Cordless Drills
Last changed 12/10/2018

This is an article on cordless drills, but this article is a
nice review of cordless screwdrivers.  Written in 2007 It's long in
the tooth now, but it was the best I could find.

Note:  If you're on a tight budget, consider a corded (plug-in) drill.  You can get a high quality corded drill for less money.  It will be lighter and have more torque (power).  And, <drumroll> the battery will never need charging just when you need it most.  Cordless drills are convenient but, they're more expensive and heavier with less power than corded drills. 

Replacement batteries are amazingly expensive.  I see cordless drills including a charger and two batteries on sale for only a little more than the cost of two batteries.  So, you may want to think of a cordless drill as disposable, and expect to replace it every few years.  [NOTE:  Lithium batteries have relieved this problem quite a bit.]

Normally you should expect to pay $60-$100 for a good corded drill.  A few years ago Makita's model 6408K at $70 was rated high, and (surprisingly) Sears' model 10105 at $40 got a good rating.

Exact models are important.  The same brand may have both
good and bad models in the same voltage range.

According to that famous product rating magazine the worst drills are Skill & Craftsman.

A drill gets heavy after holding it for a while.  My test is to hold the drill as though you're using it just above eye level and see how long you can hold it there.  (Be sure it's with the battery -- display models often aren't.)  5+ pounds may not seem like much until you try this.  The whole point of cordless drills is convenience.  Adding 2 pounds to a 3.5 pound drill is a lot.  If it becomes so heavy it's awkward or tiring to use is it still convenient? 

Be sure you get a dual speed drill -- one speed for drilling and one for driving screws.  Cheap drills sometimes lack dual speed .  In my opinion, the higher speeds, suitable for drilling, are too fast for convenient screw driving.  You'll probably find one of the primary uses for your cordless drill is driving screws -- they're often called drill-drivers.  I've never seen a single-speed cordless drill geared slow enough for screw driving, but if I could find a cheap one I'd probably give it a try -- the drilling may be slow, but it will work.  Driving screws at high speeds is a problem.

 

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