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Cordless Drills: Choosing the Right One

Updated on September 22, 2013

Cordless Drill

Cordless Drills are Convenient

A cordless drill is an important part of everybody's tool box these days. In the early days they got a bit of a bad reputation because of their lack of power and short battery lives. However this has changed over the last few years to the point where it really is no longer necessary to still have a drill that you plug in. If you choose a good cordless drill you will never want to go back to a regular power drill.

Pay Attention to Power

The first thing that you are going to want to look at when you are choosing a cordless drill is look at how much power it has. You can find drills that range in power from seven to thirty two volts. The more power the drill has the more expensive and the heavier it will be. Of course a more powerful drill will also be able to drive holes faster and through tougher materials. Your decision will depend in large part on what you are planning to use the drill for. If you are a professional and need it for work then the higher power settings are idea. For the homeowner a middle of the road power level of around eighteen volts is probably adequate. You are going to want to stay away from the low powered drills, they are cheap but also of very limited value.

Choose the Right Batteries for your Cordless Drill

The next thing that you are going to want to look at is the batteries that come with your drill. It used to be standard to make batteries out of nickel and cadmium and a lot of drills are still made this way. The provide good power and they hold a charge for a good amount of time. The downside is that when it comes time to dispose of them they are considered to be hazardous waste. This is why a lot of the better cordless drills are now going with lithium ion batteries. Not only are they easier to dispose of but they are also lighter and they hold a charge longer than nickel cadmium. If you are buying a new drill it is best to stick to lithium ion.

When you are buying your drill you are going to want to pay attention to the charger that comes with it as well. Most cordless drills are sold with two batteries and a charger. In general the charger will take about an hour to recharge the battery. Since the other battery will normally last for longer than an hour you should have no issues with this. However if you do use your drill heavily you may find that you can drain one battery before the other has finished charging. If this is an issue you can get chargers that take as little as fifteen minutes. These are usually sold separately and they can be fairly expensive but they are worth it if you are going through batteries faster than you can charge them.

Speed Matters for Cordless Drills

The next thing that you will want to look at is the clutch, you want a drill that has an adjustable one. The clutch will disengage the drive shaft when a predetermined level of resistance is met. Being able to adjust this will make it less likely that you break drill bits or strip screws. The better drills have twenty four different clutch settings.

It is also a good idea to make sure that the drill has variable speeds. This will make it much easier when you first start drilling a hole. A reverse feature will make it easy if you want to use your cordless drill to remove screws. Make sure that the speed controls are located in an area that is easy for you to reach so that you can change them while you are using the drill.

Lastly before you buy a drill you are going to want to hold it in your hand and make sure that it feels comfortable. Drills come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes and the weight of them can be balanced differently as well. Some people just feel more comfortable using one drill over another. Also makes sure that you try changing bits so that you can make sure that this is comfortable to do. In general you will find that going with a keyless chuck is the way to go.


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