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1 October 2020

Your drill questions answered

Here we answer some of your common drill questions, such as what type is best for certain jobs and what features you should look out for.
Drilling screws into wood
Liz Ransome-Croker

Whether you have or are buying a corded electric drill or cordless drill, there are a whole host of features to choose from. 

Here, we answer your questions on what type of drill is best for different jobs, and what tasks you'll be able to do with the various features.

What type of drill do I need?

Before buying any kind of drill, whether corded or cordless, think about the kinds of job you’re likely to need to do.

Combination drills: do I need one?

You’ll find all of the features of a drill-driver, along with a hammer-drilling mode for drilling through hard surfaces such as concrete. If your DIY projects extend to the exterior of your home and the garden, a combination drill will be a good choice.

Drill-drivers: do I need one?

If you rarely get involved in DIY and only have to drill the odd hole every now and then, you’re unlikely to need a very powerful combination drill with hammer action. A drill-driver with rotary action and screwdriver mode will be sufficient for most jobs in the home.

In our cordless drill tests, we challenged each to tackle basic tasks all the way through to trickier jobs, such as drilling into concrete and driving screws into metal. Our top scorer was rated 78%, while the worst scored just 29%. 

See our to find one that will make any job easier, and discover which was rated the best drill brand by drill owners for factors such as quality and value for money.

Combination drills – which jobs are they good for?

Hammer drilling mode

Drilling in brickwork: You won’t always need to use hammer mode when drilling through bricks, but it can help. So if you're attaching something like a hanging-basket to the outside of your house, try a rotary bit and without hammer. If the going is too tough, change to a masonry bit with hammer action.

Drilling in concrete fence posts or paving slabs: Hammer drilling is needed when drilling through extremely hard surfaces such as concrete. So, if you’re drilling into a concrete fence post or through a paving slab, the hammer action is essential to help puncture the surface. Remember to use tungsten carbide-tipped hammer-drill bits.

Rotary drilling and screwdriving

Combination drills will be able to handle all the rotary drilling and screwdriving jobs a drill-driver can, but they tend to be a little heavier.

Drill drivers – which jobs are they good for?

Rotary drilling mode

Drilling holes in doors and door frames: Drilling a hole in a wooden door to attach a door number, or into a wooden door-frame to fix a door bell, are easy jobs for a drill-driver.

Hanging pictures: A drill-driver set to rotary drilling mode will be fine for quickly drilling a hole for a picture hook to go on.

Putting up blinds, curtains and towel rails: Drill drivers set to drill in rotary mode, and some wall-plugs, are all you’ll need when drilling small holes in most internal walls, making them ideal for simple DIY jobs like putting up a towel-rail.

Screwdriving mode

Assembling flat-pack furniture: A drill-driver set to screwdriving mode will help speed up the process of assembling flat-pack furniture.

Hanging doors: Screwing in door-hinge screws is well within the capabilities of a drill driver.

Other screwdriving jobs: Drill-drivers are an excellent addition to a tool set and mean you won’t have to pay out for a separate electric screwdriver. But they can be bulky, so might not be perfect if you’re assembling something where space is tight, such as a kitchen unit.

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