Cordless Drills, Handy for the Holidays

December 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Consumer Reports' Peter Sawchuk, who drilled more than a thousand, holes to find the best cordless drill. He put 70 through some tough tests. Sawchuk checked how quickly a drill makes holes and drives bolts ... and that's not all."Battery run time is key ... the true test is how many screws the drill can drive before it runs out of steam," said Sawchuk.

In another test, Sawchuk uses a torque meter to measure power. He said, "You could spend $300-dollars on a cordless drill. But we found comparable performance for one-third that price."

That bargain drill? The 18-volt Porter-Cable. At $100.00, it's a Consumer Reports best buy. And for just $60.00 more, you can get a Porter-Cable set, which includes the same drill plus two saws and a flashlight.

"Even though these saws don't have long run times, the kit is still a good deal for the light-duty jobs," said Sawchuk.

Consumer Reports says before you buy a drill - or use one if you're given it as a gift - you want to size it up. Raise the drill to make sure it isn't too heavy for overhead tasks. And balance it in your hand to make sure the nose points straight ahead without tipping up or down.

And if you want more oomph, consider the Craftsman drill. It includes a hammer-drill feature for drilling through masonry more quickly. It's another Consumer Reports best buy, at $130.00.

So now you have fewer excuses to avoid those household projects that need doing!