Simon Miller, Marketing Director of HiKOKI Power Tools, explains how the latest power tool technology is enabling plumbing and heating engineers get the job done anywhere.

The cordless power tool era is here. Today’s power tool users now expect reliable, enduring tools with extended warranties and performance levels saving valuable time, money, and energy. Manufacturers, such as HiKOKI, continue to produce remarkable innovations, improving value and raising performance standards for trade customers.

The most startling change has been in the cordless power tool market. 12 months ago, cordless tools represented over 50% of the demand for power tools. We believe this figure has already grown and will continue to grow. Our own sales figures show year-on-year increases on sales of certain tools, such as cordless circular saws versus their corded versions.

We recently conducted market research in the form of opinion exchanges, surveys, and investigations into our customers’ needs. Over 250 tradespeople in the UK engaged in a survey examining their use and preference of cordless power tools:

  • 84% of power tool users would consider going completely cordless
  • Over 50% of all respondents have more cordless than corded tools in their toolbox or van
  • 82% of professional power tools users turn to cordless tools to ‘get the job done – anywhere’
  • Over 50% of tradespeople prefer cordless power tools because of the added safety they offer – with no cords or mains power onsite
  • 13% of professional users had worked on ‘cordless only’ sites where mains powered tools are not allowed.

New battery technologies, combined with highly efficient brushless motors, are driving this move to cordless. Together they offer more power and durability than ever before, meaning their performance often matches that of their corded counterparts. HiKOKI’s research shows that users feel cordless are superior to corded tools as they can take a cordless tool anywhere, are compact compared to their corded counterparts and, with no leads to trip on, are safer.

We have found that the superior experiences for professional users come from being able to ‘get the job done anywhere’ by using tools that are powerful, durable, and accurate. Once powerful Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology is combined with the benefits of brushless motors in cordless power tool ranges, users get more flexibility and performance out of their tools than ever before. Take first fix nailers, for instance, which now have a performance that matches those traditionally powered by expensive gas canisters.

One interesting statistic from the research is the emergence of the cordless building site. It makes perfect sense, particularly from a health and safety perspective. No more cable trip hazards, no more noisy and cumbersome generators, just portable cordless tools with, in many cases, the same performance as corded tools.

A brushless motor can increase working time by up to 40% when used on those longer high-volume drilling jobs. Handling brushless motors is also easier as the design is more compact and the size and weight is reduced.

There is another important advantage to brushless motors – increased operator safety and overload protection. Brushless motors don’t generate the same heat as there are no carbon brushes and are much harder to overload. They also offer better protection on kickback control when operating. Some manufacturers such as HiKOKI also have power cut out technology, which keeps the operator safe too.

Cordless innovation will not stop for the foreseeable future, and we believe the percentage of tools carried by tradespeople will continue to be weighted towards cordless. For example, the HiKOKI Multi Volt BSL36A18 36V battery packs have more power than similar sized 18V battery packs – but dimensions and weight remain almost the same, so the 36V battery packs can be used with a wide range of 18V class devices.

Using the UC18YSL3 charger, the 36V battery packs can be fully charged in just 32 minutes. In addition, the battery packs have a particularly long service life: they can be charged up to 1500 times without any appreciable impact on performance. The energy available in the battery pack is displayed on the battery itself through a four-stage charge indicator. It is this kind of speed, meaning installers will never run out of charge, which is driving our move into the cordless age.

So, with cordless power tools matching the performance of their corded counterparts, bringing with it so many advantages and convenience when on-site, the era of cordless has truly begun.

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