Cordless Drill Features
When shopping for a cordless drill, it’s important to know and understand the various features of modern cordless drill so you can make the best buying decision possible.
Here’s a diagram of the main features and parts of a cordless drill.
#1 – Trigger
The trigger on a cordless drill is what controls the rotation, fastening, and drilling. On most drills, you can later the speed by varying the amount of pressure you apply to the trigger.
#2 – Keyless Chuck
You’ll find a keyless chuck on most cordless drills these days. Older drills have a chuck that requires a “key” to tighten and loosen the chuck to insert and remove the bits. The teeth on these keys would work like a gear in the teeth on the clutch.
Ratcheting keyless chucks are tightened and loosened by hand and are very easy to use. The chuck on the diagram is a keyless chuck. With a keyless chuck, you won’t have to worry about loosing that key.
#3 – Chuck Jaws
The chuck jaws are the metal parts that actually hold the bit tightly in place. As you tighten a keyless chuck, you’ll see the chuck jaws move towards each other and squeeze the drill bit tightly to hold it in place.
#4 – Clutch
The clutch is the part of the drill that connects the chuck to the body of the drill. Many cordless drills come with multiple tension settings on the clutch. Changing the clutch setting will change how much resistance it will take before the drill will max-out and stop rotating. This feature is used when you don’t want to drill or screw too far into something like drywall.
#5 – Speed Switch
Many drills have a dual speed transmission, meaning that there are 2 settings of speeds that you can get. Both settings are dependent on the amount of pressure you add to the trigger, and the setting just sets the maximum rpm. Having a slow setting is great when you want to make sure you have a slow steady hand when fastening, and the high or fast setting is great when you want to bore a hole in the material. Overall, slower speeds are great for fastening, and faster speeds are great for drilling.
#6 – Forward / Reverse Switch
On most drills, you will also find a forward / reverse switch. This is necessary of you want to be able to screw into something, or back a screw out of something. The reverse setting can also come in useful if you happen to get your drill bit stuck and need to back it out.
#7 – Handle
The handle is self explanatory, it’s the part of the cordless drill that you grip in your hand. Different drills come with differently shaped handles and grip materials, so there is a bit of difference between models of cordless drills. Generally the more expensive drills have more comfortable handles and grips due to the fact that more is put into the research, testing, and production of the drill.
#8 – Battery
At the bottom of the handle you will find the drill battery. The battery is what powers the drill. This is one part of a cordless drill that varies quite a bit between models and price ranges. Basically the more volts the drill has, the more power it will have. We recommend buying a drill with at least a 9 volt battery and personally, we like them to be at least 12 volts.
There are two main types of drill batteries. NiCAD and Lithium-Ion. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Lithium Ion Drill Batteries
Lithium-Ion batteries hold a charge a lot longer while in use and in between uses. They are also more compact and lightweight. You can leave one right on the charger between uses without damaging the battery. They also charge fast, especially if you have a “fast” charger. The downsides of lithium ion drill batteries are that they are a lot more expensive, they do not work well in cold temperatures, and they have a shelf life of 2-3 years. That means that you will have to replace the expensive batteries every two to three years regardless if you use the drill or not. This is a newer technology and it is still being improved upon.
NiCAD Drill Batteries
NiCAD batteries are the older type of battery commonly used in cordless drills. These batteries are bulkier and heavier. Another downside of them is that if you leave it on the charger for an extended period of time after they get fully charged, it can damage the battery. The benefits of a NiCAD drill battery are that they will continue to work great in cold temperatures and they have a much longer shelf life.
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