January 2010: Toolbox

January 2010: Toolbox
The workhorse tool in my house is the cordless power drill. That’s true even though most of the bits for boring holes, grinding and sanding are collecting dust in the garage as our serious D.I.Y. home improvement projects are behind us (for now anyway). 
Mostly we use the bits for easily driving and removing screws these days, but somehow that’s at least a weekly occurrence. And boy, does it make all the difference to have a lightweight, compact and speedy power tool in your hand when you’re balancing on one knee on the top of the kitchen counter, with your head twisted up underneath your cabinet, trying to screw on the door that your toddler partly ripped off climbing her way to the Cheerios box. 
Whether you need to drill through heavy metals or just need to tighten some screws in a cramped space, you’ll enjoy having this handheld power tool with lots of torque that need not be tethered to the closest outlet. For the most versatility, you’ll want a cordless drill with at least 18 volts and a variable speed motor. 

The type of battery power used is also important. Lower-end versions have only one on-board battery, which can leave you twiddling your thumbs and staring at your half-finished deck while the thing recharges. Invest in a more expensive model ($200-plus) that comes with an extra battery pack and lithium-ion batteries, which have longer lives and recharge more quickly than typical nickel-cadmium batteries.