Drill/driver buying tips

In the Reliability Forum department of Reliable Plant magazine, suppliers provide their insights to a question posed by editor Paul V. Arnold. This issue, the call went out to a select number of power tool manufacturers. They were asked:

“In your opinion, what is a factor that consumers frequently overlook (or misinterpret) when shopping for a cordless drill/driver?”

DeWalt says to select a drill that achieves a good balance between torque, speed and speed ranges.

This reply comes from Maurice LaPointe, the assistant product manager for cordless drills at DeWalt.

“One of the most common specifications users look for when purchasing a drill is torque. Many users believe the more torque the drill has, the faster the drill will complete an application. Since torque and speed have an inverse relationship, a high torque output could slow down the drill’s application speed. The type of applications the user is completing (drilling or fastening, type of material, bit type, bit size, fastener size, etc.) will determine if the user needs a drill with the highest torque rating or a drill with multiple speed-range settings (two speed units vs. three speeds). Many manufacturers drive to higher torque ratings by slowing down the RPMs of the drill. You may have a drill that has 550 to 600 inch-pounds of torque with low RPMs of 300, and that drill will perform the most common applications slower than a drill that has 450 to 500 inch-pounds of torque and a low RPM rating of 450.

“The key to choosing the right product is knowing the applications that you will be completing and matching a drill that has a good balance between torque, speed and speed ranges.”

For more information from DeWalt, visit www.dewalt.com.

In comparing two drill brands, Makita advises you to consider maintenance and part replacement costs.

Makita USA
This reply comes from Susan Gibson, a marketing specialist for Makita USA.

“Consumers frequently overlook maintenance and part replacement costs when purchasing a cordless drill/driver. Over time, as a tool becomes worn, some parts may need to be replaced. This can become costly to the consumer.

“To minimize costs, Makita’s tools are designed to be serviced. For example, our two-piece motor consists of the armature and the field as separate parts, and has brushes that are externally accessible. This allows each piece to be replaced individually. Competitors use cam motors that consist of the armature and field as one piece. The cost to replace the brushes on Makita’s two-piece motor would be only $3. However, the cost to replace the brushes on a cam motor could run approximately $50 because you have to replace the cam motor at the same time.”

For more information from Makita USA, visit www.makitausa.com.

Milwaukee Electric Tool
This reply comes from the marketing department at Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation.

“One factor to keep in mind is the battery. The brand new lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology uses a special molecule structure that allows current to flow three-dimensionally instead of through two-dimensional layers in the cell. The results are large increases in power and run time and the ability to run power-hungry tools. These tools can now run at faster speeds, with more power and for a longer time between charges.

“Performance tests of cordless tools powered by the 28-volt Li-ion cell and standard 18-volt nickel-cadmium (NiCd) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) cells showed clear benefits in, among other things, tool weight, run time, use life and charging.”

For more info from Milwaukee Electric Tool, visit www.milwaukeetool.com.

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