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Can you recommend a drill & screwdriver?

(12 Posts)
deckthehallswithdesperation Sat 13-Jun-15 19:36:29

Can anyone recommend a good drill for a woman to use? I'd like something idiot proof & lightweight if possible, should it be cordless or not, have different speeds or not? Also, how about electric screwdrivers, are they worth it? I want to be able to put up shelves & curtain tracks. Is there a drill that screws also? I don't mind spending a bit more if the quality's worth it & it's going to last years. While we're at it, any hints for drilling concrete lintels? Mine are tough bastards. My husbands old drill was crap but then maybe his bits were blunt?

Lagoonablue Sat 13-Jun-15 19:40:44

Cordless is good. Both for drills and screwdriver. I like Hilty tools myself. Bosch are ok too.

PigletJohn Sat 13-Jun-15 20:13:24

how many days a year do you think you will use it?

do you have a budget in mind? Less than £50 will be a bit weak and I think you would do better with a cheapish corded hammer drill..

A light cordless drill can usually be turned down in both speed and torque and used to drive screws (it will have the ability to deliver more power than a cordless screwdriver for big screws) so you don't need both.

An 18v cordless combination drill (has hammer action) will do most light DIY jobs. It is not as light as a 12v but much more able to drill e.g. holes in wood and walls. Anything less than 12v is so weak as to be useless except for stirring your tea. Big drills are heavy.

The own-brands from big chains like Wickes, Aldi and Lidl will be adequate, look for a 2-year guarantee, they are cheap but if you get 2 years life out of it you can't complain. Very likely the rechargeable battery will fade away long before the tool is worn out, so I would not buy a top-class rechargeable unless you are a pro and using it every day.

plenty of examples here. I have numerous drills including one of these if it is not too heavy for you "Titan" is their cheap brand. Two batteries save you running out of power half way through a job.

If you have lots of money you can buy better.

You will also need a set of bits (or drills as the engineer calls them) and you will often see them in places like Aldi at a good price. Most of the time you will probably only use about four sizes and if you buy a cordless drill there will probably be enough bits supplied in the case unless it is a very budget one

For screwdrivers see here

If you ever want to do lots of serious heavy drilling you will need an SDS+ machine which will either be incredibly heavy, or cost £100 or more. It is not necessary for light DIY work. None of your ordinary drill bits will fit it.

PigletJohn Sat 13-Jun-15 20:23:10


For drilling RC lintels, you need a masonry bit, the width of the plasplugs you are going to use, and a hammer drill. If you strike steel, change to an HSS twist drill, or move up an inch. For curtain rails the plug and screw must go at least 25mm/an inch into the concrete or brick (disregard the depth of plaster which has no strength), 35mm is better especially if they are heavy or you have cats or children.

A masonry bit has a squareish piece of metal (tungsten carbide) brazed into the tip and is silvery. An HSS drill (for wood or metal) doesn't and is usually dark blue.

deckthehallswithdesperation Sat 13-Jun-15 21:17:34

Wow piglet, thanks! You seem to really know your tools. Any words of wisdom for matching correct sizes of screws to plugs? It'd be soo much easier for an idiot like me if packs of screws had a note on the front saying which plug is the right size.

PigletJohn Sat 13-Jun-15 21:35:02

plugs have the sizes of the screws they fit on the pack, and also holes of those sizes.

look in the middle

I usually get 35mm brown ones, they will do for almost everything.

You may get tiny yellow or red ones in packets of cuphooks that are not intended to take any weight.

SevenAteNine Sun 14-Jun-15 06:36:24

I will say I have been really disappointed with my new cordless Bosch. The chuck is off centre, and hasn't seen so much use and it wasn't cheap.
If it's just for putting up a couple of shelves, I would be tempted to buy a corded secondhand one. An old Black and Decker would be fine, and probably not cost more than £10 on EBay.
Use a spirit level, put masking tape where you drill under where you mark the holes and it will be OK.

deckthehallswithdesperation Sun 14-Jun-15 08:20:45

Ahhhh thanks, re the plug middle holes - I never realised! I'm getting divorced so I'm now on my own with all the diy stuff, hence the questions. But then dh was never really a diy man so he couldn't do most stuff much less explain it to me. He had a box of plugs but they were all torn apart loose so I always used to wonder how you matched them to a screw & then most of them were red/yellow, so obviously not much use. I am quite handy, I built a nice 'drop-down' bath panel, a wooden shoe rack for in the wardrobe etc & a blanket box - from scratch. But I've never really been shown how to use a drill properly. When I last did try drilling walls, I didn't find it easy holding the drill still so the bit bounced around making a wide (useless) hole. I am planning on having a go at making these shelves in two alcoves. It's going to take some careful thought & planning. I am a handy person, I expect my drill will get a lot of use.

If you're still around piglet, any hints for drilling pebbledash? I want to put up two porch lights. (I'm confident with basic electrics) Do I just chisel off the stones first?

PigletJohn Sun 14-Jun-15 09:05:37

It will be easier to drill between stones if you can. You can chip off one if it is exactly where you need to drill. The less mess uou make the better it will look when the lamp is eventually removed.

On a difficult surface it may help to drill a small pilot hole first and then bore it out to the size you want. You will need an undamaged masonry bit, and hammer action. Start at low speed. No need to press very hard. Blow, vacuum or wash out the dust.

If you make a hole in a wall that is too loose for the plug, first verify that it is deep enough for the plug and screw to go right in, then use no-more-nails or a cheaper own brand; put the nozzle deep into the hole; fill it from the back with no air bubble; push the plasplug into the hole using a screw as a handle; centre it and remove excess; next day you can screw into the plug. "External" grade adhesive will not wash away in rain, once set. You can also buy a few extra-big plugs in case of loose holes. They may be grey.

shanghaismog Sun 14-Jun-15 09:10:25

The little white makita cordless set. Expensive but so light & easy to use.

deckthehallswithdesperation Sun 14-Jun-15 12:13:59

Fabulous all! A big thanks smile (rubs hands with glee)

PigletJohn - I may be back to pick your brains the size of a planet again one day in the future. I can forsee all sorts of fabulous drilling opportunities on the horizon...

I once watched as a total pillock of a handyman try to hammer, YES hammer a plug into my brick garden wall in order to attach a bird feeder!!! He was in his late 50s at the time, old enough to surely have picked up some diy knowledge along the way. Even I could see it was never going to work. I shall be the Tommy Walsh of womens diy with pistol holders strapped to my thighs, drill on one side, cordless driver on the other, over a very fetching bikini with a set of plugs between my teeth & the requisite pencil tucked behind one ear! grin

knittingbat Tue 16-Jun-15 22:38:51

Deck, I did a one day DIY course last year that was so helpful (old house, not very DIY husband) - went through buying tools, putting up shelves, drilling through different surfaces, regrouting, basic tap repairs etc, what tools/parts to buy. Maybe see if there's something like that near you? It has increased my confidence so much, and so many things I can do now! It was fun too. I got a maquita cordless drill - prob a bit pricey at £100, but SO easy to use, screw fix had offer. Have saved the money for the course and drill back in handyman fees several times over.

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