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Cut the Cord

Wrap up rechargeable appliances and tools this holiday season

Looking for a practical gift for someone on your holiday list? You might consider replacing old-fashioned and cumbersome tools or appliances with cordless versions. You can find cordless options for many common gadgets; they are energy efficient, convenient, generally lighter, and easier to store away when not in use.

In the home, vacuums, vegetable choppers, food processors, hand mixers, kettles, blenders, and electric knives all come in cordless versions. They offer portability so that you can use your kitchen efficiently, and are great when food prep space is tight.

For outside work, you’ll find a large selection of cordless leaf blowers and string trimmers. And the handyman (or. handywoman) in your life would be excited to get a cordless sander, drill, circular saw, or grinder.

Anyone who has wrestled with extension cords snaking into the garage would appreciate a cordless hand-held car vacuum. Stuck with a leaking tire on the side of the road? A battery-powered tire inflator could be a lifesaver.

These tools are often equipped with rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries, but on rare occasions use standard batteries that need to be replaced. Cordless devices are often equipped with intelligent technology that “sips” only as much power from the battery as the task demands.

For tougher tasks, the tool or appliance will draw more power from the battery, and for smaller jobs, it will use less.

And because they aren’t plugged into an outlet, cordless tools don’t continue to draw power when they’re not in use. After using, charge them up and store them — and enjoy not having to fight with an unruly cord.

While energy-saving cordless appliances sometimes fall short on power compared to their corded alternatives, companies are quickly making improvements in battery cell capacity. Before buying a cordless version of an appliance or tool, ask yourself:

  • Would not having a cord make this task more convenient?
  • Will a cordless version be easier to store?
  • Do I need flexibility to easily move the tool from one area to another?
  • Would a lighter version of this tool be more comfortable to use?
  • Do I need a high-powered tool, or will a tool with less voltage get the job done?
  • Is the job relatively short in duration? Can it be completed on a single charge?

You might also consider giving that special someone a cordless bluetooth speaker, so they can listen to music while working with their new energy-efficient cordless appliances.