best-cordless-drill-uk

10 Best Cordless Drills (2021 Review)

Can you imagine trying to do most DIY jobs without a trusty drill in your toolbox? Unless you’ve got forearms like Popeye, the best way to tighten screws or put holes in things is with a cordless power drill. Whether you’re looking for a powerful professional-quality combi drill for site use, or an affordable drill driver for all those home DIY tasks, I’ve found the best power tool for you. Comparing features like weight, grip comfort, extra accessories, and all-important build quality, I’ve drilled down into the stats, so you don’t have to. Here’s what I found out …

What is the Best Cordless Drill For You?

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Comparing the Best Cordless Drills

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver
  • Power
  • Batteries Supplied
  • Charge Time
  • No-Load Speed
  • Torque Settings
  • Max Torque
  • Chuck Size
  • Max BPM (combi drill)
  • Weight (excluding battery)
  • Accessories Included
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  
  • Bosch PSB1800 18V Cordless Hammer Drill
    • Best cordless drill starter kit
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverCombi Drill
    • Power18V
    • Batteries Supplied2 x 1.5Ah
    • Charge Time1 hour
    • No-Load Speed0-400, 0-1,350rpm
    • Torque Settings20+1+1
    • Max Torque38Nm
    • Chuck Size10mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)20,250bpm
    • Weight (excluding battery)1.15kg
    • Accessories IncludedNo
    • 4.5
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Dewalt DCD796N 18V XR Li-Ion Brushless Compact Combi Drill
    • Best cordless drill for professionals
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverCombi Drill
    • Power18V
    • Batteries SuppliedBare
    • Charge Time1 hour
    • No-Load Speed0-550, 0-2,000rpm
    • Torque Settings15+1+1
    • Max Torque70Nm
    • Chuck Size13mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)34,000bpm
    • Weight (excluding battery)1.3kg
    • Accessories IncludedNo
    • 5
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Bosch Professional GSR 12 V 15 FC Cordless Drill Driver Set
    • Best for versatility
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverDrill Driver
    • Power12V
    • Batteries Supplied2 x 2.0Ah
    • Charge Time1 hour
    • No-Load Speed0-400, 0-1,300rpm
    • Torque Settings20+1
    • Max Torque30Nm
    • Chuck Size10mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)n/a
    • Weight (excluding battery)0.6kg
    • Accessories Included4 Drill Chuck Adaptors
    • 4.5
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Makita DHP482Z 18V Cordless Hammer Drill
    • Best for metal gearbox
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverCombi Drill
    • Power18V
    • Batteries SuppliedBare
    • Charge Time1 hour
    • No-Load Speed0-600, 0-1,900rpm
    • Torque Settings21+1+1
    • Max Torque62Nm
    • Chuck Size13mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)28,500bpm
    • Weight (excluding battery)1.3kg
    • Accessories IncludedNo
    • 4.75
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • DeWalt DCD776C1 18V Cordless Combi Drill
    • Best drill for quality and value
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverCombi Drill
    • Power18V
    • Batteries Supplied1 x 1.3Ah
    • Charge Time1 hour
    • No-Load Speed0-450, 0-1,500rpm
    • Torque Settings15+1+1
    • Max Torque42Nm
    • Chuck Size13mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)25,550bpm
    • Weight (excluding battery)1.3kg
    • Accessories IncludedNo
    • 4.5
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Ryobi R18PD3-215GZ 18V Cordless Hammer Drill
    • Best power for home projects
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverCombi Drill
    • Power18V
    • Batteries Supplied2 x 1.5Ah
    • Charge Time3 hours
    • No-Load Speed0-500, 0-1,800rpm
    • Torque Settings24+1+1
    • Max Torque50Nm
    • Chuck Size13mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)23,400bpm
    • Weight (excluding battery)1.3kg
    • Accessories IncludedNo
    • 4
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Blue Ridge 20 V Max Cordless Combi Drill Kit
    • Best budget cordless drill
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverCombi Drill
    • Power18V
    • Batteries Supplied2 x 1.5Ah
    • Charge Time1 hour
    • No-Load Speed0-400, 0-1,500rpm
    • Torque Settings21+1+1
    • Max Torque42Nm
    • Chuck Size13mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)24,000bpm
    • Weight (excluding battery)1.1kg
    • Accessories IncludedYes, 43 pieces
    • 3.75
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Ryobi R18DD3-120S ONE+ Plus 18V Cordless Drill Driver Kit
    • Best drill driver for comfort
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverDrill Driver
    • Power18V
    • Batteries Supplied1 x 2.0Ah
    • Charge Time1 hour
    • No-Load Speed0-500, 0-1,800rpm
    • Torque Settings24+1+1
    • Max Torque50Nm
    • Chuck Size13mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)n/a
    • Weight (excluding battery)1.3kg
    • Accessories IncludedNo
    • 3.75
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Meterk E11968 12V Cordless Drill Kit With 50 Accessories
    • Best value drill driver
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverDrill Driver
    • Power12V
    • Batteries Supplied1 x 2.0Ah
    • Charge Time90 minutes
    • No-Load Speed0-350, 0-1,300rpm
    • Torque Settings19+1
    • Max Torque25Nm
    • Chuck Size10mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)n/a
    • Weight (excluding battery)0.85kg
    • Accessories IncludedYes, 50 pieces
    • 3.75
    • CHECK PRICE →
  • Terratek 18V Cordless Drill Driver Kit
    • Best beginner's cordless drill
    • Combi Drill / Drill DriverDrill Driver
    • Power18V
    • Batteries Supplied1 x 0.8Ah
    • Charge Time3-5 hours
    • No-Load Speed0-650rpm
    • Torque Settings16+1
    • Max Torque19Nm
    • Chuck Size10mm
    • Max BPM (combi drill)n/a
    • Weight (excluding battery)0.85kg
    • Accessories IncludedYes, 13 pieces
    • 3.25
    • CHECK PRICE →

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Cordless Drills

Best cordless drill starter kit

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Bosch PSB1800 18V Cordless Hammer Drill review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Combi Drill
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: 2 x 1.5Ah
  • Charge Time: 1 hour
  • No-Load Speed: 0-400, 0-1,350rpm
  • Torque Settings: 20+1+1
  • Max Torque: 38Nm
  • Chuck Size: 10mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): 20,250bpm
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.15kg
  • Accessories Included: No

One of the best combi drills available right now is the Bosch PSB1800. Bosch is one of the top brands used by professionals so you already know that the build quality will never let you down!

This is an 18 Volt hammer drill driver (rather than 12 Volt) in Bosch’s green line of excellent DIY tools, and its performance and power will be more than adequate for most household projects.

From a technical perspective there are two selectable drilling speeds of 400 and 1,350 rpm, for driving screws there’s a very reasonable 38 Nm (340 inch/lbs) of torque with 20 pre-selectable torque settings (plus 1 for reverse and 1 for impact) and for drilling into masonry or concrete the hammer function provides 20,250 beats per minute.

The unit feels comfortable to hold and despite its 18 Volt capability weighs an incredibly light 1.3 kg and that includes two 1.5 Ah Lithium—Ion batteries!

If battery power runs low, the second battery is provided for backup. The kit also contains a blow-moulded plastic case and charger.

Comparing the PSB1800 kit to the competition, this 18v cordless drill with 2 batteries package is available at an amazing price- it’s hard to see where you can go wrong! It’s a winner in our eyes and the best cordless drill for the money.

Pros

  • This is probably the best combi drill starter kit available right now. It comes with a drill, case, two batteries, a charger and even a double ended screwdriver bit. Everything you might need to get started.
  • For the household DIYer, this is a great combi drill kit that offers plenty of power for general drilling and screwdriving jobs. If you’re not a professional tradesperson, why spend the extra money on professional-level tools?
  • Having a sturdy blow moulded case to keep everything together is great. And there’s plenty of nooks and crannies in the case for storing more bits as you collect them.
  • 1.5 Ah batteries are nice and light and provide enough power for most DIY jobs. Keeping the weight down makes it a lot more portable too.
  • The included batteries work across the Bosch 18 Volt range, so make the most of them and buy some affordable “naked” tools.

Cons

  • The chuck size can only open to 10 mm. Although it’s enough for most screwdriver bits, there’s no way you can use a 13 mm masonry bit, for example.
  • It’s a Bosch “green” DIY level tool, it’s not designed to be worked hard every day compared to the Bosch “blue” Professional series of combi drills.
  • For some uses, a 1.5 Ah battery just doesn’t have enough capacity. Even with the other battery on charge, you might run out of juice if you’re working hard.
  • The hammer function leaves a lot to be desired, it’s not really up to drilling into hard surfaces like brick or concrete, even with a masonry bit.
  • Some users have had problems with the keyless chuck working itself loose, so make sure you keep it tightened!

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Best cordless drill for professionals

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
5
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Dewalt DCD796N 18V XR Li-Ion Brushless Compact Combi Drill review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Combi Drill
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: Bare
  • Charge Time: 1 hour
  • No-Load Speed: 0-550, 0-2,000rpm
  • Torque Settings: 15+1+1
  • Max Torque: 70Nm
  • Chuck Size: 13mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): 34,000bpm
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.3kg
  • Accessories Included: No

The DeWalt DCD796N Brushless Combi Drill is one of the best brushless drills on the market. It offers incredible performance while remaining compact and easy to use.

This 18 Volt combi drill is just 174 mm long and with its ergonomic design, lightweight profile, and compact footprint you can easily access awkward locations. Weighing just 1.3 kg (without the battery) it’s ideal for long drilling sessions. The handle is lined inside and out with a soft grip rubber that provides great control and comfort.

The power drill features a brushless motor that provides superior power and longevity. There are 15 torque settings that control up to 70 Nm of force and there are 2 variable drilling speeds of 0-550 rpm and 0-2,000 rpm.

Despite its size this drill can drive 40 mm into wood, 13 mm into steel and drill 13 mm into masonry (with the hammer action). Chuck capacity is 13 mm.

You will need to purchase one or more batteries and charger with this tool but even with that outlay we still consider the DeWalt DCD796N to be one of the best brushless cordless drills for the money.

Pros

  • The power you get from DeWalt’s brushless motor is seriously impressive- a maximum no load speed of 2,000 rpm is more than enough power for any cordless drilling job.
  • It’s not just the rpm that’s class-beating, but with 70 Nm of torque under the bonnet, the DCD796N will power through the hardest timber, concrete, or metal when you need it to.
  • Buying a “naked” tool is a smart way to save money if you’ve already got DeWalt’s excellent XR, or “eXtreme Runtime” batteries. You can get hold of this professional-quality tool for a lot less than you might think.
  • DeWalt are famous for their build quality, it’s why they’re used by professionals across the world. Everything about this drill from the all-metal chuck to the supremely comfortable grip are built to last.
  • The work light built into the drill has three brightness settings and stays on after you release the trigger, which comes in handy when you’re working in tight spaces.

Cons

  • Don’t expect this drill to come with batteries, a charger or even a single screwdriver bit. It’s a “naked” tool after all.
  • Some users have found problems with the chuck brake engaging at high rpm.
  • You need to take care that you don’t overtighten the chuck down on drill bits as it can affect the mechanism over time.
  • If you do manage to damage the chuck, it’s not a removable part that can be replaced easily.
  • There have been reports that the battery doesn’t fit well in some drills and can rattle about.

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Best for versatility

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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Bosch Professional GSR 12 V 15 FC Cordless Drill Driver Set review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Drill Driver
  • Power: 12V
  • Batteries Supplied: 2 x 2.0Ah
  • Charge Time: 1 hour
  • No-Load Speed: 0-400, 0-1,300rpm
  • Torque Settings: 20+1
  • Max Torque: 30Nm
  • Chuck Size: 10mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): n/a
  • Weight (excluding battery): 0.6kg
  • Accessories Included: 4 Drill Chuck Adaptors

The best drill driver for the UK market is the mighty little Bosch Professional GSR 15 FlexiClick set because it’s powerful, compact and comes with some of the best accessories we’ve ever tested out.

Forming part of Bosch’s “blue” line of professional level 12 Volt power tools, the FlexiClick system is a game changer when it comes to tackling those hard-to-reach areas whether you’re putting together flat pack furniture or building fine cabinets.

In the set you get one of the best drill drivers that you can own, but the real magic comes in the form of four different quick release FlexiClick adapters- a standard keyless 10 mm chuck, a hex head bit holder, an offset angle adapter for drilling as close as 5 mm from the edge of the wall or floor and a right-angle adapter for when access is really tight.

Just because it weighs just 600 g (without the battery) doesn’t mean that the GSR is underpowered- you get 400 – 1300 rpm, 21 torque settings and up to 30 Nm of torque, which is more than enough for a lightweight drill driver.

Bosch throw in two 2.0 Ah batteries, a charger, one of their excellent slimline hard cases and even a pair of screwdriver bits, so you can start work straight away.

Pros

  • An unbelievably versatile drill kit, there’s no such thing as “hard to reach” anymore. There are four different FlexiClick chucks to choose from that can get you into the tightest spots.
  • The 12 Volt battery system provides plenty of power without adding lots of weight. It’s so easy to manoeuvre, and you get two batteries to play with!
  • The kit comes in a Bosch L-Boxx; a rugged, stackable, and tough toolbox with a comfortable carry handle to keep everything organised and safe.
  • The offset angle adapter is a revelation if you’ve ever tried to drill a hole or drive in a screw close to the bottom of a wall. It’s a must for anyone building furniture or cabinets as well because you get right into corners without having to go at an awkward angle.
  • Bosch have invested in their 12 Volt range, there are plenty of “naked” tools out there to expand your collection when you need to.

Cons

  • What annoys me about this ultra-portable drill is the lack of any way to hang it on a tool belt- without a clip or even a lanyard, you’re stuck for a place to hold it when not in use.
  • The included 12 Volt batteries don’t weigh much, which can make the drill feel top heavy- you can solve the problem with the larger 6.0 Ah batteries, but it’ll cost you.
  • For such a clever system, it’s a surprise that the drill has a brushed motor- they’re less efficient and won’t get the most out of the smaller 12 V batteries.
  • You need to be careful with the FlexiClick system- if you’re in the habit of holding the drill by the chuck to keep it steady, you could easily disconnect the whole front end.
  • The same problem can occur with the FlexiClick system when you need to change the torque settings as the torque ring sits right next to release mechanism.

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Best for metal gearbox

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.75
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Makita DHP482Z 18V Cordless Hammer Drill review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Combi Drill
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: Bare
  • Charge Time: 1 hour
  • No-Load Speed: 0-600, 0-1,900rpm
  • Torque Settings: 21+1+1
  • Max Torque: 62Nm
  • Chuck Size: 13mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): 28,500bpm
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.3kg
  • Accessories Included: No

Contender for best cordless hammer drill for power and performance is the Makita DHP482Z. Like the Bosch and DeWalt brands, Makita is highly respected in the industry and their products are used widely by professionals.

The 18 Volt DHP482Z is a high-quality cordless combi drill. It’s one of the most powerful drills on my list. It is built with an all-metal gearbox, an electric brake (to automatically disengage the drive if the bit encounters resistance) and supports a greater range of bit sizes to drill and drive than other drills.

The technical specification is very impressive for a cordless combi drill. The two selectable drill speeds deliver up to 600 and 1,900 rpm respectively, the max torque that can be applied for driving is 62 Nm (550 inch/lbs) and max impacts / beats per minute when applying the hammer function for drilling into masonry or concrete is 28,500 bpm. The DHP482Z can drill 38 mm into wood and 13 mm into steel and masonry.

And yet the DHP482Z remains compact in design and even with a standard 1.3 Ah Li-Ion battery included weighs a respectable 1.8 kg. You should be aware that this particular model is sold as a ‘bare’ product (i.e., without battery or charger) so don’t forget to add in the cost of battery and charger when considering a purchase.

However, when you purchase the battery and charger you should take comfort in the fact that Makita’s proprietary LXT battery system (Lithium-Ion Extreme Technology) not only promotes rapid charging- but a memory chip built into the battery communicates with the charger and regulates the charging activity, preventing overcharging or over-discharging. There is also a handy LED gauge indicating the charge level.

All in all, when factoring in the cost of the bare tool, one (or even two) batteries, a charger, and the fact that the batteries can be shared across many other Makita power tools, this is an impressive piece of kit available for a very reasonable price. A great choice if you are looking for one of the best combi drill models for the UK market.

Pros

  • This drill has the most torque settings that I’ve come across in a long time- the more settings you have to play with, the less chance you have of stripping or overtightening screws.
  • With an all-metal gearbox, this is a Makita product designed to last whether on a building site or busy workshop.
  • A drill speed of 1,900 rpm combined with 62 Nm of torque is one of the best in this class of combi drill, and all but guarantees you can punch holes in wood, concrete, and metal when you need to.
  • If you consider the power of this drill and a weight of just 1,3 kg without the battery, the power to weight ratio is really impressive.
  • Even if it’s a matter of preference, I prefer the chuck shape on the Makita DHP482Z compared to most other drills, it’s a bit easier to use when wearing gloves.

Cons

  • The brushed motor is never going to be as efficient or strong in comparison to a brushless combi drill.
  • Don’t be fooled, this is a “naked” combi drill sold without batteries, a charger, or any other accessories.
  • If you’re a casual DIYer, you can probably get away with a much cheaper combi drill setup that comes with a ton of accessories, rather than buying into a professional tool brand.
  • The LED work light is fine, but it turns off as soon as you release the trigger, leaving you in the dark unless you keep holding on.
  • The minimum speed for drilling or driving at 600 rpm is relatively fast compared to some of the drills on my list, so it’s probably not the best choice for very delicate work.

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Best drill for quality and value

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4.5
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DeWalt DCD776C1 18V Cordless Combi Drill review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Combi Drill
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: 1 x 1.3Ah
  • Charge Time: 1 hour
  • No-Load Speed: 0-450, 0-1,500rpm
  • Torque Settings: 15+1+1
  • Max Torque: 42Nm
  • Chuck Size: 13mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): 25,550bpm
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.3kg
  • Accessories Included: No

Another big hitter in the power tool industry is Maryland, USA-based DeWalt have been making quality power tools for almost a century now, and that includes some of the best combi drills and drivers that we’ve ever tested out.

The DCD776C1 is bold, powerful and a capable workhorse that is ready to work straight from the box. You get the drill, a 1.3 Ah DCB185 XR battery and one of DeWalt’s superb one-hour rapid chargers in a quality blow moulded plastic case that will keep everything together and out of trouble.

Everything about this combi drill screams professional quality- the rubber grips are comfortable on the hands (which is vital when you’re using a drill with as much power as this one). The trigger is easy to control through the different drilling speeds, and the forward and reverse switch has a nice feel to it too.

Under the bonnet, it’s one of the best combi drills for the money- you get a very respectable 42 Nm of torque and a speed of 450 – 1500 rpm at the business end. And when you switch to hammer mode, there’s an impressive up to 25500 bpm to use when you’re drilling into masonry or concrete. You can easily drill 30 mm wide holes into wood or up to 13 mm into metal or concrete.

Weighing in at 1.3 kg, this combi drill is easily light enough for one-handed use and it’s easy to handle because the motor sits quite far back from the grip, giving it excellent balance. What makes this one of the best combi drills for DIY though is the LED work light- it’s powerful and stays on for a few seconds after you let go of the trigger.

Pros

  • This is a very competitively priced starter kit for anyone that wants to buy into DeWalt’s excellent range of combi drills.
  • You get one of DeWalt’s high performing 1.3 Ah XR or “eXtreme Runtime” batteries and a fast charger thrown in, alongside a sturdy carry case to keep it all together.
  • I’ve always been a fan of DeWalt’s grip design compared to some of the other professional tool brands. The rubberised surface provides a comfortable, positive grip and helps to keep vibration down to a minimum.
  • The trigger setup is responsive and comfortable to use.
  • The work light, just like on other DeWalt drills, stays on for a few seconds after you let go of the trigger, it’s handy when you’re working inside dark cupboards!

Cons

  • Even though this is a combi drill kit, you only get one battery- if it runs out on a job, you’ll have to wait for it to recharge before working again.
  • The 1.3 Ah battery is fine for most DIY jobs, but if you’re planning on doing a lot of heavy work you should invest in some higher capacity batteries.
  • Compared to some of DeWalt’s incredible brushless drills, this one lacks high end torque and rpm, as well as several torque settings.
  • Don’t expect this combi drill to compete with an SDS drill, even on the hammer setting. It will drill holes in masonry, but not too easily.
  • It uses a brushed motor that’s got plenty of power, but if you want the optimum power and efficiency, you need a brushless combi drill.

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Best power for home projects

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
4
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Ryobi R18PD3-215GZ 18V Cordless Hammer Drill review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Combi Drill
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: 2 x 1.5Ah
  • Charge Time: 3 hours
  • No-Load Speed: 0-500, 0-1,800rpm
  • Torque Settings: 24+1+1
  • Max Torque: 50Nm
  • Chuck Size: 13mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): 23,400bpm
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.3kg
  • Accessories Included: No

One of the best-known power tool brands, Japan’s Ryobi have decades of experience making some of the best combi drills, saws and sanders around. One of the biggest benefits of buying into Ryobi power tools is the clever ONE+ system- just one battery type for all of Ryobi’s tools.

The R18PD3-215GZ combi drill is an ideal drill for a home DIYer because it’s simple, robust and comes with two 1.5 Ah batteries- you can charge one while using the other and make sure you’re never out of power. And don’t forget you can use these batteries in any other Ryobi power tool.

Now for the technical bit- the two switchable speed modes give you 500 – 1800 rpm that put out a whopping 50 Nm of torque, which is a lot for a DIY level tool. Switching to hammer mode creates 23400 bpm of brick drilling power, and you can drill up to 38 mm capacity in wood, or 13 mm in metal or concrete.

It’s a light as the DeWalt at 1.3 kg, and even though the Ryobi batteries aren’t as well rated as some of the competition, you get a pair of them in this kit. The work light is good, but as it’s mounted on the bottom of the drill it can’t light up the tightest spaces. And even though you don’t get a case, for the price this is one of the best combi drills you can get.

Pros

  • If you’re familiar with Ryobi’s shared battery system, you’ll know that with the two included ones you get with the kit, you can buy “naked” Ryobi tools to go with them for reasonable prices.
  • With the highest number of torque settings on my list, you can really fine tune the screwing power on this drill- it’ll come in handy if you’re famous for stripping screw heads.
  • This is a very affordable tool set- especially compared to the premium combi drill kits from Makita or DeWalt.
  • Ryobi have included a handy double-ended screwdriver bit that clips onto the front of the drill. You can swap this out for any standard width bit, which will certainly come in handy.
  • The full-size 13 mm chuck is easy to adjust and feels like it grips the bits well.

Cons

  • Ryobi don’t make power tools you’ll find on building sites- they’re wonderfully versatile for DIYers, but not quite as robust as DeWalt or Bosch Professional kit.
  • I can’t call this a true starter kit because it doesn’t come supplied with a toolbox or case of any kind to keep everything together.
  • There isn’t a charge level indicator on the batteries, meaning you can’t quickly reference which one needs charging or if it’s good to go.
  • Some users have reported problems with the batteries not holding charge or dying too quickly.
  • Compared to some similar combi drills on my list, both the rpm and the torque is marginally lower.

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Best budget cordless drill

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.75
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Blue Ridge 20 V Max Cordless Combi Drill Kit review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Combi Drill
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: 2 x 1.5Ah
  • Charge Time: 1 hour
  • No-Load Speed: 0-400, 0-1,500rpm
  • Torque Settings: 21+1+1
  • Max Torque: 42Nm
  • Chuck Size: 13mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): 24,000bpm
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.1kg
  • Accessories Included: Yes, 43 pieces

Part of the Positec family that includes brands like Worx and Rockwell, Blue Ridge specialise in battery operated power tools that offer premium features without the premium price tag. Their 20V cordless offering is one of the best budget combi drills that we’ve tried out so far.

If you’re looking the best combi drill for DIY tasks and you don’t need a professional level tool, this is an ideal addition to your home tool kit. The overall look of the drill isn’t as premium as the Makita, but when you compare the price tag, you can see why. But when it comes to feel, the large TPE grips have a positive rubber finish that will keep it in your hand, no matter what.

The two selectable gears put out 400 – 1500 rpm, the maximum torque is an impressive 42 Nm, and with a hammer mode bpm of 24,000 maximum, this is no shrinking violet when it comes to drilling holes in masonry. You can drill wood to a capacity of 35 mm, and metal and concrete to 13 mm.

What sets this apart as one of the best combi drills for starters is the number of accessories provided. Far from just a “naked” drill, this is an entire set for any budding DIYer who wants to get working straight away. They’ve included two 1.5 Ah batteries, a set of common screwdriver bits and magnetic bit holder, various sizes of masonry and HSS bits, and even a flexible drive shaft.

Pros

  • One of the most comfortable grips of any combi drill I’ve tried out- the rubberised soft touch material is comfortable and fits extremely well in the hand.
  • If you’re a novice DIYer, or even an experienced one, the huge accessory kit is brilliant. There’s everything you might need to get started on a new project.
  • Having two batteries is always a bonus- you can always have one on charge and make sure you never run out of juice.
  • The charger is incredibly compact compared to some other brands- it takes up barely any bench space at all.
  • The flexible drive shaft accessory is the sort of thing I’d buy separately, having it included is a welcome bonus.

Cons

  • This isn’t a professional-level brushless combi drill, it’s ideal for light DIY tasks but it won’t compare with the likes of DeWalt or Makita for sheer torque and power.
  • For a 20 Volt max combi drill, the torque level is one of the lowest on my list. It’ll be fine for most DIY work but don’t expect a whole lot of grunt.
  • The chuck is made from plastic, which is probably going to last, but isn’t as durable as an all-metal construction.
  • A large accessory kit is a handy thing to have for a new DIYer, but the quality of the individual items isn’t the best.

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Best drill driver for comfort

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.75
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Ryobi R18DD3-120S ONE+ Plus 18V Cordless Drill Driver Kit review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Drill Driver
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: 1 x 2.0Ah
  • Charge Time: 1 hour
  • No-Load Speed: 0-500, 0-1,800rpm
  • Torque Settings: 24+1+1
  • Max Torque: 50Nm
  • Chuck Size: 13mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): n/a
  • Weight (excluding battery): 1.3kg
  • Accessories Included: No

Japanese tool masters Ryobi know more than a thing or two about making the best drill driver, they’ve been in the game for close to 80 years and the R18DD3-120S is a great example of why people love their bright green tools.

The first thing that people notice about Ryobi’s tools is the ONE+ battery system- you can power any Ryobi power tool with just the one type of battery- whether it’s one of the best cordless drill drivers or a garden strimmer, you can save yourself a lot of time and money by buying “naked” tools and sharing the batteries.

You don’t have to worry about sharing the battery on this drill driver set though, it comes complete with a 2.0 Ah battery and fast charger. The drill itself has a comfortable ergonomic handle for extra grip, you get a full-size 13 mm keyless chuck, a work light and 24 torque settings to play around with.

On the technical side, the drill puts out an impressive 500 – 1800 rpm and a massive 50 Nm of torque for drilling holes up to 13 mm in steel and 38 mm in wood.

Pros

  • Supplied with a 2.0 Ah battery, you can put it to work in pretty much any Ryobi cordless tool.
  • Ryobi’s patented GripZone over-moulded handles are well known for their comfort and good grip characteristics. I’m a big fan.
  • 24 torque settings mean you can dial in the precise amount of power you’re putting into a screw and avoid breaking fixings or camming out of screw heads.
  • The supplied fast charger will juice up the 2.0 Ah battery from 0 – 100% in just one hour.
  • 50 Nm of torque is impressive for a drill driver at this price.

Cons

  • Don’t forget this is a drill driver and does not include a percussive hammer mode, it’s not the right tool for drilling into masonry or concrete.
  • This drill driver isn’t being sold as a “bare” tool, so you might expect to get a carry case of some kind. It just comes in a cardboard box.
  • It’s quite expensive compared to some of the full combi drills on my list. If you’re planning on ever drilling into concrete or brick you should look at a more affordable combi drill.
  • You’ll need to purchase drill bits and other screwdriver bits, but it’s nice that Ryobi give you the one double ended one to start with.
  • There doesn’t seem to be any way to hang this drill from a tool belt, and no screw holes for a belt clip either.

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Best value drill driver

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.75
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Meterk E11968 12V Cordless Drill Kit With 50 Accessories review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Drill Driver
  • Power: 12V
  • Batteries Supplied: 1 x 2.0Ah
  • Charge Time: 90 minutes
  • No-Load Speed: 0-350, 0-1,300rpm
  • Torque Settings: 19+1
  • Max Torque: 25Nm
  • Chuck Size: 10mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): n/a
  • Weight (excluding battery): 0.85kg
  • Accessories Included: Yes, 50 pieces

Meterk produce an impressive range of tools and even 3D printers, so we were excited to get our hands on their 12 Volt drill kit and put it through its paces. If you need to drill holes, drive screws or carry out some serious cleaning, this is the best drill driver you can get.

The drill itself has a comfortable grip, and two selectable speed settings that work with the 19 torque settings to get the most out of the 2.0 Ah battery. You can keep an eye on the LED charge level indicator on the side of the drill, and light everything up with the work light that sits just above the trigger.

Under the bonnet, the motor puts out a reasonable 300 – 1300 rpm, which makes 25 Nm of torque. It’s not the most powerful 12 Volt drill out there, but it’s not designed for drilling holes in brick walls anyway.

What makes this one of the best drill driver kits is the huge accessory pack- you get all the common driver bits you might need, a set of HSS drill bits, a 150 mm extension bit and an excellent selection of drill-mounted cleaning brushes and pads.

Pros

  • Weighing just 850 grams, this is an ultra-portable 12 Volt drill driver that still packs a punch.
  • You get a proper kit with this drill driver- there’s everything you need including a tool bag.
  • It’s the only drill driver kit on my list that comes with some decent cleaning and polishing brushes- they’re great for polishing the car and save a lot of elbow grease.
  • You might not even notice it, but there’s a handy magnet attached to one side of the drill body- use it to hold a spare bit or even a couple of screws.
  • For the price, the 12 Volt drill is reasonably powerful- the don’t compare with much more expensive professional-level 12 Volt drills, but it’s more than enough for most DIYers.

Cons

  • Don’t go looking for extra batteries for this drill, it doesn’t look like they sell them separately.
  • This is not a drill driver for heavy duty work- it’s ideal for light tasks and cleaning jobs with the included brushes, but don’t try to overwork it.
  • The LED work light is quite dim, it’s not powerful compared to the full size drills like the DeWalt or Makita equivalents.
  • It’s good that Meterk have included a range of drill and driver bits, but they’re not particularly high quality and will need replacing before long.
  • Although it’s down to personal preference, most DIYers prefer hard blow-moulded cases over soft bags.

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Best beginner's cordless drill

Build Quality
Performance
Ease of Use
Value for Money
Overall
3.25
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Terratek 18V Cordless Drill Driver Kit review

Specifications

  • Combi Drill / Drill Driver: Drill Driver
  • Power: 18V
  • Batteries Supplied: 1 x 0.8Ah
  • Charge Time: 3-5 hours
  • No-Load Speed: 0-650rpm
  • Torque Settings: 16+1
  • Max Torque: 19Nm
  • Chuck Size: 10mm
  • Max BPM (combi drill): n/a
  • Weight (excluding battery): 0.85kg
  • Accessories Included: Yes, 13 pieces

Part of Futura Direct, Doncaster’s Terratek make a decent range of budget power tools, including this handy 18V cordless drill driver. It’s a reliable no-frills tool that isn’t as refined as the best drill driver on the market, but for the price it’s an essential addition to any budding DIYers tool kit.

You get 16 different torque settings, and a pressure-sensitive trigger that controls the speed of the drill. You might only get up to 650 rpm on the sharp end, but the whole drill weighs just under 1 kg, so it’s a great tool to have when you need to get into those tight spots.

The 10 mm keyless chuck feels solid enough, and you get reasonable set of accessories to get you started, but we would prefer a bit more grunt under the hood to tackle heavier screwdriving jobs.

Pros

  • Easily the most affordable drill driver kit on my list. The best choice for beginners or home DIYers that just want to get started without spending a lot of money.
  • If you want a lightweight drill driver, this is a solid choice. Weighing less than 1 kg it’s great if the idea of a heavy duty power tool gives you the chills.
  • The grip shape is surprisingly comfortable and compares to a much more expensive drill driver.
  • Terratek has included a small spirit level into the top of the drill casing, it’s an excellent feature to make sure you can drill accurate horizontal holes when needed.
  • With a 13-piece kit including a set of drill and driver bits as well as a handy magnetic holder, there’s no putting off getting straight on with your DIY tasks!

Cons

  • I’ve got no idea how long this drill driver would last on a building site, but I doubt it would be for long.
  • Seeing as the drill is supplied with just the one battery, you’ll need to make sure it’s always kept topped up.
  • And as for charging, Terratek reckon it could take between three and five hours for a full battery. Not the sort of time you want to take out of a working day waiting for your drill.
  • With just 16 different torque settings to choose from, it’s not going to give you the most refined screw driving experience compared to a professional power tool.
  • Some users report that the battery doesn’t last for very long, even after being fully charged.

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Things to Know Before Buying a Cordless Drill

If you want to begin your foray into DIY but know not where to start then by far and away the most obvious place is with a cordless power drill. This super versatile tool solves a myriad of household DIY problems literally at the flick of a switch.

When cordless tools hit the DIY market some 40 years ago, they were considered a luxury item – not anymore – the days of the corded drill are numbered!

Nowadays the power and performance of the traditional corded drill can be matched by its cordless counterpart. Beyond doubt the overriding benefit of a cordless drill is its convenience and versatility. You no longer have to find a mains socket for your corded drill and drag a cable or extension lead around.

There is also little difference in price between corded and cordless version of the same power drill. Only the cost of the battery may make a difference if you are purchasing the drill as a ‘bare’ model.

If you are an occasional user or are happy to take time out while your battery is charging, one battery is absolutely fine. Most power tool batteries can be recharged hundreds of times before they show signs of degradation, and need to be replaced.

If however you are a serious power tool user or want to work for long periods, you’ll need to purchase a second battery and carry a charger. Recharging will mean access to a mains supply too.

Comparing Drill Drivers and Combi Drills – the Essentials

As far as cordless drills go the two most popular cordless drill options are the drill driver and combi drill.

Of the two the combi drill is more powerful but it is also heavier and more expensive.

Which one should you choose? Let’s take a look….

The Drill Driver was invented by Black and Decker in 1961 and is one of the most popular power tools on the market today. Essentially it is a basic cordless rotary drill with an added function for (screw) driving. It allows you to combine speed (used for drilling holes) and torque (twisting force required for turning) using the settings on its torque control ring, to give you the power and accuracy you need when driving screws.

The combi drill however is a drill driver with an additional hammer (percussion) function that for drilling into masonry or concrete. It is therefore more versatile than a drill driver, but also heavier and more expensive.

The combi drill offers the same convenience and functionality of a drill driver, but with an additional ‘hammer’ function and an extra setting on the control ring to adjust the bpm (beats per minute) delivered when hammering.

Combi drills are therefore more of a hybrid solution for everyday drilling, driving and hammering tasks.

Drill Drivers and Combi Drills – Their Uses

Drill drivers are best suited for drilling into softer material such as wood, plastic, veneer and metal, where it uses its ‘rotary’ mode, and putting screws into soft materials, where it uses its ‘driving’ mode. This is all controlled by how tightly you pull the trigger and what torque setting you use.

So if you’re putting up shelves, hanging pictures, assembling cabinets, cupboards or flat-pack, drilling holes in MDF, particleboard or aluminium, go for a drill driver.

You can also extend the drill driver’s use because as well as accepting standard drill and driver bits, it’s chuck accepts a wide range of other accessories such as woodworking gadgets, sanders and hole saws, so there are really endless projects you can get stuck into.

Whereas the drill driver is fine for drilling into softer materials, you are going to need something more robust to drill into denser materials such as brick, masonry, concrete, rock or stone. This is where the combi drill comes in. It combines the dill driver’s ‘driving’ action with a percussion feature for this more heavy duty drilling work.

When a Drill Driver or Combi Drill Should not be Used

Drill drivers and combi drills can handle many day-to-day tasks but are not designed and built for serious heavy duty work, such as heavy masonry drilling or driving large bolts, even if you do have more specialist bits at your disposal for those tasks. There are other tools that can perform that kind of specialist work much more effectively, notably the SDS rotary drill or impact driver (for driving large bolts). These last two tools are designed to absorb impact much more efficiently, but are rather more expensive.

Choosing Between a Drill Driver and Combi Drill

The best cordless drills balance power and weight to give you a tool that’s light enough for anyone to hold on to but has enough grunt to drive screws or drill holes into hard materials. If light weight is top of your list, go for a 12V drill driver – it sacrifices some torque and rpm to give you a tool that weighs less than 1 kg. But, if you’re more concerned with high torque and weight isn’t an issue, an 18V combi drill is your friend.

Things to Look For When Choosing a Cordless Drill

Understanding Power and Performance

The handheld drill is one of the most used power tools in any DIYers arsenal. Whether you’re hanging a picture or building a house, you’ll be reaching for the best cordless drill you can get your hands on. But you can’t do anything without enough power to safely drill holes or drive screws.

Power is supplied to the tool’s motor as an electrical current, via (in the case of cordless power tools) a rechargeable battery. The motor converts this electrical energy into mechanical energy, which is composed of both speed and torque.

Speed is applied in the same direction as the drill is being directed (often called ‘linear’). It is measured in rpm (revolutions per minute). Manufacturer’s specifications refer to a tool’s maximum speed as ‘no-load’. This is the maximum speed that can be attained by the tool without encountering any resistance (or ‘load’).

Torque on the other hand is applied from a sideways direction – at 90 degrees to the speed. Torque is the turning or twisting force that the tool can produce. It is measured in Newton Metres (Nm) or Inch Pounds. (1 Nm = 8.85 Inch Pounds).

So in the case of a cordless drill power is a combination of speed and torque. It is fed to one or more gears that rotate a chuck and the bit that sits in it.

The Difference Between Speed and Torque

It is important to note that the relationship between speed and torque is inversely proportional.

More speed means less torque, and vice versa.

Higher speed is better for drilling holes into softer material or driving small screws.

Slower speed (greater torque) is better when you encounter tougher materials that require more turning / twisting force to drill or when you are driving larger screws or fasteners.

More heat is generated when greater torque is applied.

Why Gears Make a Difference

Most cordless drills come with two speed gearboxes so you can take on a wider range of projects.

Gears harness the power delivered from the battery and enable it to be delivered across different ranges of speed and torque.

Each gear has a maximum rotation speed and torque. For example, drill drivers with one gear may have a maximum no-load speed of maybe 650 rpm and combi drills with two gears a maximum no-load speed of 2,000 rpm.

Two speed combi drills with their hammer action can typically generate up to 10,000 bpm (beats per minute) in the lower gear and 20-30,000 bpm in the upper gear.

The best drill drivers can deliver between 30-40 Nm of torque and the best combi drills over 70 Nm.

So for light screw driving or drilling one gear is perfectly acceptable, but two gears provide more versatility in the number of applications that can be handled.

How to Use Torque Control

Once you have used the gear selector switch to choose the appropriate gear how do you control the power so as not to overtighten or strip a screw, damage a work surface, or even worse injure yourself?

The answer is to set the correct level of torque on the torque ring. Selectable torque settings (anything from 10 to 24) are normally found as a twist-collar on the body of the drill behind the chuck.

Finding the correct resistance level will depend on the gear setting you have chosen (assuming there is more than one gear), the torque level selected, the screw or bit you are using and the toughness of the material you are negotiating. This is initially down to trial and error but you can always experiment with the torque settings in scrap material first.

But the important thing is that when the selected torque level is reached the motor’s clutch will kick in and disengage the gear to stop the action (not dissimilar to depressing the clutch on your car when the engine is in gear). Often you will hear a click when this happens.

So with a bit of trial and error you should have no problem drilling holes cleanly or driving screws accurately.

More expensive versions come with ‘autostop’ clutches that automatically calculate the correct torque and therefore prevent over tightening and potentially damaging the screw, work surface or both, without you having to experiment with the torque settings.

Why Your Power Tool Battery is so Important

Battery setup is another very important factor to consider when you choose your cordless drill.

Some cordless drills have batteries that slot/slide into the unit itself and others have batteries that clip into its base. Slide battery varieties are more common on drill drivers and have a more natural feel because the handle does not have to incorporate the battery housing. Most combi drills tend to have batteries that attach to the base. Either way manufacturers design their tools for optimum balance.

The Difference Between Battery Power and Capacity

A battery’s ability to deliver power is denominated in Volts. Higher battery voltage equates to greater power. As you might expect light duty tasks can be accomplished with lower powered batteries whilst heavy duty tasks require more voltage. For example cordless screwdrivers are commonly quoted with 3.6 or 4 Volt batteries, drill drivers with 12 Volts and combi drills, impact drivers and SDS hammer drills with 18 Volts. Batteries with higher voltage ratings weigh more.

A battery’s capacity on the other hand is a measure of how much current can be stored. Capacity or run-time is described in Ampere/Hours (Ah). This commonly ranges between 1.3 Ah to 5.0 Ah. Batteries with larger capacity ratings weigh more.

If you’re a professional-level user you’ll need a big 5.0 Ah battery to drill hundreds of holes per day, but for most DIYers this is excessive. Keep costs down with a 1.5 or 2.0 Ah battery that will last long enough for most tasks, or even better, go for a kit like the Bosch PSB1800 and get two batteries for your combi drill. Just remember to always keep one on charge while you’re working.

The Importance of Battery Size and Weight

The size and weight of a battery contribute significantly to the tool’s footprint, balance, ergonomic profile and how it handles.

Most cordless drills these days come with Lithium-Ion batteries – they’re lightweight, powerful and can hold a charge for months and months without a significant loss of power.

In general

  • Batteries with greater power will be larger and heavier than lighter powered ones
  • Batteries with greater capacity will be larger and heavier than those with less capacity

In other words for the same weight you can choose between

  • higher voltage / lower capacity and
  • lower voltage / higher capacity

Your choice will end up being influenced by the tasks you want to perform. Heavy duty tasks will require higher voltage in the first place.

Features of the Battery Charger to Look for

It goes without saying that a battery charger is a must and battery charging time is a significant factor for many, particularly if there is only one battery available. Anything with a ‘fast’, ‘quick’ or ‘rapid’ charge option is good, meaning that 70-80% of the charge should be restored in under an hour.

Charging time relates to how long it takes to ‘refuel’ the battery’s capacity (it has nothing to do with the battery’s power or voltage).

The greater the capacity and the more depleted the charge, the longer it will take to replenish.

Charging times are quoted assuming the battery is fully discharged. Chargers themselves can also supply the current at a fast or slow rate.

Batteries are susceptible to heat and temperature extremes. When in use heat builds up within them and once used they should be allowed to cool before being charged.

The charging process itself also generates heat within the battery.

These days most chargers are sensitive to this danger and stop the charging process if the battery shows any signs of overheating. Also electronic cell protection ensures the battery itself is protected, not just from overheating but also voltage spikes and current overload, especially when being charged. Some chargers are now fan-cooled.

Getting Technical with Battery Chemistry – Cycles, Self-Discharge, Memory Effect

The first rechargeable batteries were created in the 1950’s and composed of Nickel Cadmium or NiCad.

The next generation, introduced in the late 1980’s, were made from Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH).

The latest generation, Lithium Ion (Li-Ion), were introduced into cordless tools around 15 years ago. But only in the last few years did their prices reduce enough for them to become a realistic alternative to NiCad and NiMH batteries in the power tool market. Nowadays of course Li-Ion batteries are the norm and only the most basic ranges come with NiCad or occasionally NiMH batteries.

To understand the advantages Li-Ion batteries have over their predecessors we need to consider their chemical makeup.

The 3 types of battery – NiCad, NiMH and Li-Ion – are made up of different chemical elements and each provide the battery with different characteristics.

These include

  • the number of times they can effectively be recharged (cycles)
  • the length of time they can hold the charge whilst left idle (the loss of charge is called ‘self-discharge’) and
  • their ability to consume the same amount of charge when continuously recycled. ‘Memory effect’ is the term used to describe any resultant degradation and it comes into play if you do not charge /discharge the battery in the appropriate way.

NiCad batteries can be recharged over 1,000 times and last many years. However they are susceptible to self-discharge (about 20% per month), and high memory effect – they need to be fully discharged once a month to prevent it.

NiMH batteries can also be recharged about 1,000 times. They suffer less memory effect than NiCad batteries but still need a full discharge every 3 months to prevent it and also have a high self-discharge rate (30%).

The lifetime of Li-Ion batteries is less than that of NiCad or NiMH batteries – maybe 500 charge cycles – but Li-Ion batteries have no memory loss and minimal self-discharge – maybe 5-10%.

In line with the above there are techniques to consider when charging the battery in order to maximise its lifetime. NiCad batteries should never be allowed to discharge below 70%, NiMH below 30% and Li-Ion batteries below 20%.

When not in use batteries should be stored in a cool place and out of the sunlight.

The Drill Chuck – Keyed or Keyless

The chuck is an important power drill feature. Drill drivers and combi drills come with a 10 mm (⅜”) or 13 mm (½”) 3-jawed chuck. A 10 mm chuck is perfectly acceptable for most projects, whilst more powerful cordless drills tend to have 13 mm chucks. For drilling holes wider than the diameter of the chuck you can always purchase tapered bits. The 3 jaws accommodate both drill bits with their round shanks and hexagonal bits (used for screw driving).

Chucks are either keyed or keyless.

Keyed chucks require the chuck jaws to be tightened or loosened using a separate T-shaped toothed key whose nozzle is inserted into a hole in the collar and whose teeth engage with the collar’s teeth.

Keyless chucks are tightened or loosened by turning the collar directly by hand without the use of a key. Keyless chucks can have one or two collars or sleeves.

Single-sleeved chucks are more convenient and can be adjusted with one hand.  This makes it very easy to swap between bits and accessories.

Two collared types require you to hold the lower collar with one hand whilst turning the upper collar with the other.

Some keyless chucks can also be ratcheting i.e. tightened to a maximum torque level and then no further – you’ll hear a click when this level is reached.

The main benefit of keyless chucks is that you never have to worry about misplacing the key but the downside is they cannot be tightened as much as a keyed chuck. This can become a problem if you are using a keyless combi drill in hammer mode as the continuous impacts into masonry will eventually cause the bit to loosen and sometimes get stuck in the hole.

A Handy LED Work Light

An LED work light is useful when you need to drill inside a cupboard, but it’s even handier when it stays on for a while after you let go of the trigger. I also prefer it when the work light is up above the trigger rather than on the battery pack so you can light up the precise area if you need to poke the drill in a tight spot.

‘Nice to Have’ Features of Cordless Drills

A Brushless Motor for Efficiency and Longevity

A brushless motor contributes significantly to a cordless drill’s longevity. With a brushless motor you get increased efficiency due to the motor’s modified components. A small electronic sensor/controller in the motor eliminates friction and delivers more power.

The amount of power that is delivered is also controlled by the amount of resistance the drill encounters.

The brushless motor only generates as much power as it needs, whilst traditional brushed motors will always deliver the maximum power they can, when fed the same amount of current.

Also a brushless tool can never deliver ‘more’ power than a brushed tool running from the equivalent voltage battery.

By eliminating friction a brushless motor runs cooler, more efficiently and quietly and with less vibration than a brushed motor.

The brushless motor also sees greater longevity because its mechanical components are less likely to fail.

These benefits do come at a cost though – approximately 30% more than the equivalent tool running with a brushed motor, although having said that prices of brushless tools have decreased significantly in recent years.

In general you need to be quite a serious DIY enthusiast or professional to justify a brushless version, unless of course cost is less of an issue and you just want the luxury of having the best tool for the job!

All-metal transmission – a Sign of High Quality

An all-metal transmission is a sign of a high-quality cordless tool that is built to last. With the all- metal transmission you are getting higher quality components that wear less.

An Electric Brake – a Great Safety Feature

An electric brake is an extremely useful safety feature that stops the drill rotating as soon as you release the trigger.

The Handy Battery Fuel Gauge

On the battery a fuel gauge tells you how much charge is remaining, very useful if you only have one battery and a limited amount of time to complete the job.

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FAQs

What type of drill bits do I need?

Depending on what you need to drill into, there’s a drill bit that does the job. For wood, use a wood bit that has a sharp point and wide flutes to remove the chips. For metal, use a high-speed steel (HSS) bit that is specially hardened and coated to stay cool. Just remember that even the best drill driver isn’t designed for use on blockwork, so don’t buy masonry bits.

What are the most common screwdriver bits?

There are more types of screw head out there than you might think, but the most popular ones are still flat head, cross head, Pozidrive and Torx. The last two might not be familiar names, but they’re two of the most used screw types you’ll come across.

How does a combi drill work?

When the hammer action is selected and the trigger is depressed the drill starts rotating and the motor engages a clutch and ratchet mechanism that vibrates the drill bit up and down over a tiny distance, but at many thousands of beats per minute, in order to penetrate hard material.

Although some force is applied to the drilling action by the weight of the tool alone you may need to actively apply more pressure depending on the depth you are drilling and the resistance of the material. Using the side handle and therefore two hands allow you to exert this pressure in the most comfortable way. When you don’t want to hammer you can simply turn off the hammer mode so the drill behaves like a traditional drill (driver).

You should always use masonry drill bits rather than standard drill bits when using the hammer action, as the bit is stronger and the 2 ‘wings’ on the bit force the drilled coarse waste material back up the hole thus keeping the drilling target clean. Also if you were to use standard drill bits they would get hot quickly, go blunt very easily, and eventually break when encountering the tougher material.

What brand should I buy?

The power tool market is extremely competitive with both old established and new manufacturers vying to get a piece of the action. Over the years such competition has driven prices down significantly, much to the benefit of both the DIY and professional user.

Unfortunately, this makes it that much harder to choose a brand! Your choice of brand ultimately depends on how often you intend to use your power tool and what you want to use it for. The answers to these questions will determine how much you want to spend and whether you can afford a more expensive or cheaper brand.

More frequent or heavier duty usage will lead you towards a better built tool and most likely a more expensive brand. Occasional users or those with lighter duty tasks will go for less expensive makes.

More expensive brands, such as DeWalt, Makita and Bosch have been around for longer, although this isn’t always the case. BLACK+DECKER have been around a long time too, but their ranges are less expensive. Some middle of the range brands such as Ryobi, Worx, Metabo, VonHaus and Hitachi also produce good quality tools. There are also specialist expensive high-end brands that concentrate on a smaller variety of power tools such as Festool or Milwaukee Tools.

Then at the other end of the scale are a number of low-cost brands, almost too numerous to mention, and these are directed towards the occasional DIYer. The better known include Meterk and Terratek and there are also a significant number of brands from the Far-East. These handheld power drills do what they say on the tin. They tend to come as packages with battery, charger and accessories all included, and almost always at an incredibly attractive price.

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