Drill/Driver Vs. Impact Driver

Hercules answers the cordless conundrum

The cordless compact drill/driver is one of the most popular portable power tools of all time. The versatility of drilling and driving screws is indispensable for tackling countless projects. So what’s the difference between a drill/driver and impact driver—and why would you need one over the other?

A drill driver has a keyless chuck that accommodates a wide range of round and hex-shank drill and screw-driving bits—in addition to hole saws, rotary sanders, wire-wheel brushes and other accessories. Cordless drill/drivers also feature a slip clutch which enables the user to adjust the torque level for precise and consistent driving.

An impact driver looks similar to a drill/driver but instead of a keyless chuck, it features a collet that accepts hex-shanked driver bits. By utilizing bit rotation and concussive force, the impact driver is designed for one job—driving screws, which it does more efficiently than any other tool. An impact driver can generate two to three times the torque of a drill/driver. For example: an impact driver can drive long, large fasteners like fat lag screws that would stall the very best drill/driver.

If your focus is on tasks or projects that involve driving numerous screws or a lot of long or large screws—like building decks, installing tile backer board or laying down plywood subfloors—you should consider an impact driver. Otherwise, you’ll probably do great with a reliable drill/driver.

Professional-grade Hercules offers a drill/driver and impact driver:

20V Lithium Cordless 1/2 In. Compact Drill/Driver Kit
The Hercules drill/driver’s pro-grade design features all-metal gear construction for extreme durability and a 4-pole motor for optimal performance—550 in. lbs. of torque and 0–2000 RPM for effortless drilling and fastening. The drill/driver also features the Jacobs® ½-inch ratcheting chuck providing ultimate bit retention and a built-in LED light with a trigger-release delay to illuminate your work area. The Hercules Lithium battery system—charger and battery—delivers fast charging and long run times.

 

20V Lithium Cordless 1/4 in. Hex Compact Impact Driver Kit
The Hercules impact driver provides up to 1500 in. lbs. of torque and 0-3200 IPM for demanding applications like decking, fencing and drywall. Like its drill/driver counterpart, this impact driver features durable all-metal construction and 4-pole motor delivering maximum performance in a compact size. Change out bits quickly with the ¼-inch hex chuck and illuminate your work area with the integrated LED light. The impact driver also features the Hercules battery system for fast charging and long run times.

 

Hercules professional-grade cordless power tools are guaranteed to deliver legendary performance! Check out the complete line of Hercules tools and accessories at your local Harbor Freight Tools store.

 

 

 

 

Source material:
Popular Mechanics

Working with Concrete, Masonry or Other Tough Materials? It’s Hammer Time!

You’ve decided to tackle a construction or renovation project on your own that involves drilling or breaking down concrete, masonry or other tough materials. If that’s the case, you’re going to need either a rotary hammer, demolition/breaker hammer or combination hammer.

For those new to working with concrete, a rotary hammer is a power tool that combines rotation with a hammering action to penetrate concrete. A demolition/breaker hammer chips or breaks up concrete—they can also be oriented for either vertical or horizontal positioning. A combination hammer can drill into or break up concrete. Note that the versatile Bauer rotary hammers listed below function as combination hammers.

When choosing a rotary hammer, knowing the size holes you’ll be drilling and the scope of your project will help you determine which tool will provide optimal performance. Bigger isn’t necessarily better though you may want to consider investing in the next size up to give you the flexibility of drilling larger holes if needed and not pushing the tool to extremes which could eventually lead to failure.

The same goes for demolition/breaker hammers. The 15 Amp 35 lb. Pro Demolition Hammer may be well suited for breaking up footings but for breaking up an entire driveway, the 15 Amp 70 Lb. Pro Breaker Hammer could be a better choice.

 


There are a variety of bits that can be utilized depending on the task, material and relative volume. Switching between bits is also quick and easy. The majority of rotary hammers employ one of three bit-holding systems: SDS-Plus®, SDS-Max® and Spline. SDS-Plus is generally used for smaller bits (3/16” to ¾”). SDS-Max is used for larger bits (½” to 1-3/4”) and is superior in design to Spline (3/8” to 1-3/8”) which is gradually being phased out.

While working with concrete and other hard materials isn’t complicated, improper technique and application can lead to bits breaking and that money you saved doing the project yourself may be spent replacing bits! Causes for bit failure include: working at an improper angle, blank-firing (hammer piston strikes the top of the bit without the tip having proper contact with the work piece or material), not warming the bit up with light or moderate breaking first in cold temperatures, mechanical damage like scratches or gouges, poor lubrication and corrosion.

Additionally, using the wrong bit for the wrong job is a surefire way to damage a bit, not to mention create a potentially dangerous situation—always use the appropriate bit for the task at hand! Seek out experienced users or do research on the Internet—there are a ton of videos, blogs and other resources to guide you. And be sure to follow all guidelines for maintenance and storage.

Bauer offers a professional line of rotary and demolition/breaker hammers. Here are some of their most popular offerings (drill bits are sold separately though two chisels each are included with the breaker/demolition hammers below):

1 in. SDS Variable Speed Pro Rotary Hammer Kit

This variable speed rotary hammer is ideal for boring into concrete, masonry or even drilling into wood with ease thanks to the 0–1150 RPM rotation-only mode. The tool features an ergonomic D-handle for a comfortable grip, adjustable 360-degree side handle for maximum control and a 3-in-1 switch for drill, hammer drill and hammer-only modes. The impact rating ranges from 0–5100 BPM with 1.9 ft. lbs. of impact energy for pounding through concrete and masonry.

 

1-1/8 in. SDS Variable Speed Pro Rotary Hammer Kit

This rotary hammer features Bauer’s anti-vibration technology that delivers more power to the bit and less to the handle for fast, precise drilling with less user fatigue. Other features include a powerful 10 amp motor, high power-to-weight ratio, adjustable 360-degree side handle for maximum comfort and control, and variable speed control dial to accommodate multiple applications. Switch out bits with the quick-change chuck to hammer, hammer with rotation or drill. The tool has an impact rate of 3900 BPM with 3.7 ft. lbs. of impact energy for pounding through tough materials.

 

10.5 Amp 1-9/16 in. SDS Max-Type Pro Variable Speed Rotary Hammer Kit

With its 10.5 amp motor and delivering 3780 BPM with 6.6 ft. lbs of impact, this variable speed rotary hammer features the most powerful motor in its class to power through almost any material. In addition to the shock-absorbent anti-vibration technology and adjustable 360-degree handle, this tool also features a built-in safety clutch for protection in case of bit bind-up.

 

12.5 Amp SDS Max Type Pro Demolition Hammer Kit

With a hardy 12.5 amp motor, this pro demolition hammer powers through concrete and mortar quickly and easily. This tool also features the Bauer anti-vibration technology along with ball-bearing construction for longer life, quick change bit retention, ergonomic handle to reduce fatigue, 360-degree side handle providing comfort and control, and an impact rating of 1900 BPM with 18 ft. lbs. of impact energy. Requires a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit.

 

15 Amp 35 lb. Pro Demolition Hammer Kit

For heavy-duty projects, you’ll want this pro demolition hammer delivering 1300 BPM with over 34 ft. lbs. of impact energy. The 15 amp motor is housed in a rugged cast aluminum housing providing durability with less relative weight. This demolition hammer also features the industry-leading anti-vibration control, adjustable 360-degree handle which enables vertical or horizontal usage, and auto-stop carbon brushes and ball-bearing construction for a longer tool life. Requires a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit. Two chisels are included.

 

15 Amp 70 Lb. Pro Breaker Hammer

Ashpalt, concrete and other tough materials won’t stand a chance against this 70-lb. pro breaker hammer. The 15 amp motor delivers 950 BPM with 55 ft. lbs. of impact energy. The tool also features Bauer’s anti-vibration technology plus a rubber grip to reduce fatigue and strain. Accepts both collared and collarless chisels and the heavy-duty chisel retainer accepts 1-1/8 in. hex steel. The cast-aluminum housing enhances its excellent power-to-weight ratio. Requires a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit. Two chisels are included.

 

Warrior brand bits are sold separately, including these sets:

 

12 in. SDS Max Type Masonry Chisel Bit Set 3 Pc

 


SDS Masonry Flat Chisel Set 3 Pc

 

8 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 6 Pc

 


12 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 5 Pc

 


16 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 5 Pc

 

The materials may be hard—but drilling and breaking them up is easy with Bauer rotary hammers and demolition/breaker hammers. Bauer brand tools are available at your local Harbor Freight Tools store!

 

 

 

 

Source material:
bethepro.com

Harbor Freight Drills Down on Drill Bits

All drill bits are not created equal—there are many different types of bits and a variety of materials used to make them. In some cases, the same drill bit can be used on different materials, but is it necessarily the best choice? It’s important to know a bit about bits to optimize the results of your respective task or project …

 

Twist Bits
These are some of the most common bits to find in the handyman’s toolbox. Used with either a hand or electric drill, the front edges cut the material and the spirals remove the debris along the length of the bit. However, there is a lot of variation with these bits. HSS (High Speed Steel) bits are generally characterized by their black color but more expensive and durable ones may contain cobalt or titanium coating (identified by the gold color). Titanium increases the hardness of the bit and facilitates a lubricating quality which is effective when drilling metals but has little impact on other materials.

Harbor Freight has several Twist Bit sets from which to choose, including the Titanium Drill Bit Set 29 Pc. These titanium drill bits run cooler, drill smoother and last up to three times longer than standard drill bits. The bits range in size from 1/16 in. to ½ in. in 64ths.

Harbor Freight also carries the 115 Pc Cobalt Drill Bit Set. These cobalt drill bits retain their hardness up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit making them ideal for drilling cast iron, heat-treated steel, stainless steel and other hard materials. With 135 degree tips, the cobalt drill bits not only last longer but also cut faster than standard high speed steel bits.

 

Brad Point Bits (a.k.a. wood or dowel bits)
These bits are best used on wood (some plastics) and are characterized by a small point at the tip of the bit. Spurs on either side cut clean, straight holes. They’re ideal for drilling holes for dowels, which is why they’re also called dowel bits. These drill bits are a staple for wood workers.

Harbor Freight offers the Brad Point Wood Drill Bit Set 7 Pc with 3/8 inch cutdown shanks. These outstanding bits resist skating and feature extra sharp flutes designed to smooth hole sides while ejecting chips faster to prevent overheating your drill. For projects utilizing either hard or soft woods, this set of brad point bits gets the job done quickly and accurately.

 

Auger Drill Bits
These bits are designed to cut large, deep and accurate flat-bottomed holes. The spiraling shaft comes to a fine, threaded point while the single spur cuts and defines the hole’s edge. The threaded center bites into the wood, pulling the bit into the timber. This pulling action makes it unsuitable for use in power drills.

Harbor Freight has several sets of auger drill bits available, starting with the Auger Bit Set 7 Pc. These 7-1/2 in. long auger bits make fast, clean holes in both soft and hard woods. The bits are made of heat-treated alloy steel that resists damage from nails. Other features include quick-change 3/8 in. dia. hex shanks and a ¼ in. bit with a ¼ in. hex shank.

Other Harbor Freight auger bits set include the 18 in. Ship Auger Bit Set 3 Pc and Stubby Auger Bit Set 6 Pc.

 

Wood Spade Bits (a.k.a. Paddle Bits, Flat Wood Bits)
The pointed tip centers the hole as the paddle-shaped blade bores large, wide holes. Sizes are clearly marked on the face of each bit. These larger bits require a fairly powerful drill and lend themselves to drilling fairly large flat-bottomed holes with a center point—works especially well when the head of a screw or bolt needs to be recessed in the lumber. The bits can cause a lot of splintering as they breakthrough the work piece but a sacrificial backing board will reduce this. These bits are not recommended for enlarging an existing hole.

Harbor Freight offers a variety of wood spade bit sets, including the Steel Spade Drill Bit Set 13 Pc. The extended spurs effortlessly cut crisp, clean holes in thick stock. Each bit is forged and heat-treated to withstand rigorous use. The ¼ inch quick-change shank works with drills and impact drivers.

Other Harbor Freight offerings include the Steel Spade Bit Set 6 Pc, Steel Large Diameter Spade Bit Set 4 Pc, and the Steel Stubby Spade Bit Set 3 Pc.

 

Masonry Bits
As the name implies, these drill bits are designed to be used on masonry material, including brick, block, stone, quarry tiles and concrete. The cutting tip is often made of tungsten carbide bonded to a spiral steel shaft. Generally, masonry bits are used in a hand drill but can also be used in a hand brace or hammer action power drill (though cheaper bits can shatter due to the action). Long masonry bits can be used for drilling through masonry walls.

Harbor Freight provides several masonry bit options, including the Masonry Drill Bit Set 5 Pc featuring M2 high-speed steel shanks and C2 carbide tips with 6% cobalt. The 8 in. SDS Masonry Bit Set 6 Pc features a superior hardening process and an enhanced flute design that helps the bits run cooler.

 

Tile and Glass Bits
The tips of these bits are designed to penetrate tile or glass, then enlarge the hole as the bit penetrates the material. The tips are usually made with tungsten carbide. The bits can be used in a hand drill but are best used with a variable speed power drill on a slow speed. Lubricants should be used to keep the tip cool when drilling.

Harbor Freight offers the Carbide Tip Glass and Tile Cutting Drill Bit Set 6 Pc featuring C-3 tungsten carbide tips and a steel shaft for drilling glass, ceramics, plastics and Formica tiles. The wide base angle provides precise, stable drilling.

 

Countersink Bits
Using a power or hand drill, these bits penetrate material and form a conical recess to accommodate the heads of countersunk screws. Countersink bits are generally designed for use on softer materials.

Harbor Freight carries the Carbon Steel Tapered Drill Bit and Countersink Set, 22 Pc. The bits are made from heat-treated steel and designed with a unique single-twist design to remove material more efficiently, resulting in cleaner holes. The set includes seven drills, seven countersinks, seven stop-collars and an individually organized wooden storage box for easy transport and organization.

 

Forstner Bits
These bits are used to form holes with flat bottoms, such as with kitchen cupboard hinges. It’s best to use a power drill with a drill stand for optimal accuracy.

Harbor Freight offers two Forstner bit sets, the 1/4 in. – 1 in. Forstner Drill Bit Set With 3/8 in. Shanks 7 Pc featuring high carbon steel construction and 3/8 in. reinforced shanks, and the 1/4 in. – 2-1/8 in. Forstner Drill Bit Set With 3/8 in. Shanks 16 Pc which includes more bits and a wood carrying case for storage.

 

That’s just the basics when it comes to drill bits. There are many other types of specialized drill bits as well, such as screwdriver bits, plug cutters and nut drivers.

For the full selection of drills bits and accessories, visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store or the Harbor Freight website.

 

 

Source Material:
DIY – different drill bits
DIY data

Most Wanted Gifts Under $25

Gift_Guide_LP_10b

Gift_Guide_LP_25bGift_Guide_LP_50bGift_Guide_LP_100b

 

 

 
 

  


 

 

 

 

You don’t have to spend a fortune for the tool lovers on your holiday gift list this year. There are a ton of great items available at Harbor Freight. Here are ten gift ideas for items under $25 dollars from America’s favorite tool store!

 

10.

400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc

400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc

These ratcheting tie downs are easily adjustable to secure loads to truck beds, roof racks and trailers. Vinyl covered S-hooks prevent marring while ratcheting handles make it easy to adjust the length on the web straps. For the gift recipient who’s always on the move with loads in tow, you can’t go wrong with the 400 lb. Capacity 1 in. x 15 ft. Ratcheting Tie Downs 4 Pc.

 

9.

3 Ton Steel Jack Stands

3 Ton Steel Jack Stands

Any gift recipient who likes to work on or store his or her sleigh will love the 3 Ton Steel Jack Stands. Though the combined weight of this pair of stands is only 13.2 lbs., they can support most cars and trucks safely off the ground. Other features included welded steel bases for strength and self-locking ratchet handles.

 

8.

3/8 in. Variable Speed Reversible Drill

Three Eighths In. Variable Speed Reversible Drill

Good cheer will find its way to the gift recipient of this versatile power tool. The 3/8 in. Variable Speed Reversible Drill offers variable speeds up to 3000 RPM, making it ideal for woodworking, metalworking and home repair. It features a durable and smooth running ball-bearing motor designed for heavy use, keyless chuck and a built-in level.

 

7.

Mechanic’s Shop Towels 50 Pk

Mechanic's Shop Towels 50 Pk

Cut directly from Santa’s long-johns… well, maybe not, but these shop towels are so absorbent and durable, the gift recipient will swear they’re magic! Made of 100% cotton weave and machine washable, they’re perfect for picking up dirt, grease and liquids.

 

6.

Oscillating Multi-Tool

Oscillating Multi-Tool

Giving the Oscillating Multi-Tool is like giving dozens of gifts in one! This powerful tool can be used to cut through cable, air ducts, downspouts, plasterboard, pipes and wood up to 2” thick… sand down cement, concrete, stone, plaster, tile adhesive, paint… Optional attachments are easy to switch out. For remodeling, automotive repairs, hobbies and more, this one tool does the job delivering up to 21,000 OPM. Yet, its low vibration design means less fatigue during tough jobs.

 

5.

3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc

3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc

For the gift recipient who hauls serious loads, look no further than the weather-resistant 3300 lb. Capacity 2 in. x 27 ft. Heavy Duty Ratcheting Tie Down 1 Pc. With this nifty tool, one can quickly and easily cinch up cargo and keep it locked down tight with the ratchet tie-down system. Additional features included durable J-style hooks and a rubberized handle and release.

 

4.

16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables

16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables

Walkin’ in a winter wonderland is one thing but driving through a winter wonderland is an entirely different matter and one that can easily lead to a dead battery. Here’s a great gift that keeps on giving, the 16 ft. 6 Gauge Heavy Duty Booster Cables. The cables features heavy duty vinyl coated steel clamps and copper coated jaws. Used once and the gift recipient will thank you forever.

 

3.

4-1/2 in. 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder

4 and One Half Inch 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder

Popular among professional contractors, do-it-yourselfers and Santa’s elves, the 4-1/2 in. 4.3 Amp Angle Grinder makes a great gift! The grinder has a durable 4.3 amp motor that delivers up to 10,000 RPM for fast stock removal. It also features a rugged cast aluminum gear case, wheel guard and two position auxiliary handle.

 

2.

Wireless Security Alert System

Wireless Security Alert System

Security makes a great gift! With the Wireless Security Alert System, an alert chimes when a person or vehicle comes within a 400 ft. range. The system is easy to install with included mounting hardware and features a powerful weather-proof infrared sensor. The entire system is powered with just one 9v and three C batteries (sold separately).

 

1.

1000 lb. Capacity 1-1/2 in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4

1000 lb. Capacity 1 and one-half  in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4

For mid-sized loads, the 1000 lb. Capacity 1-1/2 in. x 10 ft. Ratcheting Tie Down Set of 4 is ideal. Ratchet handles make strap adjustment a cinch (pun intended) and hand levers make it easy to ho ho hold down the load tight.

 

For more great gift ideas, be sure to check out harborfreight.com or visit a Harbor Freight store near you!

Happy holidays to you and your family from all of us at Harbor Freight Tools!

 

See the other Most Wanted Gift Guides:

Most Wanted Gifts Under $10
Most Wanted Gifts Under $50
Most Wanted Gifts Under $100

How To Build a Farmhouse Table

farmhouse table sample 3

Last night the wife and I were watching one of those “fixer upper” shows on the”house channel” (which is what I call it anyway). It was one of those typical episodes where a couple finds a house to fix, they run into major unexpected issues, they roll their eyes at each other, and at the end some happy homeowners are clinking glasses of cheap white wine with their new neighbors. Or something like that. Anyway, during the phase where the significant other is filling the house with furniture and charming antique commode-plant holder decor, a couple of the lackeys haul in this beautiful, rustic dining table. “Wow,” I comment. “That’s cool.” “Yeah,” says the Mrs. “That’s a farm table.” To which I give my usual response, “Huh.” It really was a great piece, and I decided I wanted to build one. Which leads me to this article.

farmhouse table complete

Farmhouse tables (or farm tables) are those warm, rustic benches that makes you think of humble families gathered around American dinner tables in the 18th and 19th-centuries. Instead of being built by skilled craftsmen, they were put together with rough, sturdy planks and their solidity was appreciated scads more than their detail or refinery. Today, farmhouse tables can still bring charm to any home, complementing matched or mismatched chairs, and whatever other furniture you’ve collected. Plus, they’ll take a massive beating and still be worthy of heirloom status when it’s time to pass them on. Furniture stores like Restoration Hardware sell farmhouse tables at a premium, even thousands of dollars. Imagine if you could build your own– just as nice and rugged– for under $100.

farmhouse table sample 1

There are a number of sites offering DIY plans for building your own farmhouse table, ranging everywhere from extremely ambitious to pretty succinct. The plan I liked the most, as far as taking it and making it your own, is on Ana White’s site. Not only are her instructions refreshingly legible and professionally illustrated, but she only requires five tools in the arsenal to make it happen (excluding tape measure, marking pencil and safety protection, that is).

farmhouse table sample selection

Another extremely helpful feature, Ana includes a scrapbook of a number of variations others built using her plan. Not only does it reflect how friendly her approach is to personalization, it offers a plethora of ideas to consider when you go for it. As for the tools needed, you probably already have a couple of them.

Tools Needed

1. Drill/Driver

drill driver 3-8 art

Ana originally listed a power drill, but I’d like to take it a step further, considering all the screw driving that needs to be done and recommend this 18-volt 3/8″Cordless Drill/Driver by Drillmaster. With 21 clutch settings, a keyless chuck and a reverse, this workhorse costs less than $25 and will give you more than enough performance for this project.

2. Circular Saw

circular saw

The circular saw Ana used was an 18v 5-1/2″ cordless model with a laser guide. I recommend this Chicago Electric model, SKU #68849. Not only does it have the same size and features as hers, but it’s less than half the price.

3. Brad Nailer

brad nailer

Ideally, you’ll already have an air compressor so all you’d need to pick up is a pneumatic brad nailer. If this is the case, this Central Pneumatic 18-Gauge Brad Air Nailer is a tireless performer that’ll get the job done and be ready for more. And for less than $20, it’ll leave you plenty to keep the cooler stocked.

3a. Hammer w/ Nail Punch

hammer nail punch

 

If you don’t have an air compressor and don’t want to get one for just this product, a hammer and nail punch can accomplish the same task. It just won’t be as fast and effortless.

4. Random Orbital Sander

random orbital sander

You might say you already have a sander and don’t need another one, but I’m telling you, you’ll want this one. When the dust settles, when it comes to stripping paint from furniture, preparing new molding or cleaning up between finish coats, you won’t get more bang for your buck than with a random-orbit sander.  It doesn’t leave swirls or scratches, you can go in any direction (hence the “random”), it’s a lot easier on the hand… it even smooths and cleans metal and composite materials like solid-surface counter tops. Use a Chicago Electric Random-Orbit Palm Sander (under $30) on this project and I’ll bet you a Buffalo nickel it’ll be your go-to sander from here on in.

5. Square

square

When building your table, you’ll need to check that the parts you’re assembling are “square.”  You’ll want a measuring square for this. A lot of folks like using a speed square, however for a table this size I recommend a triangular rafter square. Pittsburgh makes a really nice one for under $2.  If you’re a little fuzzy about the whole “squaring” thing, here’s a nifty guide on operating the rafter square. If you’re the type that’s more confident with a tape measure, you can also go the diagonal-route of squaring your table.

The Plan

farmhouse table sample 4

As I mentioned, you can find a clear and basic plan on creating your own farmhouse table on Ana White’s blog site. Whether it be new lumber, reclaimed wood, repurposed bowling lane wood, or what have you, building this signature piece is very doable. And remember to stop by Harbor Freight Tools when you plan to start!

The Drop-Dead, Gotta-Have Drill/Driver

i love my drill driver 2

There’s no way around it. If you’re planning to work on projects– be they builds, repairs or little home jobs like hanging a plant– you’re going to need to drill holes and drive in screws. Actually, a drill/driver should be the very first power tool you buy, ’cause you two will be having plenty of bonding time while hanging wall decor, assembling furniture, putting up curtain rods, building a deck, installing cabinets, etc.– not to mention, drive screws more quickly and powerfully than you could ever hope to by hand.

Not Just a Drill

driver and drill

What’s the difference between a drill and a drill/driver, you might ask? In a nutshell, a driver’s got a clutch that you can adjust for a desired torque. So, when you’re driving in a screw, the tool’s motor disengages when it reaches the set point and prevents the bit from stripping the screw’s head or driving it in too deep. A drill would just spin and spin until you released the trigger. A clutch’s settings can range from 1-to-10 or 1-to-20, with “1” disengaging with the least amount of resistance and the highest number disengaging with the most.

drill driver clutch

drill driver drill bit

Power

For the sake of brevity, I’m only going to talk about cordless drill drivers. If you’re going to be using the drill/driver a lot, you’ll want something that can go anywhere. Beyond the number of settings, features and chuck size, cordless drill/drivers are available in a variety of power options, such as 12-volt or 18-volt, and Ni-Cad or lithium batteries. The 12-volt drill driver is more compact, but the 18-volt has more power and run-time. Lithium-Ion batteries are lighter and smaller, but cost more than Ni-Cads. These trade-offs mostly come down to personal preference and anticipation of what the tool’s going to be used for.

drill driver art

As “best-bang-for-the-buck,” I like the Chicago Electric 18 Volt 1/2″ Cordless Drill/Driver #62427. It’s 18-volt, which is great for all-around duty, it has variable speeds, reverse and it sports 23 clutch settings. To read more about its features and price, click here.