For all DIY-ers’ a good drill is an essential part of the tool kit for many home improvement projects. So before shopping and buying the important questions are
“Should I buy a cordless or corded power drill that plugs into the mains?”
“What are the pros and cons of both options, so I buy buy the best cordless or corded drill for the job?”
The Pros and Cons Of Cordless Drills
Clearly the the biggest advantage of a cordless drill is it’s portability. Work can be done in remote areas, such as gardens, attics and areas without mains power.
Some Pro’s of Battery Powered Drills
- Much more portable.
- Can double as screwdriver.
- Easier for slower speed applications (Exact depth drill homes)
Cons Of Cordless Drills
- Tend to be more expensive to buy
- Most are lower powered for heavy drilling 12v and 18v battery drills
- Sometimes limited for large size drill bits
- Restricted to battery packs retaining charge.
Cordless Drill Features, What Is Best For Me?
As mention above, often cordless drills are used more as a cordless screwdriver, building up furniture as an example. Real considerations to ask are –
“How often would you use a cordless screwdriver? Is it a regular part of your DIY projects?”
“How heavy is the work you are likely to do? Would a Cordless Hammer Drill be sufficient?”
The power of the drill is often represented in voltage, a 9 volt, 12 Volt and 18 volt, each having more power respectively.
The lower voltage option, is likely only to be able to do light screwdriving work and drilling, say into soft wood.
The 12v should be able to tackle heavier drilling, but the 18v drill especially with hammer function and above would be better for tackling bricks and mortar.
However, there is another factor to consider with battery power and that is how long are the batteries likely to last under what conditions.
This is normally measured in Amp Hours, ie, 1.3ah or 3ah.
The higher this value, the longer the battery is likely to last between charges.
Tip: Many Cordless Drill packs, come with 2 batteries, so one can be charged whilst the other is used. Or to double the usage time.
The Positive an Negative Features Of A Powered Drill
The main advantage of a corded powered drill, is being able to plug it into 240V 3 pin socket main and be readily available. You are not limited to time working. For some heavy work projects, a 240v powered drill may be the only option.
Some Pros of a Corded Drill
- Just plug in and drill, at any time
- Larger electric drills have larger chucks, for heavier dill bits
- Comparing price to power, electric powered drills driven tend to be cheaper to buy like for like.
Cons Of The Mains Powered Drill
- Need to be careful in wet weather or wet conditions.
- Care with 240v, plugs cables and drill body.
- Work has to be near a mains socket.
- The power cable can get in the way of the drilling project.
- A powerful electric drill can have a more aggressive speed control
Measuring The Power Of The Drill
In reality to match the power of even a relatively cheap 240v drill, would need a much more expensive battery powered drill. But when buying, it’s output power should still be consideration based on the type of DIY work you are expecting to do.
The power of a corded drill is mainly measured in wattage, so a 900w electric drill will be more power than a 550w option. Often the higher powered corded drills have a smoother increase of power, than lowered powered ones.
Features That Can Cover Both Types of Drills
There are some features and benefits you may see on both types of power tool, so exaples and listed below
- Hammer Drill: This tends to be on all corded drills and more powerful cordless drills. This feature is suited for masonry drilling, where a hammering action is combined with the drilling action to power a hole. There is often a slider switch left to right somewhere on the masonry drill body to activate.
- Torque Setting: This is the actual initial drive power to get the momentum of the drilling action going. The higher the torque, normally means the heavier drilling that can be done.
- Chuck Size: The chuck is the part where the drill bit is attached to the drill. Small chuck size, tends to be on smaller power tools and can only handle smaller diameter drill bits. Larger chucks can handle larger bits, for larger holes.
- Grip or Key Chuck: There tends to be 2 options to grip the bit into the chuck and turn grip option, or with a chuck key (like a gear mechanism and separate key) is used. More and more drills are using only the turn grip option, as the designs are getting better and stronger.
- Adjustable Handle: Many drills how have a handle clamp that can rotate 360% around the drill, to help get the right grip. They are tightened and loosened by turning the actual handle
- Clutch: This is a safety mechanism that prevents the motor being burned out, if the surface being drilled is just too hard. A clutch mechanism will step in just like a car.
- Adjustable Speed: The speed of many drills can be controlled by the trigger switch operation. The harder the trigger is pressed, the faster the speed. This also means speed can be gradually increased based on the control needed to do the job.
What Drill Brands Are There
There are more brands than ever making decent quality drills, gone are the days Black and Decker only.
- DeWalt Drills
- Bosche Drills
- Makita Drills
- Ryobi Drills
- JCB Drills
- Erbauer Drills
- Mac Allister (B&Q, Screwfix Drill Range)
- Milwaukee Drills
- Titan Drills
The truth is all the above brands have good drill reviews, based on buying the best drill for the job. Of course we all price conscience, but buying a drill slightly more powerful than needed is often a better consideration to push that small drill to do bigger jobs.
Of course there are many who buy a drill for a one job use only.
Deciding The Best Drill Option For you, Corded or Cordless
The ironic answer to this is, most people who do a lot of DIY, use both cordless and mains powered drills and alternate between the two based on the DIY project in hand. There a benefits in both DIY drill options. However it can’t be ignored, that more cordless drill sets are sold that corded and that battery packs are becoming more powerful and last longer.
So if there is only room for one drill in your home, chances are a good cordless drill will be the ultimate decision.