Cordless Drill Parts

This cordless drill parts section is part of a detailed cordless drill review article series. For our entire cordless drill reviews please start here.

In this section of our cordless drill review series we are looking into key cordless drill parts, such as switch, electronic and torque adjustment. From a professional power tool user point of view it is important to know what to look for on these parts when you evaluate any cordless drill.

Cordless Drill Parts: Switch and Electronic

The switch on any cordless drill usually fulfills several functions:

  • Simple On-Off
  • Soft Start
  • Electronic Brake/Quick Stop
  • Left-Right Switch (integrated or apart)

Soft Start Cordless Drill Switch , lets the drill start smoothly the firmer you press the switch. The variable speed switch on cordless drills is a key feature especially at the first moments when driving smaller screws into the workpiece.

Electronic Cordless Drill Brake / Quick Stop Switch, stops battery drills immediately when you release the switch. This is very important to make sure not to drive a screw too deep into the material.

Both switch options, soft-start and electronic brake are must-haves on any cordless drills for a professional. Here is where some cheap DIY drills lack it all.

Left-Right Switch, usually sits above the main on/off switch. Depending on the cordless drill the R/L switch button is flipped to change driving direction of the tool. This sort of right/left switch is similar on most brands,  such as Bosch, Dewalt, Hitachi, Ryobi, Fein, Festool, Ridgid, Black & Decker, Hilti and Makita.

Left-Right Switch Makita Cordless Drill Example of Great Ergonomics
Nine out of ten cordless drills have the left-right switch located next to the main switch. Image shows a Makita cordless drill left/right switch. The drilling direction is changed by pushing the switch through the drills housing. Since switching direction is one of the most actions done on a cordless drill, you want to make sure and test this movement on as many different drills you can before you make any buying decision.

Here more than anything it's YOU who desires which type of switch you like best. You should make a couple of tests - holding and switching from left to right - to make sure you are comfortable with the R/L switch of the cordless drill you go for. Remember, it is one of the most used parts of any cordless drill!

Cordless Drill Parts: Clutch and Torque Adjustment

Torque adjustment is one of the most overrated parts in reviews and advertising of cordless drills. I have come across dozens of reviews stating how important multiple torque settings are. The "more-the-better" is the generic opinion. While this might be true if you're using the cordless drill in metal working where the resistance of your material is the same, however in woodworking, torque adjustment is generally less reliable and overrated.

Why Does Torque Adjustment in Woodworking Not Work ?

The picture left shows three screws driven into a piece of wood (pine). While the first two enter perfectly flush at a given torque setting on the cordless drill, the third screw (very right in the row) can't be driven in using the exact same torque settings.

Why? Wood is a natural material, and in our example its resistance is sometimes very different. For example a simple knot next to the screw can have a variance of resistance making it much harder for the screw to enter. Since torque adjustment is a simple mechanical device "reacting" on the screws resistance, it stops working at the set level.

In today's woodworking workshop not all applications are in natural wood. Engineered or "Artificial" wood types such as MDF or laminated flooring or chipboard or plywood are part of an array of materials where the torque settings will work just fine. However if your focus is with natural - real - wood where you'll be involved in framing, roofing this feature won't be not as useful as you might thought of at first.

Therefore as nice as it looks in theory, most day-by-day woodworking applications make torque setting a much overrated cordless drill feature.

Next to the battery and the cordless drill battery charger, there are various parts of a drill which need to be watched closely. In this cordless drill parts analysis we looked in detail into key components of a cordless drill. From on/off switch, left-right switch, electronics and brake to torque adjustment. In the next part we will look at mechanical parts such as gear and motor as well as hammer action on cordless drills.
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