Let's Talk Cordless Drills

Discussion in 'Tools' started by cheesefood, May 20, 2009.

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  1. May 20, 2009 #1

    cheesefood

    cheesefood

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    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  2. May 20, 2009 #2

    Redwood

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  3. May 20, 2009 #3

    cheesefood

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    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.
     
  4. May 20, 2009 #4

    cheesefood

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    What about refurbished drills? Any reason to stay away from them?
     
  5. May 20, 2009 #5

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2009
  6. May 23, 2009 #6

    bradthebard

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    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.
     
  7. May 23, 2009 #7

    homefish

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    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.
     
  8. May 26, 2009 #8

    racsan

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    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.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  9. May 31, 2009 #9

    Redwood

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    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...
     
  10. Jul 8, 2009 #10

    slownsteady

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    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!!!
     
  11. Jul 26, 2009 #11

    HawaiiDavid

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    I couldn't be happier with my Milwaukee drill. Pricey, but worth every penny.
     
  12. Dec 18, 2009 #12

    Mikeman

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    Problem with reviews and tests is that the people doing them don't have real job site experience and seldom test the best in class from each manufacturer. Replacement battery availability is also overlooked. I can go into just about any tool store and get a Makita battery but good luck with Ridgid or Ryobi or Panasonic or Craftsman.

    With Panasonic the drills I see advertised are all 2-speed gearbox models and for heavy duty use 3-speed gearboxes are a lot better with cordless drills. Think of a car with a big V-8 that gets buy just fine with a 3-speed transmission but with a little 4-banger one needs 4 or 5 speeds to get any performance. If I was going to have only one drill for all my needs it would be a drill with a 3-speed gearbox and lihium-ion batteries.

    The reason people still rely on corded drills is that they try to use a corded drill in exactly the same way and it just does not work. Big difference between a drill that is only limited by the size of its motor and unlimited 120v feed from the power station and a drill that depends on a battery pack. The manufacturers market their tools as being able to take the place of corded versions without a second thought on the part of the user which is simply not the case at all.

    I have seen HVAC ducting installers cutting 10" holes in TJI with one guy a 3/8" 4 amp corded drill and another using a DeWalt 18v cordless and both drill worked equally well. The trick was the use of a Hole Pro hole cutter to do the cutting. The first week one of the guys used a 15amp stud drill and just about broke his wrists when the hole cutter was forced through at a bad angle. With the little Makita and the cordless DeWalt if the cut was off and the drill stalled it was easy to recover.
     
  13. Dec 19, 2009 #13

    slownsteady

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    It got down to a choice between Milwaukee & Makita 18volt Lion. I took the Milwaukee because it came with two batteries. So far I am impressed. I like the intelligence of this drill. You can drive a screw all the way down even as the battery is getting low, but the next time the drill won't even try until you change batteries. So no watching the drill slow to a stop with the screw only halfway down.

    The charger is quick, so with two batteries it's non-stop. I would have liked to try the Makita also. I'm sure it would be just as good, but $70 for the extra battery was a deal-breaker.
     
  14. Dec 19, 2009 #14

    slownsteady

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    I still don't know what to do with all the old drills!
     
  15. Dec 19, 2009 #15

    Trim Plus

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    Hi,

    I have been in the construction field for about 25 yrs and have tried almost all or know someone that has one or another. Personally I would only go with Dewalt, no less than 18v. They have probably 100s of tools that use the same battery.

    Leo
    trimplus(dot)biz
     
  16. Dec 22, 2009 #16

    earlgrey

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    I've been using Dewalt for 14 years or so, you can't go wrong for the money. Milwaukee is definitely the best, but they cost soo much more than Dewalt I would go with the Dewalt. Hey they're giving one away at Cordless power tool batteries They're batteries are awesome, and cheap. You could buy a nice used one from craigslist or something then just get new generic batteries for it.

    -Earl
     
  17. Feb 10, 2010 #17

    Doorguy4ya

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    Makita is the best rated 18V drill for size, durability and ease of use. Ridgid probably has the best torque if you do alot of drilling into material or running screws. I have a DeWalt and Ridgid, its always good to have a back up....
     
  18. Feb 10, 2010 #18

    Wuzzat?

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    Plotting a price vs. torque curve should show good and bad buys.

    From this site
    http://www.google.com/products?clie...esult_group&ct=title&resnum=3&ved=0CCYQrQQwAg

    Plotting a few gives
    [​IMG]
    Price is along the horizontal axis.

    The trend line formula is
    Torque in inch-pounds = [0.98 x dollars] + 350
    so for $200 you should get at least 546 inch-pounds of torque.

    The drill at 650 inch-pounds and ~$125 seems to be a very good buy as to torque vs. dollars.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2010
  19. Feb 11, 2010 #19

    slownsteady

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    What about data points for durability, battery life, comfort, etc etc, etc.?
     
  20. Feb 11, 2010 #20

    earlgrey

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    Wow! Ok I've never seen anyone try to plot it out. I'm a home-builder in Central PA. I've been working on construction sites for 20 yrs. and I can tell you from real world use that what you see on the job site consistently is Dewalt, Makita, and Milwaukee. Why? Because there proven, not because some chart said to buy that one. As far as Rigid goes this is a DIY brand, rite up there with craftsman, and Ryobi. If you want something powerful that will last don't waste your money on this junk. That's my two cents!
     

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