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The beginner's guide to cordless drills and cordless screwdrivers

Are you looking for a new cordless drill but feeling a little lost with so many types? Already have a few cordless power tools in your arsenal and want to upgrade? Here is a quick guide that will have you understand the in's and out's of cordless drills!

If you want to make sure you get the very best tool for the job, it might be worth visiting a specialised store, like the Sydney tools specialists, who specialise in cordless power tools, where they can guide you to the best tool for the job, while keeping within your budget.

Let's start with types of drills, and then we'll talk about extras like batteries, chucks and brushed or brushless types.


What types of cordless drills/screwdrivers are there?

There are many types of drills in many shapes and sizes. Let's look at what each class is for, the strong points, and the weak points of each variation.
Cordless Power Drill
Drill + screwdriver
Power drills are the most basic type of drills—the typical DIYers drill, suitable for basic household DIY projects. They can be used for drilling most surfaces and as a screwdriver. They will probably fall short for larger projects. Limited power makes drilling things like reinforced concrete or thicker metals a difficult job.
Cordless Hammer Drill
Drill
As the name suggests, a Hammer drill has a hammering mechanism, meaning it can drill through harder materials like concrete or stone. These tend to have much more of a kick to them than a regular power drill. Of course, on most hammer drills, you can turn off the hammer function. Meaning you can use this drill like any other drill. NOTE: Never use the hammer drill setting on metals; you will only break your drill bit!
Cordless Rotary Hammer Drill
Drill
Rotary hammers drills are the big brother to ordinary hammer drill! If you have to drill a couple of holes through reinforced concrete, a hammer drill will suffice, but if you need to drill a hundred holes, you need a rotary hammer! It's less of a tool for an average DIYer and more of a tradesmen's tool. Most have various settings: drill only, rotary hammer and hammer only, meaning you can use them to drill a small hole or as a replacement for a hammer and chisel. Most have an SDS chuck instead of a standard three-jaw chuck.
Cordless Right-Angle Drill
Drill (+ screwdriver feature on some models)
This a much more specialised type of drill! The drill bit is attached at a 90-degree angle to the drill. A Right-angle drill is an excellent tool if you need to drill a hole where space is limited! But not your day to day drill!
Cordless Screw Gun
Screwdriver
Cordless Screw Gun, usually a Drywallers favourite! They tend to have a higher speed but less torque than their brother, the impact driver. Screwdriver only function! Again, generally used by professionals.
Cordless Impact Drivers
Screwdriver
If you need an electric screwdriver and you need more power, this is the tool for you! It has a powerful impact feature meaning it can drive screws and bolts in at great speed! Great for driving in longer screws into decking or fastening screw anchors into concrete or metal. A powerful tool for the right job!


What else should you know?

Ok, so now we know what the most common types of drills are and what they are used for, let's talk about extra features and how to know what tool to get.

Chucks

There are three basic types of chucks. There are more types out there, but for most people, there are only three essential types. Some people will argue that one type is better than another type, but mainly it's down to personal preference.
Key-type chuck: This was once the most common of all, but as keyless chucks became more popular, they became less common. You must use a unique key to tighten and loosen the chuck. While it is slower than the keyless chuck, it tends to have a tighter grip and a longer life.
Keyless chuck: Probably the most common of all chucks, especially on cordless drills. Quickly and easily change drill bits. Depending on your hand strength, these can be harder to tighten and loosen with time and wear.
SDS chuck: Used mainly for Rotary Hammer Drills. The best type of chuck when using hammer function or masonry bits on harder walls. An added extra is the quick release! But it will not accept standard drill bits without a chuck adapter.
Impact drills and screw guns don't have a chuck but a special hex shank adapter, as they are designed to be used with driver bits.


Brushed or Brushless

Firstly, you might ask, what is a brushed drill? So the drill motor doesn't wear out, brushed motors have carbon brushes. These hold the spinning part of the motor, called slip rings, in place to remove friction. Depending on the motor, the brushes must be replaced every 50 to 60 hours. If not, the motor will start to show signs of wear; when the brushes eventually break, the drill will stop working and will need to be serviced.
Brushless motors tend to be lighter, faster, and easier to maintain. But of course, they are more expensive! If you need a drill for smaller, DIY projects, then the savings from a brushed motor might be worth it. But if you're planning on using your drill for heavier jobs, you'll probably want to splash out a little more for a brushless drill!

Battery sizes

Any cordless tool is only as good as its battery, but bigger is not always better! Batteries come in various voltages and amps.
You'll find most DIY cordless tools have an 18 amp battery. But you can have anything from a 3.6-volt to a 40-volt battery. Voltage = power. The more voltage, the more powerful the battery!
Amps, Amp-hours or Ah, indicates the battery life. The higher the Ah, the longer it will last.
The problem is that the bigger the battery, the heavier it gets, and you'll have to hold it longer. It's often better to have various batteries with a lower Ah, than one BIG battery. That way, you can charge one while using the other.
Manufacturers like Festool, Makita and Milwaukee, now sell a wide range of power tools that all use the same type of battery. Meaning you can have a cordless drill, cordless hammer drill, cordless impact driver, cordless saw, cordless chainsaw and have various batteries that you can use in all of them. You just have to buy them all from the same brand!

Safety

Make sure to use all the correct safety equipment! Gloves, safety glasses, if needed, steel toe cap boots! If you're working at heights, make sure your ladder is correctly placed and you're tied to a roof anchor point. Like with any corded or cordless tool: a cordless drill must be used correctly, so read the instructions or ask how to use it when you buy it. Remember, Power tools can be dangerous!


Ergonomic

Hold the tool in your hand! Feel the weight, the grip size, try the tool, make sure it's not too much tool for you to handle! Make sure the tool adapts to you, not you to the tool!
If you're still not 100% sure of which power tool is the tool for you? Then talk to the experts! F & K Power Tools have almost 50 years of experience selling power tools. They are Sydney's tool specialists! So why not pass by the store, check the Sydney Tools site, or give them a call today! They'll be happy to answer any questions you might have!

F & K Power Tools
Address: 86-88 Parramatta Rd, Stanmore NSW 2048, Australia
Phone: 02 9519 7997
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