- Tools & Workshop >
- Electric Drills
Get the low-down on the different types of electric drills.
- Photo: Milwaukee
The electric drill is about as versatile as a tool can get. It drills holes of many kinds, of course, but it can sand and grind, too, as well as drive screws. And it can stir paint or plaster. Not too many years ago, drills with specialty attachments were commonly used as routers and even saws, but other purpose-made tools have now, for the most part, taken the place of such attachments.
Power drills are manufactured in a number of sizes. The large are distinguished from the small on the basis of chuck capacity.
The chuck is the set of jaws that grips the drill or bit which does the actual cutting. In the familiar, pistol-shaped drill, the chuck is located where the barrel of the gun would he. A specially made key with a beveled gear on its end is used to tighten or loosen the chuck in most models. The size of the chuck denotes the largest diameter drill it will accommodate.
Keyless chucks are available, both on new drills and to retrofit others. If you've ever invested frustrating minutes in attempting to find a missing chuck key, you'll understand the inspiration that no doubt led to the invention. The keyless chuck is larger than the traditional chuck, and its size and molded shape can be gripped securely in your hand to tighten the bit in the chuck.
Many drills come with a locking button that, when the trigger is depressed, locks it in place for continuous running. The trigger lock is released by pulling the trigger again. While smaller and larger capacity drills are available, the great majority of needs are served by either a three-eighths-inch drill or a half-inch drill. The cordless three-eighths drill is another popular option. The well-equipped toolbox might well contain all three, but to my way of thinking no homeowner is properly equipped without at least a basic, three-eighths model.
Three-Eighths-Inch Drill. This size drill is affordable, small enough to be hefted comfortably in one hand, and practical for a great many uses. Most models of this chuck size have a pistol grip and trigger control.
For a few extra dollars, most manufacturers offer two very useful options. One is trigger-controlled variable speed, the other a switch that reverses the direction in which the drill turns. Both are well worth the modest additional cost.
Being able to vary the speed makes it easier to start holes, drive screws, and drill metal (metal is drilled and cut at slow to medium speeds). The reversibility option can help reverse drills out of holes and remove screws.
A wide range of electric drills are available with more or less power (one-half horsepower is about average) and with various maximum speeds (most models top out at between twelve hundred and twenty-five hundred revolutions per minute).
- 10 Popular Driveway Options to Welcome You Home
- 12 Hobbit Houses to Make You Consider Moving Underground
- 12 Wow-Worthy Woods for Kitchen Countertops
- 15 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Big
- 20 Clever Ideas for Repurposed Storage
- 10 New Ways to Store Kitchen Necessities
- 12 "Expert Picks" for Fail-Safe Colors
- 10 "Neat" Garage Storage Solutions
- 10 Reasons to Love Architectural Salvage
- 10 Design Inspirations for Mudrooms and Entryways
- Painted Cabinets: 10 Reasons to Transform Yours Now
- Kitchen Flooring: 8 Popular Choices
- 10 "Dream-Worthy" Swimming Pools
- Paint Guide: 10 Essentials for Successful House Painting
- Murphy Beds: 9 Hide-Away Sleepers
- 10 Low-Cost Ways to Improve Your Home Security
- 12 Ways to Put Your Home on an Energy Diet
- 13 Easy Ways to Repurpose Antique Armoires
- Bob Vila's Guide to Historic House Styles
- 10 Things to Do with... Cross-Cut Trees