Notable Advances in Building Technology the Last 40 Years | Tools

The first cordless tools had brief run times, minimal power, and long recharge times. But lighter, smaller, and more powerful lithium-ion tool batteries, coupled with highly efficient brushless motors, made it possible to cut the cord on almost any electrical tool, including table saws and compressors. Now these batteries are even replacing the gas engines on chainsaws and lawn mowers

“They don’t build them like they used to.” At This Old House, the reply to that curmudgeonly complaint is “That’s right. We build them better!” And that’s due in no small part to the inquisitive, adaptable contractors at the heart of this venerable TV show. When they find a product or material that performs better, lasts longer, and still looks good, or when they find a tool that enables them to work faster with less effort and without compromising quality, they’re quick to make it their new standard going forward.

Shown: Tom Silva’s favorite drill/driver, a Festool CXS, is powered by a 10.8-volt lithium-ion battery, has a variable-speed motor, and weighs just a bit less than 2 pounds.

“The nice thing about battery-powered tools: no cords to get tangled, hung up, cut, or unplugged.”
—Tom Silva