Power Drill or Hand Drill, Which Is Better?

milwaukee12v drill photo
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Image credit:Amazon, for about US$120.

My Milwaukee 12V, 3/8" electric drill (pictured) is extremely handy for infrequent home repairs and bench-top projects. This and similar rechargeable drills have light weight Li-Ion batteries that hold a charge for weeks. My Milwaukee has the entire juice-box built into the handle - so I can holster it in my jeans pocket. Before the Li-Ion battery revolution, the impact of which was felt over the last two years, most rechargeable power tools were unreliable and produced a big waste stream at end of product life.With NiCad drills you had to have at least 2 extra batteries per tool and leave one on charge all the time to keep it topped up, wasting electricity and stressing the battery.

Otherwise, you were sure to get up on a ladder or in the crawl space before you discovered there was only 3 minutes worth of power. When the NiCad-powered drill or it's batteries or both went kaput - in my experience a span of 2 or 3 years for the big retail brands - you then had somehow to dispose of the drill, a massive polymer case, at least one (maybe two) charging stations and possibly two or even three extra batteries. All for maybe a few hundred holes drilled by the non-professional user. What a scam.

Hand tool lust can still be fulfilled.
Finding the perfect hand replacement for the rechargeable drill is a practical and sustainable consumer affliction. Because, after 6 or 8 years, truth be told, today's hottest rechargeable Li-Ion drill will need replacement batteries and each will cost more than an entire kit box of the next big thing out there.

That's why I have my sights fixed on this 1/2-inch bit, hand crank model with a chest plate to help get through the thick stuff. From Germany, of course. One of the grand kids will inherit it: no batteries needed.


Image credit:Sears, for about US $65

There also this smaller hand drill for about US$25. But it won't fit in my jeans pocket and bit changing is pretty slow by comparison to the Milwaukee.


Image credit:Amazon

Here's why I mention this.

If you want to have a sustainable lifestyle you really need to learn how to assemble and disassemble simple things - and hopefully fix them. I've met a lot of people in my lifetime who have no clue what end of the hammer to grab. A toy hammer and some worn out screw driver that came with a knockdown shelf set are kept in the kitchen drawer. That's no way to live and have the temerity to call yourself "green."