Drill Buying Guide | Types of Drill Explained | Toolstation

Drill Buying Guide

Drill Buying Guide

Buying your first drill? Or looking to add to your toolkit? Here at Toolstation, you’ll find a wide range of drills and drivers for any task, surface and situation.

But finding the best drill for you will depend on a number of things, including how often you’re planning to use it, the material you’re drilling, and your budget.

It’s all about the right drill for the right job. Drilling into harder surfaces? You’ll want a higher powered drill. Driving screws into soft wood? A classic drill driver will suit you just fine.

Types Of Drill

Drill Drivers
Impact Drivers
Combi Drills
Percussion Drills
SDS Drills
Diamond Core Drill
Right Angle Drills

Cordless vs. Corded Drills

Brushed vs. Brushless Motors

Key Drill Features


A chuck is a device on the head of a drill to hold drill bits and other accessories for drilling, screwing and even mixing. It’s tightened and loosened to release and secure the drill bits.

You’ll find keyed, keyless and hybrid chucks. Keyed chucks are loosened and tightened using a key – adding extra torque for heavy-duty uses.

Keyless chucks are loosened and tightened by hand or when torque is applied – they’re really easy to use and you won’t risk losing the key.

Hybrid chucks are a combination of the other two – it automatically tightens around the drill bit, but has a keyed part to offer more grip and torque support.

Variable Speed

Drill speed is shown in RPM, or revolutions per minute. When you’re buying a drill, you’ll see the maximum drill speed referred to as ‘no-load speed’ – this is the speed if you were to just let the drill rotate in the air.

Some drills only have a single speed setting, which is suitable for lots of simple DIY tasks. Higher-cost drills may have more speed settings, making them more versatile and suitable for drilling into a range of materials.

Generally higher speeds are best for harder materials such as metal, and softer materials such as wood should be drilled into at lower speeds to maintain control.


Torque is the amount of rotating force the motor produces, and is measured in newton metres (Nm).

Generally, small screwdriver tasks need a lower torque, and heavy-duty jobs will require a higher torque.

Drills with a higher price tag often have adjustable torque so you can use the same drill for different purposes.

Drill Bits

Drill bits are placed on the end of drills and tightened into the chuck. They’re designed to drill holes in a variety of different materials.

There are countless types of drill bits, but the most common types are: High Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits, Tungsten Carbide Tip (TCT) bits, SDS drill bits and screwdriver bits.

It’s important to check which drill bit is recommended for your type of drill, because some drills, like SDS drills, are too powerful to be used with standard bits.

Drilling Capacity

Drilling capacity means the maximum diameter of a drill bit that the chuck can hold. Generally, the higher the drill power, the greater the diameter of a hole that can be drilled.

Drilling capacity will vary based on the power of the drill, the drill bit, and the type and density of the material being drilled.

Reverse Function

If a drill has a reverse function feature, this means it can drill and drive clockwise and anti-clockwise.

This feature is ideal if you need to remove difficult screws, as well as backing out of holes you’ve drilled into a wall.

LED Lights

A number of drills will feature LED lights. These make it easier to work in poorly lit or tight spaces.

For example, if you’re likely to drill in a cupboard you may want to consider an LED light so you can clearly see where you’re drilling.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the different types of drill?

    There are lots of different types of drills, including SDS drills, combi drills, drill drivers, diamond core drills, hammer drills, impact drills, and right-angle drills.

  • What is the best type of drill?

    The best type of drill depends on the job – but SDS drills are the highest powered and most versatile type. For regular DIY use, you likely won’t need anything stronger than a combi drill.

  • What are the main types of drill bit?

  • What are impact drivers used for?

    Impact drivers are mainly used for driving in screws and fastenings.

  • How do impact drills work?

    Impact drills work with a rotational force to drive in screws, then use quick bursts of power when it feels resistance.

  • What are SDS drills used for?

    SDS drills are very versatile and high-powered, and can be used for heavy duty jobs including drilling into brick, masonry and concrete.

  • How do SDS drills work?

    SDS drills work by combining the rotary motion of a standard drill with a hammering action for extra power.

  • What does SDS stand for in terms of drills?

    SDS stands for Slotted Drive System.

  • What are combi drills?

    Combi drills, as the name suggests, are drills with a combination of modes in one tool – including a screwdriver, drilling, and hammer-drilling mode.

  • Why are diamond tips used on industrial drills?

    Diamond tips are used on some industrial drills because diamond is the toughest natural material in the world, making it extremely effective at cutting through hard materials.

  • How much do power drills cost?

    Power drills range in price, from under £30 to thousands of pounds.

Hey, browse our site often?