A drill is an essential in every tools setup. whether you are a house owner who needs to hang some frames in the living room, a DIY advanced person who wants to build a garden shade in his house or a contractor who is renovating a client house. A drill is the first power tool you want to have in your toolbox for such projects. Hence, it’s very important to take your time choosing the right drill for you by knowing the major types of drills and their main uses. Because you are going to use it for a long time. Since there are many types of drills out there on the market that vary in about specifications and price, it’s also important to know some basics about drills and what to look for in a drill. This way you will have a clear vision of what you are going to buy and what you can use it for. This guide will help you understand the basics of drills, the different types and uses of them, and other things to consider before buying.
CORDED OR CORDLESS DRILLS?
You may be wondering what drill should you buy, a corded or a cordless drill? Understanding the main differences will answer your question.
Corded Drills: Usually, corded drills are used for heavy-duty jobs such as drilling into metal, masonry, or strong bricks. They have more power and have less weight. That’s because since: so you can drill all the day without having to interrupt your work for a battery recharge. However, the only issue here is that you have to make sure that you have an AC socket nearby which can be a huge down especially if you have to work in open areas that have no or far AC socket.
Cordless Drills: With the powerful Li-ion batteries and today’s technology, many cordless drills can have the same power and torque of heavy-duty corded drills. Especially, the high voltage models. Yet, the higher the voltage, the heavier the drill will be similarly the lower the voltage the lighter and smaller the drill will be. The biggest advantage of a cordless drill is mobility. As you can use the drill anywhere you want without having to look for an electricity point or pull out an extension. If you are worried about interrupting your work for a battery recharge you should consider getting an extra battery and easily switch batteries when you run out of charge.
TYPES OF DRILLS
Knowing the various types of drills and their differences will make it easier for you to make a decision. There are many types of drills on the market but there are three most common drills we can see out there.
- Regular Drills: these are the compact or basic types of drills that are usually used by homeowners for basic or light jobs around the house. Such as: hanging some frames or fixing a nice keyholder in the entrance. They can also be used as a screwdriver for tightening new or loosening screws. The advantages of regular drills are that they come with a cheaper price tag than other drill types. Also, they are also lighter than other drills. The disadvantage is that they have lower power and torque for more difficult projects.
- Combi Drills: Combi drills are the stronger edition of regular drills. Because they combine regular drilling for light DIY projects, screwdriver for tightening, loosening screws, and hammer drilling which is the extra feature that will distinguish between a regular drill and a combi or heavy-duty drill. The hammer mode will basically let the drill bit stroke back and forth while it’s spinning acting like a hammer. This extra power will allow the drill to drill into hard materials such as concrete, bricks, masonry, and metal. Combi drills are mostly used by advanced DIY homeowners and contractors and they usually come with a higher price tag than regular drills due to its power, high efficiency, and features. The advantages of Combi drills are their strong power and its multi-use. The only disadvantage for me is that they are heavier and bigger than regular drills.
- Impact Drivers: in the previous 2 types I have mentioned that you can use the drill as a screwdriver to drive or loose screws. This is true but not as powerful as impact drivers. Impact drivers are specially designed for driving screws, nuts, and losing them. The torque power of the impact driver is triple the torque power of the other mentioned drills. It can easily beat even higher power drills in the market. The way impact drills work is by combining the rotational action with the hammer action. This will make your work easier, perfect and it will not break the screw head or damage it like normal drill drivers that will have a bigger tendency to break the screw head.
WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?
Before going out to buy a drill you need to know what will you need the drill for? What kind of work you have? and what type of consumer are you? Are you the house owner who wants to hang some frames in the living room? Or the DIY advanced person who wants to build a garden shade in his house? The contractor who is renovating a client house? Or maybe someone has to tighten and loosening hard bolts and nuts? Knowing what type of work you will need the drill for will save you so much time and money.
SOME DRILL BASICS THAT ARE GOOD TO KNOW
- Power and Size: Drill size will always depend on its power, the more powerful the drill the more it gets heavier and bigger. Cordless drill power is measured by Volts and the power range will be between 12 – 20 Volts. corded drills are measured by AMPS and the power range is between 5 – 10 AMPS. Today, most cordless drills are equipped with Lithium-ion batteries ( LI-ION), unlike the older models which have the Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) batteries, They are heavy and they tend to lose capacity by the time you are not using the drill. Lithium-ion batteries are lightweight, powerful and they hold capacity by the time you are not using the drill which is very good especially when you want to use the drill immediately after not using it for a while.
- Chuck: What is Chuck?! Its the part located at the end of the drill where it holds the drill bits. Drills have different chuck sizes depending on its power and use and it’s very important to know the difference between them so you understand which one will suit your need. The most common chuck sizes are 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2. The 1/4 is good for light-duty small drivers. The 3/8 is good for general use and it accepts a wide range of bits sizes but it’s not powerful enough and not suitable for large bits. If you are looking to drill into heavy surfaces and require larger holes you may want to invest your money in a drill with a 1/2 inch chuck that will not disappoint you in the future. Chucks can be operated in two types: Keyed and Keyless. Keyed chucks are rare these days and they use a key to tighten and lose the chuck when you want to insert and change the bit. Unlike the keyless ones which are most common, you can tight or lose the chuck simply by your hand or just hold the chuck and spin the drill clockwise to tight the bit or spin counter-clockwise to lose the bit.
- Clutch: A clutch ring is a part located between the Chuck and the motor, they call it also the torque control. The numbers on the ring will represent the amount of torque or spinning power, The higher the number the more torque transferred to the screw head until reaching to the last point in the clutch ring which is not a number but a drill bit icon and that will represent the full torque transferred from the motor right to the screw head with no clutching. The main usage of a clutch is to control the power over the screw head that you are tightening because you don’t want to over screw or damage the head from full drilling power. small light screws will require lower torque power, unlike bigger heavier longer screws that require different torque power. Thus, knowing how to control the torque from the clutch will always keep your work professional, clean, and perfect.
- Speed: Modern drills today come with different speed options (Gears), you will find a small switch at the top of the drill body with 2 options, and some come with even 3! Basically, Speed 1 is for drilling at a lower speed but it will give a high amount of torque and this is very useful for powerful drilling like drilling into metal and driving screws. Speed 2 is for drilling at higher speed with a lower amount of torque and its most suitable.
- Direction: Most of the drills are able to spin in both directions, Clockwise and counter-clockwise and that is very useful for screw removal. By pressing the buttons located on each side of the drill. The good thing here is if you keep the buttons neutral (left or the right buttons are not pressed) you will be locking the trigger of the drill and this will keep your drill very safe from functioning by mistake when you store it in a bag or when you are just holding it while taking measurements for your next hole. I remember having a bad experience previously and it was really bad, didn’t you ?!
THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BUYING
- Budget: Your budget is a very important aspect to consider. Because there are tons of drills out on the market with really different price ranges that differ by power and specs. Therefore, Knowing the type of drill and what you will use it for as said above will always save you some cash!
- Battery: Make sure if you are buying a cordless drill to look for a drill equipped with Li-ion batteries (mostly are). So you can make sure to have a lighter drill, more powerful, and it holds battery capacity when not using.
- Built-in Light: You may want to consider having a built-in light in your drill rather than holding one in your other hand or hang it somewhere especially for tight areas or when you are drilling in dark places. A built-in light will always save you by lighting up the surface you will drill in to keep your drilling journey easy and clear.
- A Brush-less Motor: Brush-less is the new generation of drill motors, its durable, powerful, and reliable. it has no brushes in the motor. That is, no tear and wear and you will have more power, less battery consumption, and definitely great durability! On the other hand, brushed motors will have heat and friction thus, you will have more battery consumption, less power, and durability. Brush-less drills are more expensive in the market. But, trust me its always gonna be worth your investment!
- Warranty: Cars, computers, mobile phones, and home applicants can have problems and go wrong. Drills and power tools also. Being that, you need to keep an eye on the warranty and its limitations because you don’t wanna have problems in post-purchase with your drill that will lose you some cash to repair.
- Risks: Drills are dangerous power tools if they are not kept in a safe place (from kids) or have been used by someone who doesn’t know how to use it, and misusing it could cause serious problems. Stay safe and remember always “Safety First”!
Finally, I believe now after going through the types of drills, Knowing their differences, and gaining some basics of most drills, You probably are having a very clear vision of what kind of driller are you, what to look for when buying a drill and of course, knowing what type of drill you are going for, don’t you?