as torque, represented as Newton Metres. Also compare batteries by amp hour for the same voltage. As you can see below, 18v batteries vary enormously.

Replacement 18v Bosch, DeWalt, Makita and Ryobi Batteries

Best 18v Li-ion Batteries

Dewalt, Bosch, Makita & Ryobi now have 5 amp hour 18v batteries and Dewalt now do a battery with bluetooth so you can check its reserves and even disable it!

use links below to buy the best 5 amp hour batteries and to support this site

 Dewalt Bluetooth Slide 18v Li-Ion Battery 5.0Ah

 Makita BL1850  Lithium-Ion Battery 18V 5 Ah

Ryobi 18v ONE+ 5.0 Ah Lithium Battery

Smaller replacement 18v Li-ion batteries start from 25 for replicas and 50 for originals.

 

 
 

SOME GOOD DEALS ON DEWALT AND MAKITA 18V COMBI DRILLS

        

         

Use links below for the latest Dewalt & Makita drills with brushless motors.

Dewalt DCD795M1 18V XR Brushless Compact Li-Ion Combi Drill

Makita DHP480RF1J 18V Brushless Li-Ion  Combi Drill

 

Makita 18v Combi Drill & Impact Driver Kit with 2 x 5.0 Ah Batts and Charger

 

 
 

 

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Best Screwdriver Bit Sets

The ever increasing types of fittings available now mean that you may need a box of bits to complete a job.

At the top end of the market kits from Dewalt and Makita can cost up to 80.

I bought a smaller Dewalt kit but find it so hard to get the bits in and out that I have now given up on it and bought an easier to use set from Tacklife.

The Tacklife set has a wider range of bits which are all clearly labelled and colour coded which I find really useful.

Dewalt verses Tacklife Driver Sets

My pet hate is bit set boxes that fall open or break your finger nails as you try to get access the bits.

I spent a lot of time finding these 2 sets that don't have these issues.

The small Dewalt set is ideal for mobile use or to be kept in a kitchen draw.

It also has a belt clip so you can keep it handy at all times.

The Tacklife set is cleverly thought out but has now been discontinued.

The bits in both these sets are colour coded and easy to get in and out of the box.

Both boxes have sturdy sliding catches and strong hinges.

DeWalt 32 Piece XR Professional Magnetic Screwdriver Bit Accessory Set

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FOR MORE INFO ON ALL TYPES OF DRILLS AND ACCESSORIES SEE MY SPECIAL PAGE

DRILLING HOLES AND USING WALLPLUGS

 

 
 

 

New Water Cooled Power Cutter for Faster Cleaner Cutting

Husqvarna K770 Power Cutter

Husqvarna 14inch 2 stroke K770 Power Cutter

When you need to cut a wall or stone tiles or similar you usually expect a lot of dust.

I am currently testing the latest petrol powered disc cutter on a building refurbishment I am involved in.

The 2 stroke Husqvarna K770 has a number of features to reduce dust and improve cutting performance. The big innovation on this Swedish made tool is the water tank that supplies water to the blade via a pump running off an 18v Li-ion battery. Having water on the blade reduces dust but also improves the cutting performance by cooling the blade. The separate tank unit can also be used with other Husqvarna products - more info to follow soon.

 

 

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Traditional Construction Digging Tools

 

Forks Spades and Shovels for Building and Construction Work

Normal garden forks and spades are not strong enough for construction work and will quickly fail. If you are digging foundations in clay or shovelling tones of ballast you need purpose made heavy duty construction tools. Some of the the best are made by Bulldog and have survived to tell their story. These 50 year old tools were solid forged in Wigan from the best steel.

Amazingly these tools are still available and with the same design. Bulldog make hundreds of different models of forks, spades and shovels with the widest variety of handle and shaft variations, including fibreglass, plastic , wood and metal specifically for the job you do.

Typically these tools are heavier than garden tools and may have steel shafts and handles.

Modern versions like the excellent Roughneck pick use fibreglass for even more strength.

If you want to buy top quality British made forks, spades and shovels for building work have a look at my page on Bulldog Tools or buy the tools featured on this page using the links below

 

Bulldog 5TFAM All Metal Trenching Fork

Bulldog BUL5TSAM All Steel Trenching Shovel

Bulldog 5CLAM All Steel Cable Laying Shovel

 Roughneck ROU64152 Fibreglass Pick Mattock (2.27kg head)

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Best Claw Hammers

New Hammer Range From Finland

The classic blue-handled, USA made Estwing hammer is durable and proven over decades of use, it is hard to imagine how it could be improved.

Fiskars from Finland have done this by using a range of materials to absorb some of the impact away from the users wrist.

The mixture of composites and metals really works and after some persuasion my builder friends used my Fiskars IsoCore claw hammer and grew to love it.

There are a range of hammer types and weights in the Isocore range. They are slightly more expensive than Estwing but if you wish to reduce the wear and tear on your hands and arms the extra cost will be minimal compared to a longer more pain free career.

Fiskars IsoCore L Hammer with Curved Claw, Length: 34 cm, Weight: 779 g,

 Fiskars IsoCore M Hammer with Curved Claw, Length: 34 cm, Weight: 884 g,

 

 

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Angle Grinders Tested and Reviewed

Mains or Cordless? Which is best?

 

DeWalt 18V Cordless Angle Grinder

Angle grinders are one of the most power hungry tools especially if used to cut brick or concrete so until recently have not been viable as a battery powered tool.

The recent addition of 5 and 6 amp hour 18v Li-ion batteries has been a game changer so for many people the cordless angle grinder is now a must have tool.

The Dewalt DCG412N is superb and uses 125mm discs that can be changed without using a tool.

DeWalt 18V XR Lithium-Ion Body Only Grinder

DEWALT DCG405N 18V XR Brushless Angle Grinder 125mm with 1 x 5Ah Battery & Charger

Dewalt DCG405N 18V XR Brushless 125mm Angle Grinder, Multi-Colour

Dewalt DCB184 5.0ah 18v XR Lithium Ion Battery + DCB115 Charger, Yellow

 

 

Most Durable Angle Grinder for Builders

Bosch Professional GWS 22-230 H Corded 240 V Angle Grinder

This is my builders angle grinder that gets uses at lot for cutting blocks and wall openings.

It takes the large size 230mm blades and has a 2200kw motor. To make it more durable and to protect it from dust the motor has double sealed bearings and armoured coils. Despite its rugged design with sturdy gears and extra safety features it is quite light at 5.2kg.

The smaller 115mm diameter Makita angle grinder is a top quality tool at a really good price.

 Makita GA4530R Angle Grinder Slide Switch, 115 mm, 240 V

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SDS Heavy Duty Hammer Drills

These tools can chisel or drill!

New DeWalt Brushless Cordless Drills

If you need to drill into lintels or chisel away brickwork then you will need a very powerful SDS drill. Unless you want to spend megabucks a corded one is best value. If you can only afford one drill this type is the best, and should last many years in normal use.

Most drills calling themselves hammer drills are actualy percussion drills and are poor cousins to the superior rotary hammer drill.

The best SDS hammer drills have a "rotary stop" function so the tool just hammers, without turning. This enables the drill to chisel, which is brilliant for brick and concrete. These proper hammer drills take SDS or SDS plus bits which come as drill and chisel bits.

Dewalt SDS+ Hammer 2kg 26mm 240V, 800 W

If you can afford it and want the freedom of cordless there are now many battery powered SDS drills like the Dewalt one shown above that uses large capacity Li-ion batteries that can be used in other builders favorite tools like impact drivers, angle grinder and large recipro saws. A cordless SDS is best used with minimum 4 amp hour battery as it will run down a smaller one quickly due to the high power required for chiselling.

 

Use the same battery in your impact driver and other 18v DeWalt tools too!

My corded Metabo SDS drill uses a top quality German motor and hammer drill mechanism with rotary stop function for light chiselling. It has 710w of power.

There are cheaper corded SDS drills about but these are enormously heavy, (4-6KG) whereas lighter weight versions like the Metabo 2KG metal bodied drill shown above start from about 105 up. If you drill or chisel into concrete a lot then it is best to buy a pro quality SDS tool like my Metabo or the more popular DeWalt and Makita brands.

 

 

Makita HR2630 3-Mode SDS+ Rotary Hammer 26 mm, 240 V

 

SDS drills require special SDS bits and can drill AND chisel concrete.

 

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Black & Decker Workmate

 

Arguably the best product that Black & Decker have ever made and the most successful DIY invention for an independent inventor.

There are many versions available now but perhaps the quality has slipped a little from the old days.

You still cant go far wrong with the standard no frills models but if you want a lighter version then the Aluminium framed Bosch PWB600 is worth looking at.

The Aluminium frame will not rust if it get used in the damp and can also be folded in 5 seconds to a much thinner profile than the B&D models.

At 11kg the Bosch model is about 5kg lighter than comparable size B&D versions and is suitable for mobile professionals and top end DIYers.

Bosch PWB 600 Workbench

BLACK+DECKER Workmate WM301

Black+Decker WM536 Dual Height Workmate

 

 
 

 

 
 

 

 
 

Roofus Angle Measuring Carpentry Tool

        

I have a Roofus currently under testing by an experienced carpenter

The Roofus tool was bought to my attention by a carpenter working on the remodelling of my UK home.

It has been invented by Australian Sean Pepper.

The Roofus comes in 2 versions and with a choice of metric or imperial measurements.

Theversion I have is the all metal pro model in metric, there is also a lower priced plastic bodied version.

The Roofus is very well made and impressively clever.

I am not a carpenter or roofer but I have been involved with a lot of building work and can see that this tool is a real step forward for these trades.

 So what does the Roofus do? It measures and replicates angles in combination with a level so you can make quick and more accurate cuts. It can replace a host of squares and bevels and claims to cover 10 jobs. I will be reporting more here soon but feel free to mail me if you would like more info.

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Best Crowbar - Lightweight Prybar -Wrecking stick!

Estwing 18 inch Pry Bar

This tool is a must have for any builder or DIY fan. Before you can  build something you often have to wreck something else - and this is the tool to do it with!

This prybar is superior to most others due to its "RSJ" profile design that makes it stronger AND lighter! Most prybars weigh a ton and are a real pain to cart around.

This new type prybar also has two heads at different angles and an inbuilt nail puller.

I have used this and many other crowbars and it's strength and lightweight made it a favourite with all my testers.

If you just want a cheap small crowbar and are not bothered about the weight then the Roughneck one is well made and a total bargain at around 6

Estwing Epb/18 Pry Bar 18in

Roughneck 64418 Wrecking Bar 18-inch

 

 

 
 

If you found my advice helpful and would like to support my work, please return to this page and use my links when purchasing your tools.

Also any other products bought from Amazon at the same time will produce a small commission that helps cover my hosting costs.

 

Or if you prefer, you can make a small donation using the PayPal button below.

 Thanks - Fred

 

 

 

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