Small cordless drills offer big benefits.
For years I watched cordless drills get more powerful and with every power upgrade came an increase in weight and size. My old Makita 9.6 volt drill looked pretty small compared to the behemoths, but it had all the power I needed, had a real drill chuck so I could use small bits accurately, and was handy enough that it didn’t wear me out during a day of installing drawer guides or hardware. My Makitas were getting old and I was looking for a replacement, but I didn’t need 24 volts and I sure didn’t want a drill that needed two hands to hold steady, so I didn’t buy, I just kept looking…and hoping.
A few years ago small drills started reaching the market. Lithium-ion battery technology combined with advances in small, powerful motors made it possible to create small, handy drills with big-drill power. The drawback was that most of these new drills used quick-release hex bit collets which are convenient but have enough run-out slop that drilling small holes accurately placed for hardware was frustrating at best. I hoped for a small drill that wasn’t a slow-speed driver and that had a real drill chuck. Well, my desires have been filled by at least a couple of manufacturers.
Bosch developed the PS-31 a couple of years ago, bringing it to market last year. It’s a great little 12volt drill with awesome power, a sensative 20 position clutch and a very good 3/8in.drill chuck. Two speed settings offer good power for driving screws and good speed (1300 rpm) for drilling small holes where speed is a real benefit and a battery gauge to let me know how much fuel I have. The grip is comfortable, balance is good, a well placed light offers precision in the dark. A smoothly progressive tirgger,and sufficient power for any shop chore making this drill a pleasure to work with. I can drill pilot holes and run hardware screws all day and still be able to play my mandolin in the evening, no wrecked hands. The drill sells for about $170.00.
Rockwell Tools has a 12 volt li-ion drill (RK2510K2) that has a 15 position clutch, two speeds, a somewhat poorly placed light (throws a shadow right where the bit meets the wood), and a good 3/8in. chuck. Slightly larger than the Bosch the lime and black drill is still sized for all day work without fatigue. Good power and nice balance make the drill pleasant to use.
Rockwell offers free batteries for life, a pretty interesting incentive as the price of a replacement battery can often be close to the price of a new tool. The drill is only available paired with an equally compact 12volt impact driver, the pair sells for about $170.00.
OK. now I’ve shown you a couple of small drills with real drill chucks that are in my shop. What have you got?
Bosch drill is handy, powerful and has a great drill chuck.
Rockwell drill is offered as a set with an equally small impact driver.