A drill is essential to any self-respecting handyman. But between price differentials and differences between the models, choose the drill that suits his needs is not always obvious.
Sold between £50 and £800, drills fall into two main categories: wired or wireless. Both tools are complementary. The first, more powerful, is expected to address the drilling hard materials. Secondly, it’s mainly for screwing in soft materials. However, one can sometimes replace the other.
Battery drill or wireless drill?
- For screwing, wireless is more convenient, but a corded drill is suitable.
- For drilling hard materials (concrete walls, granite tiles), it is imperative wired hammer drill more than 500 W.
- For drilling of soft materials (soft concrete, plaster, brick), you need a drill wired but wireless combi drill may work, if it is percussion.
- For drilling in metal, wired drill is irreplaceable, except occasionally by some models without high performance wire.
- For drilling in wood and wireless, both are the case.
With or without percussion?
Percussion drilling is only used minerals (plaster, brick, and concrete tender), therefore useless for screwing and drilling in wood and metal.
Tension, so what?
In general, the higher the voltage, the higher the unit is powerful, and it is expensive. Voltage will depend on the couple. The choice of the voltage depends on the type of work planned and frequency. For simple screwing in the woods or in the ankles, lower voltages (12 V) will suffice. For heavy and regular work, drill wire is required. For intermediate situations, small regular DIY and occasional heavy lifting, wireless is also sufficient, provided select a device voltage of 14.4 V or more.
Let’s talk about ergonomics. It is advisable to take control of the device before buying to see if the shape suits you. The ideal drill stands well in hand, without imbalance and controls are easily accessible. It is neither too light, a sign of weakness, not too heavy, which would make it difficult to handle, especially at arm’s length.
What type of battery?
The batteries can be divided into three families: Ni-Cd, Ni-MH and Li-ion (see glossary “Batteries”). For environmental reasons, we do not recommend Ni-Cd (which is doomed to disappear within 2 years) and performance reasons, we recommend the Li-ion. On wireless, autonomy is an element of prime importance. Most batteries have a capacity of 1.5 ampere-hours (Ah), but 2 or 3 Ah that require very gently on the market actually prolong the battery life.
One or two batteries?
One battery is sufficient if the use is occasional and relatively brief. For larger jobs, you’d better have a spare battery that can be used when the first, once emptied, will be supported.
The charger is it important?
More than you might think. Avoid absolutely chargers that have no light: not only do we not know if the load is actually in progress (the outlet or charger may be faulty!), But it is not known when it is completed. We may then overload can damage the battery. The best is to have an indicator of current load and another that signals the end. There are three types of chargers: classic (more than 1 h 30 charge), fast (1 hour 30 minutes max) and ultra-fast (10-30 minutes), or ICS charger.
A “well equipped” device must be supplied with at least two mechanical speeds and a fast charger (less than 1 h 30) with indicators “current load” and “charge complete”, one or two Li-ion high capacity (more than 2 Ah) a quick stop rotating; blocking automatic rotating shaft and a speed at the gate, the need for screwing and unscrewing and drilling large diameter which are at low speed. Incidentally, you can enjoy a second handle (usually removable) if you use the percussion.
Also good to know
Some devices have a speed gearbox that cans double the torque and thus better control of the screw while leaving the drill motor. Others offer as an accessory a depth stop, adjustable rod that stops drilling when the desired depth is reached. Chuck is also important. This section, located at the end of the drill and responsible for maintaining the drill or screwdriver bit can take two forms. The classic Chuck used both hands using a wrench, still preferred by most professionals because it offers the ability to significantly tighten the drill. For DIY enthusiasts, the keyless chuck is ideal because it allows you to install a bit faster and with one hand. And to prevent accidents and improve convenience, some drills are equipped with a system to stop the chuck when the trigger is released.