Cordless Drills

Carole Lacolla loves fixing things around the house. Whether it's tightening a loose screw or reupholstering a chair, Carole finds her lightweight cordless drill makes the work easy.

Consumer Reports tested 48 cordless drills from companies like Dewalt, Black and Decker, and Panasonic. The drills cost anywhere from $50 all the way up to $500.

Also included in the test, cordless screwdrivers.

Peter Sawchuk, Consumer Reports, says "The cordless screwdrivers are handy and they're easy to use, but they're aggravatingly slow and they're very inefficient."

To gauge a drill's power, testers use a dynamometer. It's connected to a computer to ensure accurate measurements.

Another machine measures the torque or twisting force of the drill.

To measure speed, testers drilled hundreds of one-inch holes. They also drove hundreds of three-and-a-half-inch lag screws into four-by-four pine boards.

Sawchuk says performance, not price, should guide your choice. "Select a drill based on the jobs that you intend to do," he says.

When you're buying a drill, first check the grip for comfort, and lift the drill to shoulder height, just like you would when you're drilling.

A good-performing drill that weighs too much to handle easily is no good to you in the long run.

For simple jobs, Consumer Reports recommends the $80 12-volt Hitachi model number ds12dvf3 that weighs just over three pounds and has two speeds. Plus it comes with two batteries and recharges quickly.

For bigger projects, Consumer Reports recommends the Craftsman, model number 11561.

While it's nearly two pounds heavier, it's got very good speed and power and at $95, it's a great value.

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