If you have been watching Lets Do It you will have noticed how often a cordless
drill is used. And with good reason - it sure beats driving screws by hand.
At your local
Mitre10 store you will see lots of models with lots of different
features. It can make choosing a cordless drill a little difficult.
Cordless drills come with many features.
Starting at the pointy end there is the chuck. Chucks come in two sizes, 10mm
and 13mm. Most drills these days have a 13mm chuck, this is the best choice
because you can fit more drill bits in it.
There are two styles of chuck, a two handed one and a single-handed one. These
refer to the way you undo them. If you for instance have a bit of arthritis a
single-handed chuck would be your best choice.
Another feature on the front of the drill is the torque settings. The number of
settings varies. One of them is locked (that is, there is no ‘slip’). This is
the drill setting; you always drill with it on that setting.
The other settings reduce the torque that goes to the screwdriver. If for
instance you are putting screws into something soft like plasterboard you can
back the torque settings off so that the screws stop flush with the surface.
The number of torque settings also varies - the more settings there are the more
flexibility you will have.
You will also find speed settings on your drill. Slow, number 1, is for driving
in screws. Fast, number 2, is for drilling.
Another useful feature is the forward and reverse switch. It allows you to
easily take screws out again. Make sure you can operate that switch with your
An obvious difference between the various drills is the voltage. One might be 12
volt, another 18. This also accounts for a difference in weight. A 12-volt drill
is still quite powerful but it is lighter and it tends to have a smaller grip.
Make sure you are comfortable handling the tool. Choose a drill according to
your own size and strength.
Some drills also have a hammer setting that is useful for drilling brickwork and
A word about batteries:
If you have had your drill for a while, sometimes the drill just won’t hold the
charge anymore. You need to make sure you flatten the tool before you recharge
it. That doesn’t mean you need to exhaust it completely, just when it won’t
drive anymore put it on the charger.
Some drills come with smart chargers, they will flatten the battery before they
recharge. This will keep the battery going much longer. Drills that come with 2
batteries are great. If you flatten one battery you don’t have to wait for it to
recharge, just plug in another one.
If you are planning to have a range of cordless tools choose compatible ones so
you can swap batteries between them.
The cordless drill is probably the best tool you can have in your tool kit.
Ryobi make an extensive range and you’ll find one that suites all your needs.