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If you are researching the purchase of a new drill, this article suggests some points you may want to include in your decision prior to spending your hard-earned money on a drill.
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1) With Cord or Without?
This is the first important decision to make. There are several advantages and disadvantages to each type of drill:
– Cordless drills tend to be more convenient to use. They can easily be used in any location without the need of power cords and power outlets; so long as the battery stays charged. The significant advantage of corded drills is that there is no limitation on how long they can be used. With a corded drill, you will never find yourself waiting for batteries to charge.
– While it may sounds strange, cordless drills tend to be lighter than corded drills. But, if you choose a high-power cordless drill (18V and 24V), these models are often as heavy or heavier than their corded counterparts.
– Cordless drills are safer. There is no cord acting as a trip hazard.
– If torque and long run times are needed, a corded drill will perform better. Although there are many high-power models available for cordless drills, corded drills will always be able to supply more power, and they will be able to supply it for a longer period of time.
– Even the best batteries have a finite lifetime. You should expect that the batteries in your cordless drill will only last two to three years at most. Batteries for cordless drills are very costly to purchase; it’s usually cheaper to just buy a new cordless drill than it is to purchase two new batteries. So if you are purchasing a cordless drill, expect to be buying a new drill in several years time. By comparison, if you choose a corded drill you are set for at least 10 years, if not more.
– If you are going to opt for a cordless drill, be sure to get a cordless drill with Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries; do not buy a drill with Nickel-Metal-Hydride (NiMH) batteries. Li-Ion batteries are better; they are more powerful, they have longer lifetimes, they do not have “memory” issues, and they are less harmful to the environment because they contain less harmful metal elements.
2) Pick a Chuck
The chuck is the part of the drill that holds the bits in place. There are two picks to make here: size and type.
Standard chuck sizes are 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ with the standard size being 3/8″. If you want the ability to use large diameter drill bits, go with the 1/2″ chuck since many bigger bits will not fit in a 3/8″ drill. If you do not need or want the ability to accommodate larger bits, the 3/8″ chuck is a better option since typically they have higher bit speeds with the smaller chuck sizes.
There are two types of chucks: keyed and keyless. With the keyed chuck, you use a mechanical key to tighten and loosen drill bits. For drills with keyless chucks, the drill bit is tightened into the chuck by holding the chuck with your hand while powering the drill. The mechanical advantage of the keyed chuck makes it able to hold bits tighter so there is less chance of your drill bit slipping in the chuck. The advantage of the keyless chuck is that it is much quicker to change drill bits, and there is no key to lose or keep track of.
3) Important Features
To get the most benefits out of your new drill, be sure that it has these important features:
– Reverse. Even if you don’t plan to use your drill for driving screws, reverse is a very important feature to have for removing bits that get stuck. If you are getting a drill that has a keyless chuck, it will always have reverse (otherwise there would be know way to get the drill bit out), you only need to check for the presence of this feature if you are buying a drill with a keyed chuck.
– Variable speed. If you want to use your drill to drive screws, this is essential. If you don’t plan to drive screws, this is still an important feature as it makes it much easier to drill clean holes since different materials require bit speeds.
– Speed range settings. This is only needed if you plan to drive screws. If you are, this feature is critical to have. Having the lower speed range makes it much easier to drive screws.
– A torque clutch. Again, this is only required if you plane to drive screws. The clutch allows you to set a maximum torque point after which the drill will stop. This is extremely useful when driving screws so that you do not over-drive the screw into the material. If you are driving large amounts of screws (like in decking), this feature is a real life-saver.