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Choosing the Best Drill or Driver

Posted by Katy | Toolstop on 14th Jun 2021

Depending on the trade you're in, or the jobs you'll be carrying out, its likely that you will need a specific tool. Toolstop has put together a Power Drill buying guide to tell you whether a combi drill, drill driver or impact driver is best suited to your needs.

Depending on the trade you're in, or the jobs you'll be carrying out, its likely that you will need a specific tool. Toolstop has put together a Power Drill buying guide to tell you whether a combi drill, drill driver or impact driver is best suited to your needs.

choosing the best drill or driver

Which is the Best Cordless Drill for you?

Choosing the Best Drill or Driver to meet your jobsite needs can be confusing and frustrating. The power tool manufacturers love to bamboozle us with various brand new features and benefits, higher speed and torque ratings, bigger capacities and new cordless batteries.

For the Best Drill or Driver you need to factor in the type of power tool you’ll need.

Will you be drilling into concrete or just wood? Will you need to drive small screws into soft woods, or large construction screws into hard woods? What’s the best type of drill or driver for the job?

First off, watch our video below explaining each type of drill we’ll be covering:


Drill or Driver - What's the difference?

Our aim is always to make the process of choosing a power tool as easy as possible, so here is our guide to choosing the correct drill or driver.

The drills are split into typically 3 categories:

To find out more on each type of drill and what they are used for, you can refer to our exclusive guides:

Take a walk through our guide where we outline the basic spec you’ll need to consider before purchasing each model.

best drill or driver

What is the Best Cordless Combi Drill?

Combi drills have 3 functions:

  1. To drill holes into wood and metal
  2. The ability to drive screws
  3. Drill holes into concrete and masonry via hammer funtion

Normally a combi drill will offer at least two, but sometimes three, speeds:

  • Low speeds for hi-torque applications such as screw driving
  • Higher speeds are for applications such as drilling metal or wood

Hammer functionality on a combi drill adds ‘blows’ to your drilling which allows you to drill into masonry. Keep eye on the construction of the combi drill. As you’ll be using it for more robust applications, you’ll want to choose a combi drill that’s very well made, with a metal chuck or metal gear box.

You can see all of the cordless drill drivers we have in stock right here, all of which are typically available for free next day delivery in the UK.

Here are our two favourites:

  • Dewalt DCD796
  • Makita DHP484

Top Features:

  • Brushless motor for excellent efficiency
  • Ultra-compact, lightweight design
  • Drill Driver and Hammer feature for multiple applications
  • 15 position adjustable torque control for consistent screw driving into a variety of materials

Specification:

  • Max Torque (Hard): 70 Nm
  • Max Torque (Soft): 27 Nm
  • Power Output: 460 Watt
  • No Load Speed: 0-550/2000 rpm
  • Beats per Minute: 0-9350/34000 bpm
  • Chuck Capacity: 1.5-13 mm
  • Max. Drilling Capacity [Wood]: 40 mm
  • Max. Drilling Capacity [Metal]: 13 mm
  • Max. Drilling Capacity [Masonry]: 13 mm

Shop it now.

Top Features:

  • Brushless motor
  • 2 mechanical gears
  • Variable speed control by trigger
  • Compact Overall Length of 182mm
  • All metal gear construction

Specification:

  • Capacity in Steel: 13 mm
  • Capacity in Wood: 38 mm
  • Chuck Capacity: 1.5 - 13 mm
  • Capacity in Masonry: 13 mm
  • Blows per Minute (Hi) - ipm: 0 - 30,000 ipm
  • Blows per Minute (Lo) - ipm: 0 - 7,500 ipm
  • Torque Settings: 21 + drill

Shop it now.


What’s the Best Cordless Drill Driver?

Drill drivers typically offer you two functions:

  1. Drill holes into wood and metal
  2. The ability to drive screws

The drill driver is similar to the combi drill only it doesn't have hammer function so isn't suitable for drilling in masonry.

Often they’ll be equipped with two speeds and multiple torque settings, although the torque won’t be as high as that found on either a combi drill or an impact driver. When choosing a drill driver, take note of the capacity of holes it will allow you to drill and also the top torque setting as this will affect the sort of materials you can effectively drill screws into.

Pay attention, too, to the battery supplied with the machine; the higher rated the Ah of the battery the longer the drill driver will run between charges. And the less charges you subject your battery to, the longer it’ll last.

You can see all of the cordless drill drivers we have in stock right here, all of which are available for free next day delivery in the UK.

Here are our two favourites:

  • Metabo POWERMAXX BS 12 BL
  • Bosch GSR 18V-28

Top Features:

  • Brushless motor
  • Compact, lightweight design for universal and demanding applications
  • Integrated LED work light

Specification:

  • Maximum torque soft: 18 Nm / 159.3 in-lbs
  • Maximum torque hard: 45 Nm / 398.3 in-lbs
  • Drill Ø steel: 10 mm / 3/8 "
  • Drill-Ø soft wood: 25 mm / 1 "
  • No-load speed: 0 - 500 / 0 - 1650 rpm

Shop it now.

Top Features:

  • Compact ergonomic design
  • Full-metal chuck makes is highly durable
  • 63 Nm of hard torque for professional performance

Specification:

  • Torque settings: 20+1
  • Torque (soft): 28 Nm
  • No-load speed (1st gear / 2nd gear): 0 – 500 / 0 – 1,900 rpm
  • Max. drilling diameter in steel: 13 mm
  • Max. drilling diameter in wood: 38 mm

Shop it now.


What is the Best Cordless Impact Driver?

An impact driver will be fitted with a hex chuck (or similar). This is a quick-release style mechanism that differs from the chucks found on combi and drill drivers. A hex chuck takes hex screwdriver bits as an impact driver is essentially designed to drive screws into tough work pieces. However, with the correct bit fitted, you can also undertake some drilling applications.

Impact drivers are all about hi-torque, coupled with high levels of impact. A typical impact driver will output higher levels of torque than even the top-of-the-range combi drill.

Again, when choosing your impact driver, take note of the battery fitted and over all construction of the power tool.

You can see all of the cordless impact drivers we have in stock right here, all of which are typically available for free next day delivery in the UK.

Here are our two favourite:

  • Makita DTD153
  • Bosch GDX 18V-200 C

Top Features:

  • Brushless motor
  • One touch sliding chuck for rapid bit change
  • Capable of driving woodscrews up to 125mm straight into timber without a pilot hole
  • Compact overall length

Specification:

  • Max Fastening Torque: 170 Nm
  • No Load Speed: 0 - 3400 rpm
  • Impacts per Minute: 0 - 3,600 ipm

Shop it now.

Top Features:

  • High power in a compact size
  • Powerful use even in hard to reach areas
  • Bluetooth Connectivity module for tool feedback

Specification:

  • No-load speed: 0-3400 rpm
  • Torque settings: 3
  • Torque, max: 200 Nm
  • Impact rate: 0-4000 bpm

Shop it now.


As you can see, it's important that you use the correct drill or driver for the job, as each has a different purpose. If you only need to drill into wood, a drill driver will do the job. However, if drilling in masonry and tougher materials is a regular occurance, you should opt for a combi drill. For driving long screws, you need an impact driver!

We love to know what tools you’re using or if you’ve got any questions about any of the tools in this buying guide.


Check out cordless drills at Toolstop:

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