If you haven’t already got a cordless drill in your tool kit then you may appreciate a few tips on what to look out for. As they come in different sizes, different power ratings, different running times but are similar shapes it is good to know that there is a wide range and going for a good well-known brand may be a good idea. We can take a look at the latest technology to get the best out of your cordless tools.
Check out the website Drills and Drivers for more information on cordless drill reviews.
Here we will look at some of the differences between combination drills and drill drivers.
Different types of cordless drill
- Combine high speed rotary drilling with screwdriver and hammer drilling
- Screwdriver mode is slow speed providing more twisting force (torque)
- Rotary drilling is used for high speed drilling into metal or wood
- Hammer mode allows for drilling into very dense materials such as concrete
- B Tungsten carbide drill bits are used for hammer drilling
- Can do high speed rotary drilling
- Can do screw driving
- Cannot do hammer drilling
- Power is measured in voltage; higher voltage means more torque-spinning strength to overcome any resistance. In the past ten years the available voltage has risen from 9.6V to 18V maximum.
- Also bear in mind power = weight as well, the following voltages are available; 6, 7.2, 9.6, 12, 14.4 and 18V.
- 12V is probably about right for most DIY projects, not too heavy and about the right amount of power.
- To give you an idea of the weight a 9.6V drill will weigh around 3 ½ lbs and an 18V can weigh in at 10 lbs. So before you buy try picking up the equivalent weight and make sure you feel happy with that, also think about the need to drill above shoulder height at times.
- Same voltage and different Ah meaning same power but different run times
- For home DIY projects a compact 1.5Ah should be sufficient
- Remember, higher Ah = more weight
- Pre-cordless drills, traditionally had pistol handle grips, like a gun in other words and this put the handle behind the motor.
- Mostly the new cordless designs have T-shape handle grip which makes it easier to house the battery and also prevents the hand from slipping.
- There are other advantages to this type of handle, one major advantage is balance and another is that it is easier to get into tight spaces as it means your hand is out of the way.
- There is still some good reason for using the older style pistol grip such as when you need to use more force, i.e. when you want to get directly behind the bit and apply pressure.
- The most basic cordless drill will have only one speed, that may be fine for the most basic DIY tasks, but really it is better to look for a decent model with at least 2 speeds, (always switch off and stop the drill before changing gear).
- 2 speeds would typically be 300 rpm and 800 rpm, the lower speed for screw driving and the higher speed for drilling holes.
- If you do a lot of hole drilling look for something with more speed, 1000 rpm is a good speed.
- Variable torque is handy in screw driver mode
- Correct torque setting means your drill will disengage once the screw is flush with the drilled surface
- Are the only part of your tool that may need replacing after so many hours
- If you prefer to take away this worry, look for brushless
- Without the friction of brush motors there is no wasted energy and more run time
- Watch out, they cost a bit more
- Wait until the price comes down!
Batteries and chargers
- Some batteries come with a “fuel gauge”, good to know how much charge is remaining
- If you are impatient look for a rapid “smart charger”
As there is a lot of information on different battery types I will leave it up to you to check out the hype on Li-ion batteries compared with Ni-Cad and other types of rechargeable batteries.
- Do look out for a fresh battery, insist on a brand new battery as opposed to one that has been on the shelf and already starting to degrade
- Some batteries now come with a flashlight
- If you have ever had someone standing there with a torch or flashlight while you work you may appreciate this extra feature
- If you need a lot of tools and other cordless appliances you could think about an 18V battery pack which can accommodate more than 50 tools, this is the future, no more worrying about different types of battery
- 18V batteries are the most often used for this type of application and it may well be an investment that will save you money in the long term