When Should You Choose Power Tools Over Hand Tools?

There are advantages and disadvantages involved with using solely hand or power tools when woodworking, which is why many carpenters and hobbyists choose to use a combination of both. However, to help you decide whether a hand tool can get the job done properly, here are a few of the pros and cons associated with using them:

The advantages of using hand tools for woodworking

  • You gain more control

When using a hand tool, you’re able to exert the exact amount of force needed thanks to the higher levels of control you’re afforded. When tightening a screw or taking out a nut, for example, using a hand tool can prevent you from tightening a screw up too much, or damaging the nut when removing it. 

  • It gives a higher degree of accuracy

Due to the force behind a power tool, it can be all too easy to lose control and misposition it, which can cause significant damage that’s hard to repair. With a hand tool, however, you can take the time to position the fastening device or material in the right place before applying any force to get the task done. 

  • You can avoid the use of electricity

While electricity gives tools a greater level of power, it also comes with wires that can cause a significant tripping hazard in a busy workshop or other type of carpentry setting. Charging power tools and finding suitable power sources and extension cables etc,. can be a real nuisance when you simply want to pick up your tools and get on with your woodworking. 

  • They’re much lighter

The lack of a battery or other similar components that are present with power tools, makes hand tools much lighter to work with and easier to handle. Slimmer and not as heavy, hand tools are ideal for use in tight, or smaller spaces.

  • They’re versatile

More affordable, more versatile, and safer, hand tools can be used in absolutely any kind of woodworking scenario, including those in which the use of power tools may be unsafe. 

The disadvantages of using hand tools for woodworking

  • You haven’t got as much power

Because hand tools are operated manually, you may not be able to generate enough force to complete a woodworking task or project successfully. If using hand tools over a longer period of time, you may also find that your hand begins to tire, and you lose grip and/or accuracy.  

  • They’re not as efficient

With the differing speeds and levels of power, certain woodworking tasks that may take longer when using hand tools, can be completed quickly and efficiently with power tools.

  • They require more effort

If you’re using hand tools for an extended period of time, such as when making a large or labour intensive item of furniture, the repetitive actions required and continuous application of force can place a real strain on the body. 

  • They’re not always as capable

Depending on the woodworking task at hand, hand tools may not enable you to successfully carry out more complicated and tricky woodworking activities that power tools make look easy. 

There are almost certainly a number of woodworking situations in which power tools make the task easier, but a lot will depend on your comfort and level of skill, coupled simply with whichever you prefer to use. Ideally, your woodworking workshop should contain a combination of both hand and power tools, and with plenty of great online shops, you can kit yourself out with ease and convenience.

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