Which power tool do you buy first if you have no tools at all?  A good question and there are a few answers depending on your circumstances. The first rule is to buy the best quality you can afford. Buy bigger, more power or sturdier if you can. Today you may not need this caliber of tool but this will give you the versatility down the road to do more with the tool.   Also, buy the tool that you will use the most often. Whatever tool you will get the most use from is the best place to start your power tool collection.

The first thing to determine before you buy your first tool is do you have a project in mind or are you just starting your collection?  If you have a project in mind, make a list of the tools required for completion of the project and buy whatever is essential.  This obviously will be different for each project.

If you are just starting out and you are trying to determine which power tool to buy first, you need to think basic functionality.  Your first tools should be multi-purpose.  You need to get the most use from them possible.  The only tool I use on almost every project to some degree is my drill. That is where you need to start. With the power tool that you will use the most and for me that is the drill.  A cordless drill, to be precise.

The projects I have completed with my cordless drill are endless. From doing minor repairs to complete builds. I have built several decks, fences and many pieces of furniture, both large and small, with my cordless drill.

Things to consider when buying your first Drill

Read some Product Reviews

Why Cordless?

Battery size for Cordless?

One or Two Batteries?

Buy a kit with accessories or drill alone?

Product Reviews

My first step when buying any new tool, especially if I don’t have a lot of experience with that tool, is to read some product reviews on line.  Just search for what tool you are interested in and you will find many reviews. To make it easier, here is a link to a site you might find useful.


Why a Cordless Drill?

Corded or cordless is the first question you need to answer. My recommendation here is cordless hands down.  If you have a good cordless drill, you can do all basic functions that are required.  An electric corded drill gives you more power but in most cases you don’t need it. The advantage to using a cordless drill aside from the fact that you don’t need a wall plug or extension cord is also about power. But for me, it is because it has enough power to do the job but not too much power that could result in a problem.

Your cordless drill is much more than a tool that drills holes.  It is also a screw driver or screw remover. As a screw driver, too much power can result in stripping the head of the screw and a real mess until you learn to control it.  The cordless drill handles screw driving effortlessly with much less potential for trouble.

Battery size for a Cordless Drill?

Here is a question that is best answered by your budget. The best today is 18 volt lithium ion batteries.  These batteries hold the greatest charge for the longest time. However, these tools can be pricy. I started with a 12 volt battery and 10 years later, with two rebuilt battery packs, the drill is still doing its job. Buy the most power you can afford. Don’t scrimp but there is no need to only buy the best. Some of the lesser powered tools will do a great job and you will never know the difference.

One or Two Batteries for the Cordless Drill?

Always buy two battery packs. This is obvious but sometimes overlooked or ignored. Always buy two batteries.  In large projects, batteries will need to be recharged half way through. Or you will have a vital piece of work to do and you will find the battery last used is dead. Always buy two batteries. It will save you time and frustration guaranteed.

Buy a kit with accessories or a Cordless Drill alone?

There are some basic accessories that you will need to buy with your drill. An assortment of drill bits and some screw driving bits are essential. Any other specialized accessories can be purchased as required for each new project.  So, again, budget is a big driver here.  Some drills are sold in kits, with cases and other accessories. These can be well priced but there are only valuable if you will really use all the components in the kit. It is often less expensive, when getting started, to buy the basic tool and whatever basic accessories you need. You will find that you will pay less than the “special” kit price and you won’t miss any of those extra accessories.

So, if this is your first tool, buy a good quality cordless drill and a few bits and don’t worry. It won’t be long before you find a use for this new tool.  When you have your fully equipped workshop with countless tools, your cordless drill will still be the main go to tool you have.  It will serve you well.