Cordless drills are a really handy tool to have around, and whether you’re a humble DIYer or a professional in the construction industry, they can help you drill holes and drive screws with precision. However, not every cordless drill has the same qualities, and if you want to invest in a good cordless drill, here is a brief guide to help you choose the right one for your needs:
Matching the right tool to the right job
With so many drills and drivers available today, it’s not hard to buy more tool than you actually need, especially if you don’t carefully consider what you’ll be using it for. If you’re a domestic DIYer for example, a cheaper drill will likely meet your needs around the home, for professionals, a drill with a bigger motor will probably be necessary.
What should you consider when buying a cordless drill?
There are a number of basic elements of a cordless drill that you’ll want to be paying attention to when buying one, and they are as follows:
- Chuck jaws
For most drill, the maximum capacity is 3/8 inches, while some 14.4 drills and 18V, are able to handle bits that are ½ an inch in diameter
The more settings there are, the greater your level of control over the depth of the screws being driven
- Speed-range switch
The high setting is for drilling, while the low setting is for driving screws – ideally, you want a wide range between the two settings
- Forward/reverse switch
Operable using your thumb and your trigger finger
- Hand grip
It’s important to try out the drill before you buy it; both the texture and the contours should be conducive to a good grip
While the more voltage a drill has, the more power it has, it will also weigh more
Two batteries are always better than one
Again, testing out the feel of the trigger before you buy a drill can be advantageous. Your index finger must be able to fit comfortably around it when gripping, and a drill with variable speeds will offer a greater degree of control
- Keyless chuck
Open and close the chuck jaws by hand turning it
What are the main features of a cordless drill?
When choosing a cordless drill, you should carefully consider the following features:
- Power – the power of cordless drills is measured in the voltage of the battery, and the higher the voltage, the better the tool can overcome resistance with torque-spinning strength. Models typically come in 6, 7.2, 9.6, 12, 14.4 and 18V
- Handles – this will either be a pistol grip or T-handle, with the latter being the most comfortable for all-purpose drilling and screw driving
- Clutch – clutches give you control when using a cordless drill, to prevent you from stripping a screw or overdriving it, and in contrast to electric drills, cordless drills have an adjustable clutch. It also helps to protect the motor when a great deal of resistance is being met.
- Speed – most cordless drills have two speeds that are fixed: 300 rpm and 800 rpm. Generally, lower speeds are for driving screws, while higher speeds are for drilling holes, and a trigger or slide switch enables you to select the right speed for the job
- Batteries and charger – nowadays, nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries that are smaller and have a longer lifespan than most other batteries, are widely used.