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The Right Drill For The Job - Tools Of The Trade

Craftsman's Corded And Cordless Drills

The question of which type of power drill - traditional corded or cordless with rechargeable batteries - is best suited to a particular job is best answered by the person purchasing and using said drill. But there's more to the debate than meets the eye.

In years past, drills powered by a 110/120-volt A/C current were thought to be best at chores that required high torque and repeated use, since the power supply was virtually unlimited, steady, and (usually) readily available. Also, corded power drills represented a bargain; you could purchase a professional-quality drill with a powerful motor at a reasonable price. The drawbacks of a corded power drill were few: the hassle of dragging an extension cord to the work area or to your truck, the danger associated with the improper use of a 120-volt line, and the fact that the power line was sometimes in the way while drilling. They're minor annoyances, to be sure, but annoyances still.

On the other hand, cordless drills have become popular because their use doesn't require extension cords, and the 9-, 12-, 14-, 18-, and 24-volt battery packs are safer than an extension cord to use in damp conditions or when water is present. Cordless drills also boast such niceties as a keyless chuck, variable torque and speed settings, and a balanced feel. The downside to cordless power drills were basically twofold: The cost of a true pro-quality drill was three or four times the cost of a corded power drill; and the battery packs were limited in output, longevity, and stamina. Changes in battery and motor technology have made cordless drills more powerful, and the battery packs are impressive in their ability to power a drill for extended periods of time. Also, with a two-battery system, cordless drills can remain in constant use - that is, as long as there's a 120-volt power supply nearby.

This feature on a corded and cordless drill from Sears' extensive line of Craftsman drills isn't an end-all shootout between drills. You'll have to choose a drill based on your projected power needs, the amount of money you want to spend, and where and how you'll use your drill. That said, here's a look at a pair of Craftsman drills.