Tackle Tough Jobs With Ease
With a cordless drill by your side, you can perform drilling and driving tasks with ease no matter where they are needed. Whether you're just moving into your first apartment, or you're a seasoned builder, a good cordless drill is one of the most versatile tools you can have around the home, garage or workshop.
As you are shopping for your new cordless drill, consider the following:
• Do many of your projects require a drill?
• How much power do you need?
• What size chuck best suits your needs?
• What type of battery should you get?
• What special feature options are the most beneficial to you?
Selecting Your Drill
First & foremost, you'll want to purchase a drill that is comfortable to hold and use. If you have small hands or expect to only do light tasks, you may not want to purchase the biggest, most powerful drill you can afford. Power is an important quality for a drill to have, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Examine the different types of available drills and drill-like devices to determine which ones best fit your needs.
Keep in mind that batteries are an important part of purchasing a cordless drill - the last thing you want is for your drill to conk out in the middle of a job. Drills in different price ranges have different batteries, chargers and other features, so determine what your needs are before you purchase.
Voltage is the primary indicator that determines the power of a cordless drill. It can range from around 6V to as high as 36V. Lower-voltage drills are ideal for lighter tasks such as replacing door hinges, installing new handles on cabinets or drilling holes in drywall. More powerful drills can be used for drilling into masonry or steel or installing decking. Keep in mind that in most cases the more powerful a drill is, the heavier it is as well.
The chuck size determines how large of a bit a drill can hold. The two standard chuck sizes are 3/8" for most everyday uses, and 1/2" for heavy duty applications.
Another important measurement is drill speed, which is measured in rotations per minute (rpm). Drills that allow you to switch back and forth between low speed (around 300-400 rpm) and high speed (1,200-1,500 rpm) give you the ability to take on a wider range of tasks. Units with multiple clutch settings allow you to drive screws into the same depth consistently to avoid stripping them.
• Models between 12V and 18V are ideal for general use
• Lower speeds are best for driving screws
• Higher speeds work well for drilling holes
• A clutch protects the motor when a screw meets resistance
A cordless drill is only as good as its battery. One of the latest advances is high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, which provide twice the performance and hold their charge four times longer than regular batteries.
Some chargers can take several hours to fully recharge a battery, so keep that in mind when planning your work schedule. If you need a faster recharge, look for a "smart" charger. Smart chargers work quickly and often reduce charge as the battery becomes full to avoid overcharging and extend the life of the battery.
Another recent advancement is AutoShift, which improves performance and prolongs the life of the drill by automatically performing at the optimum speed and torque setting. This innovative technology saves time and guesswork by automatically shifting gears when more power is needed, making drilling and driving easier and faster.
Many manufacturers now offer drill kits which contain the drill, main and secondary battery, charger, drill bits, instructions and carrying case. There are also quick change attachments and magnetic holders available, which are innovations designed to help you work more efficiently.
Safety & Operational Tips
Take the following precautions to ensure safety and proper drill performance:
• Use protective eyewear to avoid eye debris and wear work gloves to avoid blisters
• Set the drill down on a towel when not in use to avoid gouging finished surfaces
• Use a holster to keep hands free and the drill handy at the same time
• Don't use a damaged battery and take dead batteries to your local Home Depot store for recycling
• The more torque a drill has, the better it will drill into harder surfaces
• Use slower speed settings on your drill for greater torque