Conceptually, the idea of cordless tools on a boat seems to be perfect. After all, who wants to trail a cord when climbing a mast to add a spreader light and heaven forbid trailing a Dremel cord when replacing a waste deck fitting! Unfortunately for us, the reality hasn’t worked nearly as well as the concept.
When we first decided to go commuter cruising and spend an undefined number of years cruising the Western Caribbean, we opted for all cordless tools — and bought the very best/highest recommended brands available. Of course, that was in the early 2000’s. We bought a cordless Maquita Drill, a cordless complete Dremel set, a cordless vacuum, cordless anything we could. The drill and Dremel seem to get the most use.
Unfortunately, any time we go to get the drill or the dremel because we need to use them, the battery is dead. It seems the battery charge doesn’t like the hot tropical temperatures. This started immediately after departing the dock sailing to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We had some important project that we needed the drill for right away, but right away was not to be because the battery was … dead.
After waiting what felt like forever, when we finally had enough charge to use the drill, it lasted JUST long enough to do what we needed and then rrrrrrvvvvvvvvddddd to a halt.
Every project I know dreads that sound!
I don’t know if it’s the heat in the tropics that makes the batteries not hold a charge – originally we thought it was just a lemon drill battery, but the rechargeable batteries in all of our cordless stuff suffer from the same malady. Even if we never had a “right now” challenge, we’re just not organized enough to realize the night before that the batteries probably won’t work. Thus having to charge the battery when you need to grab a tool for some project provokes lots of new words and frustration around our boat.
So when we replaced the cordless vacuum, we opted for a long cord. And when we added a heat gun and some other tools, all have … you guessed it … LONG CORDS! We’re getting ready to replace the drill … we still haven’t decided for sure if we’ll get a new Makita or go with a corded version. And if the Dremel battery every totally dies, we’ll likely replace it with a cord.
Of course the downside to cords is the potential to electrocute myself – most of the time, we don’t use tools while floating this close to the water – even while we’re off cruising.
So do you have cordless tools that you love and that always keep their charge? Please leave a comment and share so when we buy a new drill, we won’t get the corded version if there’s one that will actually hold it’s charge! 🙂 Cheers — Jan
P.S. Anyone with experience with a Craftsman Cordless Drill from Sears? Craftsman is one of David’s favorite brands and he has a birthday coming up???