Cordless Drills – Your Guide to Buying a Power Drill

Cordless Drills – Your Guide to Buying a Power Drill

Of all the power tools, probably the most essential for anyone who does DIY is a drill. The best cordless drills are the most convenient types available and depending which model you choose, you will give you an easy and quick means of drilling, as well as driving screws, through hard and soft woods, metal, masonry and possibly even concrete. Different cordless drills come with different features and capabilities, and it is hard to know which one will be the most suitable for your requirements.

Our guide to buying a power drill is designed to help you make an informed purchasing decision and make a choice from the best power drills available.

Size and shape

Dewalt cordless T handle drill
When it comes to cordless drills, the most common shape is the T-handle style, where the handle is in the middle. There is also a right-handed model that is designed for use in tight spaces. On the whole there is little variation in the sizes of cordless drills, but depending on your needs, additional features are available. For example, reversible side handles can be added to give more control and stability for heavier jobs.

Power and weight

professional cordless drill

While the size of most cordless drills is fairly standard, there can be a significant difference in how much they weigh. Generally speaking, the heavier drills are the most powerful. The power of cordless drills is measured in volts, ranging from 2-volts for cordless screwdrivers to 20-volt drills. In most cases, 18v cordless drills are more than enough to handle professional applications, and these are fairly heavy pieces of equipment. Drills with 14 or 12 volt power will be lighter, and able to meet the needs of most DIY jobs. There are two types of batteries used in cordless drills, Nickel Cadmium and Lithium Ion. While Nickel Cadmium has been used the longest, Lithium Ion is a lighter battery.

Chuck, drilling and torque settings

drill chuckThe chuck is the part of the drill that in which you tighten the bit you are planning to use. The size of the chuck (i.e. its diameter) will determine the size of the bits that can be used with that drill; a ⅜-inch chuck is fairly standard for domestic use drills. Most cordless drills have keyless chucks, although there are some that require you to use a key when adding and removing bits.

The bezel, or main shaft, of the drill will indicate its settings. Depending on your drill, apart from a drilling mode, there may also be screwdriving and hammer action. If there is a screwdriving mode, there will also be a selection of torque (twisting force) settings. More torque is required for lower speeds. The hammer action is not available on many cordless power drills, but is very useful if you are planning to drill through very hard materials like concrete.

Using the drill

cordless drill settingsMost cordless drills come with two gears. This is important as it is necessary to work harder materials or larger bits at lower speeds, and softer materials at higher speeds. The first gear provides low speeds and higher torque, and is ideal for screwdriving. The second gear is for higher speeds, but remember; very hard materials should only be attempted with cordless hammer drills.