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Corded or cordless power tools: which is best?

Here at Fixings and Powertool Center, we like corded power tools and we like cordless power tools, but which is better? There’s only one way to find out …

No, not with a fight, instead we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each and come to a logical conclusion like the sensible adults we are.

Corded power tool advantages

Provided you have access to mains power the tool will run constantly. This means you can work for as long as you like without having to swap or recharge batteries.

Working off mains power also gives you a high power output, allowing you to use higher voltage tools on tough materials without a noticeable loss in performance.

And as they don’t rely on a heavy battery, corded power tools tend to be more lightweight than their cordless cousins, putting less stress on the user.

Corded power tool disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage of a corded power tool is its relative lack of manoeuvrability; even with an extension lead you’re still tethered to a plug socket somewhere, and then you’ve got the annoyance of tangles and storing your cable tidily.

As well as being time-consuming and frustrating, due to the safety risk of exposed wires and the trip hazard they pose, power cords are also more dangerous than batteries.

Finally, there’s the complete reliance on mains power; with a corded power tool you’re totally at the mercy of power cuts or any other situation that leave you without electricity.

Cordless power tool advantages

The obvious advantage is that you don’t need mains power, which can be extremely handy on sites where it has not yet been installed. Additionally, without the restriction of a power cord attached to a plug socket you are free to use a cordless power tool wherever you like. This makes them ideal for jobs in challenging conditions, for example where space is limited.

Without the need to trail cables throughout a worksite, health and safety is immediately improved. Say goodbye to people tripping over cords or receiving electric shocks from damaged wiring.

One of the great things about power tool batteries is their compatibility with other tools. As long as you’ve got the right spec you can swap your battery between different tools, saving you space and money. They’re also quick to set up – just whack in a charged battery and you’re ready to rock and roll.

And for those concerned about performance, thanks to advances in technology such as lithium ion batteries and brushless motors, many cordless tools can provide the same amount of power as corded tools.

Cordless power tool disadvantages

Depending on the type of technology they use, power tool batteries can run down quickly, which means not only will you need more than one, you’ll also have to make sure you’re disciplined with keeping them charged; there’s nothing worse than reaching for a spare battery only to find out you forgot to charge it. And if you’re using the type of battery that charges slowly, that equals even more wasted time.

Batteries can also be expensive when you need ones powerful enough to run a heavy duty construction tool.

So which is best…?

In general, it’s probably safe to say that cordless power tools have the edge over corded ones. Not only are they more user-friendly, they’re also a lot safer. However, due to their improved reliability and relative lack of maintenance, many people still prefer corded tools. Your preference will ultimately come down to which is best for your given situation; it’s a good idea not to rely on either type too much.

If you’re wavering over whether to go corded or cordless for your next power tool purchase, hopefully this guide has been helpful. But if you still have unanswered questions then remember we’re the power tool experts and we’re here to help, so just get in touch with our Redhill store.

How to protect your tools from theft

Hopefully you received some exciting new tools from Santa for Christmas, or at least some universal vouchers to buy some with. But how many of us give enough consideration to protecting our precious tools from thieves?

According to research carried out by Simply Business, one in three tradespeople has been a victim of tool or van theft, with the average cost of the crime equating to just over £3,000, which is more than the average monthly salary.

Having your tools stolen can have a far-reaching impact, involving not just the loss of property and the money needed to replace it, but also the potential loss of work and reputation if a job is affected. With these risks in mind, it’s common sense to ensure you do everything in your power to protect your tools from opportunistic criminals who threaten your livelihood.

Here are some ways you can help to avoid becoming a victim of tool theft:

1. Theft-prevention storage

You can add another layer of security by keeping your tools locked inside a secure storage container. Whether you install them in your van, your garage or on-site, products like those made by Van Vault use robust materials and strong, complex locks which provide enough protection to prevent even the most determined thief.

These come in different sizes and specifications depending on what you need to store and where you need to store it. Read more about the Van Vault products we supply here.

2. Vehicle security

Vehicle windows are the easiest point of access for thieves, but there are a couple of things you can do to improve their security. Window tints and blanks shield the interior of your van from sight, making it less likely for a thief to gamble on a break-in, while grilles offer an extra layer of protection.

Another option is to fit your van doors with sliding deadbolts. These come in manual and more expensive electric versions and make a would-be thief’s job much harder. Alternatively, there are exterior locks and hasps which are cheaper and provide additional visual deterrence.

And of course make sure your work vehicle is fitted with an alarm, and signage to advertise it. The idea of drawing attention with an ear-splitting alarm may be enough to make a thief think twice.

3. Tool marking and tracking

GPS trackers can be applied to your tools to allow you to track their location. If a thief recognises it then the presence of a tracker might be enough to stop him trying to steal it, as it gives him the dilemma of either spending valuable time prising it off at the scene of the crime, or being tracked as he makes a getaway with the goods.

You can also mark your tools to make them less attractive. If a tool has been engraved or datatagged then it makes it far less valuable to a thief intending to sell it on.

4. Park smartly

Don’t think that simply locking your tools inside your work van will be enough to deter thieves; if they think they can get away with something valuable they won’t hesitate to take a crowbar to a door to gain entry.

Although finding an empty parking space can be enough of a challenge by itself, try to choose one that limits the points of entry for thieves by parking with the rear or side doors against a wall or railings. Also try to park in well-lit areas with CCTV coverage.

5. Don’t go blabbing on social media

Finally, while it may be tempting to share photos of your shiny new tools on social media, this is a good way to advertise them to any ne’er-do-wells. Even the best privacy settings can be scuppered by a contact who isn’t as careful with their data, so instead just be content to keep your tool pride to yourself – it’s safer!

Hopefully these tips will help you keep your tools safe, but if you’re still unsure of the best way to protect them, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team. We’re available six days a week at our Redhill store, so drop us a line.

Our staff’s top tools of 2019

So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over, and you need a new nail gun. Thankfully it’s the time for giving, so why not ask Santa for a shiny new power tool?

Considering he runs his own toy-making workshop (staffed by elves on zero-hour contracts), the big man definitely knows his tools, but if you need to give him some suggestions, we’ve asked the staff at our Redhill store to list some of their favourites from the past twelve months.

Our favourite tools of 2019

Nick: “I vote for the Festool SYSLITE DUO-Plus, as it’s so powerful (8000 Lumen!!) it actually hurt my eyes taking this photo.”

Don’t worry, Nick’s vision has returned to normal now, but he’s still blinded by his admiration for this powerful and highly portable work light.

Using an array of LEDs, it emits light at a temperature of 5000 K, which replicates daylight, meaning you could use it for painting in the dark if you like. What’s more, the LEDs are guaranteed for 10,000 hours, which should be long enough for even the slowest of workers!

With a sturdy and durable casing, it’s tough enough to withstand the rigours of the worksite, and comes with a 4.8-metre-long cable to give you plenty of reach. Purchase the tripod accessory and you’ll also have the ability to easily control the height of your light source, or just use the hook to hang it from a wall if you prefer.

Now you can see why it’s the light of Nick’s life.

Tim: “My choice is the Stihl HLA56. New out this year, it finally brings a cordless long-reach hedge trimmer at a price point for domestic users. And even better it’s part of our two battery deal!”

At a total length of 210mm, this cordless hedge trimmer from Stihl is long enough cut high hedges without the need for a step ladder. Weighing less than 4kg, it’s easy to carry and manoeuvre, and comes with a detachable shaft for convenient transport.

It sports a double-sided set of blades that move at a stroke rate of 2,800rpm, and has an adjustable head that can be easily rotated through -45° to 90° to give you the ability to trim at a wide range of angles.

And as Tim mentioned, it’s currently part of our battery promotion, meaning you get a second battery half price when you buy the promotional Stihl cordless tool set. The price paid will include the second battery at half price.

Buy this tool and it really will be Christmas with all the trimmings.

Dean: “My top tool of 2019 is Milwaukee’s M18ONEFHIWF1-802X 1″ Impact Wrench, with tons of torque and enough power to rotate a planet.”

Dean’s not kidding either; have you noticed Saturn is facing the wrong way?

This cordless power tool delivers up to 2,400 Nm of unfastening power, and 2,033 Nm of fastening torque, giving you the ability to tighten or untighten bolts up to M42 size.

At 28cm long and under 5kg, it’s compact and lightweight, and it runs off a battery, eliminating the need for compressors or generators.

What’s more, it comes with a 4-mode drive control to give the user four different speed and torque settings depending on the amount of grunt needed for the job.

All in all, this one’s a real head-turner.

Dan: “My top tool of 2019 has to be the DeWalt DCS575T2 Circular Saw. It’s been a game changer for DeWalt fans and has proved to be one of the most sought after saws this year. Due to the impressive battery technology that DeWalt has developed, it’s a cordless machine with the power of a mains machine!”

Using a high torque motor powered by an 18/54V XR FLEXVOLT battery, this cordless, heavy duty construction saw gives you the power, accuracy, and running time of a corded machine along with the freedom and convenience of a cordless.

With a no-load speed of 5,800rpm, it has the guts for a host of construction cutting jobs including ripping, cross-cutting and bevelling and can slice through wood and other joinery materials like a hot knife through brandy butter.

Safety-wise, it features a rip fence, additional handle, and a dust extraction spout. It also runs quietly and at only 3.4kg won’t wear you out.

Get one of these for a present and you’ll be absolutely buzzing.

And finally we have a recommendation from an anonymous source who left a note on our front desk while no-one was watching. Given its expert opinion and the stealthy way it was delivered, the team believes it can only have been written by Santa himself.

The note reads: “Metabo SXE450 Turbo Tec sander. The original 150mm dual action sander relatively unchanged in over 10 years. A reliable workhorse and best value for money too.”

With a variable speed range of 4,200-11,000rpm and a TurboBoost switch that allows extra power to be recruited for really tough patches, you can easily imagine Santa buying one of these for his elves to use when the sleigh needs a new paint job.

That brings us to the end of the list, and hopefully now you have some great ideas for Christmas presents or things to spend your universal vouchers on in the new year.

We always stock the latest power tools at our store, and 2020 promises to bring us another bumper load of top line machines for us to get to grips with. Keep an eye out for reviews and offers in the new year, and remember you’re always welcome to pay us a visit or drop us a line for advice on the best tools for whatever job you’re working on.

In the meantime, we wish all of our customers and suppliers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we look forward to seeing everyone in 2020!

Oscillating Multi-tool Showdown: Makita DTM50Z v DeWalt DCS355N

Throughout the passages of recorded time, humankind has witnessed a series of titanic confrontations so epic in proportion they have become the stuff of legend: David and Goliath, Ali versus Foreman, Will Young against Gareth Gates. Now Fixings and Powertool Center brings you another colossal showdown: the Makita DTM50Z versus the DeWalt DCS355N.

When it comes to power tool versatility, the oscillating multi-tool is top of the tree. With the ability to cut, sand, polish, grind and sharpen, this tool gives users a wealth of options in one handheld device and helps reduce the number of separate tools needed for a job, making it a must-have for any tradesperson looking to save space and money.

A quick search online will turn up dozens of different oscillating multi-tools from various manufacturers and at a range of prices. With so much choice, it can be difficult to find the one that’s right for you, especially if you’re not an expert. To make things easier, we’ve identified two of our favourite 18v multi-tools: the Makita DTM50Z and the DeWalt DCS355N.

Both have good reasons to recommend them, so let’s run through some of their key features and see which one comes out on top of this power tool showdown.


Both machines are cordless and run on 18v Li-ion battery power, which hold their charge well, have a high run time, and do not suffer from memory effect. However, while the DeWalt uses a brushless motor, the Makita uses a more traditional brushed motor. This means that not only does the DeWalt’s more efficient motor deliver up to 57% greater runtime than the Makita’s, its components are less susceptible to wear and therefore require less maintenance.

Makita **            DeWalt ***

Variable speed control

The Makita and the DeWalt both come with the ability to adjust the speed of the spinning implement, but overall the DeWalt offers the user greater control. While the Makita’s speed control comes in the form of an adjustable dial, the DeWalt’s Dual-Grip™ Variable Speed Trigger allows the user to control the machine’s speed from two separate positions by simply applying pressure. The DeWalt scores additional points for its ability to go from 0-20,000 oscillations per minute (opm), while the Makita’s range is limited to 6,000-20,000 opm.

Makita **            DeWalt ***


Both machines are compatible with most brands and types of oscillating accessory (except Star Lock), which means users benefit from their versatility and can also shop around for accessories. The Makita uses an OIS interface, while the DeWalt has a universal accessory adapter, but the DeWalt’s Quick-Change™ Accessory System makes it easier and faster to change implements compared to the Makita’s less user-friendly hex key system.

Makita **            DeWalt ***


In terms of useful additions, these tools are fairly evenly matched. The Makita has a port that allows you to hook it up to a dust extractor to help you keep your work area clean, a feature the DeWalt lacks. Instead it features an in-built LED work light to improve visibility when working in dimly lit spaces.

Makita **            DeWalt **

Price and warranty

The Makita has a slight edge on price over the DeWalt, coming in at around £20 cheaper. Both machines come with an extended three year warranty that can be registered through the manufacturers up to 28 days after purchase.

Makita ***         DeWalt **

The result

Now the dust has settled and the judges have compared scorecards, we can reveal the winner of this power tool showdown is … the DeWalt DCS355N!

The DeWalt comes out on top in terms of specifications, but the Makita still offers a great option for slightly less money. If you already own cordless power tools (and therefore batteries) from these two brands, your choice may well come down to whether you have Makita or DeWalt machines.

Whichever one of these choices you go for, you’ll be getting a versatile and powerful multi-tool that will take care of a huge number of different jobs.

For more information on these two machines, or for any other advice on fittings and power tools, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or drop by our Redhill store.


Top home snagging jobs to do before winter

Autumn and winter can be an expensive time for homeowners. Rain, wind and freezing temperatures can combine to cause property damage that requires costly repairs, especially when it affects heating and plumbing systems. With the cost of repairing a boiler alone totalling anywhere between £150 and £400, it’s easy to see how the strain put on a house by winter weather can leave you out of pocket.

Now is the time to give your property a thorough going over. With that in mind, we’ve made a checklist of useful snagging jobs to take care of before winter takes hold.

Exterior pointing

Mortar plays an important role in the stability of your house, and can be damaged by the ingress of water that goes on to freeze. If you find any significant holes between bricks, use a hammer and chisel to chip out loose mortar before filling them in with a pointing trowel.

Garage doors and joinery

When checking garage entrances, ask yourself: do the door mechanisms work? Are the locks OK? Use a drill driver to tighten any loose fixings.


Look for gaps between joints, misaligned sections, or missing clips. Check downpipes are attached to the wall. A rainstorm is a good time to check guttering and pipes are working properly, and to spot any leaks or spills. A waterproof sealant can be used to fix anything that doesn’t merit replacing.


Use a ladder to check the state of your roof. Are there missing or loose tiles or slates? Is flashing cracked or corroded? Identify problems and get them fixed before further damage occurs.

Garden gates and fencing

Make sure hinges, locks and bolts are working, and look for defects in walls, fences and posts.


Water should be draining away from the property, and there shouldn’t be standing water. If there’s a puddle larger than 1m2 and 7mm deep more than an hour after rainfall, you may need to correct the bed beneath the stones.

Garden furniture

Put away securely anything that could be damaged by winter weather. Check shed felting and windows while you’re at it. A nail gun makes short work of refelting.


This is a good time to paint or stain wooden window frames to protect them from the elements.


Check outside lights and switches are working. If you have venting going outside from cookers or clothes dryers, check these are clear and that fans are working.


Look out for signs of problems and arrange to have them fixed as soon as possible. Unexpectedly high fuel bills could indicate a boiler problem. Cold spots are evidence of faulty emitters, while noises from pipes usually mean air is trapped inside.


Make sure fittings and pipework are fixed and in order. Are exterior waste pipes free of blockages and damage? Check grouts and seals are in place – these can be repaired using waterproof sealant. In the kitchen, look for signs of leaks from sinks and appliances.


Check insulation is in place and free from gaps. Make sure the loft hatch is insulated and sealed to prevent draughts. Check pipework and extracts are connected and working.

Once you’ve checked these items off your list you can rest easier knowing your home is properly prepared for the winter. To equip yourself with any of the tools mentioned above, or to seek further advice on how to take care of snagging jobs around the house, get in touch at our Redhill store.

How has workwear changed over the years?

Imagine this: you’re busy at work on the site, shovelling sand into the cement mixer, when Doc Brown screeches to a halt in his DeLorean time machine and says “Great Scott! We need to go into the past to see how builders dressed back then. Jump in, Marty!”

As you wonder who Marty is, perhaps also crossing your mind is what kind of weird and wonderful fashions you’ll see on your journey through the ages. Did the Ancient Egyptians wear hard hats? Why would you wear a waistcoat on site if it wasn’t high-vis? And just how comfortable would a pair of cords be in summer?

In the name of curiosity, we take a look back at workwear throughout the years and see how fashions and necessities have changed.


Protective headgear did not come into common use until shipbuilders and dockworkers created helmets by covering their hats in a shell of dried tar. Later, companies began to make leather protective hats for miners, which in the early 20th century became steel hats similar to military helmets worn in WW1. The 1940s saw the arrival of fibreglass and aluminium helmets, followed in the 1950s by plastic hard hats, not unlike those worn in construction today.

Thanks to Directive 89/686/EEC, which came into force in 1992, safety helmets are now required on almost all construction sites, and have saved countless lives. But you don’t have to go too far back to find mind-boggling photographs of girder-straddling construction workers wearing flat caps or going bareheaded.

Eye wear

An early example of safety goggles can be found in P. Johnson’s patented ‘eye-protector’ of 1880 – two layers of semi-transparent cloth which offered some shielding from bright light, but very little protection from impact. Around the turn of the last century, a French scientist used a liquid-plastic-coated glass to create safety glass, which led to the creation of the first industrial safety goggles. But it wasn’t until the late 1970s that protective eyewear became practical and more commonly used.

Today’s protective eye wear is lightweight, comfortable, and even fashionable, meaning that workers have no excuse not to comply with safety regulations.


Gloves go back a long way – at least as far as 1370BC and Tutankhamun’s tomb, and were also used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. With tanning one of the earliest industries, gloves were made to provide protection against cold, heat and injury, as well as dirt and disease.

Now safety gloves are required for a range of manual work, and modern varieties offer flexibility and comfort as well as protection.


Thanks to paintings discovered on the walls of their tombs, we know the Ancient Egyptians wore precious little when they were building the pyramids. These images show slave labourers dressed in what look like skirts, which were probably made from linen. While this would have helped them stay cool in the sun, it would have offered next to no protection while they worked.

Fast forward to the mid-19th century, and manual labourers were positively overdressed. Navvies commonly wore flat caps, heavy boots, corduroy trousers, and even waistcoats while they toiled. Trousers were loose and worn to the stomach, Simon Cowell-style, and had to be held up with suspenders.

Nowadays, construction workers benefit from man-made materials that enable workwear to be lightweight and breathable while still offering a degree of protection. Clothing can be fire-retardant and durable, as well as reflective to increase awareness on sites.


Navvies used to wear heavy boots edged with iron and with soles of an inch or thicker. While these sound restrictive, they would have at least offered some protection while working, which could not be said for the footwear of earlier workers.

In the 1980s, workboots such as those made by Dr. Martens became part of high street fashion, and this in turn has fed back into the design of current protective footwear. Safety boots now come in a variety of fashionable styles, and include breathable and water-resistant materials to improve comfort, as well as essential features such as steel toe caps and shock absorbing soles.

So there you have it, a whistlestop tour of history’s workwear. Now, even when the sun’s beating down and you wish you could take off your high-vis vest, you might think yourself lucky that you’re not sweating your bits off in head-to-toe wool.

At Fixings and Powertool Center, we stock a wide range of workwear both functional and fashionable, as well as all of the necessary Personal Protective Equipment. Don’t get caught out on site – make sure you’re properly equipped for the job. Contact us here for more information.

The best multi-purpose power tool to own

There’s a lot to be said for having a single tool that can do the job of many. For one, it saves space in the van or toolkit. For another, it could save you money.

Most power tools are fairly similar in nature, being little more than a power source, a motor, and a moving implement. The difference is how the implement moves. Drills rotate, saws move back and forth, and sanders rotate or vibrate. However, there are a number of power tools on the market that combine various functions to give users added functionality in one device.

If you only have enough in your budget for one power tool, which one will perform the largest number of functions? We take a look at some of the multi-purpose power tools available and give our recommendation for the most useful one.


Also known as rotary drills, drill drivers combine the ability to drill and screw in one power tool. This is extremely useful when dealing with a large number of fixings, especially in tough materials, as it allows you to drill pilot holes and drive in screws using the same tool.

If you add a hammer function to the drill, you’ll have even more power to get into hard surfaces such as masonry. This mode moves the drill bit forwards and backwards as it spins in order to create a hole more easily.

Oscillating multi tool

For all-round versatility, it’s hard to better an oscillating multi tool. Also known as multi cutters, they benefit from a wide variety of interchangeable attachments that allow them to perform a number of different functions. Utilising rapid side-to-side motion, these tools can cut, sand, polish, grind and sharpen. They’re handheld and are available in corded and cordless models. They come with a standard choice of attachments, but additional ones can be purchased if you want to expand their functionality.

Circular saws

While circular saws can only be used to saw, it’s the number of different things they can saw that makes them versatile. By fitting different types of blade, it’s possible to cut through wood and plastic as well as tough materials like metal and masonry.

So which multi-purpose power tool should I buy?

While the existence of multi-purpose power tools has helped reduce the need for various separate tools, nobody has yet invented the tool that can do everything. So until this fabled Swiss-army power tool materialises, it will still be necessary to arm yourself with at least a couple of power tools.

Of the list above, we recommend you go for a drill/driver with hammer action, and an oscillating multi tool. This combination will allow you to tackle most standard jobs, won’t cost you a fortune, and will help save space.

It’s best to go for power tools with at least 12v of power, and make sure you get more than one year of warranty. Finally, don’t forget to keep your tools well maintained. Check out our blog on how to care for power tools here.

If you have any questions on the best power tools to go for, just visit our Redhill store or drop us a line. Our friendly team is always happy to help.

The most essential tools for gardeners

For garden owners, this summer’s extreme weather has made keeping up with the gardening more of a challenge lately.

Some areas of Britain have seen a month’s rainfall in the space of a day, which has understandably been catastrophic for more fragile plants. Then there have been the sporadic heatwaves which have broken records and left lawns parched and flowers shrivelling. All in all, it has meant that many gardeners have had their work cut out.

During periods of intense gardening such as this, it’s essential to make sure you’re fully kitted out with the right tools. The last thing you want is to be taking on a rampant garden with nothing but a rusty old trowel and a pair of holey gloves.

Here’s our list of the tools gardeners shouldn’t be without:

1. Lawnmower

The combination of heavy rainfall and searing heat this summer has meant lawns are growing at an exasperating rate, making the need for a trusty lawnmower even more essential. There are several options to consider. Hover mowers are good for unusually-shaped gardens, but not so good for large lawns, while the wheeled variety trades manoeuvrability for control and ease of motion.

If you have a lot of grass to cut, then it may be wise to consider a petrol mower, as these have the added grunt to chomp up a large lawn and don’t require a mains connection, leaving you free to mow as far as you like.

2. Rake / leaf blower

Autumn is just around the corner, and with it comes the change in the trees. Before we know it we’ll be ankle deep in fallen leaves, so now’s the time to make sure you’ve got a sturdy rake. If you’d rather give your back a break from hard work, you could consider investing in a leaf blower. Splash out on one of these petrol-powered puppies and you’ll soon have leaves scurrying into a corner where you can easily bag them up.

3. Secateurs

When it comes to pruning plants, bushes and trees, a good pair of snips is worth its weight in gold. For easy-to-reach plants such as roses you can use a small pair of clippers, but for taller plants such as notoriously unruly bamboo it’s best to equip yourself with a pair of extendable secateurs. This handy tool will allow you to reach those high up branches and shoots without needing to get the stepladder out of the shed every time. Just be sure to wear protective gloves when dealing with thorny customers.

4. Trowel and hand fork

With colder and wetter weather on its way, gardeners will already be thinking about moving some plants indoors for protection. This is where a trowel and fork come in handy. Make sure you go for ones with comfortable handles, as this will reduce the strain on your hands during long bouts of replanting. Inspect the blade to make sure it’s well-fitted and up to the task of digging in hard ground, and you can even find some with depth marks etched into the metal to aid with planting.

5. Hose reel

For times when the mercury is soaring, it’s essential to have a garden hose to keep your lawn and plants looking healthy. Even if your garden is devoid of grass and plants, having a hose is still a must; for those with paving or artificial grass, you can easily blast away dirt and debris to leave it looking clean and shiny. Grab one with a hose reel to stay tidy and avoid irritating kinks.

There are plenty more useful tools for the garden, but this selection should stand you in good stead for the majority of gardening jobs. If you’ve got any questions about the best types of tools for gardening, or any other queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch.


Top tools for flooring

There are many different ways to finish a floor, and the materials involved can vary widely in cost. For instance, depending on the floor area and quality of product, carpeting your home could cost anything between £2,000 and £12,000.

Whatever flooring you opt for, there are certain tools you will need to install it. Let’s take a look at them:

Tools for laying hardwood/laminate flooring

Retractable knife, metal straight edge, tape, circular saw, drill with spade bit, adhesive, handsaw, wood chisel, hammer

If you’re laying wooden flooring on a concrete sub-floor, you’ll have to put down a damp-proof membrane, followed by an underlay. Both these steps will involve cutting, so get yourself a retractable knife and metal straight edge. You’ll also need tape to stick together the sections of underlay.

For cutting wooden floorboards down to size to fit the room, use a circular saw. Make sure the saw is fitted with the appropriate blade for cutting the wood you’re using.

When it comes to fitting boards around pipes, use a drill fitted with a spade bit to create a hole for the pipe. Then use a saw to cut a wedge section out of the board, and stick it in place using adhesive.

You may need to cut down doors and their frames to accommodate the new floor. Use a handsaw to cut into the doorframe, then a hammer and wood chisel to remove the unwanted section.

Tools for laying carpet

Hammer, adhesive, retractable knife, metal straight edge, tape, carpet stretcher, carpet tucker

Fitting carpet involves placing a strip of gripper around the perimeter of the floor to help hold the carpet down. Gripper comes with nails already embedded in its surface, but you’ll need a hammer to bang them into the wooden floor below. If the sub-floor is screed or concrete, then you can use an adhesive to stick down the gripper.

Sizing the carpet and its underlay to the room will involve some cutting, so make sure you’ve got a retractable knife and metal straight edge to hand. Use tape to stick sections of underlay together.

When fitting the carpet, you’ll need a carpet stretcher and carpet tucker. These metal implements are used to stretch the edges of the carpet towards the wall and hook them to the gripper strips. You can also use the carpet tucker and a hammer to fit the carpet edge under the threshold strip in any doorways.

Tools for laying vinyl flooring

Retractable knife, metal straight edge, adhesive, sealant, sealant gun

Whether you’re laying vinyl flooring in sheet or tile form, you’ll need a retractable knife to cut it to size or to fit it around obstacles such as sinks.

To fix the vinyl to the floor, use double-sided tape or spray-on adhesive, but make sure the room is well ventilated before using the latter. If your vinyl floor is in a bathroom or other area that might get wet, you can use a waterproof sealant along the edges to prevent moisture collecting underneath.

Tools for laying ceramic/stone tile flooring

Tiling adhesive, gauging trowel, notch trowel, spirit level, circular saw, floor tile grout, grout float, grout-finishing tool, sealant, sealant gun

When fixing the tiles to the sub-floor, use a gauging trowel to apply the tiling adhesive to the floor, then spread it using a notch trowel. Check the flatness of the tiles as you lay them using a spirit level. For cutting tiles down to size, you’ll need a circular saw fitted with a tile blade.

Once the tiles are all in place, use a grout float to work the tiling grout into the gaps between the tiles, then smooth it off with a grout-finishing tool. Seal the edges of the floor with sealant.

General tools and safety equipment for laying flooring

Regardless of the type of flooring you’re installing, there is some equipment you will always need. A tape measure is essential for measuring the sections of flooring, and a soft broom and dustpan and brush can be used to keep floor surfaces clean before and after laying.

It’s important to stay safe during various stages of laying flooring. Protect your knees from hard floors with a pair of knee pads. When cutting or drilling any flooring material, wear safety goggles, gloves and a mask.

At Fixings and Powertool Center we stock a wide variety of tools and equipment for laying flooring. Whether you’re after the best tools for the job, or advice on how to go about it, our team of friendly experts is here to help. Contact us here.

Types of power tools and their uses

Electrically-powered tools have been around for over a century – without them, productivity and profitability in the building world would plummet. Before their invention, large teams of labourers were needed to perform tasks that today can be carried out much faster by one or two people equipped with power tools.

So if you’re someone who uses a power tool on a regular basis, stop for a minute to think about all the time and effort that tool has saved you, and be thankful that someone had the bright idea to invent it!

All power tools are similar in their makeup. They’re basically a power source, connected to a motor, which then moves an implement. The difference is the motion they create. While other types of power tool exist, the examples below cover those that are most commonly used in building and renovation jobs.


Electric drills and screwdrivers primarily employ rotation either to bore a hole in a surface, or turn a screw or bolt. There are a few different types to look out for:

Also known as a drill driver, a rotary drill is your basic electric drill/screwdriver. With a chuck that holds either a drill or screwdriver bit, the two functions are combined in one tool for efficiency. You can go from one mode to the other with a flick of a switch, as well as change the direction of rotation from clockwise to counterclockwise.

Standard drill drivers are great for use in softer materials such as wood.

Drivers are dedicated to turning screws and bolts, and have a great deal of torque at their disposal, which means they can put a screw into dense hardwood without stripping the head. One caveat: they use special bits that cannot be used by other drill drivers.

Drivers are useful when you have a lot of screws to take care of.

Hammer drills include a selectable hammer action, which moves the chuck in a rapid forward and backward motion while it rotates the bit. This simultaneously pounds and grinds the surface area, making clean holes even in tough materials like concrete and steel.

With the ability to switch to standard rotary drill and driver modes, the hammer drill is a great all-purpose drilling tool that packs a punch.

If it’s serious drilling power you’re after, then look no further than a rotary hammer drill. These are larger and have a lot more power than standard hammer drills, and can even be used with a chisel attachment to break up concrete. Due to their high power, they utilise special drill bits, and operators need to wear ear protection.


When you need a portable tool to cut something, there are a couple of ways you can go:

Circular saws employ a rapidly rotating toothed circular blade. Depending on the type of blade used, they can cut wood, plastic, metal and masonry. Equipped with helpful cutting guides, they’re good at producing straight edges, which makes them especially suited to woodworking.

Reciprocating saws have a straight blade with a serrated edge that moves back and forth to saw through materials. While powerful, they lack finesse and manoeuverability, so they’re best used when neat lines are not the priority. They’re great for hacking off tree limbs or even cutting through nails embedded in wood.

Grinders and sanders

Another tool to employ a rotating implement is the angle grinder. Its variety of attachable abrasive discs can be used to grind, polish, sand or cut a range of materials including stone and metal. Angle grinders are generally used in construction and metalwork.

For smoothing wooden surfaces, use a sander. Whether it has a rotating belt, a spinning disc or a vibrating pad, a sander uses a piece of sandpaper attached to a rapidly moving surface to create friction. These are useful for removing layers of material, such as a finish that’s been applied to furniture.

When purchasing a power tool, we recommend choosing one with at least 12v of power, as well as more than a year of warranty. Some of our favourite makes include Makita, Bosch, DeWalt, and Milwaukee.

For more information on power tools and their uses, get in touch with our team of friendly experts. We also have a repair and servicing shop to keep your tools running. You can contact us here.