Buying a Drill
Drilling for Success (and Finding the Right Drill) at Build.com
Cordless drills, angle drills, drill bits, power drills: there are so many different types and accessories. And now, choosing the drill that’s right for you has been made less complicated with this drill shopping guide.
You’ll find a multitude of drills designed to help you complete any job efficiently and securely at Build.com. Our drills have been chosen selectively to ensure both grip comfort and easy accessibility of product features. We’re confident you’ll find the drill(s) you purchase from us to be superior in quality and durability.
A drill can simplify complicated or meticulous jobs. It’s an absolute must when ensuring that objects are securely fastened to larger structures or when items themselves need to be made sturdier. Drills are used for drilling holes through wood, metal, or even concrete and stone, and for mixing drywall mud and similar materials. Provided you have the proper accessories, drills have many diverse uses and can be a valuable addition to any person’s toolbox.
A "Good" Drill's Features
One key factor to finding the right drill is its features. The following is a list of the various product features and characteristics we associate with a “good” drill.
The very design of the drill is in fact one important feature. This includes both the ergonomics of the drill and the product specifications for which the drill is to be used. Ergonomics is the basic factor of designing and arranging product features so that work can be made more efficient and safe for people. In drills, this includes things like the drill’s handle, grip, trigger, and how it’s situated in relation to the tool’s other features.
Depending on the job and the user’s preference, the drill’s handle comes in three unique positions. These include the pistol grip (situated on the back of the drill like a gun, usually behind and under the motor), the D-handle (also on the back of the drill but enclosed like the letter D and usually behind and in line to the motor the drill; oftentimes this drill also has an additional bar so a more effective grip can be achieved), and the T-handle (situated underneath the drill for even distribution of the weight).
This is an absolute must for use with removing driven screws, or when the clutch disengages on a drill bit because it’s hit a rough part. It should be situated conveniently within reach of the handle.
Either keyed or keyless, this is the portion of the drill that holds the bit securely in place and is rotated by the motor. You should be able to easily change the drill bits in and out when the need arises. Some keyed models have a convenient location where the key is placed. However, a missing chuck key can pose some real limitations to the drill’s broad functionality. This is why many people opt instead for the keyless chuck. It provides sufficient grip of the bits, but alleviates the extra steps involved in changing them.
On a standard drill, a clutch helps you avoid sinking screws too deep into wood, stripping them, or drilling holes farther than you intend. The clutch disengages once it’s reached its stop. Located right behind the chuck, a “good” drill will have between 15 and 24 clutch-stops (on an angle drill, the clutch is usually found in the lower gears). The lower clutch-stops drive the smaller screws or drill shallow holes, while the higher stops are for driving larger screws and drilling larger holes.
Drills are either corded (electric) or cordless (battery-powered). Corded drills are listed in amps, while cordless drills are listed in volts. This is because electricity coming from the wall flows at a steady rate and is measured in amps. The electricity coming from a battery is what should be supplied to the drill to make it work. However, eventually the power in a battery won’t be flowing at the same rate that electricity from a wall socket flows, and volts measure this condition more effectively.
Battery-powered drills have come a long way and can supply power to the drill for awhile, but it’s important if you plan on using your drill for extended periods of time that you get a back-up battery. This way, you can charge one while you’re using the other. Many drills come with a second battery to save time in the long run. And, if you’re using a corded drill, make sure that the required amperage doesn’t exceed the amperage found in most wall sockets (usually around 15 amps). Otherwise you’ll be spending time resetting breakers instead of completing your job.
A note on higher amperage/voltage, weight, and price:
There is a strong correlation to the amount of electricity required to operate the drill and the tool’s weight. The higher the voltage/amperage, the more powerful the drill will be, but the drill will usually be heavier, as well. This is where purchasing the right drill for the job is important. Spending a small fortune on a higher-voltage cordless drill wouldn’t be wise if you’re going to be using it sparingly. It will require more effort to operate, which can be a turn-off to completing or even starting projects—more waste (like money, time, and resources) happens this way. Remember, the purpose of a tool is to help you get work done quickly, not to slow you down or derail you from doing work at all.
A note on batteries and the environment:
Batteries are moving toward being less toxic on the environment and more efficient in their recharge times. The better (one might even say, “green”) batteries are either nickel-metal-hydrides (NiMH) or lithium ion, since they are less toxic than nickel-cadmium batteries (NiCd). NiCd batteries should be disposed of properly since they are toxic to the environment.
“Good” drills have at least two speed settings. Depending on your projects, the speed settings will allow you to have higher speed (suitable for drilling holes) or lower speeds but higher torque (suitable for driving screws or drilling larger holes).
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The "Right Drill"
The other factor involved in purchasing a drill is finding the “right” tool for the job. This depends on your drilling projects and how often you’ll be using it.
An appropriate choice for work in tight spaces where a handle would limit accessibility, this drill also works well in boring holes through wood or other materials. It’s oftentimes called a right-angle drill since it’s usually held at a 90-degree angle to the work piece.
Cordless drills are battery-operated, a plus since corded drills can pose limitations on reach. Voltage varies widely, but one way you can find the right drill is by matching the drill’s voltage to your specific project. The same idea can be applied to corded drills and amperage. Common voltages (and their purposes) are 9.6V (light duty: drilling shallow holes, assembling products purchased from the store, infrequent use), 12V to 18V (medium duty: assembling furniture, remodeling, making in-home repairs, semi-frequent use), and 24V to 36V (heavy duty: drilling holes through wood and steel, construction-level projects with frequent use). Higher voltage usually equates to higher torque, which means greater turning power.
The D-handle drill specifies the position of the drill’s handle. Found behind and in line with the motor and enclosed like the letter D, this drill oftentimes features an additional bar for a tighter, more effective grip. Many different types of drills feature this shape of handle.
Also called a Rotary Drill, hammer drills are excellent for use with drilling through difficult pieces of material like concrete or masonry. The hammering mechanism’s BPM or IPM (or, the number of Blows or Impacts Per Minute) is the key factor in breaking through various types of stone or rock. Most drills operate in 3 different modes: hammering mode, rotation mode, and hammering with rotation mode. Rotary hammers are the higher-performance versions of this drill.
The purpose of the impact driver is to drive screws as efficiently and productively as possible. Impact drivers operate with high speed. This tool’s combination of rotation and high-torque gets the job of fastening screws completed quickly and securely.
These drills are excellent for mixing drywall mud and paint, since the extra handle adds leverage when mixing these thicker materials. The high torque found in these drills also makes drilling larger holes possible. The rocker-type reverse switch is easily accessible for changing between forward and reverse.
We’re sure you’ll find all you’re looking for right here. As always, if you have questions about the products you’re viewing or need some additional information, you can always give us a call and our knowledgeable sales representatives will be happy to help you find the drill that’s right for you.
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