Who needs to have a cordless drill?

I think the question should actually be, who doesn’t need a cordless drill! Drills can be used for lots of things, not just making holes. Although this is what people might at first think of, a cordless drill can be used to drive screws, engrave, and even do things as bizarre as mixing paint or powering wheelchairs! Think I’m joking? I’m not! Read on for some useful info.

The first useful cordless drills started appearing in the 1990s, and were fairly slow to catch on. I remember using cordless drills in college around this time, and they were not very powerful, and the batteries were lucky to last more than about 15 minutes at a time. You could use it to drill small holes in things like plywood, and drive small screws, but that was about it. These old drills were usually powered by a 9 V battery, and they certainly were nothing to get excited about.

However, it is now possible to get fantastic 18 V, and even 24 V cordless drills which perform well enough to virtually replace mains power drills. There are some great advantages to the cordless drill.

Modern cordless drills are powerful, and easy to use. Image courtesy of konomike.

Points to consider:

1. This is obvious, but there is no cord to get in your way – if you’ve never used cordless drill, you don’t know what you’re missing out (or not missing out) on. The power cord not only limits your range of movement, but is also something to trip over, and in my experience is fantastic for knocking (often expensive) things off benches and tables.

2. Because the operating voltage is relatively low, cordless drills are safe to use outdoors even when it is wet. No power tool, corded or cordless, enjoys the rain, but at least you’re not going to electrocute yourself this way.

3. It doesn’t matter if the power goes out, or if the power is turned off – you can often find yourself in this situation when you are doing renovations or repairs, and for some reason or other you have had to turn off the mains power. How frustrating is it to have to turn screws by hand just because you can’t use your power tools! Just make sure you charge the batteries in your cordless drill before the power is shut off!

4. cordless tools are relatively inexpensive nowadays. You can generally get a high-quality cordless drill or saw for a price equivalent to that of a mains powered one. Sure, the mains powered one is going to have a lot more power, but do you really need it? In most cases cordless tools are more than sufficient for home, and even light industrial use.

A word on safety

Part of me wants to put down a point here stating that cordless drills are a lot safer than mains powered ones. For several reasons though, I won’t do this. Cordless drills and cordless saws are still not toys – although they are easy to use, and often are used by children, you should not forget that these tools can still inflict serious injuries. Although there is less chance of having a bad accident with a cordless drill or cordless circular saw, you should still wear protective gear like gloves, and glasses. I don’t mean to be deliberately gory, but I have seen people drill into their own hands with cordless drills far more often than with mains powered ones. And believe me, it makes one hell of a mess.

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