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Domestic electric drills have been around since 1895 but if you wanted to go cordless, you had to wait until the early 1960s when Black & Decker devised a drill that could be powered by a rechargeable nickel cadmium battery. These days the batteries are more likely to be Lithium Ion and pack a far heftier punch. Here’s what to look for in a cordless drill.

Don’t be fooled by the name, most cordless drills will also double as screwdrivers, so in many ways, a combi cordless drill should be the building block of your toolkit. Check to see how whether the drill also comes with drill bits and screwdriver heads or whether you’ll need to buy them separately.

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There’s nothing more infuriating than running out of power halfway through a project and then having to wait for the battery to charge before you can continue. To avoid situations like this, look for a drill that comes with an interchangeable battery pack and buy a second battery pack that you can keep charged and switch out if necessary.

Think about what you’re going to want to use your drill for. If you’re going to be drilling into brick or stone, look for a drill that comes with a hammer mode—they’re usually more expensive, but worth the investment to get a tool that does what you need. And make sure that you use the appropriate bits for the material that you’re drilling. You won’t get the result you want if you use a wood bit when you need a masonry bit.

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