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Buying a cordless drill... (1 Viewer)

Ryan Wright

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My 9.6 volt Craftsman is shot.

Actually, I take that back: The drill is just fine. Like new, actually, even though I've had it nearly 6 years. See, I have this problem where I take extremely good care of the items I buy. So, even though my drill looks brand new, as of tonight, it's worthless, because neither of the batteries will hold a charge anymore.

And, lucky for me, Sears won't sell me new batteries. It sucks to spend all that effort keeping my belongings in tip-top shape only to have to throw them away due to a minor technicality. OK, so it's an old drill, and it never was all that powerful, but it worked for my needs. The only time I ever longed for more power was when I built a 100 foot long fence.

Anyway, I need a new one, like, yesterday. My price range is, to be honest, unlimited. I can say that because my requirements - general household use - will keep the price low. I don't need a super-heavy-duty $500 drill. At the same time, I do engage in a serious project on occasion and don't want something cheap.

Any suggestions? I've been leaning towards DeWalt lately for my power tools, but will give serious consideration to any others. I want the best. Who makes it?

Oh, and if the manufacturer will sell me new batteries in 6 years, all the better. ;)
 

JohnRice

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Geez, Ryan. I think a DeWalt will be gross overkill for you. The idea of a brand that doesn't change their batteries all the time is probably a good one. You should run down the batteries at least a couple times a year to keep them exercised. DeWalt is one the best, but I think a Ryobi is still more than you need and a little more economical. Honestly, I would check into a Black & Decker, which are very reasonable these days. Just make sure you get two batteries, and a case is nice. I have both Ryobi and B&D cordless and a DeWalt corded hammer drill for the really serious stuff. They all do their jobs fine.
 

JohnRice

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Oh yeah, Ryobi or Makita, Same thing. I forgot, my Ryobi is actually a Makita.
 

Peter Kim

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Ryan...relatively recent cordless drill owner here. About a year ago, I was close to buying a DeWalt 12v. Was about to pick it up from the local Home Depot.

Thought I'd get opinions from the pros/hardcore folks at a well-respected hardware store (Seven Corners). They carried everything - DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, Milwaukee, Porter Cable, etc.

However, the unanimous praise was saved for the Panasonic line. After hours of further research online, I found a more universal set of praise for the Panasonic cordless drills.

Please check them out. I'm still no expert, but I believe one of the key distinctions is the battery system - the new models now sport 3.5Ah Ni-MH batteries have that 75% more capacity than 2.0Ah Ni-Cd batteries with no change in the diameter of the battery cell.

Amazon carries a full line of Panasonic tools (12v and 15.6v, 1/2" cordless):

Amazon

More info at my local hardware store:

Seven Corners Hardware

I've been very happy with my 'outdated' Panasonic 12v EY6407.
 

Todd Hochard

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First, note that equivalent voltage models are not created equal. Take two brands, for instance- Black & Decker and DeWalt. DeWalt is actually the industrial tools division of Black & Decker. Now, check the peak torque capability on a B&D 14.4v, then check it on a DeWalt 14.4v. The DeWalt is nearly 50% higher.
I've had a DeWalt 9.6V cordless since mid-96, and I just cannot kill this thing. It sees use nearly weekly, for everything from putting toys together, to drilling holes in concrete, to drilling 1" holesaw holes into my car's frame. I have the same two batteries that came with it. I've dropped it from the roof a few times, but alas, it just won't die. I've been wanting a higher voltage model for some time.
That's my personal experience. In tools, even though some are hideously priced, I tend to feel that you get what you pay for. Yellow is my color.:)

Todd
 

JayV

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Ryan, I have three: two B&D Firestorm (both with weird voltages, one around 13 the other around 15) and a 9.6V Ryobi for light duty stuff. Plus a corded Craftsman drill, of course. And a cordless trim saw (like a small circular saw).

My observations:

1. It's infuriating to run out of juice and then wait for a charge. Quick charge or 1-hour charge is handy. Framing and using the saw can burn through batteries pretty quickly.

2. The 14V had no problem driving self-tapping screws into the the floor pan of my Explorer (to secure a CD changer).

3. One of my B&D Firestorm chargers failed and will not charge batteries. I believe that a lot of those components are shared across to the DeWalt line, so I have no idea if I got a dud.

4. The 9.6V Ryobi cost $30 and came with two batteries, charger, a flashlight and a kit bag. Both the flashlight and drill have been pretty handy. I like the 9.6V for drywall and stuff like that.

5. Some drils have removable chucks that are supposed to be quick changed with certain driver bits. I used one (I think B&D) and didn't like it. The chuck fell off once and the bits fell out.

6. Take a look in a Costco if you get a chance. Nice prices and bit kits, etc.

-j
 

Brian Perry

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Here's another vote for Panasonic -- I know many contractor friends who swear by them. I bought the 15.6v model and it is awesome. I know Panasonic doesn't sound like a high-end name (considering they sell some good electronic stuff and some very cheap stuff), but their power tools are top notch (and you'll have to pay a decent dollar, but it's worth it).
 

Ryan Wright

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Hmmm, interesting on the Panasonic. I've got to say that the name scares me. I wouldn't have considered them before.

My buddy has a B&D Firestorm, 14v. I used it once helping him with a project and it was a nice drill. Another buddy has an 18v DeWalt (what happened to the "drool" smiley?!). Man, that sucker is nice, and I wouldn't mind spending the $350 on it, but it's way too much drill for me. I'll spend the money for nice tools, but at the same time, I'm not going to waste it on unnecessary power (well, maybe just a little bit of unnecessary power ;) ).

I've had a DeWalt 9.6V cordless since mid-96;
I have the same two batteries that came with it.
Todd - this is great news. I'll tell you what's even greater news: DeWalt still makes 9.6V batteries, and you can even buy them:

http://www.dewalt.com/us/products/at...productID=1881
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/pro...mId=1611586764

Sure, they're $40, but that's better than nothing. Given this info, I'm thinking a 14v DeWalt might be right up my alley... I'm going to have to check out those Panasonics, too, just in case.

Thanks for the responses. If anyone else has further thoughts, please let me know! I'm going to buy a drill tonight...

Oh, and there is SOME good news: I should be able to use the motor in my current drill to drive a trolling motor lift in my hovercraft. The easiest way to move a hovercraft around a marina is via a small electric prop dropped into the water. Embedding one into the hull and tying it in with the steering is the best way to go, but you can't (safely) run the main engines with a prop in the water, let alone set down on a solid surface. I was going to spend $500 on a linear actuator to do the job, but my old drill motor should work perfectly. ;)
 

Matt Taylor

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My DeWalt 14.4V is awesome. I'm not a hardcore builder and I use mine all the time. Mine came with a flashlight and extra battery that you can swap in and out with the drill and it's great. Really bright flashlight too! The charger is easy as can be to use and the drill has plenty of power. My opinion is, you can buy cheaper but this will last you a LONG time.

MT
 

Ryan Wright

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Matt, where'd you buy it, and I can ask how much you paid? I'm betting on $150-$200 here. The flashlight sounds sweet, I could use a nice flashlight... I figure I'll be checking Lowes, Home Depot and Costco tonight.
 

Peter Kim

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Hmmm, interesting on the Panasonic. I've got to say that the name scares me. I wouldn't have considered them before.
Scared me too, which is why I did considerable more research. Which only cemented what I heard from the professionals.

Do yourself a favor - go to a hardware store that carries a more complete lineup of cordless tools (as opposed to Home Depot).

Hold the DeWalt. Then hold the Panasonic.

Also, keep in mind the battery system. 3.5 Ah Ni-MH vs. the rest.
 

Ted Lee

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i have a makita that is at least 10 years old...if not older. it still runs like a champ. my girlfriend's makita is about nine years old and works perfectly too.

i would have no problem recommending this brand.

however, i'm not a heavy-duty user, so i can't comment on the other brands...but those dewalts sure are dreamy!
 

Steven K

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Ryan,

My father does alot of buying and selling of power tools (both locally and on the internet). If you are interested, let me know and I will direct you to some of his ebay auctions.
 

ToddS

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I highly recommend Ryobi. I bought a 18 volt from Home Depot for $99 and it has been great around the house.
 

Chuck C

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If it helps... I bought a craftsman 12V and it's okay, but my buddy's DeWalt is far better. (think it's 14.4V).
 

Matt Taylor

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Ryan,

I got the drill as a Christmas gift, but i looked up the price. My parents paid about $169.00 but they can't remember for sure. I don't know if you can get the flashlight any more. It's awesome. It comes in a carrying case that holds the drill, the flashlight and the battery charger.

My buddy sells DeWalt and it's the way to go. I have a drill, a circular saw, palm sander, and mitre saw, and they all work like a charm.

Good luck Ryan, you won't be disappointed with DeWalt!

MT
 
E

Eric Kahn

I just bought a milwaukee combo set in 18 volt
I have a ryobi that has worked great but one of the batteries just died
I use milwaukee at work and the new drills have an all steel keyless chuck with carbide teeth in the jaw and replaceable brushes

the whole set (drill, circular saw and recip saw, plus a flashlight) was overkill on my part but I did not have any powertools to start with, other than the ryobi drill
 

Ryan Wright

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Thank you for all of your input!

If you want one drill to rule them all, then I would go with a higher voltage, higher torque, (and higher priced) DeWalt.
I do, and I did. Bought this DeWalt. DW988K-2. 18 volt, 1/2", 450 in-lbs torque.
htf_images_smilies_yum.gif
Oh, baby, does this drill ever rock. I was all over the house last night, tightening up any screws I could find. I'm now looking for an excuse to drill into concrete.

This drill is so overkill for what I need, it's not even funny. But I've got a grin from ear to ear which will resurface every time I use it. And, hey, if I decide to build a house one afternoon, I've already got the perfect drill.

So, I didn't really need the hammerdrill option. I was thinking of buying a full DeWalt kit, but I didn't really need any of the other tools, either. I settled on the $269 drill without the hammerdrill setting. Went to Costco just to check, and they had the hammerdrill version for $259 (as opposed to $289 everywhere else). So I got $10 off, plus a better drill, plus Costco's 1 year no questions asked return policy. Can't beat that with a stick.

Thanks again for your help!
 

Matt Taylor

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Ryan,

Congrats. Your drill gives mine an inferiority complex!! Wait, I don't want to go there!

You'll love it, and just for fun, go drill something into your patio!

Matt
 

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