What Are Electric Power Tools?

Electric power tools are instruments that are actuated by a power source. Most power tools utilize electric motors, internal combustion engines, or compressed air mechanisms. Other common power sources include steam engines, fuel and propellant combustion, and natural power sources like wind or moving water to operate power tools.

Power tools are used in industrial settings like construction work, gardening, housework, and cooking. They are used for countless operations that necessitate some degree of drilling, cutting, sanding, grinding, routing, and more. Power tools can be classified as either stationary or portable, where the latter means handheld. Portable tools have clear advantages in terms of mobility, while stationary tools offer advantages in speed and precision.

For instance, a typical table saw is a stationary power tool that cuts smoother and straighter lines than can be achieved by a handheld power saw. As such, some stationary tools can produce objects that cannot be made by other similar instruments. In metalworking, stationary power tools are called machine tools, those of which include drill presses and bench grinders.

As power tools can be complicated to operate if one is not familiar with the tool on hand, operators must be extremely careful. As they produce a lot of noise and vibrations, operating such tools without hearing protection over extended periods of time can put a person at risk for hearing loss. As per the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a person should not be exposed to noise levels above 85 dB in order to prevent hearing loss.

Unfortunately, a majority of power tools like drills, circular saws, belt sanders, and chainsaws operate at sound levels above 85 dB, with some exceeding 100 dB. As such, NIOSH highly recommends the use of protective gear while using these types of power tools. Other risks to consider often come with lack of training, which can be remedied with the proper supervision and instruction. With this in mind, we will cover a few of the most common power tools in the next section.

Angle Grinder

An angle grinder, or side grinder, is a handheld power tool primarily utilized for grinding and polishing. Though it was originally developed as a tool for rigid abrasive discs, its versatility has enabled it to be used for other purposes. More than that, the addition of cutters and attachments makes it suitable for a variety of operations.


A drill is used for making round holes or driving fasteners. Usually, it is fitted with a bit, such as a drill or chuck type. With handheld drills dramatically decreasing in popularity, cordless, battery powered, or electric types are rising in demand. Moreover, they are often used in woodworking, metalworking, construction, and machine tool fabrication.

Floor Sander

Floor sanding is the process of removing the surface layer of a wooden floor by sanding it with an abrasive material. Some of the floor materials that can be sanded include timber, cork, particleboard, and parquet. Floor sander variations include belt sanders, multi disc sanders, and random orbital sanders.

Reciprocating Saw

Reciprocating saws are a type of machine-powered saw that achieve cuts through the push-and-pull, or “reciprocating,” motion of the blade. A reciprocating saw is often used in construction and demolition work. With a foot at the base of the blade, the user holds this foot on the surface being cut to push away from or pull toward the cut as the blade travels through the workpiece. 


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