Top 10 Best Cordless Drills of 2018

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Best Cordless Drills 2018: Questions & Answers

What types of cordless drills are there?

There are four main types of cordless drills: cordless screwdrivers, basic cordless drills, cordless impact drivers, and cordless hammer drills.

What are the functions of a cordless screwdriver?

A cordless screwdriver is the most basic of all automatic drills and works exactly like a screwdriver. They provide the least power but require the least amount of energy to operate; they are best used for small, occasional projects like hanging shelves or other simple home improvement projects. They will provide between 2 and 10 volts, in general.

What are the functions of a basic cordless drill?

A basic cordless drill is a good option for anyone looking to do basic home improvement but who needs more power and versatility than a cordless screwdriver can provide. Basic cordless drills will offer an adjustable clutch and chuck to give you control over the spinning power, as well as allowing you to use either drill bits or screwdriver bits. They will generally provide between 9 and 18 volts of power.

What are the functions of a cordless impact driver?

A cordless impact driver has all the features of a basic cordless drill with the added benefit of automatic torque increase when used as a screwdriver. The cordless impact driver can sense any sort of resistance and will adjust automatically to preserve the bit and the screw. You also won’t need a pilot hole. A cordless impact driver will generally provide between 14 and 20 volts.

What are the functions of a cordless hammer drill?

A cordless hammer drill offers the most powerful performance and can handle surfaces like brick and heavy metals. It can be used for any sort of project, much like the basic cordless driver, but it also provides hammer drill capabilities that piston the bit in and out of the surface while also spinning the bit. A cordless hammer drill is much heavier than their counterparts. Cordless hammer drills offer between 18 and 36 volts of power.

What is torque, and how much torque do I need?

Torque is a measure of how much force a cordless drill can use to turn screws or bits; it does not measure the actual turning speed, only the amount of power behind the turning. Torque is measured in inches-per-pound. Torque in a drill can range from 100 to 400 or more; for example, a lightweight, 1-pound Black and Decker drill might offer 100 inches-per-pound torque, while a heavy-duty Hitachi model might offer as much as 460 inches-per-pound torque. How much torque you need will depend on how you plan to use your drill; for light work like hanging shelves, you don’t need much torque. Heavy-duty construction jobs will call for higher torque.

What sort of battery should I look for in a cordless drill?

There are three main types of batteries used in cordless drills, NiCad, NiMH, and Lithium batteries. NiCad, or Nickle Cadmium, batteries are the most durable and least expensive type of battery – they tend to have longer lifespans and hold up to heat and wear-and-tear damage. However, they are the heaviest and tend to run for the shortest amount of time. They also need more time to cool-down before recharging. NiMH, or Nickle Metal Hydride, batteries are lighter than NiCad batteries and tend to have longer running times. They are also easier to dispose of than NiCad batteries, which need to be properly recycled due to the cadmium. However, they can be susceptible to heat damage. Lithium or Lithium Ion batteries are the lightest type of battery and will run for the longest amount of time. They are not super sensitive to damage from heat or wear-and-tear. However, they are the most expensive type of drill and they tend to have shorter lifespans than either NiCad or NiMH batteries.

What speeds should I look for in a cordless drill?

Some drills come with one pre-set speed. For example, the Black and Decker LDX120C has a pre-set speed of 650 RPM. Other models will offer a range of optional speeds for different project needs; the DeWalt DCD760KL, for instance, offers up to 1,700 RPM, with options for lower speeds as well. The more speed options your drill has, the more projects you can work on with it. However, if you’re looking for a basic cordless driver, speeds between 500-1000 RPM will do just fine, and even a model with only one speed will be suitable for most standard home improvement jobs.

What features should I look for in a cordless drill?

Some good features to look for when shopping for a drill include an ergonomic design, multiple batteries, quick charging time, battery-charge indicators, an extra handle, and a work light.

Why is having an ergonomic design important?

Since you will be holding the drill for long periods of time, and since the drill will be vibrating and turning, you want to make sure that it’s comfortable to grip and hold, and that it won’t slip out of your hand. Look for models with soft-coated handles, finger grips, or other designs that make it easier to hold. Lightweight cordless drills are also a benefit, because holding a heavy drill for a long period of time can quickly cause fatigue. Black and Decker makes an ultra-light 1 pound drill with a non-slip ergonomic handle.

What are the benefits of multiple batteries?

Multiple batteries are beneficial because it allows you to charge one battery while using the other, and once the battery in use is drained you can simply switch them out to continue working without having to wait for the battery to recharge.

What is considered a quick charging time?

Charging times on cordless drivers can range from as little as 15 minutes to as many as five hours. A good charging time, available on many models that have “smart” chargers, would be between 15 and 60 minutes. Many Makita models include these smart chargers.

Why is a battery-charge indicator beneficial?

A battery-charge indicator can help you preserve the life of your batteries, as well as keep you constantly aware of how much time you have left before the battery dies. Especially with lithium-ion batteries, which can be damaged when they are allowed to become fully depleted before recharging, a battery-charge indicator will let you know when it’s time to put your battery back on the charger.

Why is an extra handle beneficial?

An extra handle on one side of the cordless drill will allow you to hold the drill with both hands, which can greatly reduce discomfort and fatigue during use. It’s also very handy if you need to get into awkward positions with the drill.

What are the benefits of a work light?

An LED work light will help illuminate a dark area and give you greater visibility on the area you are working on.

How much does a cordless drill cost?

A cordless drill can cost you between $35 and $200 depending on the model. The more expensive, the more heavy-duty and versatile the drill will be, and it will also generally have a longer lifespan. However, if you only plan on using your cordless drill occasionally for simple construction, you can get away with purchasing a lower-end model and have no issues.

What to look for when buying a cordless drill

Battery power

Cordless drills run on battery power. Because of their demands, drills require lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are rechargeable and offer significantly more power than traditional batteries. They can power drills with motors that require 450 watts and more. Most drills use 18-volts, though smaller ones use only 12 volts. The benefit of lithium-ion is that they hold a charge for a long time and recharge quickly. Lithium can have 3-5x more battery life, endure more charges, and recharge in as little as 15-30 minutes. Many drill brands produce their own batteries and include the required number (usually 2) in the box as well as the battery charger.

Variable RPMs

The speed on a cordless drill is measured in RPMs, or, revolutions per minute. This can be confusing, since materials (wood, iron, etc) often use a different measure for speed, called SFM. This represents the speed necessary for a cutter to be pushed in a straight line. To figure out the SFM using the RPMs, the formula is (.26) x RPM x diameter. As a general rule, you want to use a slower RPM for very hard materials like steel, and a faster one for wood. For more versatility and precision, the RPMs on drills bits are variable, so you can easily choose a slower RPM if necessary from a drill that includes high RPMs. Drills usually get at least a two-speed gearbox, so you can set the speed from 0-400, or 0-1,300, give or take. Especially fast drills can even have variable speeds of 0-500 and 0-1,700, or even a 3-speed, all-metal transmission.

Enough torque

In addition RPMs, drill power is measured in torque. Really difficult woodworking and masonry jobs require a lot of torque, which is the term for how much force is needed to twist an object, in a drill’s case, a screw. If you own a piece of equipment like a rototiller, you are familiar with how torque plays out in the real world and how important it is when working through solid ground. It is essentially the same with drills, except it’s measured in inches and not feet, and the materials you’re working through are wood, concrete, and so on as opposed to dirt. Smaller, less powerful drills intended for jobs like hanging pictures and lighter woodworking can have as little as 100 inch/pounds, while heavy-duty drills boast 450+ in/lb.

Clutch settings

Clutches are not present on corded drills, so you may not know how to use the clutch on your cordless model. Clutch settings allow you to choose the right angle and depth for the material you’re working on, so you don’t damage it. This would be important if you’re working with drywall, which is prone to tearing. A lot of clutch settings let you work on a variety of materials and makes your drill more versatile. In terms of how positions you get, drills start with 10 and can have as many as 20+.

Chuck clamp

Chuck clamps are the part of the drill where you insert the bit or other rotary tool. Many chucks have star-like jaws (also called “dogs”) that grip the bit. Most drills have three dogs. You can tighten or loosen the jaws with a wrench-like tool called a chuck key. Many chucks are now keyless, which means you can tighten/loosen them by hand. Some even tighten as you work, which ensures a powerful grip and more secure drilling. Keyless chucks make changing out bits easier and faster than with a keyed chuck. Most chucks on cordless drills are either ½-inch or ⅜ inch, which fit a variety of bits for different jobs.

Construction

Drills are built from hard plastic and metal, so they stay safe against debris and accidental drops. Rubber bumpers also protect a cordless drill against wear and provide soft, ergonomic grip for the user. Steel-enforced collars serve as an additional guard against wear from temperature changes, harsh weather and so on, while protections on the motor can shield the tool against overheating or stalling.

Usability

Cordless drills are automatically more convenient than their corded counterparts, but there are other features to be on the lookout for. Weight is a concern, since you do not want your arm to get tired after using the drill for a long time. Cordless drills can be as light as 3-3 ½ pounds and reach 5 or so pounds if they’re larger. Most drills are also pretty compact, so you can use them in more cramped spaces. For working in darker environments, most drills now include a built-in LED light.

Bonus points

Included kit accessories

Many drills, for a slightly higher price, will include a full accessory kit. This means you can get right to work and have all your necessary accessories (bits, screws, etc) conveniently organized for you. A kit includes the cordless drill, battery, battery charger, and accessories.

Advanced batteries

The Black & Decker brand has recently created the 20-volt Max lithium-ion system, which not only gives you an incredibly powerful battery equipped to handle long, hard jobs, but also provides you with one battery that can power a wide variety of other Black & Decker tools. This includes hedge trimmers, chain saws, and cultivators. With one battery pack, you can switch out what tools you use without having to purchase a bunch of separate batteries.

Recommended brands

Black & Decker

Created in 1910, Black & Decker is one of the leading power tool brands in the world. They produced the first portable electric drill in 1917, and secured a patent for their pistol-grip and trigger switch designs. As time went on, they acquired other brands, like the small business branch of the General Electric Company. In 2010, Black & Decker merged with Stanley Works. Throughout their history, Black & Decker (now officially Stanley Black & Decker) contributed to the WWII effort and produced technology for the NASA space program. In addition to cordless drills, they sell a wide range of power tool accessories, yard equipment, cleaning products, and so on.

Dewalt

In 1924, Raymond E. DeWalt was inspired to establish a company that could create products to cut down on high labor costs. As a veteran of mill and construction jobs, he had already invented several machines to speed up the work process. When he was hired as the head of a woodworking mill, DeWalt invented the radial arm saw. The contraption performed the work of four men and saved the company a ton of money. Under his leadership, the company became DeWalt Inc. in 1947 and grew rapidly. In 1949, it was sold to Black & Decker, which still owns it to this day. DeWalt produces tools like wrenches, saws, hammers, and more, including the new lithium ion tools with the 20V Max System.

Bosch

Robert Bosch created his workshop, which he called the Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering in 1886. Established in Germany, the company quickly became known for its quality design and performance. In 1932, Bosch released a power drill. Currently, Bosch has several branches for all the different products it creates, including one for auto parts, one for industrial products, and one for building products like household appliances and power tools, like the portable cordless drill.

Makita

Makita was founded by Mosaburo Makita in 1915 in Japan and originally sold and fixed motors, transformers, and lighting equipment. After establishing itself with this product, they introduced the world’s first rechargeable battery-operated power tool in 1969. Nine years later, they launched the first nickel cadmium battery tool, and in 2005, the first Lithium-Ion tool. Makita produces some of the most powerful and long-lasting batteries available to consumers.

Sources:
www.popularmechanics.com/home/tools/reviews/a3793/4292657/

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cordless-drills/buying-guide

https://www.bestdrillreviews.com/best-cordless-drill/

https://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/house-garden/powertools/best-cordless-drills-under-100-to-buy-uk-drivers-reviews-diy-9557082.html

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-drill-for-common-household-projects/

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