When it comes to power tools, there are more options than ever before, and the quality of choices is higher than ever, too. This is especially true for cordless drills. In this 2-minute video I’ll give you the inside scoop on cordless drills: standard features, what the controls do, and how to buy a model that makes sense for you. Click below to watch and learn. Video transcript below so you can follow along.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 00:00 Hi, it’s Steve Maxwell. Here I’m going to show you how to choose and use a cordless electric drill. This is a 20 volt model. 18 volt is also common. Regardless of what you choose, you’ll get a lot better performance from drills with lithium ion batteries. They’re more powerful, they run longer between charges and they stay charged better on the shelf. They’re much better than the nickel cadmium batteries of older style drills.

00:23 You should also look out for something called a brushless motor. This is a more recent innovation and it lasts longer and has a lot more power. There are three basic controls on any cordless drill. This is the speed range selection switch. We’re in position number one, which means relatively high power and slow speed. That’s the kind of thing for drilling metal or hard materials. If I were to slide that down, I would expose the number two. I would then have a high speed and relatively lower power for any given motor speed. It’s kind of like the gears on a bicycle.

00:54 This is the rotation direction slide. Right now the drill would be rotating counter clockwise. If I push that slide in, it would be rotating clockwise, which is the way you want to do it for driving screws. Here’s the top of the drill, we’re in drill driving mode. You can see it here. That’s a little drill bit. It’s lined up with that marker. It means there’s a direct connection between the motor and the end of the drill. There’s no slippage there at all. If I was to rotate that, so this little hammer icon was next to the mark, I would still get rotation of the end of the drill. But I’d also get a high frequency pounding action that makes for much faster drilling in masonry.

01:31 The final position here of the end of the drill is to the right of the hammer setting, and it’s got numbers on it which relate to driving screws. So the drill driver mode. That’s a screw there and it’s flush with wood. These different settings relate to how deep the screw is driven and you can automate that process.