A Guide for New Homeowners.
Reversible Power Drill/Driver
This tool should (and likely will) actually go up your priority list. I left it til last because it’s the only power tool in my top 12 home tools list, and because it’s a bigger investment that deserves some thought before you buy.
Don’t forget that besides the drill itself, you’ll need (and want) accessories like additional drill & driver bits, sanding disk, etc.
WHY YOU NEED IT
There’s no modern "hand tool" sold these days that does the same job as a power drill, which is primarily to drill holes. After you drill a hole, you just may want to fill it with something, possibly a screw. The beauty of this situation is you STILL have the right tool in your hand.
Swap out the drill bit for a driving bit and you’re good to go. The everyday practical uses of a power drill are limited pretty much by what accessories you have on hand to stick in the chuck (the business end).
The most useful and most used (still) wedding present my wife and I received, was a 3/8" Black & Decker (corded) reversible drill. It celebrates it’s 20th anniversary this year.
WHAT TO GET
Well… it’s complicated. But I’ll start by splitting this into two categories: Corded & Cordless.
Electric drills with cords are both a blessing and a curse.
The main advantage of a corded drill is that you always have a constant and sufficient power supply available to you via that cord. Until you don’t.
That cord is also a restriction. If you don’t have an outlet nearby, or an extension cord that’s long enough, you’re dead in the water. However, heavy-duty corded drills have the torque and endurance required to take on tasks like mixing mortar for setting tile, cutting holes for vents, and drilling through tough materials like metal and concrete.
Corded drills were THE drill found in many households until the introduction of….
Cordless drill/drivers are both a blessing and a curse…as well.
Hands down, cordless stuff is easier to use. The biggest advantage of all cordless tools is their portability. Power is available anywhere, anytime. Until it’s not.
While this is usually simply a matter of recharging the battery (or swapping it for a charged one, if you have a spare), there’s an excellent chance that a few years down the road, the battery is going to stop holding a charge.
So why not just get another battery? Because they won’t make or sell that model of battery anymore. And new batteries are designed to NOT fit [insert rant here]. To be fair, the manufacturers are constantly increasing the power available as new battery technologies are developed. As well, many cordless drill packages now include two batteries, so you can charge one while you use the other.
So….What Should You Get ?
The best option for a "one drill" household (intending to do typical maintenance and repairs) would be a brand name cordless with 2 li-on (lithium-ion) batteries in the 12-18 volt range. Check the online reviews here and here to get a sense of what to look for and what you can expect to pay (which is anywhere between about $90 and Yikes!).
If you’re on a tight budget and just aren’t in a position to get a GOOD quality cordless then go for a corded drill.
You may even be able to pick up a brand name corded drill at a yard or garage sale for 5 or 10 bucks. There’s likely absolutely nothing wrong with these, other than they were abandoned in favour of cordless convenience. If you find one, plug it in. If it spins without smoking, and you like the price, grab it. It’ll probably outlast any cordless model on the market today.
If you going to buy new, look at the
Ryobi D47CK VSR 3/8 in. Clutch Driver $39.97 (Home Depot)
This Ryobi gets consistently good reviews
…. including my all-time favourite…
“I like this drill because it functions like a cordless without the dead batteries…”
from Massapequa, NY
I think that sums things up nicely.
Here’s the full 12 Home Tools You Need list:
- Measuring Tape (Part 1 – Pre-Move Tools)
- Multi-Bit Screwdriver
- Utility Knife
- Hammer (Part 2 – Moving-In Tools)
- Adjustable Wrench (Part 3 – Maintenance Tools)
- Putty Knife
- Spirit Level
- Pry Bar (Part 4 – Project Tools)
- Hand Saw
- Combination Square
- Power Drill/Driver (Part 5)
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