Cordless Drills

What do you need?

There are several factors involved in determining which brand and model of cordless drill is right for you, including features, battery life and the type of materials in your project. In order to buy the right kind of drill, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I going to use the drill for? The type of projects you will be involved in, whether a major home renovation or simply hanging pictures, will determine the power and accessories you need. The kind of material into which you will be drilling (drywall or hardwood, for example) should influence your choice as well. Some models offer the option of adjustable drilling speed, which can be customized according to specific projects.
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  • How much voltage do I actually need? The higher the voltage, the higher your drilling power, and the longer your rechargeable battery will last (although this varies from model to model). However, with higher voltage often comes increased weight, so ease of use should be balanced with power.
  • How long do I need the battery to last? Some drills come with two batteries that can be interchanged when one is drained, allowing the user to work continuously. Many offer long battery life as one of their prominent features; others feature more rapid charge times.
  • Is this drill comfortable to hold for the amount of time I plan to use it? The most popular style, and the one most people are familiar with, balances the weight of the drill by placing the handle near the middle. Many manufacturers also offer a right-angle design for use where space or accessibility is restricted. The weight of the drill should be a major consideration when you're thinking about comfort - while the higher voltage tools have more power, they are heavier.
  • What types of accessories do I need? Some cordless drills come with an array of neat gadgets to help with all your home projects, such as magnetic screw holders, stud finders and levels. Decide whether a few accessories are worth paying a little extra, and compare prices with simpler models. Material is also a consideration here; you might need additional bits for drilling into metal, glass or ceramic.
  • What other features do I need to consider? Cordless drills can have keyed or keyless chucks - the part of the drill into which the bit is inserted. Keyless chucks have the advantage of allowing bits to be changed more quickly and easily, sometimes with just one hand. If you plan to use your drill in stone or masonry, you may want to consider one with hammer action; however, since this feature adds weight and generally is not used very often, it may be best to buy a separate hammer drill for this type of job.

Before you invest in a cordless drill, do your research; search the Internet, or ask the pros in your local hardware store for recommendations. There are a wide variety of quality drills on the market to suit every budget.

By Kat Derrig

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