24V Combi Drills

Feature Checklist Here’s a list of the features that you should expect to find on a good 24V combi.

Torque control
The torque control ring sets the point at which the clutch in the machine disengages from the motor. It is used for screwdriving so that you do not drive your screws too deep. There are usually around 20 settings. The torque ring may also incorporate the hammer and drilling settings, or there may be a separate ring for these. SDS drills do not have this feature, so screwdriving can be more difficult.

There should be at least a two-speed gearbox for maximum versatility. Use the higher speed for smaller diameter bits and softer materials and the slower speed for large bits and screwdriving.

Batteries and chargers
These vary from tool to tool, but you should expect a pair of batteries with a combi drill and a one hour charger.

Side handle
With tools this powerful a side handle is a necessity. You need to keep a firm grip on the tool especially when using large flat bits in timber. Should the bit jam in the timber, the torque produced by the tool can cause it to twist out of your hands possibly causing injury.

Depth Stop
This is often incorporated into the side handle to help you drill to a consistent depth. Particularly useful when masonry drilling for wall plugs.

There are various designs of chuck, but generally cordless tools use keyless chucks now. The majority can be tightened with one hand and are strong and reliable. Chucks need to be treated with a certain amount of care, as if they get dir t inside they can jam and are often extremely difficult to release.

When battery-powered tools first appeared on the market, they were generally only capable of coping with the easier and less demanding tasks. Powered screwdrivers could just about assemble a piece of flat-packed furniture, and cordless drills preferred small diameter bits and softwood. Battery power was limited, chargers were slow, and you had to guard against overcharging. Things have changed a bit since then. Battery technology has advanced rapidly and many of the problems inherent in the early machines have been eliminated. We can now choose from a wide range of cordless tools in a variety of sizes and voltages that are able to cope with all manner of jobs from the delicate to the brutal. Obviously, the more powerful and sophisticated the tool, the higher the price and the heavier the tool (until lithium came along). For amateur users cordless tools are a bonus, for professionals they can be a necessity.
In this feature we’re looking at 24V combi drills. These tools are perhaps on the outer limits of need, for the majority woodworkers, though if you are involved in any serious installation work without access to mains power, then you will be glad of their capabilities.
At this power level there is a choice of drill types. Along with the familiar combi with its drilling, screwdriving and hammer-drilling functions, you can now buy 24v pneumatic SDS hammer drills. Though these can be used for wood drilling, with an accessory chuck, and screwdriving, they are primarily intended for masonry drilling, and are particularly effective in concrete, and unlike standard hammer drills, need very little operator pressure to work effectively.
Prices quoted are best prices that I could find on the Internet, at the time of writing. However do your own research and you may be able to improve on them.
“For amateur users cordless tools are a bonus, for professionals they can be a necessity”

As always treat your tools with respect...
• Wear safety glasses when drilling stone or masonry
• Keep chargers dry and never use batteries that are damaged or cracked
• Keep your bits sharp

Axminster AW-240CD
Price: £89.88

Power: 24V 2.4Ah NiMH

Max drilling capacities:
Wood: 25mm
Steel: 12mm
Concrete: 16mm
Weight: 3.0kg

Pros: Price

Cons: Performance

Axminster: 0800 371822

Axminster AW-240CD The Axminster is a slimline machine with a comfortable rubberpadded handle and a smooth textured body. It’s supplied with two batteries, a one hour charger, a set of twist drills, and a set of screwdriver bits all housed in a sturdy carrying case. On board is a two speed gearbox and a maximum speed of 22,400rpm. The 13mm chuck is a high quality Rohm single handed design. The side handle is fully adjustable, though there is no depth stop. There’s a 17-position torque ring and a separate ring to control the hammer setting. On the rear of the main body a pair of double-ended screwdriver bits are stored and there’s also a built-in spirit level to help keep your holes horizontal. The battery itself clips onto the base of the handle and has an illuminated charge meter incorporated to gauge the state of the battery.

In use the Axminster was a little disappointing. Under load the battery power dropped significantly, though it did recover. Also the casing is not as robust as it might be and it could be felt twisting in the hand.

Summary: Considering the price, this is quite a lot of drill for the money, however its performance is not really comparable to the other machines here. Okay for the occasional user.

Milwaukee V28 PD
Milwaukee with belt clip
Milwaukee complete with belt clip
Price: £399.00

Power: 28V 3Ah Li-ion

Max drilling capacities:
Wood: 65mm
Steel: 16mm
Concrete: 20mm
Weight: 3.1kg

Pros: Power, performance, good design, robust

Cons: Price

Milwaukee: 01442 258346

Milwaukee V28 PD Best on test I know that this feature is supposed to be about 24V combis, but I just thought that I would squeeze this Milwaukee into it. After all what’s four volts between friends? This combi is from Milwaukee’s new V28 range. These tools are all powered by a 28V Lithium Ion battery. These use the most sophisticated battery technology and are similar to those used in laptop computers and cellular telephones. They are powerful, have a long life, and can be charged at any time as there is no ‘memory’ effect. However they are more expensive than other batteries.

The V28PD is certainly a machine built for the professional. It’s supplied with a case, a pair of batteries, a one hour charger, a side handle and a rather clever belt clip with a quick release attachment. However make sure that your belt is secure, otherwise your trousers might end up round your ankles.

A twenty position torque ring is fitted along with a secondary ring to select the hammer or drilling settings. A Rohm one-handed chuck is supplied and there is a two speed gearbox with an 1800rpm top speed. The main handle is comfortably shaped and rubber padded on both sides. There is storage space for two double-ended screwdriver bits on the body and on the left hand side is the bracket for the belt clip. The battery slides onto the base of the tool and may be inserted from the front or the rear that both alters the balance of the tool and can improve access for certain jobs. There’s an LED charge indicator on the front of the battery.

Summary: A tireless performer. The enormous battery seems to provide limitless power and copes with any job. It’s also a comfortable, though heavy, tool to use. Overall, a spectacular machine.

Erbauer ERB82240
Price: £99.99

Power: 24V 2Ah NiCd

Max drilling capacities:
Wood: 40mm
Steel: 13mm
Concrete: 16mm
Weight: 2.72kg

Pros: Price, features

Cons: Nothing major

Screwfix Direct: 0500 414141

Erbauer ERB82240 Best Value Here’s another tool from the budget end of the market. The Erbauer range is exclusively marketed by Screwfix Direct and offers competent tools at attractive prices. The ERB82240 is a striking looking tool with a textured rubber main handle and a small adjustable side handle. It’s supplied with a pair of batteries and a one hour charger, housed in a plastic storage case. There’s a two-speed gearbox with a maximum speed of 1200rpm. The torque ring has 24 settings and incorporates the hammer and drilling settings.A bullseye level is fitted to the rear of the body and a straight level is fitted to the top, so there is no excuse for inaccurate drilling. On the base of the main handle is a magnetic pad that is useful for holding small screws or screwdriver bits. The sizeable battery clips onto the handle and there’s also a wrist strap for added security.A pair of doublesided screwdriver bits are stored in the handle. The chuck is a Jacobs 500 series with a 13mm capacity.

In use the Erbauer is impressive. It powers through hard material with little difficulty and is generally comfortable to use, though it has rather a short side handle, which those with large hands might find uncomfortable.

Summary: The whole machine feels robust and reliable. It’s supplied with a two-year guarantee and its price certainly makes it an attractive proposition.

Ryobi CRH-240RE
keyless chuck
Fitting the keyless chuck
Price: £281.99

Power: 24V 2Ah NiCd

Max drilling capacities:
Wood: 20mm
Steel: 13mm
Concrete: 20mm
Weight: 4.0kg

Pros: Simple design, comfortable powerful performer, realistic price

Cons: Care needed when screwdriving

Toolbank: 0845 658 0357

Ryobi CRH-24ORE Here is another 24V SDS drill. It’s very similar, though fractionally larger than the DeWalt. It’s supplied in a large storage case with a pair of batteries, a one hour charger, and a plug-in keyless chuck incorporating a screwdriver bit socket. The whole machine is nicely styled and well balanced. The main handle is rubber covered and so is the front of the machine,making it comfortable to hold without the side handle. The side handle is adjustable and incorporates a simple depth stop. The battery slides onto the front of the body and is quick and easy to fit. On the lefthand side is the switch that controls the hammer setting. A small spirit level is built into the top surface to help keep your drilling horizontal. The SDS chuck has a sprung collar that holds the bits firmly in place and the standard keyless chuck plugs into it with an adapter. If the chuck is removed from the adapter the screwdriver socket is revealed allowing standard hex bits to be used.

Summary: The Ryobi is a pleasure to use. It’s comfortable to hold and powers its way through concrete without pause. Screwdriving performance is good too, though it’s best suited to putting large screws into hard timber.

Price: £352.50

Power: 24V 3.3Ah NiMH

Max drilling capacities:
Wood: 38mm
Steel: 13mm
Concrete: 16mm
Weight: 3.5kg

Pros: Good all rounder, high build quality

Cons: Nothing major

Makita: 01908 211678

Makita BHP 460 The Makita is a surprisingly small machine, though stands on an enormous 3.3Ah battery. It’s also supplied with a smaller, and lighter, 2Ah battery, a large one hour fan-cooled charger and a sturdy storage case. The machine is beautifully finished with a smooth solid blue plastic body with a softgrip insert in the handle.A large side handle is also supplied and this incorporates a useful depth stop. The main torque ring has 16 settings and there’s a secondary ring for selecting the drilling modes.A single-handed, rubber-covered keyless chuck is fitted and there is a two speed gearbox with a maximum speed of 22,500rpm. As always on Makita tools a small screwed cover on either side of the body is used to allow owner brush changes. On the base of the handle are storage slots for two double-ended screwdriver bits.

In use the Makita is another tough performer. It doesn’t quite have the power of the Milwaukee, but is still a very competent machine. Personally I prefer it with the rather lighter 2Ah battery, though obviously the larger battery gives more power and greater run time.

Summary: Top quality machine that’s finished to very high standard that should satisfy the most discerning user.

Dewalt DW004K2C
Price: £317.43

Power: 24V 3.3Ah NiMH

Max drilling capacities:
Wood: 30mm
Steel: 13mm
Concrete: 20mm
Weight: 4.2kg

Power Tools UK: 01355 234 328

DeWalt DW004K2C The DeWalt DW004K2C is a sophisticated machine powered by a massive 24V 2Ah NiCd battery. It comes with 24V 2AH NiCdf batteries, a keyless chuck with SDS adapter, a set of SDS drill bits and an intelligent 1hr charger, all housed in a sturdy carrying case. It may be used for drilling all materials and also, with the hammer action switched off, can be used for screwdriving, though there is no torque control.

The DeWalt is a compact and well balanced machine with a rubberised main handle on the rear and the battery pack attached in front of it. Because of its weight and size, the battery slides into place from the front and is securely locked in place. Above it is the selector switch that controls the hammer action. A secondary handle is mounted on the nose and this may be rotated around the body to suit both left and right handed users. A depth stop is also fitted. The large rubber power trigger is mounted in the main handle and controls the variable speed motor. Chargers themselves do not normally need much explanation, however the DeWalt is a somewhat unusual beast. Because batteries charge best between certain temperatures, the charger has a built in fan to cool hot batteries, and can also warm cold batteries. When the desired temperature is reached, charging starts. A battery will be fully charged in about 1hr. After the initial charging the charger switches into ‘refresh’ mode. This helps balance or equalise the charge in all the individual battery cells and consequently ensures that the battery is always working at full capacity.

Summary: Aimed at tradesmen who have to work in locations where power is either limited or inconvenient to use. Would benefit anyone who wants a powerful drill and no cable.

If you’re after a powerful and versatile tool, look no further than the Milwaukee. It does have the largest battery and the highest price however it does deliver the goods. The Makita is also an admirable tool, although not quite as powerful as the Milwaukee it is still an impressive and well made machine. For those on a tight budget, the Erbauer provides excellent value for money.