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Drills Buying Guide

A drill is a workshop staple – dependable and versatile. The right drill will provide years of use and save hours of work.


Grab hold of a drill – corded, cordless or stationary - and you've just opened up a world of power and possibility. Drills are the go-to tool for both beginners and pros, a versatile ally to help you accomplish many DIY tasks. A drill is often one of the first power tools a person purchases, and it’s one of the most common tools for home improvement and repair projects. Drill functions include drilling holes, driving screws and even sanding, buffing or polishing when fitted with the proper accessories.

Types of Drills


Cordless drills are a highly mobile option and allow access to areas far from a power outlet. Cordless models come in handy in areas where a cord could hinder usage or cause a potential electric hazard. Cordless drills need to be recharged depending on the specifications outlined in their user guide – certain batteries and types of drills require different recharging. Cordless drills are measured in volts (the higher the number, the more power it will provide).

There are traditionally two types of batteries available – nickel cadmium (ni-cad) and Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion). Ni-cad batteries have been around for longer and are the cheaper option; however, Li-ion batteries are more lightweight, charge faster and hold their charges longer. They are also increasingly more abundant in today’s marketplace.


Corded drills run on electricity and typically offer more power and torque than cordless models. If you plan to use your drill for longer periods of time, then corded models should offer everything you’re looking for, including continuous use. If you know you’re going to be working in an area with easy access to an electrical outlet, a corded drill may be a great option for you. Corded drills are measured in Amps, and once again, the higher the number, the more power you will have.

Hammer Drills

While they can still be used like a standard drill, hammer drills are more practical for use on tougher jobs like driving into heavier materials like concrete. As the name suggests, the rotating hammer function can deliver upwards of 60,000 blows per minute (bpm) to quickly and easily bore into even the toughest concrete, masonry tile, stone, block and brick.

When using a hammer-drill, begin drilling, and when you encounter a hard object, switch over to hammer mode to crush the obstruction, and then switch back to the desired rotary speed to complete the job.

Impact Drill/Driver/Wrench

The impact drill is similar in some ways to a hammer drill, but is designed for other useful purposes, such as removing stuck bolts. Tough jobs and heavy materials are no match for an impact drill. At 2,700 impacts per minute, impact wrenches provide the power and strength necessary to drive nuts and bolts, which they are primarily used on. A reversing function helps remove stubborn lug nuts.

Right Angle/Close Quarter Drills

If you’re going to be working in tight spaces that other corded or cordless drills are unable to access, try a right angle drill. It drills holes at a 90°, so you'll be able to easily access hard-to-reach areas and get into tight spaces with ease. Right-angle drills are a particularly good choice when drilling cable pathways between studs and joists.

Cordless Screwdrivers

A cordless screwdriver, quite simply, is exactly what its name implies – a battery-powered screwdriver. If you’re someone who uses a lot of screws, then a cordless screwdriver will be invaluable to you as it will protect your hands and wrists from endless twisting and turning, not to mention the time-saving as well. You won’t want to use it for any drilling tasks, though, because in all likelihood it won’t have the torque to complete the job and in the process, you’ll just drain the gears and the battery.

Drill Presses

Drill presses are really the only stationary option when it comes to drills. If you're looking to drill precisely-spaced holes to exact depths, then a drill press is what you are looking for. Drill through metal, wood, plastic and many other materials with precision and convenience. Drill presses also provide more power to drill through tougher materials and the stationary bits provide accuracy and control. With the appropriate set-up, you can even drill at almost any angle to make consistent, repetitive holes. If you're looking to start a home workshop, then a drill press is a great place to start due to its versatility.

Drill presses are available in one of two ways - as a stand-alone version or as a bench-top. Floor-standing drill presses are usually ½ to 1 hp; bench-top ones can range from ⅓ to ¼ hp.