Match the Tool to the Job
Match the Tool to the Job
With all the different models of drill/drivers on the market, it's easy to buy more tool than you really need. The solution: Buy a drill based on how you will use it. It doesn't make sense to pay $200 for a tool you'll use only to hang pictures. Nor is it a good idea to pay $50 for a drill only to have the motor burn out after a few days of heavy work. You don't have to drive yourself crazy trying to think up all the possible jobs you'll have for your new tool. Look at the three scenarios that follow below and see where you fit in. If you ever need more tool than you have, you can step up in power and options. Or rent a more powerful drill for those projects that require one.
JOBS Installing drapery brackets; drilling holes for drywall anchors; assembling a barbecue grill; putting new handles on cabinet doors and drawers; removing and replacing door hinges. Building a storage rack; replacing deck railings and fence pickets; drilling pilot holes and driving screws in hardwood or plywood; making furniture; hanging drywall. Drilling holes for bolts and spikes in pressure-treated wood and landscape timbers; drilling holes in masonry walls; installing decking; drilling into steel.
FEATURES YOU'LL NEED These tasks are quick ones, so a tool with one battery will do. For drilling holes and driving screws, get a drill with two fixed speeds; variable speed is an option. Also, look for an adjustable clutch. Go with at least a 9.6V tool; you'll need the extra power. In fact, a 12V drill fits the bill for this job list, but the added power brings extra size and weight. No question about it — you're in the big leagues. These projects — especially drilling large-diameter holes and driving long screws — demand a high-voltage tool.
NOTES For the best combination of power, portability and price, stay in the 6 to 7.2V range. The Ryobi HP61 ($39) is a nifty 6V, two-speed model. This super-compact tool comes with a built-in level, onboard storage for two bits and a clutch. You also get four drill bits, a dozen driver bits and eight socket drivers. A comparable tool is the Black & Decker 9099KB (7.2V, $39). For these tasks, you'll want variable speed, two speed ranges, a clutch and a T-handle. Be sure to get a second battery so you don't run out of power in the middle of a project. Drills in this category range from $60 to $140. Two professional-level 9.6V models that have all these features are the Hitachi FDS10DVA ($110) and Makita 6222DWLEK ($100). Buy a minimum 12V, or better yet, a 14.4V model. Lower-priced models include the Black & Decker HP532 FireStorm (14.4V, $110), Bosch 3315K (12V, $159) and Skil 2582:04 (14.4V, $109). But you might want to step up a notch for a 1/2-in. chuck to handle larger bits and longer-lasting NiMH batteries. First-class choices include the Hitachi DS14DV (14.4V, $199), Porter-Cable 9873 (14.4V, $194) and Makita 6333DWAE (14.4V, $214). And if you're looking for pure power — with a downside of more size and weight — move up to the DeWalt DW995K-2 (18V, $269).
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