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'Naked' power tools can offer big savings

Most tools are sold 'naked'; that is, without the battery and charger; and this can provide savings as well as cut landfill waste.

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If your dad is like mine, he likes working on cars, fixing things around the house, doing yard work – and then complaining about doing yard work. And, of course, he loves using power tools for these tasks.

With that in mind, I headed off to Home Depot last weekend to price a replacement battery for his cordless drill and get him a new weedwacker for Father’s Day. Little did I know that these items were related, and I’d emerge having “walked two dogs with one leash” as it were.

The Ryobi One+ system, exclusive to Home Depot, has 40 items including power tools, yard tools, and multiple battery and charger options. All One+ 18-volt batteries (Nickel-Cadmium or Lithium-Ion) will work with all One+ 18-volt tools, whether they’re new or were made ten years ago.

Most tools are sold “naked” – that is, without the battery and charger – and this can provide savings as well as cutting landfill waste (does anyone actually need five chargers?).

You can buy batteries and chargers separately, but the most economical way to get started is by purchasing a kit, such as a drill or weedwacker, which includes a battery and charger. You can then add naked tools to your collection that will use the same battery and charger that you already have.

As for me, my best option was to get the Ryobi One+ 18-volt cordless string trimmer kit with one Lithium-Ion battery plus charger. It’s normally $159, but was on sale last Sunday for $129 with a bonus $40 blower free.

This lightweight 7.5 lb, 12-inch trimmer has auto line-advance, a telescoping handle, and rotating head for use as an edger.

The kit’s Li-Ion battery also fits my dad’s old 18-volt Ryobi drill and is an upgrade over the original Ni-Cad battery. The Li-Ion battery has a built-in “fuel gauge,” claims to hold charge four times longer in storage, has double the run time, and is 20 per cent lighter than the Ni-Cad.

The one-hour charger in the kit will work with either Ni-Cad or Li-Ion Ryobi batteries. Additional batteries sell for $45 each or 2 for $65 (Ni-Cad), or $80 and $109 for small/large Li-Ion.

So, for Father’s Day, dad will get a better battery for his old drill plus a new weedwacker and, maybe, for a little while, there will be no complaining about yard work, home maintenance, car repairs…

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