If there’s one on-paper spec that most people look at more than anything, it’s torque. Heavy duty tasks and larger power tool accessories require more powerful motors and gearing.
Cordless drills benefit from having two or sometimes three gear settings. In other tools, the speed and torque are fixed. Many tools have a variable speed trigger switch, but you can only gain torque if the gearing is changed. Simply slowing down a motor won’t increase its torque or power.
A perfect tool would be fast and powerful. But for most tools, torque has to be traded for faster speeds.
Application performance is usually dependent on both speed and torque, but it can sometimes be considered separately.
Let’s say you have two identical cordless circular saws. One has a 6-1/2″ blade, the other has a 7-1/4″ blade. Which cuts faster?
Ignoring torque considerations for a moment, if both saws have the same speed rating, the saw with the larger blade should cut faster. Why? The larger blade has a larger circumference, which means that for the same RPMs, more “cutting edge” is passing through the work material in the same amount of time.
To gain a sense of application performance, you have to look a lot closer at the details. That’s where blade size, stroke length, oscillation angle, and other such factors come into play.
Think about a bench vise, or an anvil, or even just a workbench. If you want greater strength and stability, you need more mass.
If you want more power in a cordless tool, you need a bigger motor. If you have more power, you need a longer handle (or handles). More power, in an electrical sense, often means greater cooling by means of a bigger fan and careful vent placement.
If you want a powerful tool that can speed through work, you’re probably going to have to make do with a larger and heavier tool. And if not, then faster application performance, such as stepping to a larger blade size – that will surely do it.
What are you willing to pay for?
With some tools you can “have it all” – power, performance, and small size and weight – although only brushless impact drivers come to mind. For other tools, more power or performance is only delivered alongside a bigger price tag.
There are some other smaller factors, such as unique features. But are things like LED afterglow customizations ever a primary deciding factor?