We’ve seen a number of new cordless drills come out these past few months, and more are on the way. Here’s a short list of some of the new models:
Major brands have been competing over who gets to say they have the most powerful drill.
Several brands are now boasting about how their most powerful drills deliver well over 1,000 in-lbs of torque, previously impact driver-only territory in tools this size.
With Dewalt having launched next-generation compact brushless drills, it’s probably a matter of time before they upgrade their premium 3-speed drills as well. And if so, will they take the belt?
In regard to runtime, higher capacity 4.0Ah, 5.0Ah, and even 6.0Ah packs have become the norm. For more compact drills, 2.5Ah is the sweet spot right now. Brushless motors, with their higher efficiency, squeeze runtime to its very limits.
What we’ve noticed is that brands have hit a ceiling. How much more torque can a drill/driver possibly deliver before it starts being ridiculous?
Individual battery cells seem to be topping out at 3.0Ah right now, although there’s room for manufacturers to improve upon the maximum continuous current rating. I wouldn’t expect to see same-size battery packs with 7.0Ah or greater capacities anytime soon.
Milwaukee has introduced a larger M18 9.0Ah pack for power-hungry applications, but it’s a 15-cell pack that’s longer, taller, and heavier than their more commonplace M18 XC battery packs.
The competition has gone beyond power and runtime. Here are some of the more compelling modern-day cordless drill features that you should know about.
Kickback prevention. When you’re dealing with very high drill torque, you’ve got to be extra careful. Bind a large bit in a hole, and the drill will counter-rotate, potentially twisting your wrist.
Some of Bosch’s heavy duty drills offer anti-kickback protection, Milwaukee One-Key drills offer this as an option, and Bosch is working on new Bluetooth-connected tools that will allow for custom kickback protection.
LED Flashlights. Dewalt’s DCD791 and DCD796 compact brushless drill and hammer drill both have a new high power LED worklight that can light up your workspace for up to 20 minutes.
Impulse Mode. Metabo’s brushless drills feature an Impuls mode that is said to be beneficial for precise driving, drilling in hard materials, or working with jammed screws. The motor essentially turns on and off in a cyclic manner, saving your trigger finger the trouble.
Customizable Speeds and Settings. Milwaukee’s One-Key drills can be fully customized, from the clutch settings and speed ranges, to the LED worklight.
Micro Clutch. Ridgid’s Gen5X brushless drill (and the brushed model too) have micro clutches, with over 100 selectable torque settings.
LED Worklight with Vibration Sensor. Yes, seriously. A lot of drills these days have delay-on LED worklights that continue to shine after you release the trigger. Some have worklights that users can toggle on and off. Metabo’s most premium models have motion sensors that will turn on the LED worklight when you pick up the tool.
Modular Drills. Bosch never introduced their FlexiClick modular drill here in the USA, nor did Milwaukee release their M12 4-in-1 drill kit, and even though AEG has one, Ridgid has not yet come out with a modular cordless drill either.
Actually, that Metabo is one of my favorite drills these days, despite its 3/8″ chuck (I typically prefer 1/2″ drills), and I think it’s a great bargain at $150.
When each and every professional power tool brand has caught up in the torque race, and they all offer the same high capacity compact and extended capacity battery packs, we’re bound to see more distinction between their various cordless drill offerings.
What do you think about these modern day drill features?
What do you think will be the next big thing to happen to cordless drills in coming years?