Best Cordless Drills
There was a time when drilling a hole or driving a screw was done by hand. Of course there was also a time when Abe Lincoln was President. For as long as anyone reading has been alive, however, we’ve had something called the power drill which allows us to drill those holes and drive those screws in a fraction of the time using a fraction of the effort that used to be required. Within the power drill universe the cordless drill reigns supreme today because of its many advantages over plug in drills. You can take the cordless drill anywhere and perform any task because it’s, well, cordless. No external portable generator required. In this review and guide we’re going to take an up close look at what we consider to be the 6 best cordless drills on the market today. Keep in mind that the opinions expressed here are ours. As such yours may differ.
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Cordless Drill FAQ
Q: What’s The Difference Between A Drill And A Hammer Drill?
A: The basic cordless power drill has been around for decades and you’re likely to find at least one in just about every home where there’s an adult male. They’re shaped like a gun with a thick handle, a trigger and a motor mounted horizontally that turns the drill bit. There’s nothing complicated about them. They have large, rechargeable batteries (a new cordless drill will often have a 20v battery) and can weigh anywhere from a couple of pounds to 2 or 3 times that. The hammer drill by comparison looks like a regular cordless drill but has a feature that drives the drill bit forward something like a jackhammer. This is intended to help you get your hole drilled faster, especially in concrete or other masonry surfaces. If you’re a woodworker, chances are you’re not going to need a hammer drill.
Q: What’s The Best Brand Of Cordless Drill?
A: Our entries are all produced by top notch companies: Makita, DeWalt and Worx. So if you’re wondering what some of the top brands might be that’s as good a sampling as any you’ll find. Other top brands include Festool, Porter Cable, Black and Decker, Panasonic and Bosch.
Q: What Is The Best Cordless Drill?
A: As we state in our review above the Festool T18+3 Li is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best cordless power drill on the market. The T18, while an incredible piece of engineering can’t really be labeled “affordable” by any commonly accepted standard. But that does not in any way negate its overall excellence.
Q: Does Any Drill Bit fit Any Cordless Drill?
A: The short answer is “yes”. All power drills have 3 jaw chucks that clamp down on whatever drill bit you place in them. Round shank bit and hex head bits are all treated the same. Where you may run into trouble with the universality of bits is in things like the cordless screwdriver and the impact driver. Neither is a standard cordless drill. Impact drivers for instance have hexagon-shaped chucks that can only hold hexagon-shaped bits.
Things To Consider When Buying A Cordless Drill
There is many a cordless drill out there that look great to go with your portable workbench but not that many that actually are great. As such you’ll want to keep some things in mind when shopping for a new cordless drill to make sure you get your money’s worth and not the power tool version of a lemon. Here are some of those considerations.
Weight – This is right up front because if your cordless drill weighs in at 4 or 5 pounds you’re going to spend as much time with it laying on the floor while you massage your forearms as you are working with it. Fortunately as the technology has progressed, the weight of these power tools has steadily decreased, a phenomenon that can largely be attributed to advances in battery development. You should be able to get an excellent cordless drill today that weighs 3 lbs or even a bit less.
Torque – The torque is essentially the measure of the drill’s power. The greater the torque, the greater the amount of force the drill can bring to bear on the task. If you regularly drill into tough materials like concrete or plan to do so with your new drill, you’ll want a drill with plenty of torque. Most every cordless drill on our list maxes out at about 400 in-lbs. and in most cases that will be fine. However, if you really need your drill to have maximum muscle behind it you may want as much as 600 or even 1000 in-lbs.
Versatility – In the days of old a drill was a drill and that was that. Today, however, a cordless drill is a blissfully versatile machine. Today they will do everything from drill that simple hole or drive that wood screw to producing horizontal or rotary ‘shocks’ or pulses that help propel screws and drill bits into the toughest materials. Some have right angle chucks that literally let you screw or drill around corners, while other have rotating heads that let you switch between bits at will.
2 Speeds – Most every cordless drill today comes with a variable speed transmission. Higher speeds are typically used to drill smaller holes while slower speeds are used to drill larger holes. Lower speeds of 350 to 400 rpm are also typically used to drive screws. In addition, speed can typically be controlled by the amount of pressure placed on the trigger with more pressure equaling faster rotation. The bottom line is that settling for a single speed motor today would be like settling for rabbit ears on your TV instead of satellite or cable.
Comfort – There are some cordless power drills that look great and are from reputable manufacturers but which have handles that seem left over from the ice age. If you’re going to use your cordless drill a lot it’s important that the handle be ergonomically designed to aid in the proper holding of the tool and also that it’s comfortable even when you’re using it for long day on the job.
The cordless drill of today is incredibly versatile, energy efficient, lightweight and built to withstand anything the jobsite can dish out. They’re a must-have item in your power tool arsenal and that goes for whether you’re a busy contractor or a weekend do-it-yourselfer.
We hope you found the above review guide useful in helping you reach an informed decision regarding your next cordless drill and be sure to check back on a regular basis for more product reviews and comparisons.