Cordless tools and accessories cop a flogging on site, getting dropped off ladders or roofs, hit with dust, dirt or water and pushed to the limit on applications that should probably be reserved for 240v.
As a tradesman, the cost of having a broken tool can be hefty, certainly more than the cost of its replacement. What’s more it has the potential to hold up an entire job as you wait for the apprentice to go and buy a replacement – all the while hoping he buys the right model and voltage!
So, clearly having Tough Tools is a no brainer for tradies who are serious about their jobs. While all brands spruik their tools as being tough in varying ways, choosing a brand like Panasonic, with their market-leading certified protection in the form of Tough Tool IP, makes a lot of sense.
Tough Tool IP: Dust and Water Resistance
IP stands for either Ingress Protection or International Protection – depending on who you speak with. Both are accurate descriptions of the system governed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that rates and certifies electrical equipment “against intrusion of foreign objects and liquids”.
Without boring you with technical speak, an IP56 rated tool (most of Panasonic’s) has strong resistance to dust (5 out of a possible 6) and water (6 out of a possible 8). However a quick look online and there are plenty of stories of Panasonic IP56 rated tools being dropped in pools or going for a swim and still working after a good dry-down. Just don’t expect them to warrant it!
Panasonic has installed and certified IP56 on 11 tools in their expanding cordless range, including their drill and impact drivers, circ saw, angle grinder and recip saw.
What’s more, the Pana crew have also just released a new dual-voltage Panasonic Powertools cordless radio (14.4v and 18v) that is also certified as IP64X against dust and water, with the X standing for its certification of resistance to impact.
Dual-Voltage and Battery Tech
As well as leading the market with certified protection against dust and water, Panasonic are also leading the charge in dual-voltage tools, with the new radio taking to 10 the number of dual-voltage tools in their armoury.
Panasonic Power Tools business manager, Chris Moore told TTT that enabling users to run one tool off either a 14.4v or 18v battery was about usability and simplicity for tradies, who don’t have to shell out more money on two platforms, with the tool adapting to match the power output of the battery.
“We believe the whole reason for cordless tools is their useability and part of that is making them as compact as possible – not only the tools themselves but also the battery packs,” Moore said, adding that Panasonic will continue to serve electricians and other trades who want the lighter, smaller 2.0Ah battery packs.
However he hinted that batteries larger than the current Panasonic 4.2Ah capacities could be on the horizon with the statement “watch this space”.
Given Panasonic’s ownership of Sanyo – a company that supplies many other power tool brands with their battery cells – and its history of battery research and development, when they say “watch this space”, it’s sure to be worth watching.
Key stockists of Panasonic Power Tools are Masters, VEK, Specialty Fasteners, F&K Power Tools, Huntingdale Power Tools and Salmon Bros. Electrical