Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Handyman Helpers - Power Drills from Bosch and Skil

Selecting a drill and/or power screwdriver these days is no easy task. There are so many good models and brands to choose from it is a confusing and daunting exercise to select one based on all of the specifications sizes, capacities and prices. I like many older homeowners started out with a corded Craftsman 3/8 inch drill but quickly switched over to a NiCad Battery Powered cordless. Those drills were great, but they run time was very short and the batteries would not hold a full charge after only  a few charges. Panasonic came out with a line of drills that used Nickel Metal Hydride batteries and these drills were powerful and the batteries lasted hours, and did not have the dreaded memory effect that NiCad batteries had. These drills were expensive when they first came out (around $300.00) and I have been using one for over 8 years. The only drawback is that the drill is pretty heavy weighing almost four pounds.

Bosch has been very successful with a line of 12 volt lithium ion powered drills and I replaced my Panasonic with a Bosch 12 Volt Drill. It is small (about 20 ounces) yet powerful enough for most household jobs and the removeable12 volt LiIon battery lasts forever. It also has a built in LED light and a torque control to adjust for screws and heavier duty applications. I have dropped the drill many times on concrete and it still looks great. The outer casing is protected by hard rubber and the case is finished in a dark aquamarine color to hide most scratches. Bosh also has a right angle compact version of this drill which accepts the same batteries and is quite powerful. Perfect for working in tight spaces, both of these drills are highly recommended. They cost about $199.99 MSRP each but can be purchased for much less used or reconditioned. A very worthwhile investment that will pay off almost immediately.

For those on a really tight budget, I highly recommend the Skil 7.2 Volt Cordless Drill Driver. It retails for about $79.99 and while not as powerful as the Bosch, it is a decent drill that comes with an internal Lithium Ion Battery as a cost savings measure. The battery lasts a long time and the speed and torque settings are adjustable. It does weigh a little less tan the Bosch at a little over a pound so it is perfect for small jobs or jobs on a ladder.

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