DIY & Home Improvement: Everything you wanted to know about cordless drills (but were too embarrassed to ask)

When it comes to things people would prefer not to ask for advice about- and instead pretend they’re experts on- DIY must rank quite highly. And not just for men too ashamed to admit to other men that they flunked woodwork at school.

Don’t worry, though, we’ve put our heads together and come up with a solution. If you’re confused about buying drills simply read this page- so you don’t have to ask anyone- whilst making sure nobody nearby can see what it is you’re reading. The result- immediate(ish) in-depth knowledge on cordless drills.

You’re welcome.

Drill types:

Hammer Drills

If you need to drill through tough materials like masonry and concrete then a hammer drill is the only way to do it. Enough said then.

Impact driver

Thanks to their high torque (turning power) and high impact force, impact drivers give the best possible performance when using large screws on metal and wood, with no recoil adding extra safety to the equation.

Drill driver 

Capable of performing two tasks, with a drill driver you can bore holes in materials as you would expect whilst in ‘drill’ mode, but you can also use these for ‘driving’ and loosening up the screws too. Adjustable power means you can set it to suit the material you’re using, avoiding getting screws too tight and damaging the material.

Combi drill 

Understandably one of the most popular choices, as the name suggests combi drills can perform several different tasks. So, you might opt for a model that can act as a hammer drill, putting holes in solid materials, but can also be a drill driver and drive screws.

Things to remember

Volts- The higher the voltage the more powerful the drill, but you also need to factor in useable output, or torque…

Torque- This is how twisting power is measured, in Nm. The higher the Nm the more maximum torque the drill can produce. A drill with adjustable torque can be particularly useful if you are working with different surfaces and materials (wood, for example, needs less than brick).

Hammer action / drill driver Hammer is essential for drilling into masonry, and the performance in this context is measured in BPM. Drill drivers should only be used on softer materials.

Speed- RPM provides the measurement for drill speed, and it’s always wise to look for a drill with variable RPM.

Charge time- Obviously, opt for drills with low charge times..

Batteries- …but high battery life. Lithium-ion batteries are particularly useful, providing long life and short charge times, not to mention lower battery pack weight.

Gears- Some drills offer two gears, so you can increase torque without having to increase speed. Drilling at low speeds is standard for delicate materials like tile and glass, the low speed decreasing the chance of breakage.

Chucks- The chuck is responsible for holding the drill bit in place. Single sleeve keyless chucks give easy bit change access and improve overall retention.