The 10 Best Power Tool Kits
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in April of 2016. On the one hand, you could hit up the local hardware store on a project-by-project basis to pick up the individual gear required for those specific jobs. On the other, you could save time and money by purchasing one power tool kit that contains everything you’ll ever need. We recommend the latter option, which is why we developed this list of combo sets for you to select from. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 27, 2020:
It should be noted that, while power tool kits can be a great way to get a good gear collection going, both in terms of the convenience and the cost savings they offer, it might not be the way to go for users who like to have the best of the best, as companies tend not to include their top-end options with these sets. For example, power tool kits seldom feature brushless drills, although some high-end kits like the Makita XT706 and the DeWalt 20V Max 10-Tool DCK1020D2 do include some brushless components.
While the mix of brands reflected by this set of rankings remained quite similar through this round of updates, we did do quite a lot of juggling, in an effort to include some superior kits now being offered by these companies.
While the Craftsman C3 was removed due to availability issues, we did incorporate the Craftsman V20 CMCK401D2 into our list, which features the company’s new line of 20-volt batteries, but includes one less tool than the C3.
We eliminated the Hitachi KC18DG6LPA and replaced it with the Metabo HPT 4-Tool KC18DG4LS, recognizing that the former kit is likely facing imminent discontinuation, as all Hitachi power tools are now in the process of being replaced by rebranded Metabo HPT offerings. Notably, this change was made out of an abundance of caution, as we have noticed that Metabo HPT has been quite diligent about offering a direct replacement for every Hitachi tool it takes off the market.
We also did away with the DeWalt Max, recognizing that it was a redundant selection with less options than the DeWalt DCK940D2, a nine-piece kit that we also removed, and replaced with the DeWalt 20V Max 10-Tool DCK1020D2 — which includes one more tool than its predecessor, though it doesn’t normally come with a hard carrying case.
The six-piece Ryobi P884 was replaced by the nine-piece Ryobi P1869, which includes the addition of a palm sander, string trimmer and hand vacuum. And, the five-tool Makita XT505 was replaced by the seven-tool Makita XT706, which includes the addition of job site blower and angle grinder.
A few things to think about for this category:
Selection: It should be noted that, because tool quality can vary considerably between brands, selection and price shouldn’t be the sole considerations determining your purchase, but with some kits including four tools while others come with 10, it’s certainly one worth bearing in mind.
While the barest of kits – including selections like the Skil 4-Tool, Metabo HPT 4-Tool KC18DG4LS, Craftsman V20 CMCK401D2 and Bosch CLPK420 – can still be counted on to include a charger, battery, impact driver, drill and either a reciprocating saw or circular saw, larger kits – like the Ryobi P1869, Porter-Cable 8-Tool and DeWalt 20V Max 10-Tool DCK1020D2 – include some fun extras, like job site radios and oscillating tools. Use your best judgement and what you know about your personal needs to decide just how big of a kit you want.
Storage and Transportation: Again, this isn’t necessarily the consideration that should weigh heaviest during your decision making process, but there’s no doubt that careful storage and transportation is of paramount importance when it comes to extending the working life of your equipment. So, if the kit you’re thinking about doesn’t present a sufficient storage solution, you might want to consider separately purchasing some sort of tool chest to help protect your investments.
Some options – like the Craftsman V20 CMCK401D2, Black+Decker BDINF20C and Skil 4-Tool – don’t come with any sort of storage case. Many other options – like the Makita XT706, Porter-Cable 8-Tool and Milwaukee M18 – come with soft carrying bags to assist with storage and transportation, although it’s rarely made explicitly clear whether or not these bags are large enough to house the entire tool collection they accompany. Hard-shell cases are a luxury seldom seen in this category, although the DeWalt 20V Max 10-Tool DCK1020D2 can be ordered with a hard case, for an additional cost.
Warranty: Many users consider warranty to be an important consideration that comes with any prudent purchase, but an extra-long warranty can be extra helpful with a buy like this one, as it could be months or even years until you come across the occasion to use every tool in your new kit.
Disappointingly, Bosch, which has historically had a reputation for superior warranties, only offers a one-year limited warranty with the Bosch CLPK420, providing an option to buy three-year coverage for an additional cost.
The Black+Decker BDINF20C comes in next with a two-year limited warranty, and, the DeWalt 20V Max 10-Tool DCK1020D2, Makita XT706, Porter-Cable 8-Tool, Ryobi P1869 and Craftsman V20 CMCK401D2 all feature three-year limited warranties.
The Skil 4-Tool and Milwaukee M18 both come with a five-year warranty, and the Metabo HPT 4-Tool KC18DG4LS features the best warranty of any kit we selected during this round of updates, with lifetime coverage on its tools.
May 30, 2019:
We identified availability issues with the Black+Decker Matrix, so we replaced this item with the Black+Decker BDINF20C. The primary distinguishing attribute of the new model is the inclusion of an inflator, an underrated tool with plenty of useful applications. While most users note that this set is not intended for intense, professional work, most are very satisfied with the durability and performance of the tools given the affordable price of the kit.
The DeWalt DCK940D2 does contain more tools than most combo kits, but some of those items don’t provide the same level of power and efficiency as the tools in many of the smaller quantity sets. We dropped this item a bit in the list, opting to move up the DeWalt Max, which features tools are more heavy-duty and powerful, albeit fewer of them.
We also increased the ranking of the Ryobi P884 for its blend of value, quality and diversity of items. With its circular saw, reciprocal saw, drill, hammer drill, light, and 90-degree multi-tool head, most home projects are well within your reach. It includes a charger and two batteries as well. People appreciate its handy extra features, such as the magnetic surface on the impact driver for holding screws and the easy-to-adjust shoe on the reciprocating saw.
Choosing The Right Power Tool Kit
Also don't overlook the convenience of a bright light which is often included in larger kits.
Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to buying a power tool kit: you can attempt to find a kit that contains all the tools you are ever likely to need, or you can buy a kit meant to satisfy a narrower range of specific needs. In the first category you will find the homeowner or landlord looking to handle a range of smaller scale projects and repairs; in the latter category you usually find the professional builder or the dedicated hobbyist who already owns a decent array of tools.
Assuming you want to find a power tool kit that may well have all the devices you will ever want, first consider what constitutes covering the most basic needs. At the very least, such kits should contain a drill capable of sinking bits into various materials and of driving in (or removing) various screws, a circular saw that can handle most lumber up to the two-by-four with ease, and a reciprocating saw (often and accurately known as a sawzall -- pronounced "saws all" -- though in fact that term is a copyrighted brand name) that can be fitted with a variety of blades.
With those three tools and a decent hammer and a pair of pliers, you can likely tackle almost any project that does not require a professional's level of knowledge and experience. If you are looking for a an even more complete kit, then look for options that also contain an impact driver that can be used to secure bolts, self-drilling screws, and more. Also consider a cut off tool that, fitted with the right disc, can be used to slice through pipes, grind down old surfaces, or even to sharpen tools like an axe. Also don't overlook the convenience of a bright light which is often included in larger kits. A light source than can be perched on the floor or mounted to a wall or other surface can be invaluable when you are working in the dark.
For the professional builder or the accomplished DIY enthusiast, there is likely no need for a general tool kit with one of each type of the basic tools. Instead look for kits that include various takes on a tool category. For example, many power tool kits contain a skill saw, a jigsaw, a cut off tool, and a reciprocating saw alongside those other devices like a drill or lamp. And while you may already own one, two, or even three of said devices, it's hard to buy individual tools for the same price as you will get when buying a set. Therefore considering a power tool kit that contains several items you already possess might make simple economic sense. You can think of the redundant tools you acquire as backups in the event that one breaks later on in life.
Other Accessories To Consider
When you are using power tools, you should also be using at least minimal protective gear. This means, almost without exception, wearing thick work gloves and protective eyewear. Your hands are always the body part closest to that spinning blade or whirling bit, and your eyes are susceptible to damage from even the smallest fibers thrown up as you work; don't skip the basics when it comes to protective clothing. And depending on what materials you will be working with, also consider a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Inhaling fine particulate matter tossed up by a power tool can cause both acute and chronic health issues.
As for tools and accessories you likely won't find in a power tool kit and that you likely don't already own, one of most affordable, helpful devices is the stud finder. These handy handheld gadgets can save you hours of frustration and wasted effort when you properly sink screws into secure lumber rather than watching as chunks of drywall are ripped out by a collapsing shelf or falling picture frame.
Also don't overlook the effectiveness of "basic" hand tools, such as a classic screwdriver or wrench. While power tools can almost always deliver more torque and force, they can seldom deliver the same precision as a human being wielding a tool with care.
A Few Words On Power Tool Safety
As in all other aspects of life, always put safety first when using power tools. The primary reason power tools can be dangerous is the fact that accidents caused by these devices can happen so quickly. A blade's "kickback," a thrown drill but, or a shower of sparks can all occur in a mere split second, and the results of an accident caused by a power tool can include ruined machinery, costly property damage, and even severe personal injury.
If you are drilling into metal, don't use a but designed for wood.
Before you commence using any new power tool, even if it is a unit you feel competent in controlling, take a few minutes to get to know that specific implement. Check the chuck of a drill to make sure its bits will be held fast once in place, for example. Make sure you have properly locked the blade on a circular saw before even plugging the tool in. And inspect all protective and control surfaces, such as the rails on a reciprocating saw or the grips on an impact hammer, to make sure that nothing is loose, cracked, or compromised. The time to find a problem with a power tool is before you ever commence using the device.
Also make sure that you always use the proper power source for your tools. That means, when possible, working with batteries that are fully charged so you can count on proper function of devices thusly powered. And make sure to use outlets and, when needed, extension cords that are rated to handle the specified voltage of the power tool at hand.
Next, make sure you know exactly what materials you are going to be working with. If you are sawing through lumber, consider whether screws, nails, or other hardware might be present. If so, consider making an initial cut with a rugged reciprocating saw and then making a finer cut with a skill saw later. If you are drilling into metal, don't use a but designed for wood. Common sense is your clearest guide to power tool safety, but patience and attentiveness are also critical features.