Electric and battery powered tools have become very good substitutes for gas powered tools and are a part of my preps. I know it may seem a little odd when so many of things I have prepared for usually include the power being off for a significant amount of time. But, with solar energy you have a renewable power source that is under your control and is not dependent on anything but how large of a system you can afford to build/install. Now you may already have a gas generator and it can run all of these electric tools as long as the fuel holds out but by adding in a small solar setup you can keep right on working even if you run out of gas!
You can also see how many tools are now battery powered from drills, sanders, circular saws and even small chainsaws. While have a good selection of plain old human powered tools is great to have on hand they can be hard to find at a good price. These little battery powered tools can be bought in a small groups that all share the same type of battery and will make jobs a bit easier when you are low on physical energy, disabled or need to get a job done quickly. If you are a little low on funds you can pickup a single tool at a time and slowly build up your toolbox.
You might find that corded power tools a bit cheaper as well as having a bit more power compared to the battery type tools so I think it is best to try and get both tools if you can for your tool box. With a high watt inverter (1000 watts +) you should be able to run your tools for a short time even if you have a small solar setup as well as charging up your tool’s batteries in between jobs.
My little toolbox has a combination of battery and corded power tools and I have to say I have been very impressed by my electric rototiller by Earthworks. The cord can be a little difficult if you are not used to one but after awhile you learn to work around that little issue. I have a small electric chainsaw that does a great job on smaller jobs that it’s short 14 inch bar can handle. Of course I have a battery powered cordless drill that are about as common as mud and are work great for small jobs. I gave my Dad a battery powered circular saw that I had a issues using because of my disability. It ready to do some work though if needed!
Add in the weed whacker and my leaf blower/vacuum mulcher you can see how much work you can still get done with relative ease by going electric and having solar energy as your backup electrical needs. I’m looking at purchasing from amazon a small electric lawn mower by Earthworks to replace my old gas mower. That will take care of most all of the yard chores and it’s all done via electric power.
Almost all of the electrical energy in the west is done by Hydroelectric Dams. Here in Idaho we tend to have some of the lowest electrical rates in the nation. If you depend on a coal-fire, natural gas or nuclear turbine your electrical cost maybe much higher and not as cost effective as electricity is for me. You can still take advantage of using solar panels or wind to generate electricity and store it in batteries to use with an inverter.
You don’t have to spend $50,000.00 and have a whole house solar setup to take advantage of solar energy. A 20 watt panel costs about $60.00 and you can buy one or two at a time and slowly build up your power collection. I got my 1100 watt inverter for $65.00 on sale at Amazon but the batteries I want to get are expensive $120.00-$180.00 each but they are the AGM batteries with no out gassing like lead acid batteries and built for many charge and discharge cycles. By going with a small and portable setup I can use my solar generator at home or with my RV and by going with several small panels, if one is damaged it still will work though I will lose a little efficiency of a single high watt panel.