Need a drill, help me pick one?

williamsemJune 3, 2013

So after yet another project thwarted by a dead battery, I have decided to replace my cordless drill. It has two batteries, but I don't use it enough for them to hold a charge so they are both dead.

The new drills look so different! I think a lithium battery would work better for my sporadic bursts of DIY motivation. Plus they are lighter. Not the most important thing in deciding, but a plus.

But other than that, what should I look for? Do I need an impact driver? I don't even know what those do.

Most recently I removed all my kitchen cabinets to prepare for demo. I generally do things like put up blinds or curtain rods, replace door hinges, and other small things.

I may decide to tackle some limited drywall repair (large patches where we had a leak), maybe some beadboard with chair rail, maybe some trim. Nothing heavy duty.

One of those "one battery works with many tools" systems might be appealing, but if they are junk, or if most of the attachments are junk, I'm not interested. I'd rather spend more to get decent tools than have a whole system of crappy tools,

Any advice? Half the brands out there now I am not at all familiar with.

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southerncanuck

I have had a Dewalt 18 volt for 14 years. It's not used everyday and has served me well. I don't know what you mean by you not using the batteries enough to hold a charge. I can go months without changing batteries and the old one has a full charge. Yes you need a new drill.

I have a contractor friend that swears by Makita and won't use any other brand cordless tool.

So many drills out there it can get confusing. If you have to ask what a hammer drill is for you definitely don't need one. It's for drilling into concrete mostly, do a lot of drilling into concrete?

When you go to get a new drill open the box, make certain it's 18 volt has a charger and 2 batteries, hold it in your hand. Too heavy, put it back, uncomfortable, put it back, too light, put it back, too expensive, put it back you aren't a contractor.

I found this link for you, check it out.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=2410523011

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:22AM
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tjdabomb

best drill I have ever owned:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Milwaukee-2601-22-18-Volt-M18-Lithium-Ion-Compact-Drill-Driver-Kit-/221233776498?pt=Drills&hash=item33828f8772

powerful, quick charge, long battery life, lightweight - couldn't ask for more.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 1:22AM
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randy427

Cordless can undeniably be more convenient.
For infrequent homeowner use, though, I would still recommend the lower cost alternative of a corded drill. My 45 y.o. B&D is still getting the job done.
JMHO

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 9:01AM
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homebound

I second that. Corded drills are perfect for rare/occasional use. Get one with a keyless chuck so you can change bits easily.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 10:18AM
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geoffrey_b

I would look at Milwaukee and Makita. Several years ago I purchased a Makita set: Drill, impact driver, and light, with charger and 2 batteries. This stuff should be on sale cause it's Father's day soon.

What has turned out to be the most useful is the impact driver. What it does is 'back out' the screw - just a little - and drives it till it stops, then backs it out, and drives it.. etc.

This was really great for installing cement board - it set the screws flush - without having to counter sink them.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:02PM
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homebound

Using an impact driver like that would send it clear through the board. Do mean a drywall driver?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:14PM
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geoffrey_b

"Using an impact driver like that would send it clear through the board. Do mean a drywall driver?"

I said cement board - the kind you use in a shower.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 2:21PM
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southerncanuck

I misspoke when I said hammer drill, sorry.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 5:22PM
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williamsem

Thanks for those suggestions! Will take a look this week.

This is the pair the guy at Lowes recommended. Only 12 V though, but he really likes them. I'm accustomed to borrowing from my Mom or Dad, who can tackle just about anything, so I'm looking for one that doesn't feel like a kiddie toy compared to serious tools.

I'm not sure what the volts relate to - torque capability? Drill speed? Is there a certain combination of minimum ratings to look for? Features? I'd really like to learn enough about the specs to go play with some displays and be able to make a decision based on how things feel once I've found some models that fit the bill.

Unfortunately being a young female shopping for tools makes it hard at times to get the most helpful recommendations in person. Some guy tried to help me find a tool box after i spent a good amount of time examining the options by telling me they had a pink one (which wasn't even like the ones I was looking at), before he even knew what I wanted it for! I shop by function just like most guys, not by color unless everything else is equal.

http://www.lowes.com/pd_332602-70-PCL212IDC-2_4294707802__?productId=3460554&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar:1

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 8:55PM
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geoffrey_b

A 12 volt drill is OK for hanging curtain rods, and light 'stuff'. It will be lighter, and less fatiguing to hold.

It's not going to work for hanging drywall, or heavier duty work.

Most heavier duty drills will be 18v.

As I said - look at the Makita or Milwaukee. Hold the drill in your hand, notice the weight and balance. See how easy it is to remove the battery pack.

Consider that after 5-7 years the battery packs wear out. It's cheaper to buy a new tool, than it is to replace the batteries (if you still can find them).

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 10:55AM
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rwiegand

I bought a Bosch Lithium 18 v drill about 9 months ago and have used it fairly heavily since then. I'm very happy with its performance. It's very light, powerful, and runs a long time between charges. The batteries don't seem to go down when they sit for a couple weeks. I also still have and occasionally use an ancient 9v Makita, and 10 year old 12 v Porter Cable (neither on original batteries). I do not use the two year old 18 v DeWalt, because it is a piece of junk that weighs a ton and wants recharging after every 30 screws and always has a dead battery whenever I pick it up. The Bosch comes with small, light batteries, a much larger capacity battery is also available for heavier use. I've been fine with the small batteries so far, even when drilling many 3/4" holes for wiring or driving lots of 2-1/2" screws for trim work.

I'm not sure the voltage is the primary indicator of useful power in these tools. My old 12V PC drill will out-work an 18V Ryobi or 20V Black and Decker any day of the week. The quality/efficiency of the motor and gearing makes a difference.

Here is a link that might be useful: bosch drill

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 1:29PM
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geoffrey_b

@rwiegand: " I do not use the two year old 18 v DeWalt, because it is a piece of junk "

I have not had good luck with DeWalt either. Several years ago I purchased a DeWalt angle drill. The chuck won't stay tightened, and the battery is difficult to remove for charging. IMO the Ryobi and Black & Decker are third rate products.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 2:26PM
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hendricus

A 12 volt drill is OK for hanging curtain rods, and light 'stuff'. It will be lighter, and less fatiguing to hold.
It's not going to work for hanging drywall, or heavier duty work.

Not so. I bought two Black and Decker 12v lithium cordless drill/drivers with 2 batteries apiece two years ago. My son and I put on a 1100 sq. ft. addition using numerous screws for scaffolding and bracing. These drills have a high torque and a high speed setting. No problem driving 3" screws holding 2x's together without predrilling. Best cordless I have ever used. Still using them.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2013 at 5:32PM
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Fynite

Up till about 4 years ago I was using my grand fathers fixed speed corded drill. I still like the weight and power, as well as the fact that it is still going :)

That said, I'm loving my new makita drill/impact driver combo set any time I have to go more than 5 feet to finish the project. Very light and portable, especially when balanced on a ladder.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 4:09PM
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salmon_slayer

Makita or Milwaukee. 18 volt will handle about anything you will need. 12 volt for small jobs. I really like my Makita 18v lion impact driver and hammer drill. I also have the m12 Milwaukee tools and like them but they will not handle the tougher jobs. I have had porter cable, dewalt and Bosch in the past. Some of the guys I work with have picked up the newer ryobis and they seem to hold up so far.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 9:29AM
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williamsem

So I think 18 V seems to be the consensus.

Makita also seems to be a winner, though PC also seems good and is more affordable.

I think I'll go out Monday for some field research, then see what I can find for sales. Thanks so much for all the suggestions. I'll report back :-)

If anyone wants to add recs for minimum specs like torque, settings, speed, etc feel free. I get the sense that they are pretty similar in the decent models, and I probably wouldn't notice a difference for light/medium use.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 9:09PM
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williamsem

So I ended up trying to decide between the Milwaukee and the Makita set, drill/impact driver with 2 batteries.

It was a tough choice between the lighter Makita and the metal Milwaukee as they were otherwise very similar. In the end I decided the metal would hold up a little better - metal chuck especially. Plus when inserting a bit the Milwaukee had a reassuring click when tight and the slightly more obtuse angle on the finger grip below the trigger was less irritating. Along with the free third battery promotion, those swayed me.

So I have a brand new Milwuakee drill and impact driver!

Thanks so much for all the comments, they were very helpful.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2013 at 9:56PM
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