A cordless drill is essential for anyone who enjoys woodworking, masonry, home improvement, or any other hands-on construction activities. This wonderful tool allows you convenience and mobility that is difficult to attain in a traditional corded model because there is no need for finding a close outlet or maneuvering around a heavy extension cord. There are thousands of models of cordless drills on the market today in prices ranging from well below $100 to more than $1,000. How can you choose the cordless drill that is best suited for you? Selecting the perfect cordless drill can be easily accomplished by looking at a few important factors.
First you should evaluate your needs. Think of the conditions and durations for which you intend to use it. If you will only be using it for small, everyday activities, you hardly need a $1,200 professional drill. Alternatively, if you plan to do massive projects or heavy-duty drilling, you may prefer a higher-end drill that has additional features such as a ½” chuck as opposed to the traditional 3/8″ chuck. Also decide if you need a keyed or keyless chuck. A keyless chuck makes it faster and easier to change bits but a keyed chuck can be more secure for heavy jobs.
Another thing to consider when choosing a cordless drill is the battery type and size. The newer Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries are smaller and last longer than the Nickel-Cadmium batteries. If you only intend to use your drill occasionally for small jobs, the minimum recommended power is 9.6v. You may want to stay with 12v and above, however, if you will be doing larger jobs. Often, drills in the 14.4v to 18v range can be found for under $100 and provide a better value for the dollar than smaller drills. It is important to remember that more voltage means a higher drill weight, something to consider if you will be holding it for very long periods of time.
Once you have a basic idea of the type of cordless drill you are looking for, make a trip to your local home improvement store and try out several models for performance and function. Don’t overlook things like padded or rubber grips. These seemingly unimportant features can make a big difference after holding the drill all day. While testing models, check for clutch change settings. The perfect setting for you depends on your strength and hand size. More available clutch setting choices give you more control over the speed of the drill.
After you have narrowed your choices down a bit, check the cost of replacement batteries. If you are buying a cordless drill to last, you don’t want to find out later that the replacement batteries cost as much as a new drill. Also find out the life expectancy of the included batteries. You may find a slightly more expensive drill is a better value than a cheaper model once battery life and cost is added into the equation.
By taking the time to do your research and test several options, you can be assured that you will find a cordless drill that you will be happy with long-term. So do some testing, compare some options and prices, and pick your perfect drill. You will be checking items off of your to-do list in no time.