Taking on a new home improvement project? Looking to replace a dying, ancient, drill? Seeking a lighter weight alternative to A/C powered drills?
Whatever the reason you’re looking, a 12v drill can be a great investment. Today’s improvements in design and Lithium-Ion battery technologies have combined to create small, lightweight, and easy-to-use drills that still pack a surprising punch.
But even the world of drills is confusing. Do you really need huge amounts of torque? What kind of bits should you use? Does the drill come with batteries? Do you need an impact driver or just a drill driver?
We’ll walk you through some of the basics when it comes to buying a drill, and you’ll get an idea of your needs, and what kind of products are out there. Let’s get started.
How to Choose the Perfect Drill
In order to ensure that you choose the best 12v drill, you should take the following factors into consideration as you compare and contrast models.
Size. Despite what you might think, expensive and powerful drills aren’t bulky or unwieldy – it’s often quite the opposite. Top-of-the-line drills offer small profiles with plenty of power, and lower-priced drills are generally made from more inexpensive parts, so they’re generally not built with ergonomics, low weight, or small size in mind.
Weight. As with size, this is mainly determined by the price of the drill. More expensive drills are more condensed, and despite large battery packs, can weigh in at as little as 2lbs, while cheaper drills usually tip the scales towards 5lbs.
Power. Chances are, if you’re just using your drill for day-to-day tasks, power won’t be much of a factor for you, but if you’re taking on heavier-duty projects, you may want to consider how much power your drill can develop. This is measured for drill drivers in “Inch Pounds” (in-lb) and usually ranges from 100-250 in drill drivers. As a rule, more expensive drills deliver more torque, and vice-versa.
The Differences Between Voltages – Why Choose 12v?
All of the products listed above are 12v drills, but you may be curious about the difference between voltages. Basically, it comes down to a tradeoff between power and size/weight.
There are lighter, smaller drills on the market – usually clocking in at 8 volts or less in power – but these are suitable only for smaller household tasks, and often fall short of developing the power necessary to take on bigger challenges.
Large, 18v and 20v drills are also available, but these drills are extremely powerful, expensive, and are usually overkill for anybody but a skilled builder, carpenter, or hobbyist.
12v drills are the most popular drills on the market because they’re the most diverse, and cover a wide range of applications while still remaining lightweight and convenient to use, as well as remaining relatively inexpensive.
While it’s not the most powerful drill on our list, it’s darn close, and the DeWalt DCD710S2 packs many other useful features into a slim, lightweight profile (2.2lbs with battery) that’s easy to use and operate.
Many buyers of this tool note its easy one-handed operation compared to other drills, especially for women, children, and those with smaller hands.
These features include a two-speed transmission for easy torque control, front-facing LED lights for shadow-less operation and high visibility in dark areas, and a built-in belt hook for easy portability and transportation.
This kit comes with a carrying case, two batteries, and a charger – bits will need to be purchased separately, but you can also use any bits you’ve got lying around the house, with the universal 3/8in chuck accepting bits up to 1 inch in diameter.
For all those reasons, it may just be the best 12v drill on the market today.
If you need serious power and performance, this 2-piece set from Makita is of great value. It includes both a drill driver and a more powerful impact driver, at a great price.
It also comes with two Lithium-Ion batteries, a carrying case, and a charger.
It includes not only a standard drill driver but also an impact driver – a specialized type of drill meant for only driving screws.
Impact drivers are generally 2-3x more powerful than drill drivers and are handy to have if you’re tackling tough projects.
The drill itself is lightweight, compact, and a pleasure to use, with a keyless chuck design, a lightweight, 2.3lb design, and a comfort grip handle that’s soft and easy to hold and maneuver with only one hand, and performs at a peak of over 250in-lbs of torque.
The impact driver is a similar size and shape but delivers 4 times the amount of torque the drill/driver does – 970lb-in of torque. This makes it appropriate for heavy-duty jobs, like drilling deck screws and driving screws deeply into tough wood.
Because you get both of these devices for a great price, this drill kit earns top marks for us, and it’s a great choice if you’re transitioning into some more heavy-duty tasks, and need a great deal on some top-notch tools.
We hope this quick article has helped you learn a bit more about power drills, what they’re used for, and how to choose the best 12v drill for your specific needs.
By reading our reviews, buying information, and taking a look at our table of products above, we’re sure you’ll be able to pick out a great drill, perfect for your purposes – whether you’re improving your home, starting a new hobby, or just need a drill for everyday tasks.