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Tips for Buying a Cordless Power Drill
by Judy Browne

Next to a wrench, screwdriver and hammer, the cordless drill is probably the most useful tool you can have in your toolbox.

The following is a list of things to consider when buying a cordless power drill.

Voltage - Cordless drills come in a range of voltages from 9.6 to 18 (or more). Basically, the higher the voltage, the more power the drill has. If you will be doing heavier duty tasks, like small carpentry projects, I recommend you purchase a drill with a voltage of 14.4 V or higher. For lower voltages (9.6V or 12V) you won’t save much money, and the power and run time are much lower. However, if you’re looking for something lightweight and easy to use around the house for small projects lower voltages will work just fine.

Combination Kits - If you are buying a power drill in combination with a saw don’t buy anything less than and 18 Volt model. 18 Volts is the minimum power necessary to efficiently run a circular saw.

- Most drills have 2 ranges, one low for powering in screws and one high for drilling. This is a very nice feature to have. If you have similar drills in the same price range and one has speed selection and one does not, choose the one that does.

Variable Speed - Most drills have variable speed capability. This is a MUST. Lower priced drills may only give you 2 speeds. (This is NOT the same as the speed ranges listed above). Be sure the package says ‘variable speed’!

Reversible – A MUST, this allows you to change the direction the drill spins to easily remove screws.

Adjustable Clutch - An adjustable clutch allows the user to adjust the maximum power of the drill to prevent stripping of screws or driving a screw too far into the wood. Different models have different ranges and settings. This is a nice feature and highly recommended.

Chuck Size - Cordless and Corded drills are sized by their “chuckapostrophe capacity. This is the maximum diameter drill bit that the chuck will accommodate. A 3/8apostrophe chuck is sufficient for most home maintenance and home improvement jobs and are also less expensive.

Batteries – Look for a drill with a quick charge battery. You will also want to check the cost and availability of replacements. Lower priced models may have replacement batteries that are very expensive or difficult to find.

COMFORT! – Last but not least, hold the drill in your hand and check for comfort and ease of use. Is the grip too big for your hand? Can you remove the battery with ease? Can you reach the reverse switch? How about the power switch? You may want to sacrifice a little power for a tool you can actually use!