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cheesefood 05-20-2009 08:23 AM

Let's Talk Cordless Drills
I'm in the market for a new one. I currently use a Craftsman 18v but it's a few years old and the batteries aren't holding their charge as long as they used to. I'm also noticing that I'm losing the torque I need.

I would say that I'm becoming a mid-level skilled DIY guy. My recent project is changing out the doors in my house and I've replaced 14 hollow-core doors with new prehung 6-panel pine doors. I used screws instead of nails because of the forgiving nature of screws.

Future projects are limitless and next I'll probably start working on my basement (after landscaping). So I'm thinking of going all-out and getting a higher-level drill like the Panasonic 18v Drill Driver.

It gets high reviews on Amazon (even though half of them are obviously written by a marketing company, as you can tell by the number of "contractors" who use too many loaded marketing terms) and on ConsumerSearch, Panasonic gets great reviews.

But I'd like to hear some other thoughts from people in the field. Look at the price and the reviews (but not the first couple, they're obviously fake) and let me know your thoughts.

Redwood 05-20-2009 10:28 AM

I would consider buying replacement batteries or having yours reconditioned. Panasonic 18 volt battery search results

If you use this predominently as a screw driver I would strongly recommend considering a cordless impact driver. cordless impact driver search results

cheesefood 05-20-2009 11:07 AM


Originally Posted by Redwood (Post 30705)
I would consider buying replacement batteries or having yours reconditioned. Panasonic 18 volt battery search results

If you use this predominently as a screw driver I would strongly recommend considering a cordless impact driver. cordless impact driver search results

Not really as JUST a screwdriver. I do a lot of projects. The Craftsman just doesn't have the torque I want, the speed I want, or the battery life. The battery takes a while to charge (2-3 hours) and dies quickly if left in the drill. It doesn't perform well in cold weather.

I plan on doing a lot of work over the next few years which will require building, drilling (into wood, drywall, concrete, steel), and driving bolts and screws.

cheesefood 05-20-2009 11:30 AM

What about refurbished drills? Any reason to stay away from them?

Nestor_Kelebay 05-20-2009 04:32 PM

If it were me, I would open my yellow pages phone directory to "batteries" and about half the places listed there will rebuild the battery pack of your existing drill with new cells. And, for a dime or two more per cell, you can have the battery pack rebuilt with higher capacity cells so that the battery pack holds more of a charge and you can go further on each charge.

Battery cell capacity is rated in milliamphours, or mAh. Typically, the cells used in cordless tools will be 1700 to 2200 mAh cells. If you pay a dime to a quarter more per cell, you can have the battery pack rebuilt with 2500 or 2600 mAh cells. The cells are exactly the same size as the lower capacity cells so they fit equally well. They just hold more of a charge so that you can do more work on each full charge.

Each cell is rated at 1.2 volts, so if you have an 18 volt drill, you have 15 cells connected in series. A rebuilt battery pack will typically cost you less than half of buying a new battery pack for your drill, and if you buy higher capacity cells, you'll get a greater improvement in performance than if you'd bought a new battery pack.

Also, it's important to have the battery rebuilt with the same kind of cells as before. That's because the battery charger you have will be designed to charge nicad or ni-mh batteries. Often you can get away with charging ni-mh batteries on a ni-cad charger, and vice versa, but it's not recommended.

I still have a Porter Cable Magna Quench 12 volt cordless drill I bought back in about 1990, and I'm on my 3rd or 4th battery pack, and each one of them has been rebuilt.

My three pair of Maytag Computer Track washers and dryers had ni-cad batteries in them so that they would remember the wash cycle programming if they were ever unplugged. These batteries went after about 10 years, and the washers and dryers would revert back to their factory programming if I unplugged them to do a repair. My local commercial Maytag dealer wanted $100 and change for EACH of these batteries. I had them made up at a local battery dealer for $9 each. I replaced all the batteries in my laundry equipment for about $65 including taxes, instead of paying out about $700 with taxes. And, all 6 machines have been working fine on those rebuilt batteries since about 1995 or 6 or so.

Have your battery rebuilt, and if you still want a new toy, buy a cordless impact driver as Redwood suggests.

bradthebard 05-22-2009 05:44 PM

I have the 18v Li Makita impact driver and drill set. They are incredible. A little pricey to some, but once you use them you will never go back to Craftsman. The maintenance shop at work has been using them since they came out and they beat the crap out of them and they just keep on going.

homefish 05-22-2009 05:56 PM

I have a few cordless drills that I use for little projects around the house and garage. However, when I 'need' the torque or power, I use something that is corded. Basically, the cordless are for convenience while the corded drills are for reliability.

racsan 05-26-2009 10:11 AM

i have a dewalt 1/2" that is super, came with 2 packs and a charger. has a "hammer" setting along with the normal clutch settings. got it for christmas so i dont know what it cost, replaced a old skil 12v drill i had, i havent used my corded drill since getting the dewalt, but i always kept it handy when the skil was in service. i wouldnt trust any reviews, i have a frend who makes money online by submitting "reviews". its called wordgigs and you get "jobs" submitting a review for varoius things, if it has alot of big words, correct spelling and grammer its problaby a paid-for reveiw.

Redwood 05-31-2009 07:25 AM

I have a 6 year old Ridgid Cordless set I picked up at Homey Cheapo...
It has a "lifetime" guarantee that even includes batteries...
I've gotten a couple so far out of them and I've got one now that I have to send in...

The set was 18V NiCad w/ 2 batteries and a 2 battery charger, the drill is 1/2" 2 speed with hammer...
No complaints...

slownsteady 07-08-2009 01:03 PM

I'm also thinking about upgrading from my Craftsman 14.4v to a Li-on 18v drill. The batteries keep getting harder to find and now the charger seems to be gone. It's hard to swallow a $200 investment though...

I'm tired of using consumer drills that have a short life and get discontinued so often (do you hear me, Sears????). So it looks like Milwaukee or Makita. What do you folks think? Do they support their gear forever? Any users have an opinion?

and what the hell am I supposed to do with all the drills I've collected over the years??? 7.2v.... 9.6v...... 12v.... Geeesh!!!

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