17 Dec 2016

The truth about electric drills

From This Way Up, 12:45 pm on 17 December 2016

Tis the season to be drilling...

If you're lining up some DIY jobs for the holidays and need to upgrade your drill, George Block from  consumer.org.nz has some tips on the best on the market.

The advent of powerful lithium batteries and brushless DC motors mean these days drills are getting more efficient and powerful.

But they're not cheap, his advice is stay away from anything under $200, and for a decent bit of kit $350 is nearer the mark.

So what will $350 get you?

"You're going to be getting a drill with a brushless motor, those motors are historically confined to trade tools."
He likes the Ryobi one plus brushless range. 

"A good brushless drill that's almost a crossover trade/DIY unit, you can pick that up for $350 including 2 batteries that can be used in other tools. Every Ryobi one plus 18v tool that I've tested has been good. I've never seen a lemon in that range, they're a good bet for most of us." 

If that's a little rich for the budget, Makita has a drill with 2 batteries and a charger for $199. 

"Anything cheaper than that and you start getting some really undercooked drills."

He says factors to consider are voltage (18 volt is the most powerful) maximum torque, no load speed and battery power. No load speed is how fast the head spins when it's not drilling into anything.

But if you want something to assemble flatpack furniture or hang the odd picture, he suggests cordless screw drivers might be the answer.

"Cordless screw drivers were the break out stars of our tests this year" He likes the Worx for $90 from Mitre 10 and his favourite is the Black and Decker lithium 3.6 volt for $70.  

And if he had to pick one drill? 

"The Ryobi 18 volt compact R18 DD a really good drill, 90 percent of us are not going to want anything more."