Cordless Drill Guy Posts


Today I just received the Milwaukee M18 Fuel Brushless Cordless Drill, and am going to put it to the test. From tools that I have used in the past, I know that Milwaukee is a top notch brand who makes solid products. Let’s see if there new drill will hold up that legacy. Inside the case is the handle, drill,  extra battery and the charger.

A nice feature to note about the case is that it actually has a slot for the power cord to fit in, which is nice because it’s a pain to just stuff it in and hope it fits like with other cases. Let’s take a look at the charger first. The charger is dual function and will charge Milwaukee’s M12 12 volt batteries as well as the M18 18 volt batteries. The charger has 2 large indicator lights on the back so it’s easy to see the progress of the charging cycle. The charger is a bit large but it can accommodate both the 12 volt and 18 volt battery packs at the same time. The batteries themselves are lithium ion 4 amp hour batteries. They have led indicators built in that allow you to see there charge levels by simply pushing a button on the top of the battery. Because the battery packs are lithium ion they will hold a charge for far longer than the previous generations Ni-Cad batteries. The batteries are extremely easy to both install and remove from the drill. They are front loaded, and the release button is easily pressed with one hand which makes it painless to remove the battery from the base of the drill. The support handle that comes with this cordless drill is sturdy and has a built in clamp mount. It provides great support when using larger bits such as spades or hole saw bits.

Enough with the accessories lets discuss the drill itself. This drill contains a brushless motor which according to Milwaukee will last 10x as long as there brushed counterparts. It has a nice weight and is balanced well. It is a bit on the heavy side, but that is mostly due to the larger 4 amp hour batteries. It produces a massive amount of torque. So much so that you need to be careful putting in your bits that it doesn’t rip your skin off. Changing bits is a breeze with the keyless clutch. The rubber molded handle is ergonomic and comfortable to hold. The body of the drill contains rubber inserts so when you lay the drill down on the side it stays in place. The drill does not come with a belt hook, but I am not a big fan of those anyways. The LED light on the front of the drill is quite bright and lights up the workspace.

One of the best parts about this drill is the outstanding warranty. Milwaukee honors a 5 year warranty on the drill itself and a 3 year warranty on the batteries. This is the longest warranty period I have ever seen on a cordless drill. I tested this drill with a 2 inch hole saw bit drilling through a 2 inch board and it went through it like butter.

Overall I would say that although this drill is on the expensive side it was money well spent. It feels perfectly balanced when I’m using it, almost like it was custom made for my hand. It is on the heavier side but you can feel the quality. It is a professional grade tool. Click the Buy Now button below to purchase this drill from Amazon.

 

Everything You Need to Know about Cordless Drills

Cordless drills have managed to become the most popular power tool of all time, as they come with the required level of versatility and features for getting done various types of jobs, ranging from just taking care of the basic maintenance needs to working on a second addition in the home. This is probably the reason these tools are so very popular, and seems like they will be for quite a long time to come. They do have a few different tools competing with them, but none of them seem to be coming close to what they can achieve.

Uses of cordless drills

As mentioned above, cordless drills can basically be used to work on a wide range of tasks. Coming to the specific things these power tools do, drilling holes and driving screws is exactly what most of them are designed to do. However, it’s also probably worth noting that a drill will be able to do both these tasks only if it’s a cordless one. This is the reason cordless drills are considered to be a modern version of what used to be rather basic corded drills.

The features

Well, it’s easy to decide that you want to get a cordless drill. After all, the wide range of features and convenience of using it comes with doesn’t leave any room for confusion. However, things start to get challenging when one actually starts looking for a quality cordless drill which will meet their unique subjective requirements. There are hundreds of different cordless drills out there, and it can surely get quite confusing about which one to go for unless you’re an expert at it.

So we will simply take a look at some of the important features to take into consideration while looking for a cordless drill that will manage to get various tasks done for you on a regular basis.

Power

Needless to say, power is the most important features one would want to focus on while buying a cordless drill. Over the past decade, the range of power (measured in voltage) has been around 6V-9.6V. What this means is that the most-powered cordless drill would offer a power voltage of around 9.6V.

However, as mentioned earlier, the cordless drills segment has witnessed some hardcore innovation. This has led to various improvements in the products available, and they have been quite impressive on the power front. Nowadays, one can find a cordless drill coming with a power voltage of as high as 18V. This is almost the double of what one could get a few years back.

Such high-powered cordless drills are capable of boring big holes even in flooring and lumber, which used to be quite a challenging task in the past. However, more power also comes with a downside. The high-powered drills weigh considerably more than the low-powered ones, making them not-so-comfortable for some people.

For example, a standard 9.6V drill would weigh around 3 and a half lbs, while that coming with 18V can weigh as much as around 10 lbs. You can see that the difference is rather enormous, so you better not go for a very high-powered one unless you’re absolutely sure that you will need it.

Handle

This is quite an important thing to take care of as well. Though the people highly experienced with using drills may manage to work well with almost all the type of handles, the experience would be far from being similar for most of the other people

Typically, cordless drills used to come with pistol like handle. However, nowadays, most of them come with a rather T-shaped handle. These handles offer better overall balance, as they are intended to prevent slipping of hand while working with the drill.

However, for tasks requiring heavy-duty drilling, the pistol grip drills seem to be the way to go, as they allow one to put more pressure.

Clutch

Well, there seems to be a bit of confusion about what exactly a clutch does in a drill. Simply put, it provides the much needed control, as well as protects the motor in cases when it meets more resistance than it can handle. This obviously ensures a higher level of durability and low maintenance costs for your drill.

Coming to the technical details, the number of clutch setting seem to be varying greatly in different drills. However, a standard belief is that anything over 24 settings is a good sign, and any drill coming with this number of separate clutch setting can be believed to be good enough.

They also help fine-tune the power a drill produces, and help it run at its full power capacity smoothly.

Speed

This may not seem to be a major thing to take into account to most of the people, but over a period of time of use, they will realize its importance. A drill capable of running at two fixed speeds, which most actually are nowadays, can help do things much more comfortable and save a lot of time as well.

However, some of the low priced cordless drills would run only at a single speed, and aren’t recommended unless you don’t plan to use them very frequently or use only for really basic tasks.

The ones that can run on two fixed speeds, which is 300 rpm and 800 rpm, allow both drilling holes and driving screws pretty comfortably and smoothly.

Types of drills

Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular types of drills out there.

Rotary drills

These are one of the best options for the do-it-yourselfers. However, they are specifically designed to do only the small tasks, such as drilling holes to hanging pictures. They are capable of drilling smaller holes into almost all types of materials, but can drill larger holes too in softer materials such as plastic or wood.

They boast of coming with fast rotation, which is usually around 3,000 rpm.

Percussion drills

They are designed for slightly more serious DIY tasks, such as drilling holes into materials such as softer light concrete or limestone. They may be able to work on some harder materials as well, but will produce a lot of noise and vibration while doing so.

They usually run at around 3,000 rpm as well.

Hammer drills

They are probably one’s best bet for heavy-duty drilling and other such hardcore tasks. They boast of offering around 5,000 blows a minute, providing almost all the force required to get some heavy-duty tasks done in a surprisingly short period of time.

The top brands

Well, some brands are believed to be better than others in the cordless drills industry, so we are mentioning a few of the most popular ones:

  • Black & Decker
  • Hitachi
  • DeWalt
  • Bosch
  • Craftsmen
  • Panasonic
  • Makita

Brushless vs Brushed drills

There has been a lot of hype about the brushless models over the past of couple of years. Hence, we think it’s important to mention the major difference between these two different types of drills.

Coming to the brushless drills, they are a modern invention and have been in the market from just around a couple of years. The most significant feature they boast of coming with, which is absent in their traditional counterpart is that they are capable of adjusting to the requirements of different tasks. In other words, if they sense more resistance, they will start running at a higher power, and vice versa.

The usual brushed drills, on the other hand, max out at the preset speed.

Recently there’s been lots of discussion in the power tool world about brushless motors. While the technology is not new to cordless drills, it’s lately acquired traction due to some high profile releases by big name brands such as Makita, Milwaukee, DeWalt.

Makita was the first business to make use of them in there drills, and they are the current leader in brushless cordless drills.

Brushless tools have added durability and functionality and they’re “smarter” than brushed motors. So what is the technology behind these brand new motors?

How Old-school Brushed Motors Work
A conventional brushed motor consists of four basic parts: a ring of magnets carbon brushes, an armature, along with a commutator. The magnets and brushes are fixed, while commutator and the armature rotate together on the motor rotating shaft within the magnets.

A charge goes from the battery, through the brushes, and into the commutator, when the motor is energized. (The brushes are spring loaded to keep physical contact together with the commutator.) This creates a magnetic field around the windings which is acted upon by the fixed ring of magnets that encircle it. This drives the armature assembly to twist. The twist does not cease until the charge from the battery stops.

 

How Brushless Motors Work

A brushless motor gets rid of the brushes as well as the commutator. Instead it contains a little circuit board that organizes and delivers the energy to the windings.

Since the power draw to the motor is controlled directly by the circuit board, it can adjust instantly to the amount of power the motor needs depending on the job. Take for instance drilling  3-inch screws into mahogany, it will pull more current and adjust the speed/torque appropriately. By comparison, a brushed motor will consistently run as quick as it can while in use.

Moreover, brushless motors can have much more torque in the same amount of space as brushed motors. This is ideal because space is at a premium in cordless drills. There’s room to make brush less motors bigger, since the copper windings are on the outside of the motor layout. Brushless motors likewise do not have the voltage and increased friction that occurs in brushed motors due to the brushes rubbing against the commutator while spinning. This physical contact causes the motor to slow down due to friction.

The net gain is a tool with a stronger longer lasting motor that has a greater efficiency. Brushless motors are the way of the future, and you can expect top brands to incorporate them into there current tools over the next couple years.

While the advantages of brushless motor technology is apparent, drill manufacturers run into problems because of the high cost. With the additional expense of the motor and electronic equipment it requires to handle the motor correctly brushless motors can be nearly twice the cost of there brushed counterparts. Brushless motors are not cheap, but as they are more widely adopted we can expect the price to go down just like any other new technology. Right now brushless motors are suited to help professionals who will shell out the big bucks for a tool that they will use each and every day.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the Nimh, Li-lon, and Nicad drill batteries:

Nimh Drill Battery

Pros

-Top of the line quality

-Long Lasting

Cons

-Weak ‘holding’ power

-Heavy

Pros Explained

The Nimh drill battery has developed quite a reputation for its superior quality and ability to serve as a much longer lasting option than the Nicad model.

Cons Explained

One of the main issues that users have with the Nimh drill battery is that it tends to have a much weaker ‘holding’ time than the other options. In other words, the battery will drain even when the drill is not in use and will require more frequent charges.

Another slight issue with the Nimh battery is its heavier weight. While this doesn’t seem to be an issue for most small home-based projects, it can be detrimental for contractors that are regularly climbing up and down ladders to make repairs.

Li-lon Drill Battery

 

Pros

-Light Weight

-Longer Lifespan

Cons

-May shut off in warmer weather

-Lighter weight means they are easier to break

Pros Explained

The Li-lon battery is very well liked by contractors due to its light weight characteristics. Users also enjoy its long lifespan, as it provides a much better value than many of the other available options.

Cons Explained

One of the biggest problems that users experience with the Li-lon batteries is that they have trouble performing well in the heat. There have been multiple reports of batteries shutting off for extended periods due to overly hot weather, which can be a major issue for contractors or users in the Southern states.

While these Li-lon batteries are meant to serve as a light weight option that has a long lifespan, the light weight characteristics can be a detriment if it is not taken care of properly.

Nicad Drill Battery

Pros

-Very versatile

-Solid value

Cons

-Can be unpredictable after a few years

Pros Explained

These are one of the most popular battery types used by contractors due to their versatility and ability to take a beating. While Li-lon batteries may shut down in extreme weather, you can generally expect the Nicad to get you through your project no matter what the conditions look like.

Another reason the Nicad batteries are popular is due to the low price. Many top brands sell their Nicad drill batteries for under $100.

Cons Explained

While the Nicad batteries generally receive rave reviews from users, there are also many people that have had issues with charging after only a year or so of use. These inconsistencies are rare, but for the price you may want to be sure that you are getting a warranty with your purchase.

FINAL WORD

It is safe to say that the type of drill battery that you choose will depend on what exactly your needs are.

For contractors looking for a cheap option that is versatile and will last them through the entire day, Nicad is probably your best bet. If you’re a homeowner looking for something simple and high quality for occasional home projects, than you would probably be better served with Li-lon or Nimh.

While this pros and cons guide should serve as a beginning point for understanding these drill battery types, be sure to do your own research to find out the best fit for your unique needs.

The first thing I noticed about the Bosch DDH181X-01L was the warranty. You do not have to worry about breaking this drill because it is covered under a 3 year warranty on the tool itself, and the batteries are covered under a 2 year warranty. I have dealt with Bosch customer support before on some of their past drills and they are absolutely the best. I was able to talk to a person right away, and they even provided overnight shipping for the replacement.
This drill comes with a case, 2 batteries, a charger and a handle. It is extremely light yet built to last with Bosch’s Durashield Housing which is made from and ABS and nylon composite material. I tested the durability by dropping the drill off of a 12ft ladder onto concrete and although there were a few scuff marks, nothing was broken. One of the greatest things about this drill is the length. It is extremely short which makes it easy to fit into tight spaces such as between studs. Although this drill is small it packs a powerful punch. Easily drilling a 1’’ hole through a 4×4 post with a spade bit. Bosch also includes a remarkable safety feature to help handle all of this torque called “Active Response Technology.” This was great because whenever the drill was about to jerk around, it slowed and powered through the hole instead of ripping your hand off. The batteries are 6.0 Ah and last for several hours on one charge. The auto-lock chuck makes one handed bit changes easy. This cordless drill feels light and nimble in your hands yet is durable enough to withstand falls and powerful enough to tackle the toughest of jobs. All in all this drill is an excellent buy and well worth the money. It will outlast all your other tools, and keep working like the day you took it out of the case. Click the Buy Now button below to purchase this drill from Amazon.

The Makita LXPH03 is small and light yet is more powerful than drills twice it size. It comes with a handle, and you better use it or risk getting your hand wrenched off from the massive amount of torque this thing creates. The kit comes with 2 batteries, battery charger, handle, and the drill itself. I immediately charged up one of the batteries which only took 15 minutes to fully charge. I threw the newly charged battery on the drill and started testing the limits of this cordless drill. I started simple with a spade bit and a 2×4 which it blew through in no time at all. I then put on a 1’’ hole saw blade and drilled through the 2×4 again. Once again it breezed through it like it wasn’t even there. To test the hammer mode out I put on a ½’’ masonry bit and drilled through a solid concrete block no problem. Then I put a couple of 5’’ lag bolts through some 4×4 post and it handled that as well although the handle was necessary in order to screw those in all the way. The variable speed was a nice feature to have while working with more delicate material. The Shift-Lock drive system worked wonderfully to switch the drill into hammer mode, when there was enough torque applied. This model also boasts dual LED lights that light up the work area extremely well. The dual lights help to prevent the casting of an annoying shadow like so many other cordless drills do. Makita claims that this drill can operate in “harsh” conditions, and I am here to back up that claim. I took it out into a torrential downpour and finished the base of my deck with this thing, and the water did not phase it at all. It comes with a handy belt clip that can be removed as well. All in all this is a monster of a drill, and is well worth the price especially with the Makita name to back it up. Click the Buy Now button below to order this drill from Amazon and receive free 2-day shipping!

 

 

The Dewalt DCD980M2 felt well balanced in my hand when I first took it out of the case. The tacky rubber grip material allowed me to hold the drill firmly in place even when there was a lot of kick back. I started by putting in a 1’’ hole saw bit and this cordless drill had no problem sinking a hole through a 2×6. It had plenty of torque, and cut cleanly through the 2×6. The 20 volt battery lasted through a full day of testing, and charging it at the end of the day only took around 20 minutes. The chuck made it easy to switch bits, and after a few tries I was able to do it with one hand. This drill is steps above Dewalt’s consumer grade drills, and is aimed at contractors or other professionals. It boasts a solid construction that makes the drill feel durable. To test the durability I dropped it off of a 10ft ladder onto both grass and concrete, and although there were some minor cosmetics damage the drill still worked perfectly after these drops. The LED light is great for when you need to use the drill in tight spaces with little ambient light. It is really bright and provides a clear view of the work area. The trigger has a great feel to it, and allows for very easy control of the speed of the drill. I highly recommend this drill to anyone who is looking for a highly durable and functional cordless drill. Click the Buy Now button below to purchase this drill from Amazon.

Pros

  • Extremely durable
  • Long battery life and fast charging
  • Best chuck I have ever used

Cons

  • Fairly heavy
  • No bit holder