It wasn't but maybe 10 years ago that few of us had much in the way of cordless tools-above and beyond the requisite hand drill, right? And as far as being able to handle any real serious jobs, those drills, as convenient as they were for many things, were just not up to the task, at least in the power department. Seemed for a while that nobody could produce a cordless battery that packed enough punch to step up to the plate and even come close to competing with the old standby power and pneumatic tools. Well, until now that is ...

Things have changed, and today's cordless tools are definitely not what they used to be. As a matter of fact, it might not be surprising if the scales have tipped the other way for many of us as far as the power-to-cordless ratio goes-the complete opposite from what it was just a decade ago. From reciprocating saws to impact wrenches, the major tool manufacturers (and some not so major) have seriously kicked it into high gear and are now producing cordless lines worthy of (and sometimes better than) their traditional power tools.

However, it's still pretty hard to beat a good-quality air tool. But, even with the best money can buy, they're only as good as your compressor will allow them to be. In other words, if a particular tool requires 15 cfm, but your air compressor can only sustain 10-12 cfm, you'll be taking quite a few breaks as the compressor tries to keep up. This is mainly an issue with air-hungry cut-off tools and the like. Additionally, the compressor can pose another drawback, despite its size and capabilities-having to turn it on, wait for it to build up pressure (that is unless you're constantly using it), and then drag out the air line. For those of us with neighbors in close proximity, the act of running a compressor-especially a loud one outside your garage-can pose quite the nuisance, thus imposing tool time "curfews"!

No matter what your current tool situation may be, there'll come a time when you either need to replace a pneumatic or power tool, or you'll find there's a particular tool you need or would like to add to the arsenal. That's the perfect time to consider going cordless-but before shelling out any hard-earned money, know your options up front and avoid any surprises down the road. Thanks to the folks at Ingersoll Rand and Garage Equipment Supply, we'll try to arm you with as much information and advice as we can with the following article. Hopefully, this will positively influence your future tool decisions, but at the very least it should act as an eye opener for anyone who still doubts the power of cordless!