Time for a New Drill

November 28th, 2007 · 2 Comments · Tools and Tech


We’ve been using the same drill for 10 years, and it’s finally starting to show its age. I’ve started to look into getting a replacement and am surprised by all the new models, features and options that have turned an otherwise go-to-the-store-and-come-back-with-something purchase into something that requires more research.

The biggest surprise is a new category of drill-like tools called impact drivers. They don’t have a chuck and are designed exclusively for driving screws. Their advantage is a unique motors geared specifically to their task and a unbelievably small size/weight. Anyone who has had to lug a giant drill driver around all day will recognize their value.

Although having two tools for the same thing that one tool previously did might seem like a step in the wrong direction, this actually makes sense. Like having multiple shoes, less wear is put on each. Additionally, I could use two drills simultaneously (one with a drill bit, the other with a screw bit) or have an extra driver for someone else, cutting assembly time.

I think a strong case can be made for considering following this trend of purchasing a new drill AND a new impact driver–and now is the time to decide that because if you buy them together you can use the same batteries and charger which drastically lowers the total price. In fact, there are many deals out there where you basically get both a drill and a impact driver for the same price as one.

My favorite drill and driver brands are Festool, Panasonic and Makita. Festool is comically expensive but will be the only cordless drill that is passed on through the generations (although batteries will have to be replaced). Panasonic, although not a name typically known for tools, is the drill/driver gold standard among contractors and has legendary battery life. Makita, although inferior to Festool and Panasonic for certain, delivers a solid product at half the cost.

I should note that I don’t consider Bosch or DeWalt because they are designed for people with larger hands, Hitachi because their products look silly, Millwaukee because they have battey issues (although make legendary corded tools) or Porter Cable because their drills are just too big (although I like and own many other PC products).

I’m just starting to wade into the water and will keep you posted.

Category: Tools and Tech

2 Comments so far ↓

  • Dan

    What about RIDGID?

  • Murray

    You know I like Rigid. I know many people who love them. They are a company that is working hard to earn respect. That said, even though they are working hard to improve their reputation, they still seem like only a small step up from a Ryobi or Black and Decker. I like a little more bells and whistles.
    I would certainly recommend Rigid to anyone who tended to really abuse their tools. They seem tough and are at a GREAT price point.

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