There’s no getting away from the fact that concreting tools have a hard time of it. But, as the saying goes, ‘when the going gets tough…’.
Durability of tools is an essential aspect when considering the purchase of what is essentially your bread and butter. Without tools that are up to job, are long lasting and have the right ‘feel’, concreting tasks don’t only become more difficult, but tool failure can literally stop you in your tracks.
The challenges that face professional grade concreting tools include:
· Heat – (from the sun) especially relevant in the hot Aussie climate
· Heat – from overuse
· Dust and debris – hard to get away from in the harsh environment of the construction world
· Misuse – dropping tools, driving over them, dropping them into cold water when the workings are still hot… Let’s face It, we’re all guilty of tool abuse of some form or another – it’s the nature of the industry.
Now, you’d assume all of these factors are taken into consideration during the manufacturing process. And whilst of course all tools are tested, trialled and retested before coming to market, there’s always going to be different grades and qualities.
The following are some of the aspects the savvy buyer appraises before spending good money on tools to ensure they’re up to the toughness of the job in hand.
Tool housing: Plastic and metal housing doesn’t only hold the inner workings and machinery together, they also reduce vibration during use, surround the gears, shafts and bearings, encase the motor and make for good grip and the right weight balance in your hands. The housing also needs to be tough enough to survive the inevitable knocks and drops that’ll occur during its lifetime.
The quality of plastic parts is denoted by PA numbers that are often found moulded onto them. A good level for such tools is PA-6. In addition, fibre glass is added to the resin mix and described as a percentage. Ideally this should be a minimum of 30% for best durability.
Motors: These require a good flow of air to keep cool. However the challenge is to ensure this is kept as free from dust as possible. It’s usually managed by fresh air being drawn in from the cleaner air generally found at the back of the working area of the tool. However, as tools and internal workings become smaller this becomes more difficult. The rise of brushless motors has been directly influenced by this factor because they’re smaller and also are less affected by dust and heat.
Gearboxes: The type of gearbox used within a power tool will directly impact the cost. The most effective – but expensive – are considered to be spiral cut gears. Vibration and wobble are two issues that determine how easy a tool is to work with and how long it will last. Lubrication tends to inbuilt, with grease packed internally so there should be no need to re-lubricate manually. As technology advances, so does the quality of this internal greasing.
Of course, there are other issues such as battery life, being as corded tools are definitely taking a back seat now, thanks to the efficiency of the lithium-ion battery. Take care to ensure batteries have long-lasting capabilities. These are usually rated in ‘amp hours’ and are clearly displayed on the battery itself. So a 4 amp battery will have double the longevity between charges over one that’s 2 amp.
Concrete tool buying checklist
· Be sure to do your homework. Read warranties before purchase so you’re clear on what’s covered and what isn’t.
· Check vibration dampening systems
· With battery powered tools be aware of the capacity of the battery
· Regarding corded tools, pay attention to the quality of how the cord is anchored to the tool
The above list is by no means exhaustive, and the purchase of concreting tools is a big deal. A decision certainly shouldn’t be made on price alone – the warranty, durability, suitability and quality of build should guide your choice. Take advice from a trusted source, such as Concrete Hire in Perth. Our expertise has been relied upon by professionals and amateurs alike for over two decades, and our friendly team will be happy to advise on the right tools for your particular needs.
Should purchasing not be the right option for you, we also hire out an unrivalled selection of concreting tools, meaning both professionals and keen DIYers can benefit from the very best quality of tools to ease the job in hand. For a no-obligation chat on 0418 222 273.