The Mystery About Cheap Drills

Following on from his video ‘The myth about cheap drills’ experienced woodworker and power tool expert Jeremy Broun looks closer at a lithium-ion cordless drill he bought for under £20 asking how can the quality be so good for this price? please not this is NOT a comparison video relating to professional tradesman drills because clearly this is a DIY drill and suitable for light occasional work.

Link to ‘Inside a drill’ video:
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Lok Tom says:

Most of the time a cheap drill doesn’t produce high enough rpm for metal drilling. Perhaps the next generation will.

Just for Fun says:

The quality of power and hand tools have risen the last decade because most tools are made in china and the chinese people learn how to copy the pro brands like makita dewalt etc and now they make clones of these tools with the 1/2 of their quality which is still great quality. I have a parkside cordless drill 12V and it’s like a professional tool it’s very strong and it’s better from the prof 12volt drills we had some years back! The quality is getting better and better every year so in 5 years a 12v 20$ drill will be like a 12v professional drill of today.

james moore says:

I was one of those who swore never go with “battery powered tools”, as the battries just wouldn’t holdup but with technique moving so rapidly I now own Dewalt, ryobi.and lining up to get a dewalt 60 volt table saw. Love the “cordless” now. I’ve got two 12 volt drill motors in my collection of go to goodies, thing of building a battery powered scroll saw.?

Viper Strike says:

In the U.S. (ALL) drills this cheap are nicad

Gear One says:

i had watch a lot of diff. reviews but this is the first time i made a comment on a review sir you are a great reviewer a realy honest one thumbs up to you sir hope to see more reviews

Sue In Raleigh says:

I just picked up a hyper tough 18V Cordless for $18 and feels great in my hand and so far I love it. Good battery supply, love the light and it suits my purposes. I’m stoked to be cord free!!

M D Lambert says:

For DIY it’s fine, but for trade work used on a daily basis. It’s not

Sparky Projects says:

I’ve used cheap tools for several years, you can buy a tool costing £100 and it lasts 2 years, or you can buy £20 tools that will last 6 months each. so that’s an extra 6 months, my experience is that they last a lot longer than that for DIY use, it’s usually the batteries that die (nicad or nimh)
Also, on jobsites, i’d rather lose a £20 tool that a £100 one.
I bought a belt sander from Focus DIY (now closed), i needed a new drive belt, the guy in the shop told me to contact nu-tool.
All of the cheap tools probably source their motors from one place, but put their own case around it, i had 2 different drills, the internals were the same, only difference was the gearing, same gearbox with an extra section.

Simon Wane says:

Why not buy a obital sander 12 quid from ebay

MrQuidestveritas says:

How refreshing to have a positive clear interesting video that means I can be involved and dont need a ton of money or experience or a dictionary. Thank you! I wonder if the same might be true for other tools? Then I really do have a chance of building things…Im hopeful.

Steve Jones says:

My Kettle gave up the other day so I bought a cheap one for £5:40 from Asda and it’s got a 2 Year Guarantee and a 100 Day no question’s asked refund with it…..China will be the New Gt Britain soon LOL How the heck they even manage to ship them here for that price let alone make them.

EnigmaRain Productions says:

nicely done

Barry Turner says:

Oops, should have read the thread further down, found your link, Thanks anyway.

kafkaian says:

I wouldn’t have agreed with you even 3 years ago but do agree with you now. I recently got a group of cordless tools from LIDL which utilise the same 20V Li-ion battery pack. So now I have 6 Li-ion battery packs which had I bought separately from DeWalt of Makita would cost me a small fortune. Indeed, I need to replace my 10 year old 18V DeWalt drill batteries, bought to do so will cost me over £100 for the pair which is pointless. So it’s cheaper to convert the base of my DeWalt to accept the LIDL 20V Lithium Ion with a few tweaks to the electronics. And the best thing about these LIDL battery packs? When they go, I can simply replace the existing individual 18650 Li-Ion modules with new ones and very cheaply.

The reason I agree with you now is simple; in the earlier days of cheap unbranded tools, warranties were the box standard 12 months and people had much more disposable income just before the 2008 crash to chuck unbranded tools and apply the “you get what you pay for” rule of thumb. Nowadays, and with the advent of the generic no quibble 3 years LIDL, ALDI type warranties, and given the current financial uncertainties, people will no longer hesitate to return failing items when once they just put losses down to experience.

I now believe, that for the cheap unbranded power tool model to work for them, retailers have had to insist that manufacturers improve quality several fold and in order to protect their reputations and returns costs in an ever competitive market place. That, for me, I believe, is why unbranded tools have increased in quality massively but which has also had the knock-on effect that traditional branded names have had to compete, and in some circumstances, with poorer quality output. For instance I bought a lightweight Bosch router for £80, just for the convenience of routing out hinge rebates for several fire doors I had to fit, but it was terrible quality because the clip on bush guide retainer wasn’t central to the motor shaft, whilst the shaft itself exhibited play and thus had poor tolerance. I replaced it with another, and again the same problem. So, I got my money back, went onto ebay, spent £30 on a cloned Makita trim router, and the results were brilliant.

So yes, I agree with you Jeremy, one can no longer prejudice cheap and unbranded power tools.


Ian. Birmingham, UK

Michael Parker says:

Li-Ion is in no way expensive these days, because with these low torque cheap drills they don’t have a high current draw so they just use some really cheap 18650 cells, and all the other parts are made in their millions in the same Chinese factories which is why they keep quality high(er)

Miguel Pynto says:

link for the drill?

oo0Spyder0oo says:

It’s down to some workshops paying a dollar a day to some worker over a branded one that is being made to be more responsible for its brand name. Quality needn’t be less, just how much it cost to produce. Most retailers are reluctant to share the wholesaler’s location/name so as to not cop flack from activists that want these sweatshops shut down.

ximono says:

I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made in the exact same factory as the drills for some well-known brand. For example: Milwaukee, AEG and Ryobi have the same owner (TTI), so does DeWalt, Black & Decker, Stanley and Porter-Cable (Stanley Black & Decker). Skil is owned by Bosch, and Metabo owned by Hitachi. Even Makita produces cheap tools under their MakTec brand. A lot of it is probably made in the same factories, using many of the same parts manufacturers.

Nowadays, “Made in China” isn’t *necessarily* a bad thing either. The Chinese have got decades of experience producing tools for some of the high quality brands that I mentioned above. By using cheaper parts and materials, simpler design/construction and less stringent quality control, they can churn out copies of the more expensive tools, aimed at poorer markets, with such a high volume that the price point gets pushed down to under £20, while still being a pretty damn good tool. Sure, the cheap copies have worse specs and probably won’t last as long, but there’s never been better power tools available for so little money. And they’re great to start out with, as you point out.

Barry Turner says:


I just watched this piece and then went looking for a (C) £20 drill, and couldn’t find one anywhere close to that price, where did you find your supplier?

Magneticitist says:

I think it’s just that 12v drills have been relatively phased out, so you can get them dirt cheap. There was a time when one would need to grab a corded drill to accomplish a certain task. 12v lithium and 12-18v NiCd just weren’t cutting it. There’s technically nothing wrong with a 12v lithium drill nowadays but I would definitely prefer not to use one for certain tasks because they do not have the torque and speed necessary to make certain jobs easier like a decent 18v-20v lithium drill. These modern lithium drills can be stronger than the corded ones. That’s really what it all boils down to. Say you have to drill a bunch of holes or drive a bunch of self tapping screws in a day.. those 12v drills are going to have no problem doing it, but over the course of that day they are going to require a lot more elbow grease to help get the job done. The 20v lithiums have the torque and speed to make it easier to drive each screw and drill each hole, leaving your arms less tired. You’re basically paying higher dollar for easier work, not necessarily better craftsmanship.

Douglas Ray says:

Real test of drills is in steel not soft wood

Stephen Cook says:

I’ve got a cheap re-chargeable drill I bought 20 years ago. It looks very tatty now, but it works perfectly well. I’ve bought others for 5 times the price and they’ve been binned.

Chris says:

nothing bogs down a drill like particle board

Antonino Ferreira says:

Hi, nice review 🙂 I bought a brushless motor combi drill by Makita which was bloody expensive and the chuck is wonky! Had it replaced and guess what? The new one does the same. I sent an email to Makita’s customer service asking if it was normal – they answered that all their chucks fall within tolerance of “industry standards”. These standards seem to be pretty low then :/

DwightMS1 says:

Years ago I spent a bundle on a DeWalt, and I probably drill a dozen holes a year with it–stupid. I understand the main difference between a cheap and a professional quality drill is that the latter have ball-bearings and the cheapies have bushings. At the rate I’m using mine, a bushing would last me a lifetime.

me aul jazzer says:

interesting Jeremy. I recently bought a Makita impact/drill combo set. happy. have u heard of a channel called AvE . he does tool reviews. goes into the guts of them & points out the pro’s and con’s

ww s says:

Quite a few years back my technical teachers organised a trip to the Royal Highland Show near Edinburgh Scotland on a wood working display day. I was at a stall watching a demonstration on Hitachi power tools, more so an electric planer. This was the fist time we had seen one never mind heard about them. It cost £300,00 45 years ago and my woodwork teacher said, these things will never catch on. I hope Mr Dunlop is looking down and saying, sorry Walter.

Corbin Steffen says:

he usd walfolbord

Pyotr Leflegin says:

Thank you. I have often wondered how machine tools can be made so cheaply that they are almost disposable for the DIYer. Even mains drills can be obtained at very low costs these days.

Fred C Dobbs says:

You were lucky – cheap Chinese hammer drills from Hazard Fraught burn out in ten minutes.  Didn’t catch it on video, it caught fire…

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