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NATIONAL (CONSUMER REPORTS) - A cordless drill is really handy for the do-it-yourselfer on your Christmas list. Consumer Reports has tested dozens of drills and found you don't have to pay top dollar to get the job done.
In the tests, companies evaluated 48 cordless drills from companies like Dewalt, Black and Decker, and Panasonic. They cost anywhere from $50 all the way up to $500.
Consumer Reports also included cordless screwdrivers in the test. A spokesperson says, "The cordless screwdrivers are handy and they're easy to use, but they're aggravatingly slow and they're very inefficient."
To gauge a drill's power, testers use a dynamometer. It's connected to a computer to ensure accurate measurements.
Another machine measures the torque or twisting force of the drill.
To measure speed, testers drilled hundreds of one-inch holes. They also drove hundreds of three-and-a-half-inch lag screws into four-by-four pine boards.
Peter Sawchuk says performance, not price, should guide your choice. "Select a drill based on the jobs that you intend to do."
For simple jobs, Consumer Reports recommends an $80 12-volt Hitachi model number DS12DVF3 that weighs just over three pounds and has two speeds. Plus, it comes with two batteries and recharges quickly.
For bigger projects, Consumer Reports recommends a Craftsman, model number 11561. While it's nearly two pounds heavier, it's got very good speed and power and at $95, it's a great value.
When you're buying a drill, Consumer Reports says check the grip for comfort, and lift the drill to shoulder height, just like you would when you're drilling.
A good-performing drill that weighs too much to handle easily - no matter how well it performs - is not going to do you much good in the long run.