User Question about cordless drill recommendation for installing security cameras

Ryan G. recently sent me an email with this question:

I am looking for a good drill for my security cameras install project that I am good for on the side. I have been looking at the DeWalt dcd771 and the Chicago electric drill. I would like to know which drill do you recommend for this type of project and what type of bits would you recommend. If you could include a link for the bits that would be nice thank you.

Let me start off by saying thanks for considering my input. As far as either one of those two drills are concerned assuming the Chicago Electric drill is their cordless 18V model I reviewed here, they are both more than capable for the light duty drilling and screwdriving you’ll be involved in when installing security cameras and either will get the job done for your particular project.

Overall the Dewalt DCD771 (check out my review here) is a much better drill as it has more power, faster, more compact, lighter, better build quality and components, and is a professional tool but it’s more expensive at $99-149 (price varies throughout the year and is usually found at $99 around holiday sales) versus the $45-55 of the Chicago Electric drill. The price difference on the Chicago Electric 18V drill is $45 for the regular drill/driver model while the $55 price point is for the hammer drill model which adds the hammer drill mode and side handle with depth rod.

It’s hard to do a simple recommendation of one over the other because you can’t compare the two apples to apples. But I’ll give you some pro and con comparison criteria for each that can help in your buying decision.

Dewalt DCD771 1/2″ drill driver

Pros:

  • significantly better performance compared to the Chicago Electric 18V Drill
  • 1 pound lighter at 3.6 lbs
  • more compact
  • lithium ion batteries – much better battery technology (smaller, lighter, longer life span, quicker charge time)
  • Dewalt brand – Professional quality tool is tougher and will last longer even with heavy use
  • includes 2 batteries
  • better value at $99 in my opinion (Value not so good at $149 though)
  • Dewalt has a larger tool selection in the 20V Max line to add more variety of tools to add on
  • LED light stays lit for 20 seconds even after trigger is released

Cons:

  • more expensive at $99-149
  • no hammer drill mode – can’t hammer drill
  • no included bit holder
  • additional batteries are more expensive

Chicago Electric 18V Drill / Hammer Drill

Pros:

  • inexpensive at $45-55 (cheaper with coupons)
  • hammer drill mode (hammer drill model only)
  • side handle (hammer drill model only)
  • additional batteries are very inexpensive at only $16.99
  • built in bit holder

Cons:

  • inferior performance compared to the Dewalt DCD771
  • 1 pound heavier at 4.6 lbs
  • larger
  • inferior build quality
  • includes 1 battery
  • nicad battery – inferior battery tech to lithium ion
  • built in light stays lit only when trigger is pressed
  • very small selection of Chicago Electric 18V tools only 7 to choose from

The Chicago Electric 18V drill or hammer drill are good drills to consider at their price point and are no slouches. I’d say go for them if you’re on a tight budget and for occasional use. Personally I’d rather go with the Dewalt DCD771 if you can afford it over the Chicago Electric as it’s a much better drill overall. But that’s if I could only choose from either of the two. The Dewalt DCD771 is a great drill at it’s $99 price point (not so much at $149) but the Dewalt is not the best in the pro compact drill range and neither in it’s price point. The main reason being it’s downgraded batteries and slow for it’s class charger. The Dewalt DCD771 is also Dewalts budget and downgraded drill that’s larger and less featured than comparable pro drills in it’s class – even similar Dewalt 20V drills. Yes the Dewalt DCD771 batteries and charger are better than what you find on the Chicago Electric 18V drill but compared to other compact drills in the $99 price range from Bosch, Milwaukee, Makita, Hitachi are better values and sets in my opinion as they offer larger capacity batteries, and faster chargers than what’s included with the DCD771C2 kit. Also you can get 18V drill and impact driver combo sets for not much more. A few suggestions below.

Another thing to consider would be pro 12V drills as they fit the $99 price point or around it for a full two lithium battery kit with faster chargers and most offer performance similar to the Chicago Electric 18V drills but in a much smaller and lighter package. Personally I love 12V tools and they are usually my go to tools for most of my tasks. It’s not until I need more power that I’ll reach for my 18V tools. A few 12V drill suggestions below.

As far as bits are concerned, you’ll need the standard screwdriving bits such as #2 phillips bits for driving screws. If you don’t have a bit set I suggest starting off with a bit set that offers an assortment of bits. Any brand will do but cheaper stuff is softer and wont last as much. Personally my current favorite screwdriving bits are the Dewalt FlexTorq and the Makita Gold in that order.

As far as drilling bits are concerned you’ll need a set of twist bits for drilling small holes into drywall and wood. I currently use Milwaukee and Dewalt twist drill bits and go back and forth between the two. These aren’t so much recommendations as they are simply letting you know what I currently use. For larger holes you can use spade bits but personally I like using Irwin Speedbor Max bits as they’re much better overall in my opinion – faster and easier drilling plus they have the self feeding tip. They are good performers but for those on a budget they can seem like too much for what they are if you don’t plan on using them much – they also require a strong drill but the Dewalt DCD771 and Chicago Electric 18V should handle them fine at slow speeds. Another suggestion for larger hole drilling for less than the Irwin bits would be the Bosch Daredevil spade bits. They are way better than standard spade bits in my opinion but require more power to use than regular spade bits. These are a good alternative to the Irwin Speedbor Max bits but are not so good at drilling at low speeds. The Irwin speedbor bits are much better than the Bosch daredevils at low speed drilling.

If you need to drill into concrete or masonry I’d suggest picking up some hammer drill bits – I’ve had good experience with the Bosch hammer drill bits and their blue granite bits are great for hammer drilling. But if you need to drill into concrete you’ll need a hammer drill for that which leaves the Dewalt DCD771 out of the question as it doesn’t have a hammer drill mode. If you need to drill into stucco you don’t need a hammer drill and any drill will do for this job but you’ll need at a minimum masonry drill bits – hammer drill bits will work fine for drilling into stucco with a regular drill.

I hope this info helps you out Ryan, and if you other viewers out there have some suggestions, comments and feedback, let us know in the comments sections below.

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Ryan Gorden

Thanks for the advice.