A Drill for Every Task
Drill drivers are the best cordless tool for driving screws and drilling holes, but for a perfect job you’ll need to control the variable speed and torque. For drill speed, use low speed for screws and high speed for hole drilling.
Torque control is important for more precise tasks, such as putting screws into delicate materials such as plasterboard. Selecting a lower torque number will avoid over-tightening and help protect the surface. When you need more power to drive a screw through hardwood, for example, increase the torque number.
When it comes to drilling holes in masonry, brick or stone, you’ll need a drill with hammer action – aka the combi drill (for the cordless version) – just try drilling into a brick wall without the hammer mode on and you’ll see.
It’s always a good idea to practise on scrap material to improve your skills and confidence.
The days of corded drills are numbered when the best cordless drills all come with excellent and fast-charging batteries, but not all batteries are built the same…
Battery capacity is important. The capacity (measured in Amperes per hour – Ah) denotes how long the battery will last before it needs recharging. The downside is greater capacity means a larger and heavier battery.
However, manufacturers design their tools in the most ergonomically friendly way to compensate for battery size and weight. They slot into the handle or slide into the base of the drill for optimum balance.
Battery chemistry is also important. These days Lithium-Ion batteries are the most popular- they’re more expensive than old-style NiCad and NiMH batteries, but they’re lighter, hold their charge for longer and can be charged and discharged hundreds of times without any significant loss in performance.
Bigger Battery or Multiple Batteries
The best battery you have is the one that’s charged up when you need it. If you’re a professional-level user you’ll need a big 5.0 Ah lithium ion 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 with your drill. Just remember to always keep one on charge while you’re working.
The most important feature of a cordless drill is battery power. You need more power for drilling or driving into more resilient materials or drilling deeper holes. Power comes from the battery and is denominated in Volts, typically 12 or 18 Volts.
Power consists of a combination of speed and torque. Speed can be considered rotational force in a vertical plane whilst torque can be described as twisting motion in a horizontal plane. Speed and torque are inversely proportional. Higher speeds are better for drilling and greater torque is better for driving. Torque is rated in Newton Meters (Nm) – the higher the number- the more power you have to play with.
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