Best Drill for Home Projects?

23 Aug

Drills, Drills, Drills - thanks to Mark Hunter for the photo

Okay, so Rob and I are furiously working on our existing house, so that on Friday we can move to a new one and rent this one out. Awesome. It involves a lot of building guardrails and handrails and adding smoke detectors – things that involve the use of our drill.

blistered thumb

A power tool should not be so difficult to use that you blister in the attempt.

Now, I like our drill well enough. It’s a Black and Decker 12v Battery Operated Drill, small and lightweight and efficient. HOWEVER. As demonstrated by the wicked blisters on my hands, it’s not made for people with less-than-masculine grip strength. To wit: To secure a bit in the drill, you must turn two tumblers in opposite directions until they sort of click into place, thus securing the bit. When the bit is not secure, you hit one knot in the wood, and suddenly your drill is turning but the bit is not. Often, the bit is then stuck in the wood, and you have to rescue it. I cannot, for the life of me, get the tumblers tight enough to secure certain small (9/64ths) bits; nor can I loosen the tumblers to change bits when a small bit is secure.

I have to go ask Rob to help me when ever I need to change a bit – he is able. It’s really inefficient when he’s manning the saw and I’m manning the drill. Plus, it’s frustrating and infuriating and makes me all “This is a sexist drill!” Which it probably isn’t. It was probably just not designed with a less-than-super-strong grip in mind. (I will not say “weak grip” because I don’t like thinking of myself as weak.)

Does anyone out there have a drill that’s easy to use? I would love recommendations. Or ideas/tips for how I can make our existing drill work for my (evidently) puny little hands?


5 Responses to “Best Drill for Home Projects?”

  1. Thomas 08/23/2011 at 8:46 am #

    I just bought a set of drills this summer. I had been using two pathetic DeWalt drills that barely did the job.

    These are 168 dollars (or were anyway). Factory reconditioned so they come with the same warranty. Mine arrived looking 100% new. They are 18V so probably more than powerful enough for anything you would need. I used them all summer for some pretty serious renovations — framing walls, hanging drywall, etc. The nicest thing is that they are pretty light and stay charged forever. Also charge very quickly (20 min? max?). Using an impact driver will stop that stress between your thumb and fingers, it’s a great tool (if a little noisy). The chucks are very good and easy to use. Lithium-ion technology will probably get better (and cheaper) but it’s SO much better than the Ni-Cad batteries that it’s worth making the jump. The older generation of battery tools just loose their steam toooooo quickly. They’re heavy and not worth it.


    I can’t believe I am so nerdy that I wrote all that.

    Good luck!

    PS. They are red! and come with a really nice case! : )

    • Amanda 08/23/2011 at 9:11 am #

      Those look awesome – perhaps more powerful than we need, but I’ve been surprised by what we’ve needed for this house. We’ve been drilling into concrete (we borrowed a hammer drill for that one, but I hear with a strong enough drill and a masonry bit and patience, you can get by) and cinder blocks. Also – yay red! The one thing I will not abide is pink power tools.

  2. Scott Kubie (@scottrocketship) 08/23/2011 at 10:22 am #

    On a budget, I recommend visiting pawns shops or garage sales and finding a drill that:

    A) Plugs in
    B) Uses a chuck key
    C) Looks clean and well cared for
    D) Bears a reputable brand name

    Generally speaking, the more powerful the tool, the easier it is to use. When I was doing set construction, we used big-ass old school plug-in drills and 80-lb. freshman girls were using them just fine when they got the technique down.

  3. savychachaSavychacha 08/24/2011 at 7:12 am #

    My fiance purchased this set about 2 years ago:|1&page=2

    The battery stays charged forever, and you get two tools instead of just one. The saw is pretty awesome and we’ve used it to cut down tree limbs as well as do some home imporvement projects.

    The drill is great and I’ve never had any problem just picking it up out of the bag and using it. It’s powerfull enough to get the job done. We even used it with a masonry bit to drill a hole into our diy concrete firepit. It drained the battery before the hole was finished, but you get a second battery with the set so we were fine! Just my two cents!

  4. StoneMaven 10/12/2011 at 12:41 pm #

    We bought one of these, and a kit of the next size up cordless tools (drill, charger, flashlight, reciprocating saw, and little circular saw in heavy-ass bag) for my mate’s work. We use them all the time and couldn’t be happier with their power and battery life. He’s quit carrying the corded drill to job sites and I use the 18v all around in our under construction owner-built house.

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