Skil Power Cutter - Review
Skil has definitely shown themselves to be interested in innovation. We loved last year's Power Wrench and we're looking forward to the benchtop tools they're releasing this September. In the meantime, they've slipped out the Power Cutter. It's a light-duty cutter powered by an 3.6 volt internal lithium-ion battery.
The Skil Cutter isn't the most aggressive tool you'll ever hold in your hand and it's not supposed to be. It's meant for small tasks. The packaging says that it can cut selected materials up to 1/4" thick. The list includes leather, wallpaper, cardboard, and carpet.
And cut it does. We tested it out on a variety of materials. The Cutter went through paper and cardboard with no problem. Then it easily (and happily) diced up an 80 page Pottery Barn catalog. But it's not just good for stuff around the house. It worked great on plastic sheeting, vinyl siding, and Tyvek as well. As the Cutter runs, it also sharpens itself, meaning it's always ready to go.
Our only real problem with the Skil Cutter is something that has nothing to do with the tool itself. It's the packaging. The tool comes in this way-too-large plastic trophy case that is too bulky to be used in any practical manner as storage, so it's destined to end up in the trash. It seems like a lot of time, effort, and we guess expense, went into the packaging, when they could have redirected those efforts towards a little pouch or some other kind of case that could actually hold the tool on a day to day basis (or even just a simple blister pack). It's a small complaint, but one of those things that leaves us asking, "why?"
But the tool itself is a great success. It's small, handy, and useful to everyone from a carpenter putting up housewrap to someone wrapping their Christmas presents. It's exactly the sort of tool we were hoping to see out of the Black & Decker VPX line (which to date has been fairly underwhelming). The Cutter costs about $50 and if it's something you think you'll use, it's worth every penny.
We also think that there is room for a larger, more powerful cutter on the market. Something between this one and those little trim circular saws that are out there. Just think if Skil made one of these that could cut through an asphalt shingle...
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at June 16, 2008 5:00 AM