The perfect drill

By Doug Mahoney

This submit was completed in partnership with The Sweethome, a purchaser’s information to one of the best issues on your house. Learn the complete article right here.

After utilizing sixteen drills to drive 1,669 three-inch screws and bore 345 1-inch holes, we’re satisfied that one of the best drill for round the home is the Bosch PS31-2A 12-Volt Max. It is smaller and lighter than different 12-volt instruments we examined, and its battery life far outlasts the competitors. It drilled twice as many holes and drove almost 50 % extra screws on a totally charged battery than the opposite drills we examined. It additionally drove screws evenly and with out problem, even via robust knots. Different 12-volts typically had points absolutely sinking the screws flush with the wooden.

Who ought to get this

The best drill

The examined drills. Photograph: Doug Mahoney

A 12-volt drill is a kitchen-drawer device. It is good for lots of issues round the home—placing up hooks, constructing bookshelves, swapping out lighting fixtures, and perhaps straightening a saggy gutter. It isn’t the right software for fixed heavy-obligation use, however it could possibly definitely substitute a couple of rotted deck boards or assist with the framing wanted to put in a brand new window. Should you’re a rabid DIYer with plans to construct a deck, a doghouse, and a tree home this summer time, we advocate getting a stronger 18-volt drill (extra on this later). It presents longer battery life and extra energy.

How we examined

The best drill

Lotsa screws and lotsa holes… Photograph: Doug Mahoney

We spent two days testing sixteen drills on a pile of lumber (six 12-volts and 10 18-volts). For the driving check, we counted what number of three-inch drywall screws every drill might sink into three inches of wooden on a totally charged battery. For the drilling check, we outfitted every drill with a brand new 1-inch spade bit and drilled holes by way of 1½-inch-thick 2-by-10s till the battery wore out. That is an aggressive process for the 12-volt drills, however we needed a direct comparability towards the 18-volt drills to really see their capabilities matched towards each other. Additionally, we needed to check the higher finish of the 12-volts to see which fashions might deal with the occasional foray into extra formidable work.

We stored an eye fixed on every drill’s efficiency and dealing with, asking questions like: How typically does it stall out? How a lot does it wrestle? How does it really feel within the hand? We additionally used the drills in additional unstructured settings as we constructed a wall, repaired a hen coop, fabricated two bookshelves, put down a flooring, and outfitted a workshop with shelving.

Our decide

The best drill

The Bosch PS31 was probably the most compact and highly effective 12-volt drill we examined. Photograph: Doug Mahoney

The Bosch PS31-2A 12-Volt Max is the most effective drill for round the home. Not solely is it the lightest, most compact drill we examined, however it’s additionally among the many strongest, and it utterly blew away the competitors when it comes to battery life. Ranging from a full cost, it drilled twice as many holes because the second-place drill and drove virtually 50 % extra screws. It persistently drove the screws utterly into the wooden and barely struggled in any respect when going via dense knots, in contrast to most of the different drills we checked out. Regardless that it is a smaller, 12-volt software meant for round-the-home work, it carried out in addition to most of the bigger 18-volt instruments we examined, providing sufficient energy for infrequent use on formidable tasks.

Runner-up: Good worth, much less energy

The best drill

The 12-volt Porter-Cable is a pleasant drill with good options. It simply does not have the facility or endurance of the Bosch PS31. Photograph: Doug Mahoney

If the Bosch PS31 is unavailable, the subsequent best choice is the Porter-Cable PCL120DDC-2 12-Volt Max Drill/Driver, which was our former decide. Past the Bosch, the opposite 12-volts all had very comparable leads to our exams, so the Porter-Cable gained the sting as a result of it is priced persistently decrease than different drills with comparable options. Since first recommending the drill three years in the past, we’ve got used this software often and by no means had any points. It is the one 12-volt that has each a belt hook and onboard bit storage. It is bigger than the Bosch PS31 and does not have as a lot energy and stamina, so we finally want the Bosch. However the Porter-Cable gives strong efficiency, reliability, and options at a persistently wonderful worth.

Improve: For quicker work on harder jobs

The best drill

For heavier DIY work, the Bosch DDS181 is a superb mixture of energy, consolation, and options. Photograph: Doug Mahoney

When you want a device that may reliably drill giant holes and sink lengthy screws, we advocate the Bosch DDS181-02 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Package. It was the one 18-volt drill we tried that positioned at or close to the highest in each our drilling and driving checks. It notably excelled within the drilling check, boring 33 % extra holes than the second-place 18-volt drill. In contrast with the smaller, 12-volt Bosch (our foremost decide), this drill completes harder jobs a lot quicker, doing the identical work in lower than half the time. For small, round-the-home duties, having this added velocity and energy is pointless, however for extra manufacturing-oriented work, like placing down decking, it makes a noticeable distinction. The 18-volt Bosch is a cushty device to carry, its properly-positioned LED spreads mild higher than most drills, and it consists of useful options like a belt hook and a battery-life gauge.

Improve runner-up: Energy for a discount

The best drill

The 18-volt Porter-Cable does not have the facility of the Bosch, nevertheless it did carry out very properly, particularly contemplating it is comparatively cheap. Photograph: Doug Mahoney

If the 18-volt Bosch is not obtainable, or should you’re trying to save a couple of dollars, we additionally just like the Porter-Cable PCCK600LB 20-Volt Drill/Driver Package. It is not probably the most highly effective drill in its class, nevertheless it makes up for what it lacks in energy with straightforward usability and wonderful worth. In contrast to a lot of the competitors, it gives an entire set of options, together with an LED, onboard bit storage, a belt hook, and a battery-life gauge. This Porter-Cable cannot fairly hold with the Bosch DDS181’s efficiency, nevertheless it holds it personal towards every part else within the class.

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