The Cordless Drill
Can there be any doubt the cordless drill has revolutionized the job of any skilled laborer or craftsmen? Literally, for some skilled tradesmen the cordless drill has knocked off hours from each and every day for him or her, and made them far more productive than they once were within the hours they did work.
Of course electric drills have been around for a fair amount of time, however, the cordless drill provides mobility far beyond the plug into the wall socket electric drills, and greater safety besides. With a cordless drill, the peril of a nicked electrical cord, or getting the cord tangled in something or another are gone, and besides, rolling out and rolling back up long extension cords can be very tedious - especially for jobs when the drill is needed, but the greater power provided by one hundred and twenty volts isn't so necessary.
So far as drills go, they aren't going anywhere - according to Wikipedia humanity has been using some sort of something or another to drill holes for various purposes for at least thirty five hundred years, and I suspect that, in fact, using some sort of tool or rock or something to drill a hole has been with humanity as a constant bit of working or building of various and sundry things for far longer still.
What Are The Uses Of A Cordless Drill?
Not to bore anyone to tears, but the truth of the matter is that most often in my two major lines of skilled labor or work, the cordless drill isn't used so much for the drilling of holes as it is for the fastening or unfastening of things to or from a solid surface. In other words, cordless drills get used a lot as cordless screwdrivers, or cordless nut-drivers.
Especially in the HVAC industry, everything is fastened together with either quarter inch hex head screws, or five sixteenths inch hex head screws, but because these screws can often be very very tight or rather rusted and old, the power of the cordless drill is very much needed in many cases, as this prevents the use of a pair of channel lock pliers in conjunction with a nut-driver tool.
This Fall and Winter, I'm working as an electrician, and the electrician is more one to be screwing fixtures together with traditional Philips head or flat head screws, or even actually drilling holes into things to insert a screw, as the situation might call for.
It doesn't much matter if you use a cordless drill in your mode of employment or not, in this day and age of things forever being fastened together by screws of various and sundry shapes and sizes, it is practically an essential tool to have on hand at the homestead, whether you be male, female, old or young. Practical applications within the home or on a job involving a cordless drill are for all intents and practical purposes more than anyone could ever get around to naming or listing.
A Pre Battery Powered Cordless Drill
The History Of Cordless Drills
According to Wikipedia cordless drills have been in the use of humankind for at least thirty five hundred years. I suspect that number is nowhere near big enough, as the history of the world is far far vaster and greater than it is presented to us dumbed down Americans in our corporation controlled indoctrination books.
Please keep in mind that what a cordless drill could look like or be made from greatly surpass the sort of thing one generally has flash in their mind when the term cordless drill, comes to pass through there.
The Wikipedia article on drills mentions the Harappans and Egyptians, but obviously what is shown above as a hand powered and very cordless drill is not what we're truly concerning ourselves with here, as of course, we're talking about battery powered cordless drills in the modern homestead and the modern workforce. What is shown below is also very much NOT the things used by cultures from the distant past.
I have been told that for all intents and practical purposes the technology behind what now constitutes the battery powered cordless drill originated with the German corporation known as Bosch. Despite all that, the biggest three names in cordless drills, from my own experience, seem to be those of DeWalt, Makita, and Milwaukee.
The reality is that while most craftsmen I know use either a DeWalt or a Milwaukee cordless drill, some of the older guys refer to all cordless drills of any brand as "Makitas."
DeWalt 3 Speed Cordless Power Drill
Makita Cordless Drills
The Makita cordless drill company has been around since 1915 when it was established in Japan, in 1970 they established a US subsidiary, and their stock is actively traded publicly all over the world. Makita has established itself firmly in the power tools market and as I'd stated before, some people, older craftsmen and contractors, will simply refer to a cordless drill as a "Makita."
Sadly for the value of the product and the consumer too, the year 1993 saw the Makita corporation setting up factories in China, but of course that matters not too much to someone simply looking for a cordless drill.
Makita is still "Japan's largest manufacturer of power tools," despite them not being made in Japan much anymore. Of course we see how multi national corporations work. Makita makes a huge array of power tools for all industries, but the general opinion I am hearing out in the field and on the job is that their products do not stand as firmly in the minds of craftsmen here in the USA as do those by either DeWalt or Milwaukee.
Now one shouldn't think that the three brands I'm going to discuss here are the only ones out there making good cordless drills, that would be very far from the reality, and in fact, these three brands I am going to discuss are very recognizable, and very desired by all the local thieves wherever you live.
So far as myself and the work that I do, no single drill will truly suffice for the simple reason that the larger 18 volt drills are too big to carry in a tool pouch all day, they'll roll out of the thing, fall, and get damaged. Often times if I'm simply opening up a condenser or hanging a light fixture, then the smaller 7.2 volt drill will more than suffice, and those CAN typically be fitted into a tool bag or tool pouch safely without fear of the thing falling out.
The big 18 volt drills, of course, have more settings and more capability, and when the drilling of holes through dense metals is the job, then those are certainly the drills to have.
Milwaukee Cordless Drills
By and large the craftsmen I deal with on a weekly basis prefer Milwaukee to Makita, but in no tangible way do many, or a significant enough number of craftsmen in skilled trades that I do know and speak with consider DeWalt drills either better or worse than Milwaukee drills, saws, so forth and so on - products.
I'd be rather amiss here were I to fail to mention Porter Cable Brand cordless drills, and in fact I've been using one particular Porter Cable brand drill semi frequently lately on the various and sundry jobs I'm blessed to be a part of.
DeWalt Cordless Tool Set
Brand New DeWalt 18 Volt Rechargeable Cordless Drill Available Now On Amazon.com.
The DeWalt Ultimate Cordless Tool Set
The complete DeWalt cordless tool combo set is a bit imposing on the price end of things, but is a truly terrific investment for a craftsman on the move with varied jobs that need doing. This set, of course, greatly exceeds merely the cordless drill, the cordless combination kit includes the following:
Cordless Combination Kit, 18 Volt, Includes 3HFW5 9 Pc. Combo Kit (4YEA7 Hammer Drill, 4YEA8 Impact Wrench, 4YDZ5 Circular Saw, 4YDZ4 Reciprocating Saw, 4YEC3 Jigsaw, 4YDZ6 Cut Off Tool, 4YEA1 Cut-Out Tool, 4YEA4 Impact Driver, 4LG22 Light, Battery Pack Replacement 4GA70) and 6VEE3 Double Pack Battery
This is a pretty extensive power tool set all with use of the same 18 volt rechargeable batteries - there are lesser or most appropriately arranged with the tools one might more or not need for less amounts of money, but for most intents and practical purposes the skill saw, the sawzall, and the cordless drill and flashlight are essentials for the commercial and residential crafts-person alike.
Literally, nearly every man with a skilled labor job wants the DeWalt set, but besides all of that, most around here do own a DeWalt 18 volt Lithium Ion rechargeable battery powered cordless DeWalt drill, and so they should, unless they just happen to own another brand's comparable one.
Most cordless drills of the now standard 18 volt variety have reasonably similar specifications, the specifications for the standard DeWalt model, however, are as follows:
DEWALT's DC970K-2 18-volt cordless 1/2-inch compact drill driver kit is perfect for anyone looking for a compact tool capable of drilling and driving in tight spaces that other tools cannot reach. The lightweight design of the DC970K-2 makes it extremely comfortable to use. Despite the compact design, this drill/driver makes no sacrifice of power and also features a 1/2-inch single-sleeve keyless ratcheting chuck for convenient and superior bit retention. The high-performance motor delivers maximum power of 380 unit watts out, the dual speed range of 0-450/0-1500 rpm delivers optimal performance, and the lightweight design (5.2 pounds) minimizes user fatigue. This kit includes the DC970K-2 18-volt cordless 1/2-inch compact drill driver, two 18-volt NI-cad batteries, a one-hour charger, and a carrying case.
Cordless Drills - Conclusion
So cordless drills are terrific tools for a huge variety of do it yourself jobs, skilled labor tradesmen or craftsmen and their loads of various kinds of work, and for persons simply repairing some of the many things we all use during our day to day lives.
There are many brands available all over the world that were not mentioned above, Ryobi, Mastercraft, Porter Cable, and still many others - and all can get the job done depending upon the needs of the worker and what, exactly, they expect from their drill. There are many many models from all manufacturers of various and sundry voltages - all nowadays are rechargeable with lithium ion batteries - but none of them are expected to replace entirely the time honored plug in 120 volt drill, as sometimes a person just needs more power and for longer periods of time.
Thanks for reading.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Wesman Todd Shaw
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on November 13, 2012:
Hey thanks Alocsin!!!!
No you won't have much problem with them running out of power should you get a good 18 volt model!!!! You'd really have to do a lot of drilling to run down the battery.
The batteries for these things just keep getting better and better.
What is really affordable are the Ryobi brand tools - they aren't quite as nice as the three brands I have discussed here, but they are all most anyone needs....and out on my jobs, that is what I'm mostly using is Ryobi...both in cordless and 120 volt drills!
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on November 13, 2012:
I do a lot of drilling for my model railroad hobby and find the cords a nuisance. Thanks to your hub, I'll seriously consider a cordless drill. I've always been concerned that they would run out of power. Voting this Up and Useful.
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 24, 2012:
You must be a big guy! I'm just a little whipper snapper....I weigh about 150lbs...so even carrying an 18 volt cordless around...and especially up and down a six foot ladder...too much!
I personally want to purchase a 7.2 vold Milwaukee for ...plugs, switches, light fixtures, hvac equipment...etc.....
My tool pouch is ...other than my Klein 11 in one...entirely my grandfather's pouch and tools! Of course I'm not drilling many holes....the uncle, the Master electrician does the hole hawg work :)
Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on October 24, 2012:
I recently inherited my father's old tool set and it makes me shudder to think of using the brace and bit he had to drill holes with all day long. I don't think I'd last an hour drilling studs and joists for wire with that thing.
I agree with your assessment of Milwaukee power drills; I, too, prefer that brand even though I am using Dewalt and a 24 volt Rigid set for now.
I can't agree that a lower voltage drill is best for lighter work of driving screws and such, though. I find the impact drivers to do that job far better than a drill, they are lighter weight, and an 18 volt battery will run them forever. My 24 volt system has one of these and it's generally good for 2-3 days of driving screws and mounting electrical boxes on just one battery.
whowas on October 22, 2012:
Well done for breaking free from all - or most - of that!
Funny to see that the 'Yankee' screwdriver in the link is made in Germany! Still, those Germans are fine technicians who pay real attention to detail and solid construction.
Thanks and all the best to you, Sir Wesman!
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 22, 2012:
You are indeed a very kind gentleman! When someone like yourself comments something of mine....it never fails - I must re read what was written, and ....see every choppy sentence, spelling or grammar error...and cower in shame!
I can't tell you how much ....I agree with what you implied insofar as our planned obsolescence or "disposable" consumer society is concerned.....luckily for me...I think I've broke free from the most of that.
I'm willing to bet the cordless hand powered drills we're discussing here....the one I recall was one of my grandfathers' too...but I can't remember for sure which of the two - likely, both of my grand fathers had one.
I do have my grandfather Shaw's "yankee screwdriver" somewhere around here.
I can hardly believe it....but I just now searched that term...and found that brand new ones are still made :)
whowas on October 22, 2012:
Great hub as ever! When I saw the title to this, my first thought was, 'Aha this will be all about the latest electrical gizmos' and that amused me because I still make use of my great-grandfather's 'cordless drill' which was the only kind there was in his day and resembles very closely the antique one in your photograph.
He lived long before the advent of the 'disposable' culture and so his drill was well cared for, oiled and ready. In those days, you bought a tool at no little cost and you expected it to last for generations.
In this case it has done and that same value-system has been passed down to me. I take great care of all those tools I inherited and love the feel and use of them. They really, really, don't make them like they used to.
It's also a great pleasure to use tools that seem to breathe and talk to you as you work - rather than half deafen you with their electrical screaming!
I know that this hub wasn't meant to be about the old tool but judging by the other comments, that's what people really value and miss. I take heart in that.
Thanks Wes and all the best to you!
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 17, 2012:
I swear I'm buying the next one of those things that I see! This assumes, of course, that I'll ever see one again.
It'd be cool to explain to kids these days what that thing is!
Claudia Mitchell on October 17, 2012:
Useful hub and I also got a kick out of it. My father never owned a power drill and still has his handheld drill that looks like the one in your photo! My brother and I would beg and plead a laugh at my dad because of that drill, but he always used it and much to our amazement it always worked well.
Suzie from Carson City on October 15, 2012:
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 15, 2012:
I've seen one of those things myself, and if I ever see one again and it is for sale and I can buy it - then I'm going to.
I'm kinda a nut for old things like that!
Yes you've told me about Mr. Effer - the Master Handyman!!!!!!!!!!
Suzie from Carson City on October 15, 2012:
Now see...you may not believe this, Wes, but I do know a whole lot about tools...all sorts of tools....and I know how to use them as well! I hung out with my Dad as a child......until probably 14 or so. My Dad was an expert Handy-Dandy man. He fixed anything and also built things all the time....I have his tools and in them, is one of the hand-turn drills, like the one in your picture! It looks just like it.....I figure it's about 75 years old....if my Dad was still with us, he'd be 98....
Great hub......just call me Effer, star of Tool Time! LOL.....UP+++
Wesman Todd Shaw (author) from Kaufman, Texas on October 15, 2012:
Thanks very much, Sir Billy!!!! I don't spend enough time around here any more - but I hope to get back into gear here :)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 15, 2012:
Handy information my friend and yes, they have made repair work much, much simpler. Good job Wesman!