If you have been wondering about stepping up your DIY activities, one of the go-to tools is a cordless power drill. This drill comes with freedom, so you don’t have to worry about power outlets and cumbersome wires. You can get to work even in the remotest corners of your home with your trusty tool in hand.
If you are buying a cordless drill for the first time, you need to know what you should look for. There are many options on the market, and one of the worst things to happen is to buy an expensive drill that doesn’t perform nearly as good as promised. It is also advisable that you read cordless drill reviews to narrow down your options further and increase your chances of finding the ideal drill. Before you go out tool shopping, below are some of the areas you need to look into;
Power is a key consideration here and relates directly to the amount of resistance the drill can overcome. As you may already have guessed, more power means more surfaces you can drill into. More power, however, doesn’t always mean better.
Power is measured in battery voltage (V) and range anywhere from 6V to 18V. You may want to consider the type of work you will be doing to decide the most appropriate tool for the job. An 18V power drill may drill holes into concrete like cutting butter but how many times do you need to make holes on your floor? As a general rule of thumb, more power means more weight so don’t go for more power than you need.
#2- Battery Type
Cordless power drills may be convenient, but they still need a battery to run. The typical options include;
Nickel Cadmium: also abbreviated as NiCd, these types of batteries are generally found in older equipment and are expected to phase out shortly. These batteries are bulky and difficult to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way.
Lithium-ion: also abbreviated as Li-ion are a lot more popular than the option above. These batteries perform well under stress, are fairly easy to dispose of responsibly and have a long battery life.
Nickel-metal-hydride: also abbreviated as NiMH feature the latest battery technology and may cost more than other options on the market. These batteries offer extended life, more power and quicker charge times.
Apart from the battery type, you should also consider capacity. This is measured in Ah or ampere hours. As a general rule, more Ah means longer running time.
#3- Chargers and Charging Time
Charging and charging times may not be too much of a concern unless you are a professional contractor. Chances are however that you can wait at least an hour for your battery to charge fully before proceeding with work. Either way, charging times can range anywhere from 15 minutes (sometimes less) to three hours. Note that quick charging typically produces a lot of heat which can have a negative impact on the battery performance and life over the long-term. Some batteries are specifically made for quick charging while some charges have special heat sensors to anticipate this problem. Unless otherwise indicated, it is better to go for an ordinary charge even if it means waiting a few hours.
#4- Drill Weight
Again, the equipment’s power largely determines its weight. More power means larger batteries and larger motors all of which contribute to its weight. You may have to make some concessions on power if you want a light drill that you can use for everyday household repair tasks. A drill can weigh anywhere from 3 ½ 10 lbs. Your main concern should be whether you can handle the drill without any problem. A powerful drill that you can’t hold still for minutes at a time won’t be very effective. For this reason, you should at least hold the drill in your hand as if you were working just to get a sense of what it’s like to actually use it.
#5- Drill Speed
The most basic drill likely comes with one speed which may be enough if you aren’t planning on doing any major drilling work. Most, however, have a selection of two, usually 300 rpm and 800 rpm. There should be a switch so you can choose whether you want low or high speed at any given time. You should go for at least two speeds. This ensures that you can drill holes (high speed) and you can also drive in screws (low speed). You may want more speed options for professional repair or carpentry work.
#6- Clutch Selector
A clutch is basically a safety feature to ensure that the torque doesn’t run too high. The feature prevents snapping or overdriving the screw especially if you have a powerful model or don’t have much experience working with power drills. More clutch settings typically mean better control over your drilling.
#7- Accompanying Tools
Some cordless drills come with kits or extras such as circular saw, reciprocating saw and a selection of drill bits. These may be nice to have but only if you intend to use them. Some lower priced tools come with these extras, but you should be careful because the great deal may mean inferior quality kits and tools. If you are sure, you are going to use the kits, splurge on a high-quality product.
Finally, some features may be unnecessary if you are simply using your drill to drive in screws or make holes on shelves. The features you choose should make sense in comparison to the work you intend to perform with your drill. Some of the features you might find useful include;
- Forward & Reverse Switch
- Chuck jaws
- Hand Grip
- Keyless Chuck
These are just some of the areas you should consider when choosing a cordless drill. Make sure you read reviews just to get a better sense of which brands you should be considering. Most of all, make sure you have clear expectations about which tasks you intend to perform with the equipment to guarantee you find a drill that best suits your needs.