Whether you only do basic DIY around the house, are an avid DIY enthusiast or a pro, a cordless drill is a toolkit essential. The good news? There are loads of models to choose from. That’s also the bad news, because with so many models on offer, it’s easy to make the wrong choice and buy more drill than you need – or worse, not enough. We shine the light on five things you should consider in selecting the one that’s just right.
#1: THE POWER
Unlike corded drills, which are rated in watts, the power of a cordless drill is measured in volts. The power range available is marked, from models delivering a mere 3,6V to 36V. The short and sweet of it? The higher the voltage, the more powerful the tool, but there’s more to think of when making your power decision. That’s because the higher the voltage, the bigger the battery and, consequently, the heavier the drill. Your average 9,6V cordless drill weighs about 1,6kg VS a hefty 4,5kg for an 18V drill. That’s a big difference if you’re planning on doing a lot of overhead drilling! In considering the voltage, it’s important to ask yourself two things: WHAT will I be drilling into, and HOW will I use it? For basic household tasks like hanging picture frames and assembling flat-pack furniture, anything bigger than a 12V would be overkill. However if turning in long self-drilling screws while making roof trusses and pergolas is in your future, something like 24V is the way to go.
Makita Cordless Impact Drill Driver 13mm 18V Li-Ion (DHP453rye) including battery & charger
R 3,895.00 R 5,735.00
#2: THE FORCE
Power goes hand in hand with torque. Measured in Newton metres (Nm), torque indicates the maximum rotary turning force of the drill – ergo how much resistance the drill can handle before it stops dead because is doesn’t have enough oemph to drill through a certain material. If you’re assembling chipboard cupboards torque doesn’t really come into play, but boy will you need it if you try drilling through thick steel.
Metabo Cordless Impact Drill Driver 18V Set (SB 18 L Set) Including 2x batteries and charger
R 3,565.00 R 3,950.00
#3: THE BATTERY
The math on this one is simple. The more current a drill draws, the shorter the life of the battery. Mega Amp Hour(mAh) is what you need to watch out for in a battery. A 1mAh battery will give you an hours’ worth of running at 1amp, whilst a 5mAh battery will logically give you five times that. Our advice? Cut out the charging downtime frustration and opt for a drill with two batteries instead of one.
Bosch Cordless Impact Drill Driver 18V Li-Ion 13mm Chuck (GSB 180-Li)
R 1,895.00 R 3,335.00
#4: THE CLUTCH SETTINGS
The function of a drill’s clutch is to disengage the drive shaft of the drill as soon as the drill experiences too much torque. The motor may still be running, but the bit won’t be. This is a pretty good thing for a number of reasons. a) It prevents you from stripping a screw or over tightening it once it’s snug. b) It protects the drill motor if it encounters too much resistance. c) It protects you – if you’re drilling at high speed and the bit suddenly get stuck, the clutch will kick in and stop the drill from breaking your wrist.
The number of clutch settings vary – the more settings a drill has, the greater your control and the better the drill.
Ryobi Cordless Impact Drill Driver 18V Li-ion 10mm (XID-150) (Excludes Battery & Charger)
R 845.00 R 995.00
#5: BRUSHLESS OR NOT?
Brushless motors – the way most new drill models are going – have numerous benefits. For starters there’s no need to replace brushes, saving you in the long run. They’re designed to reduce friction and heat build-up and deliver a higher power-to-weight ratio and higher speed. BUT all this comes with a considerably higher price tag. Because of this, we are not convinced you have to go brushless just yet. Perhaps in a years’ time, when the pricing will be more competitive, we’d suggest brushless as the way to go.
There you have it, five things to think about when choosing your right-fit cordless drill. Stay in touch with all our latest news and tips by following us on Facebook and Instagram. And don’t forget to sign up for our monthly specials.