From building and fixing decks to mounting paintings and doing repairs around the house, the possibilities a drill opens in your home are limitless. However, let’s face it, it is easier to choose a website for reading your drill buying guide from than it is to choose a perfect drill for your home. There are lots of great drills you can choose from, but lots of misinformation about drills as well which is why you need to forget all the jargon and focus on the basic features that actually matter. The perfect drill should be able to get the job done without destroying the material and also be comfortable for you to work with. These are the main things to consider when buying one.
The Job You Want To Do
If you are a DIYer that specializes in specific tasks, then you can go for single-purpose tools such as a screwdriver or a drill driver. However, if you are just buying a tool for doing anything at home, then you cant limit yourself to one that can only handle certain tasks. When buying drills, many people go for the cheapest options because they assume that they won’t have to do any heavy-duty tasks at home, but that is wrong.
A drill for your home will have to screw and unscrew a driver at one point, but it will also have to drive a nail home or dig through concrete. When buying a drill, go for one that has all the functions you need to perform this task. The best idea would be to go for one that has variable speeds for screwing as well as drilling and also the hammering option. A drill that can perform most of the tasks you have to do around the house is pretty much a one-time purchase which saves you lots of money in the long term.
Corded Or Cordless?
Cordless drills are now the preferred drill option for most DIYers and homeowners because lithium-ion batteries used nowadays are powerful and they last long enough to handle most jobs. You can find a cordless drill that can do anything that their corded counterparts can do including hammering so you shouldn’t be worried about performance. Cordless drills allow you more mobility allowing you to go anywhere and work without dragging a heavy extension cable along.
Cordless drills can also interchange batteries across the same brand allowing you to buy two or three tools and run all of them with the same batteries. Corded drills are lighter and also offer a more stable torque but you have to drag cables around. The corded ones are harder to work with at heights or far from a power source.
The Power Of The Drill
Every drill comes with the speed rating in rotations/minute for drilling and driving as well as beats/minute for hammering. Now while the highest speed is important, it doesn’t mean that you have a powerful drill. The power of a drill is determined by the torque rating which simply means the ability of the drill to deliver the highest force even at the highest speed. The torque multiplied by speed is the formula for determining the power of your drill.
Every manufacture will have the power rating of your drill labelled as UWO or Units Watts Out which is the measurement of your drill’s performance in terms of speed and force when subjected to the highest load. You have to look out for the highest UWO rating if you need something that will work quickly and efficiently on the toughest material. The voltage for cordless drills which is between 12 and 24 as well as wattage for corded options usually 450 to 1500 will determine the power of your drill.
Your drill will have either a brushed or a brushless motor but the brushless motor is the best option. Brushed motors are not smart so they are designed to give maximum power even when drilling into cardboards which uses up to much power and rips screws and bits apart. Brushless motors are smart and they allocate the force according to resistance in the material you are driving or digging through. As a result, brushless motors are more efficient and also tend to last longer than their brushed counterparts. You don’t need to change the brushes for brushless motors so they are cheaper. You should check out four-pole motors when looking for endurance and power.
Speed is important when buying a drill because it determines the tasks you will be able to perform with it. The highest speeds are for driving and removing screws but they are not effective for drilling. To drill clean holes with accurate depths, you have to use the lower speed settings as stated on the drill. Brushless motors will regulate your drilling speed automatically once you switch to drill mode.
Combi drills also come with the hammering settings that allow you to switch to hammering beats that drive nails and bits into wood, concrete or steel. Some bits come with only one speed meaning the tasks you can do with them is pretty much limited to what the speed offers. For effective functioning, go for drills that allow you to switch to different functions and also use variable speed especially by the amount of force you apply to the trigger.
The Grip And Balance
Many traditional drills had the pistol grip which is well balanced and gentle on your muscles when you are using the drill for long hours. Most modern drills now come with some version of ergonomic T-handles which are also good but you have to match each tool to the size of your hand. The best handles should be ergonomic and have a rubber exterior that doesn’t become slippery when your hands are wet or sweaty. The grip should fit perfectly into your hand to give you full control of the drilling front of the drill to ensure a stable operation for your results to be clean. A poor grip on a drill will lead to tripping causing your work to be messy and it may even result in accidents.
Your chuck determines the size of bits you can use and how easily you can exchange bits when you need to. The chuck is the jawed end of the drill where you can insert your bits and then rotate it so that it grips effectively while your work. The one thing you should never compromise is the grip because once the bit is loose while you are working, your entire project is compromised.
Keyed chucks are usually the hardest to use because you have to insert and remove the key every time you want to drill with a different bit. Most common chucks will accept 3/8 inch or ½ inch bits depending on the power of the drill. ½ inch chucks allow you to perform tougher tasks since they can take in bigger bits. However, for high precision drilling, cutting or driving, you should go for a smaller chuck or a designated precision chuck but that is rarely necessary for general home projects.
The Package You Are Getting
Drills generally come in three main packages. The most popular version is the kit package where your drill will come alongside another tool such as a wrench or an impact driver. These packages allow you to alternate batteries between tools and also perform more tasks with the extra tools. They are always the best value packages but they will cost you more than the stand-alone tools packages. You should go for these if you plan to make a one-off purchase that will secure your toolbox and ensure that the extra tool offers the service you require.
The second and most popular option is the stand-alone package where your drill will come with its batteries and the drill and drive bits you can use as well as batteries and a charger. This is ready to use package that brings you the one tool you need ready to start working. The third and least value option is the tool only where you are just given a bare tool with no batteries or accompanying components. You should only go for these if you have compatible batteries and bits you need to use on the tool. The third option is the worst if you are buying your tool for the first time.
Warranty And Spares
Drills are working tools so wear and tear is part of the package and having to buy a new drill the moment something breaks can be very expensive. The warranty on the tool should be acceptable. The best warranty to go for is always a lifetime warranty on the tool which covers three to five years of the motor. You should also go for a tool whose batteries or cables you can get easily near you. The most important thing you have to look at is compatibility with bits. The ability of a chuck to accept hex and round bits will allow you to perform more tasks than with a chuck that limits you to hex chucks.
Other helpful additions
Most standalone and tool kit packages will offer you seemingly useful additions that will make your work easier. However, you shouldn’t be fooled into paying more because of these additions unless you really need them. Additions such as a powerful LED light on the tool allows you to work comfortably in dark corners. Side arms are also good at giving you a better grip and control of your tool while a tool bag gives you a safe place to store your tool and accessories. Other items you could consider are chargers that hold multiple batteries, a complete bit set with other drill accessories. You should only pay extra for these additions if you really need those accessories though. Otherwise, you can work just fine without a fancy tool bag.