- Premium reviews
- Express reviews
- Reviews rated
- Ratings received
When it comes to circular saws this one is in the top five of the best battery power range, with this one giving everything that a good circular saw needs.
It is lightweight in the circular saw world, weighing in at about 3.5kg and has a 135mm blade that can cut through most types of wood, up to 40mm thick.
The 14.4 volt battery pack is at the back with a trigger and locking button on the handle. Just in front of the locking button there is another lever that slides a little cover over the blade. On one side of the main unit there's a second handle, which gives you more control of the saw itself.
The battery takes about 3 hours to charge up the battery from flat and once charged it lasts for a while on full pelt, with the charger having lights to let you know what stage the charge is at.
The blade sits inside the unit, with half of it sticking out of the footplate, but even this part of the blade is covered by a retractable guard that moves back into the unit when it pushes against the wood you're cutting.
On the top section of the blade area there is a little window that allows me to look over the blade as it nears the edge I want cutting, usually a pencil mark on the wood. This really helps when it comes to hitting the target directly.
It offers some fantastic power, considering it's battery operated, allowing me to slice through wood with no hassles at all.
This is safe to use, as long as you remember to treat it as it deserves, but it does give a few safety features, such as the blade is constantly covered by the guard, with the guard only moving away from the blade when it is cutting through the wood.
The other safety feature, which I found a little annoying, is that you need two hands to turn this on. One on the trigger, the other to press the button that is just out of reach of my thumb on my trigger squeezing hand.
You can use this to cut horizontal or at angles up to 45º, using the lever on the left side of the footplate to release the plate in order to swivel it. Then you simply replace the lever and you're done.
This circular saw sells for about £80 - £100, which is money well spent in my books. I still use this after all this time and it is still going strong, even though the battery does tend to lose
This could have been a very dull drill to look at, being mostly grey, but Challenge have added a few dashes of yellow to it in the form of the trigger, which is where the handle meets the main body, the directional button, which is just behind the trigger and the battery release catches, which are on the sides where the battery slots into the bottom of the handle.
This offers 21 torque setting which are ideal for when it comes to using it as a screw driver, giving you more control of the pressure when inserting a screw into wood.
The keyless chuck can be tightened/loosened with one hand, without causing friction blisters in my palms, making changing the bits so easy.
The trigger can control the speed of the start, which is great for when it comes to pilot holes. Some drills go from 0-2500 rpm in a split seconds, but this one lets you work up to the full spin so that the drill bit has less chance of slipping.
The handle is comfortable, using a soft 'rubber type' material to coat the front section. This gives it a nice feel when i've had to grip the handle really tight in order to get the final few cm's into the brickwork.
The 14.4 volt battery is not as big as some others of it's kind, which is what makes this one weigh 1.5 kg, at the most, so it's not that heavy when it comes to those long holds, altough I doubt the battery will last long enough for you to get arm ache.
Sadly though, which is one of the reasons that I stopped using this one many months after buying it, is that it can take up to 5 hours to fully charge the battery. Plus, even with a full battery, with it being Ni-cd type it loses power too quickly, especially when on the tougher jobs.
This sells for about £35 - £40, which, for a screwdriver, is not too bad. But for a true 'workable' drill i'd suggest shopping elsewhere as this one just doesn't have what it takes.
It resembles all cordless drills, only this once doesn't have a chunky battery that is rammed up the handle in order to give it the power it needs. This one has a slim 14.4volt battery that is only just wider than the handle. Sadly though, although it has enough power to do smaller jobs, this battery, and the spare that came with it, are the old Ni-Cd type and lose charge a bit to quickly when it come to those longer jobs about the house.
The trigger is at the top of the handle, where the handle meets the main body of the drill, with the directional button being just behind the trigger. This makes it easy to shift from forward to reverse with the push of a finger or thumb, which comes in handy when you have a stubborn piece of screwing or drilling in front of you.
The 10mm chuck is at the front and is a keyless type, meaning there's not searching around for a chuck key when you want to change the bit. Then there's the torque setting, all 16 of them, which makes it a lot less damaging when it comes to screwing screws into wood without screwing in too much. These torque settings are on the ring just behind the chuck and are easily change with a quick turn of the ring.
On the top there is a chunky sliding button which is the gear change, which is what bring the hammer function of this drill into its own. Change the gear and the hammer function comes into its own, giving you more power to get through harder substances such as brick, although I do have to say that this one falls short when it comes to drilling into rocks or paving stone, and, when the battery has lost a bit of power it then started to struggle drilling into brick.
The trigger is nice and delicate. What I mean by that is that you can control the speed of the motor from the start with less pressure on the trigger giving you a slow start. This is handy for marking the pilot hole in some material before going hell for leather with the drilling process.
The charge is almost as big as the drill and offer a nice quick 30 minute charge, which it needs to really as on 'tougher' jobs the battery simply doesn't last 30 minutes.
The price of this drill is about £50, which is not tool bad if all you want is a power screwdriver and a drill for basic wood jobs. If you're after something that will do more around the house then go elsewhere as this is not up to it.
I like to listen to music, at a respectful level of course, not so loud that those around me are affected, but I'm not the type of person who will spend a fortune on a stereo system just because it has the latest double-ended-steroephonic-blaster-pulpertator-magnifico-ear-buster inside it. I tend to just go for a stereo system that not only gives out a nice music flow but also something that I don't have to go to oxford Uni for, in order to get my nuclear physics degree, to switch it on.
And this is one of those systems that fits into my list. Simple and not much to look at (a bit like me then.!!!)
It's a mini-stereo which is about the size of a couple of shoe boxes taped together.
The speakers are on either side of the main body, with each speaker offering 5watts, giving you a nice 10 watts of sound, which is ample enough for most homes.
The main body itself is basic, having the controls for the radio and the CD system right there in plain sight. These controls consist of a volume know with 3 buttons to the left, these buttons are for play/pause, cancel and function. Then there's the radio buttons above which help you auto-tune the radio, pre-setting stations if you want to, up to 40 channels can be stored.
The thin screen offers what you need to know, such as the time, the station you're listening to and the state of the CD play. All flashing up in a dull but effective orange glow.
The radio itself is both analogue and digital, with this one managing to pick up a vast array of digital stations, unlike some systems i've tried in exactly the same areas of the house.?
The CD player can play most, if not all, formats. Such as CD-R/RW and +R/RW which means that you can play shop bought CDs or play your 'legally' burnt CD's as well, (and illegal ones too).
It houses a docking station on the base area, which, when pulled out, lets you dock your 'i-what ever' onto it in order to use the speakers to listen to what ever is on you 'i-what-ever'
There is also an 'Audio in' socket which mean that, for all those people who aren't brainwashed by the 'i' product, you can connect your audio system to it using a separate wire.
The cost of this mini system is £50 - £60, which is not too bad considering that it offers good, clear sound quality and, unlike some other more expensive systems, this can actually pick up DAB stations without too much fuss.
It looks more like an office printer, begin quite bulky and a little bit on the boring side.
On the top there is the paper input tray which is where you place your blank paper ready to be printed. You can stack 30 sheets or more here knowing that the printer will only take one at a time.
There's also a document scanner that is on the top of the printer. This is ideal for when you need to scan multiple documents as it saves you doing them one by one. With this top scanner you simple place all the documents in the top scanner, press the button and each document will be scanned individually, returning through the machine just below where they started from.
There is also the main scanner/copier, which is just under the top scanner and means lifting the lid to get at the scanning glass.
On the front there is the control panel, which consists of a small 2.4inch LCD screen, a cursor key section and a few more buttons. Such as the colour/B&W printing options, the menu button and the power button, and others, but they are all clearly marked and are easy to understand. These are all the keys you need in order to print something.
It offers such things as 802.11 b/g/n wireless printing, meaning that you can print from any PC that has the software installed. It can also print direct from external memory devices using the ports on the front of the unit. This means you don't have to have your PC on to print something off.
You can put quite a few sheets of paper in the holding tray and this will drag in one piece at a time. Then, after the pages have printed, they can all rest on the paper holding tray that extends from the bottom so that they don't fall onto the floor.
This sells for about £40 which is not too bad considering that A, it's an all in one and B, it gives a cracking finish to your photos and documents.
This has done me proud when it comes to printing a lot of things off in one go, giving me a good stack of professional looking images and data documents which I need to show to other people. I have had some printers that have left ink smudges and other mess on the finished print which was embarrassing when showing the docs to others. But this one does me proud.
So, for £40, roughly, this is well worth looking into
It's a fair size, being longer than a standard circular saw but not as high. On the rear there is the handle, which houses the 10.8volt Li-Ion battery that is more a stick battery than a 'normal' one. There's also the locking button that lock the motor on so that you can let go of the trigger.
At the front there is the blade area, with a smaller sized 85mm blade that acts as tough as the larger ones. Right at the front there is a system of wingnuts and bolts that act like a depth guide. Set this so that the blade only goes as deep as you need it. This is ideal for cutting grooves out of the wood instead of right through it.
The blade has a guard the surrounds it so that it protects your fingers from getting sliced off accidentally. The lower blade guard moves away from the blade as you push the unit along the wood you are cutting.
There's a wingnut on the back end of the guard cover that is used to lock the adjustable footplate in position, be that down or up. The wingnut on the front locks the footplate in a tilted position if you need to. This means you can cut wood at angles too.
This is one of those smaller circular saws that gives you the chance to get into smaller gaps, even cutting in 'situ' as the standard size circ-saws are a bit to bulky for some jobs.
If I remember rightly this came in a plastic case with a spare battery and a quick charger. I say this as I still have the charger and the battery but I remember throwing the saw itself out as it had given up the ghost. The reason this gave up the ghost was of over use really as I managed to get a lot of time out if it. But you'd expect that for the price of it.
This saw is way over priced, which I find that most Makita products are, as this one sells for over £160.... now that's a lot of money for this as you can get one that more stamina at half the price.
I tend to do a lot of DIY, from simple hanging pictures to laying decking, and lots of things in between. So I like to have the right tools for the right job, and this saw is one of those tools that really comes in handy when it comes to cutting that perfect straight, or angle cuts.
It's a monster really size wise, being about 7kg in weight, offering 1100 watts of power, which should be used with caution, but it you treat it with respect then, like me, you should be able to walk away with all nine fingers each time.
It has a base plate that has a metal circle in the central section, this metal circle is trapped in place by a metal edging. The reason this is all metal is that this is where the blade goes closest to.
The blade itself sits high up on its hinge when not in use, with a massive easy to grip handle at the side of it. This handle houses the trigger that switches the motor on and off.
On the other side of the blade there is a dust bag, (which you get in the pack), or, if you want to, you can remove the dust bag and add a vacuum hose. Either one will take the dust away from the saw and saves tidying up afterwards.
It does have safety features, such as the blade cover that keep the blade covered, (obviously) and only begins to show the blade when you are pulling the entire thing down. This means that the blade should always stay covered when not cutting.
It also has a clamp on the left side that traps the material that you are about to cut in place so that it doesn't fly off somewhere when the blade hits it.
You can also clamp the entire unit to a work top with four bolts through the pre-drilled holes in the base of the unit, this is what i've done in the shed but, when I need to cut longer pieces, that don't fit in the shed, I can easily unbolt it and take it outside.
The mitre saw can cut straight down, at angles of 45° and even at 'tilted' angles up to 45° both right and left, which is great for when you need to cut joining pieces for such things as skirting boards. It can also tilt at
This saw sells for about £130 - £150 which, if you are like me and tend to do a lot of DIY, which includes cutting lots of wood, then this is something that will come in handy.
I owned this a while back and, although I no longer use it as I struggled to get new blades for it, I still have it in a drawer in the shed.
This is a circular-saw but not as you know it. This one is designed to be used with one hand and, unlike the larger circular-saws, this one doesn't have all the kick back that some have.
Anyway, this is quite a chunky size and weighs a few kgs but as most cutting is done on a flat, with the saw resting on it, the weight isn't really an issue.
The handle houses the motor but it manages to stay pretty cool so that you can go about cutting without fear of burning your hand. With the cutting blade being housed inside the body until you need it to come out. This makes it nice and safe but always ready to cut.
To release the blade from the cover you simply push the button on the side, just to the side of the on/off switch. This then lets you push the main body down, which in turn lowers the blade through the guard and into the work that you're cutting.
You can cut a straight line using the laser guide or the width guide that slides into the footplate, the width guide being the best for that straight cut as long as it's not too far into the width of the wood.
This can be used to cut a line in the piece of wood and not just chopping the ends off. This is done by the fact that the blade can be lowered into the wood any where you want and, as the blade spins, you simple lower it and it will cut through with no problem at all. This comes in handy if you have to take a shape out of the middle of the wood, such as a letter box in a door.
This saw sells for about £100, which is not too bad really as it does a good job in cutting through what ever you want it to and the motor seems to be a lot better that some similar tools I have used.
In all this was one of those saws that did exactly what it was supposed to do and it did it well without burning out or falling apart. The only issue I found was that I could not find the right blades for it when the ones that came with it were beyond sharpening.
This is a 610watt unit and is shaped in such a way that it can be easily held and gripped whilst cutting the wood.
The handle is a good feel and the on/off button lies about 2/4 of the way from the end of it. This button is easy to reach with your thumb. Then there's the locking button which is just as easy to reach.
At the front there is the cutting area, which is surrounded by a clear, toughened plastic guard that stops finger from going near the blade.
Also, on the front, above the guard, there is a laser cutting guide that, when the switch is pressed, gives a red laser line across where you are cutting, which helps you cut a straight line.
You can turn the blade without taking the blade out, or even touching the blade. To turn the direction of the blade you just turn the large dial that sits at the very top of the unit.
At the rear there is a a dust extraction point which is where the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner connect to in order for the dust that this creates gets sucked away from the area,leaving it clean for you to see where the cutting line is.
The foot plate is as flat as anything else and has the right places cut out so that the plate does what it's supposed to do whilst remaining lightweight to go with the rest of the saw.
On the side of the footplate there are a couple of gaps which are designed to hold the width guard, which comes in the box. This helps cut a set width without all the measuring.
Changing the blade is a matter of lifting up the red plastic area that the blade goes into and releasing the blade. When you release the catch the blade is locking in again. This means there is no need for extra tool in order to change the blade.
It has what is called a 'soft start' which means that the motor starts slowly so that the teeth of the blade don't rip into the wood straight away, giving you a chance to approach the wood carefully.
This is one of those saws that really has come in handy and, with constant use, lasted well after the warranty had expired, which is a battle in its self.
The price of this saw is about £50 - £60, which is money well spent if you plan on doing a lot of sawing involving circular or curved cuts.
It offers a 3.5volt battery which is enough power in this unit, although i've used some that offer the same power yet fall flat at the first hurdle, (a little like my horses in the Grand National..!!)
You get a bit of kit with it, that being a few driver bits, and extension bit, the charger itself and a quick guide to using it, with its 'does and don'ts'
On the top, near the rear, there is a little direction indicator, this shows you which way the motor will run, forward or reverse. To set this you press the sliding button that is just behind the trigger.
Toward the front there is the torque settings which are chosen by turning the ring with the numbers on them. Just ahead of the torque ring there is the little LED light, that shines up the area ahead of you. There's also the 'hex' bit holder. As this is a 'hex' chuck you do have to use 'hex' bits but these are well known and most DIY shops sell them. Also on the front, just below the chuck, there is a rather nice idea of a screw cradle which extends from below the chuck. This allows you to rest a screw into the magnetic holder and frees your screw holding hand in order to have it do something else. (What ever that is is up to you).
Then, right on the bottom of the handle, there is the charger connection point, simply place this on the charging cradle and leave it there to charge, a few hours should do the trick.
This is one of those drivers that once bought is very useful indeed, even if it needs constant charging in order to keep up the power. But even on a half charge it can still screw like any other driver.
The handle is nice and comfortable and houses the trigger, with the directional sliding button just behind it. This button gives you the choice of forward and reverse, which all screwdrivers need to be able to do.
It's nice and light and can be used for long periods, as long as the battery lasts really.
The charging cradle is what it says, a cradle, which the driver sits on top of. This cradle hold a few bits, including the counter sinking drill bit. All those are 'hex' shank and all fit in the chuck snugly.
This driver sells for about £40 - £50, which is not too bad for the power and ability of this little unit.
This saw can cut to a maximum depth of 12 mm and as the blade is never 'on show' it's not likely to cut your fingers off, although if not treated properly then fingers could be lost.
The blade is covered all the time that the saw isn't being used, hiding up into the footplate. Then, when the plate is pressed onto the work, the plate goes up and the blade reveals itself, cutting through the wood.
It offers 4000rpm which is as fast as those larger circular saw and, as it's mains powered, there's no loss of power.
The handle is nice and firm with the on switch, or slider, positioned in just the right place, making it easier to control whilst cutting. Even the cooling vents are in the right place so that your hands don't cover them whilst the motor is running.
The great thing about this saw is that it can be used in 'situ'. This means that this is great for such things as cutting floorboards and the like. The blade is able to cut right to the end of the wood, even if there's a wall right at the end.
You can set the depth by turning the little black nob on the top, this gives you mm depth choices so that the blade comes out to the depth you want. This is great for cutting rebates, or simply when you don't want to slice straight through something.
The blades are great at leaving the finished cut with no burr, roughness, which means hardly any sanding down. Changing the blade means using the supplied 'hex' key and takes a matter of a minute or so.
The mains lead sticks out the back of the handle and doesn't get in the way of the cutting area so there's hardly any chance of accidentally slicing through the wire.
This is not only for cutting wood. If you put on the appropriate blade you can cut through metal, plastic and even tiles, which really does make life easier.
When I bought this I used it on most cutting jobs, giving it a good testing, and it managed to withstand some serious work. I found it great for cutting grooves in wood in order to slide other wood into the groove as the depth gauge was accurate indeed.
It sells for around the £70 mark, or less, but, if you tend to do a lot of cutting, grooving or floorboard laying, then this is £70 well spent.
This is one saw that's worth buying even if you only DIY in a blue moon. This is always there to do the cutting.
I had this one a while back, using it for a few months, finding it fine to start with but after a while it began to over heat and eventually refused to work at all. This meant a trip back to the shop I got it from and a refund, which I spent on other tools.
This one is a nice driver size, smaller than a standard drill, as this is only really a driver anyway.
The chuck is a fixed one and holds 'hex' bits, which are easy to find in all DIY shops these days so there's no hassles there. This fixed chuck means that there's no slipping of the chuck at all.
You do get 3 torque settings with this one, which is not something that all drivers offer, so this one has a positive in that.
There's also a little light that aims itself to the area the chuck points at so that you can see what you're doing.
The charger is a beast of a thing too, but it does give a good indication as to how the battery is doing, with a one hour charging time. The 18volt Li-Ion battery itself is as big as the main unit of the driver, and as it holds its charge for longer this driver should have lasted for a while.
Sadly though, as I said, the one I had overheated and became useless, but maybe the one I had was a one off... although I don't see myself buying another one in a hurry.
I do have to say that this is quite heavy for a driver, being about 4kg, including the battery, which is on the heavy side for drivers.
It sells for about £100 which sound good and I was pleased with, that was until the thing failed on me and was worth less than a politicians promise.
I've given this 3 stars because of the one i had...I would have given it the full five if i'd have written the review when this was working fine
Sometime when i'm on my laptop I find it easier if I have two screens on at once, one being the laptop itself, the other being an external monitor that I have connected up to the laptop. This allows me to see the writing on the laptop screen whilst seeing the documents i'm writing about on the external monitor. And this is the monitor that I got my hands on from a certain low cost shop.
Anyway, this monitor is the 19inch version, although I do believe they do other sizes. It is about 430mm high x 420mm wide and about 170mm thick, weighing in at no more than 4kg
It has internal speakers, which is nice, and it also has an external audio socket on the rear for attaching external speakers. You do have to change the settings using your PC in order to swap from internal to external but that's simple enough to do.
The few controls are on the right side, lower, with the button on the side and the info on the front, these button are power, brightness up and down and auto select. There's a little light to let you know if the screen is on or off.
It does need its own power supply, as any monitor of television requires, but you get the power cable with this so you're laughing.
The monitor itself is great for basic computing as it gives a nice clear screen when it comes to seeing pictures and words. However, according to my youngest, when she used it to play a game on, she says that the colours on it were, in her words, 'boring'.!!!???
Connecting it up to the laptop is a simple matter of connecting the VGA cable from my laptop to the back of the monitor, then, once up and running, I had two screens showing two different documents.
And, to be honest, using a dual screen is nice and easy on this system using windows 8.1...
The only downside is that the stand does not allow the monitor to swivel, but as it's light enough it's easy enough to turn
As I said, I got this monitor in a low cost shop and spent just under £90 for it, which was a bargain as I have seen similar ones selling from double that.
For £90 it is a cracking monitor, in fact, i'd go as far as to say that I would have paid up to £150 for this 19 inch monitor as it really is a cracking unit indeed. Simple to use and a pleasure to look at.
This is one chunky drill, and weighs more than some others that I have used. It is the stadard gun shape with the battery on the base of the handle that adds that extra weight and can be stood up on the battery.
The trigger is high on the handle, as per usual, with a sliding button just behind it that gives you the directional option, forward or reverse.
Right on the top there is the gear change, which is a sliding button, push it forward or back for hammer or normal.
Right at the front there is the chuck, which is key-less. Then, just behind that, is the 16 torque settings which give you more control when it comes to using this drill as a screwdriver.
The trigger is what they call a variable speed one, which basically means that if you press it gently the motor turns slowly, press it hard and you get full speed ahead.
I like the fact that this has an electrical brake system as this means that when I release the trigger the chuck stops spinning. There's nothing worse than a drill that carries on drilling through something for a few seconds after you've asked it to stop.??? also, the chuck locks up when you want to turn the front section in order to change the bit. This is great for one handed changing when you're stuck up a ladder somewhere.
This one runs of a Ni-Cd battery, which is a shame as a Li-Ion battery would have made this a cracking drill. But nonetheless, the power on this is pretty good, plus, you get a spare battery in the box, and, as these batteries can be charged in an hour, there's a constant power of screwing and drilling with very few breaks.
This is easy to use, simple to change the bits, even with one hand
The price of this is about £60, which is not too bad considering that you get a nice, powerful drill that can handle brickwork and concrete, plus, you get a spare battery and a one hour charging unit... so £60 is pretty good really.
This was another one of those drills that was in my collection but, for reasons I can't recall, is no longer in the shed, although the case with the battery charger is ???. But it doesn't mean I don't remember what it was like.
It looks like a pistol shape, which is what you'd expect from most drivers these days, and this one runs off a 14.4volt unit with a Ni-Cd battery, which means that the battery takes hours to charge, (over 3 hours) and doesn't last as long as the more modern Li-Ion type, and as this battery fails to hold the charge when not being used it needs charging up before each use really.
The chuck is key-less and can be tightened/loosened by hand. It has 16 torque settings, one of which is for the drill, which is why this is a driver rather than a drill, as this only has one option for drilling whilst having 15 options from screwing.
There is a little indent on the top at the rear, which houses a double headed drill bit that comes with this unit.
The trigger is on the handle, just before the main body, with a sliding control to give you the direction option, right for forward, left for reverse as It has the, now, standard reverse function, which makes this great for using as a screwdriver as it lets you screw in and screw out.
This is not the greatest of drivers by far. To be honest i'd have put it in the lower five of my favourite, if it wasn't for the price. As this sells for about £20, which, at the end of the day, is nothing really if all you want is something that you can use every now and then to screw flat pack furniture together. This will handle that, just.
But it you are a more 'aggressive' DIYer then this one is going to make you so angry that your brain may just pop out of your ears as this one just isn't up for those longer jobs.