Advantages of having a top-quality cordless drill
What makes this version so much different than its corded counterpart? There’s no matching these benefits:
- You can now use your drill inside or outside, no matter how far you are from a power outlet.
- You’re not restricted by the length of your power cable and you don’t have to lug around extension cords.
- There’s no cord you or someone else can accidentally trip over.
- You can work even if there’s a power outage or on premises(such as a new development) that aren’t connected to the grid yet.
And when you pick from our list it’s possible to get amazing versatility without paying too much. Just have a look at our Bosch budget option. It’s affordable but comes from one of the leading power tool companies.
Not exactly sure what features make a cordless drill valuable? Let’s list them for you.
Features to consider when getting a cordless drill
There are quite a few aspects to consider, but always remember that a power tool must also align with your personal preferences. For example, most people prioritize battery life, but a DIYer who only uses it for short, small projects doesn’t have to spend money on this aspect specifically. So, while you browse these topics, discern how it applies to your working environment and then pick the best drill based on what’s important to you.
In this category, it’s not only about getting the drill that goes at the fastest speed. Of course, a faster drill will help you finish your project quicker, but also consider speed settings. Different jobs require unique adjustments so you don’t damage the drill or the object you’re working with. For example, drilling through metal actually works best at slower speeds such as 700rpm. This will prevent your bits getting worn. So make sure you can pick the desired setting.
Your speed is measured in RPM (rotations per minute) and some will only have one speed setting. This keeps them more affordable, but if the setting is in the low hundreds you can probably only fasten screws with them. You need over 1000rpms to start drilling holes in thick wood or stone.
Once again: think about what you want to do with your drill and pick one accordingly.
Here you need to consider two things: what space do you have available for storage (even during transporting your tools) and what size will you feel comfortable handling? A larger drill may carry more power and battery life, so they should at least be considered. But if you want a comfortable experience with a tool that’s easy to hold and control, a compact design is a smart option.
According to our experts, this isn’t the most important consideration on this list, just ensure you don’t buy one that’s too big for your toolbox if storage space is a problem on your premises.
This aspect is a bit more important than dimensions, and no, the bigger ones won’t always weigh the most. It depends on the materials the brands use, as well as the battery design, since this makes up quite a large portion of the final weight you’ll carry around.
Whether comfort is high on your list at the moment or not, those in the know have realized the importance of your tools not causing fatigue. That’s why brands engineer units as light as the Makita CX200RB.
Too much weight can turn a simple job into an arduous task, but more importantly, if your muscles get over-taxed, you may make a mistake.
You could damage the item you’re working on or you could hurt yourself or someone else if the drill suddenly slips, you being unable to keep it under control.
Therefore, gauge what weight you find easy to hold, even for long periods of time, and try to find an item in that range.
A cordless drill usually has a voltage rating between 2V and 24V. Of course with higher voltage you’ll enjoy more power. However, this comes with added weight. A wise balance for most projects at home will be +/- 14V, but professionals will usually need higher rated ones.
Torque is measured in inch-pounds. This relates to how much power your new tool has and the force it can produce in order to turn the bits.
You need to consider the maximum torque specs: Will the power it exerts help you in working on your chosen surface? Stone will need much more power than thin wood – for extra tough jobs, consider getting a cordless hammer drill.
But of course, you won’t be doing the same type of work every day. You must be able to adjust the torque settings to match the job requirements. Using too much power per inch may shatter the surface you’re working on.
It’s important to note that torque (and even speed) isn’t as important to occasional DIYers as it is to professionals.
As a rule of thumb, the bigger the chuck (that three-pronged component that will hold your bits), the heavier duty the drill will be.
Professionals may opt for the ½” chucks which can handle drilling through bricks. The added benefit here is that they can hold almost any bit and the drill itself is often more powerful.
General or light duty drills will have 3/8” chucks or ¼” sockets. They’re designed with general work in mind and is appropriate for DIY work.
LED work light
This is such a handy bonus if you can get your hands on a model that has it embedded! An LED light that’s already part of your power tool means you can work in low lit areas. This may be the case on new developments where all the rooms’ lighting isn’t installed yet. Also, if you’re fixing something outside at dusk or in the dark the LED light means you don’t have to lug another light to where you’re working.
LED lights also make it easier to work in tight spaces as you don’t have to clutter the area with lighting equipment. Even if there’s only enough space for your arm to get in, you’re still sorted.
Just make sure it sits in a practical location, shedding light on your work instead of creating shadows. You can see a terrific example in the Bosch unit on our list.
Battery and charger
Here’s one of the most important features, especially if you’re using this for more than just occasional work around the house.
First up: Make sure a battery is included with your purchase. If you have to buy one separately you run the risk of not finding stock at all or having to wait for the brand to provide you with one. It’s even better if you get two batteries (or simply inquire about purchasing additional ones) so you can charge the depleted one while you carry on working.
In addition, you have to consider the battery features: battery life, its quality and how long it takes to recharge. Batteries can take anything from a few minutes to over an hour before running flat. If you have two batteries this doesn’t matter, but only if it will recharge within the time the other one takes to become empty again. Professionals must pick models that won’t cause them to be unable to work for long periods of time while batteries charge. Luckily there are models that take less than 30 minutes to charge. A great extra in this category is if there are battery indicators so you at least know when your battery is fully charged again, or you can gauge how much power is left.
Remember that batteries that last longer may also be heavier, so don’t make it impossible to work comfortably simply so you can enjoy long battery life. It’s important to find a balance between features that will work for you.
Last thought: does your purchase include a battery charger? If this is an additional purchase it means your final expense on your new power tool can be much higher than anticipated.
Accessories and extra tools included
If you’re a professional you know the importance of customizing the drill to the job at hand. That means you need different drill bits. Ideally, these should be included in your original purchase. It may work out more budget-friendly and you don’t have to waste time trying to find compatible accessories. For DIYers, you may not need a broad range of bits, but make sure you can do basic jobs with the ones supplied.
Handy extras are tools and tool bags, though these won’t affect how well your drill works. A tool container such as a bag or case will, however, help you look after your drill. It will keep out dust which is always present on a construction site and prevent some of the wear & tear associated with this work.
It’s always smart to consider warranties when shopping for power tools.
Make sure what exactly the warranty covers so you know when you’re in your rights to request a repair or new parts. Also, know that a warranty often lapses after the first repairs have been done. And of course, trying to repair an item yourself will void it entirely.
Most often the warranty will cover defects related to faulty material. Even the factory workmanship may be covered. Your new drill may go through some heavy duty handling and you don’t want small factory faults resulting in a total breakdown. A proper warranty will at least prevent you having to replace the entire drill at your expense.
While some brands offer lifetime warranties (see the Hitachi model above), don’t expect this as a given. A year or even three are good options such as can be seen from DeWalt.
Tips on how to get the most out of your cordless drill
A few additional considerations to look out for include:
- A forward/reverse switch that allows quick adjustment for removing old screws.
- An additional handle which comes in handy when you’re doing masonry work
- Electronic brakes
- A wide variety of clutch settings you can match to your project or substance you’re working on.