Drills are a must-have tool for just about anyone, from DIY enthusiasts to industry professionals. They come in a huge range of shapes, sizes, and configurations to meet the needs of all kinds of industries.

Cromwell stocks a broad range of drills from trusted brands used by professionals around the world.

What are drills?

Drills are a common tool type used for making round holes or for driving in screws and bolts. The drill itself is most commonly a handheld device, and typically uses a battery pack to provide hours of use.

Drills are one of the simplest power tools on the market, as the way they work is relatively straightforward. The drill takes power from the power source to power a motor that rotates the chuck (the bit on the end of the drill that holds the drill bit). There is usually a trigger mechanism that controls the speed of the motor, and therefore, the speed of the drill.

Why a drill?

Drills are never not useful - even the most DIY-phobic of households are likely to keep a combi drill in the shed or garage.
Their versatility is unmatched, and they're used across a huge range of tasks and industries - from creating tiny holes in craft projects, to building humongous seafaring cruise ships, and just about everything in between.

When are drills used?

Drills have a huge range of uses, and what they can do depends on the type of drill you buy and the drill bit or attachment you're using. Here are a few of the most common uses for drills:

• Drilling holes
• Driving fasteners
• Sand curved surfaces
• Removing rust
• Buffing surfaces

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what a drill can do. See below for a more in-depth look at the types of drill available, along with their various uses.

Types of drill

'Drills' is an incredibly broad term in the professional world. Besides your standard handheld combi drill (the one that immediately comes to mind when you think of the word 'drill') there's a plethora of drills each suited to different tasks, and it's important to pick the one that's most suitable for your needs. If you're not sure, feel free to ask our experts about the best drill for your usage.
Here are the main types of drill available:

• Combi drills

Combi drills are the standard, all-purpose handheld drill, boasting a plethora of uses in trade and DIY applications.

• Angle drills

Angle drills function similarly to a standard electric combi drill, but with a head set at a 90-degree angle. They are designed to be used easily with one hand, making them excellent at drilling in tight spaces. They are often used in plumbing, construction, and carpentry.

• Diamond core drills

Diamond core drills are made for strength and durability and are perfect for heavy-duty usage. These drills are far more robust than your average handheld drill, and are typically used for making clean-cut holes in a range of hard materials, such as stone, brick, manholes, and more.

• Impact drivers

Impact drivers look similar to a standard combi drill, but don't be fooled. As well as rotational force, impact drivers deliver strong, sudden forward thrust to help loosen tight or rusted nuts and screws. Less suitable for drilling, impact drivers excel at removing frozen or over-tightened fasteners.

• Magnetic drills

Magnetic drills (or 'mag drills') use powerful electromagnets to attach to any metallic surface. Once attached, mag drills act as a stationary drill press, and can be repositioned for ultra-precise drilling. Mag drills combine the accuracy of a stationary drill press with the portability of a handheld drill, and they're commonly used for steel fabrication, construction, and automotive and shipbuilding industries.

• Pillar drills

Unlike most of the others on this list, pillar drills are not handheld tools. They are free-standing machines that use a powerful motor to cut clean holes in wood or metal. Known for their stability and accuracy, pillar drills are useful for creating multiples holes of the exact same dimensions in quick succession.

• Power screwdrivers

Power screwdrivers take screwdriving to a new level. Not only are they much faster than manual screwdrivers, power screwdrivers use their motor to ensure screws are properly tightened whilst reducing user fatigue.

• Rotary drills

Rotary drills (or 'rotary hammer drills') are similar to impact drivers in that they provide forward thrust as well as rotational force. Unlike impact drivers, rotary drills use this power to effectively drill holes in hard materials, using their hammering force to drive the drill bit through tough materials - such as concrete, masonry, and more.

• SDS hammer drills

SDS hammer drills are similar to rotary hammer drills but are able to drill larger holes much quicker. SDS means 'slotted drive shaft', which is similar to a piston mechanism. This results in a more powerful hammer blow, and is better suited for the heaviest and most demanding drilling applications.

Considerations when choosing a drill

• Power

Once you've decided on the type of drill that's right for you, the next choice to make is how you're going to power it. Most types of drills are available with three different power configurations:

• Electric drills - The most versatile of the bunch, electric drills are by far the most popular. They are powerful, lightweight, and usually come with reversable motors for exceptional flexibility. The main drawbacks are that they aren't suitable for wet environments, and the limitations of requiring a battery pack or wall socket nearby.
• Hydraulic drills - By using a hydraulic power system on a closed loop, hydraulic drills are suitable for use just about anywhere - even underwater. Hydraulic power systems are valued by shipwrights and miners, and anyone else who values dependability. Hydraulic drills are not common amongst standard tradespeople, as they are significantly more expensive than their electric counterparts.
• Pneumatic drills - Pneumatic drills are ideal for use in wet or hazardous environments by operating on compressed air instead of electricity. They are generally built for heavy-duty usage and can be specialised for working in dangerous or combustive situations. Much like hydraulic drills, pneumatic drills can be more expensive to buy and maintain.

• Choosing the correct drill bits

Picking the right kind of drill is half the battle; yet it's the drill bit that will be coming into contact with whatever it is you're drilling. There's a drill bit available for every situation imaginable - so ensure you get the right ones for your applications.

Drill jargon buster

What is a 'Pilot'?
A pilot is a large, nail-like device that helps locate the centre of any hole drilled. They go through the centre of the cutter and retract into the drill as the hole is made. They also allow coolant to easily flow into the cutting teeth.


Do drills need a coolant unit?

As with many other power tools, if you plan on using your drill for extended periods of time then a coolant unit will greatly prolong the life of your tool.

Will I need an extension arbour?

Extension arbours are invaluable for deep drilling. To use, simply replace your standard arbour with an extension arbour for clean and effective depth drilling.

Can I use any size of drill bit?

Most drills are highly versatile and will accept virtually any length of drill bit. Your drill is likely to have a lever on the side to adjust the starting point up and down, allowing you to easily find the right fit for your bit.