How To Buy The Best Drill

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Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You’ll instantly manage to compare our test scores, so you can be sure you don’t get stuck with a Don’t Buy.Sign up nowor login How to get the greatest drill We explain the key features of electric and cordless drills, to aid you work out how to choose the most effective drill for you.

How To Buy The Best Drill

Though drills are primarily designed to drill holes, many have a lot of extra functions such as for instance hammer action, adjustable speeds and gears, that permit you to do a great deal more. There’s a huge range to select from – priced from less than £50 to a lot more than £350 – so it’s useful to work-out what you need to utilize it for before parting with your money. Read on to understand what the various features available are, watching our DIY expert video as he explains what they’re useful for. Once you’ve decided what type to go for, head to our best and worst drill brands page to find out which are the top ranked brands for dependability, quality and value for the money.

Choosing a drill

For fundamental tasks, a cordless energy drill with a rechargeable battery pack can be the most effective for you personally. They lack the power of mains-operated drills, but they’re lightweight, easy to handle and can be utilized almost anywhere. However, if you’re taking in tougher tasks, or plan to use the drill a lot, then you definitely might prefer the excess power and torque (twisting force) of a corded electric drill.

Electric drill features

How To Buy The Best Drill

Chuck: The chuck could be the section that holds the drill bit.

How To Buy The Best Drill

Handle: It is important to possess a sturdy handle to improve control of your drill.

How To Buy The Best Drill

Torque: This steps the turning force associated with drill and is particularly handy when utilizing it in screwdriver mode.

How To Buy The Best Drill

Voltage: For cordless drills an increased voltage generally means you can expect to complete the task quicker.

Types of drill

Drill drivers

Drill drivers offer rotary drilling and screwdriving, but there’s no hammer drilling. Cordless drill motorists can be utilized for high-speed rotary drilling for most jobs round the home, such as drilling in wood, interior walls and metal.

Fusion drills

Combination drills combine high-speed rotary drilling, screwdriving and hammer drilling. It’s the hammer drilling that helps to set combination drills aside from other drills and drill drivers. It entails they may be put to the office on extremely hard areas that rotary drills can’t handle. You may need a combination drill if you want to drill through concrete. Hammer mode: This allows you to drill into hard materials such as for instance concrete. Rotary drilling is supplemented by a hammer action, which allows the drill bit to strike the top thousands of times a moment and puncture exceptionally hard and dense surfaces. Use tungsten carbide-tipped drill bits when hammer drilling. Rotary drilling mode: Rotary drills are ideal for basic DIY tasks, such as drilling holes to hang pictures. They count on fast rotation (around 3,000rpm) so are well for small holes or on softer materials such as wood, metal or synthetic, so you won’t need to use hammer mode. Screwdriver mode: Hammer drills also come with a low-speed screwdriver mode. This provides lower rates, with more twisting force.

Percussion drills

Percussion drills rotate at around 3,000 revs per minute (rpm), but also for more power their hammer action pounds the turning drill bit at around 40,000 blows a minute. Simple DIY jobs, and softer stone such as for instance limestone or light concrete, are no issue. Hard stone, such as granite, produces strong vibration and noise because you’ll want to push harder to activate the hammer action. Many percussion drills get one gear but two gears give better screwdriving control. When we tested cordless drills we challenged each to drill into metal, concrete, sandstone and wood. You will find out more how we tested cordless drills, to check out which earned our recommendation.

Key drill features

How To Buy The Best Drill

SDS and normal drill bits

Most hammer drills need special ridged ‘SDS’ drill bits. These fit into grooves in the drill’s chuck (rotating part), permitting the bit to be propelled forward. To drill without hammer action ? for tiny holes in metal, say ? you need a normal bit. Some drills have a separate chuck for this. But, for many drills, you screw an adaptor towards the SDS chuck, that will be awkward and makes the drill top-heavy and harder to control.

Drill size and weight

Size and weight can vary greatly. Some of the bigger hammer drills weigh more than 5kg ? most people will find this way too hefty for sustained drilling. Also consider size ? small drills may well be more comfortable and simpler to used in little spaces than some of the more macho models.


The chuck is the section that holds the drill bit (the metal shaft that makes your hole). Modern drills have keyless chucks, so gone are the occasions of cursing the eternally lost key when you wish to alter the bit. Most models can take bits with diameters of about 0.5mm to 10mm or 13mm.


Look for a drill with additional than one gear. Most modern drills have actually two gears. The very first gear gives low speeds and higher twisting force for screwdriving, the second gives higher speeds for rotary drilling. If a drill just has one gear, it is not likely to manage to become successful at both drilling and screwdriving.


Cordless drills come with variable torque settings, so you choose the degree of twisting force for every gear, which is useful for screwdriving as it prevents over-tightening or screw harm. Few mains drills let you do this. Use greater torque for larger screws – if you are unsure that you simply need, start low and then increase it. The quantity of settings ranges from six to 31. You’re not likely to need 31, but it is useful to have a lot of choice. Get the torque setting right, therefore the clutch will disengage the drill motor when the screw is flush with the surface being screwed into. The torque setting you will need will depend how hard the surface you’re driving screws into is.

Handle design

Drills with a T-shaped handle centre their weight so they really feel more balanced. It is well worth visiting a DIY store to compare the feel of models you’re considering. A screw-in second handle is actually useful to balance the extra weight and give you better control of the drill.

How To Buy The Best Drill


If you are buying a cordless drill, you’ll need to consider voltage. Generally speaking, the higher the voltage, the faster you finish the task, and the longer the drill runs without overheating or requiring recharging. But the drill needs to convert the power efficiently. Nevertheless, an 18V or higher drill is perfect for tougher drilling, which quickly drains a smaller battery.


Nowadays, most drills recharge in about an hour or less. But some can occupy to five hours. Fortunately, a great amount of drills include a second battery pack so one recharges while you use the other. In our tests, we found that the utmost effective drills we tested can drill more than 100 holes in sandstone on a single charge. The worst can manage only around 30. A mains drill is a much better choice in the event that you drill seldom because some batteries stop working if you don’t used. It’s a great concept to get a cordless drill that is included with two batteries. If the drill you’re looking to purchase only is sold with one, consider buying a spare. In the event your second battery is charging while you’re drilling, you won’t need certainly to stop work if your battery runs away from cost mid-job. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are becoming more typical and provide the most readily useful power storage readily available for cordless drills. Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries don’t offer the power storage capacity of Li-ion.

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