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Thread: Cordless drill etc

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    Default Cordless drill etc

    Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans! Happy Thursday, everyone else!

    I need a good cordless drill. It occurs to me I should choose with future cordless tools in mind to maximize battery compatibility. What do I want? Porter Cable? Ryobi? Hilti? Dewalt? Hitachi?

    Use case: I'm not becoming a construction contractor, just want to do light to moderate repairs around the house.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    After my years old crappy drill gave out early this year I splurged on a brushless hammer drill and impact driver set from Makita that even got the approval of my home improvement guru brother in law. It’s excellent and makes short work of any drilling or screwing around the house. Night and day difference from the cheap drill I had previously.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Thank you, Sir. There's a Home Depot just around the corner - I don't know why I omitted that brand but I'm glad you mentioned it - and used the word "brushless" so I could learn something today!

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    The only thing I'd research is battery life span and replacement cost. Since you won't be using it every day those will be the most important things in the long run. Believe me, I just shelled out about $100 for replacement batteries. That wasn't the first time either.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Strongin View Post
    After my years old crappy drill gave out early this year I splurged on a brushless hammer drill and impact driver set from Makita that even got the approval of my home improvement guru brother in law. It’s excellent and makes short work of any drilling or screwing around the house. Night and day difference from the cheap drill I had previously.
    I definitely support Makita. I have been using the same Makita drill for 15 years (as well as two Makita routers, an angle grinder, a die grinder, a jig saw and a belt sander). The drill is probably is no longer made but if the current ones are as good you will not be sorry buying one.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    For the use you describe, a couple approaches. First, you can get some very efficient 12 volt miniaturized drills. They are inexpensive, compact, and yet can drive or drill just about anything you may run across. Many professionals in finish carpentry and so on are using them these days.

    The other approach is to get a full-sized drill. Voltage will be 18-20 volts, depending on the manufacturer. The extra voltage in a 20 volt system isn't really meaningful -- just a marketing thing. But it's important to buy from a brand that will have stable support for your device and its batteries for a long time to come. I'd rule out some of the second-tier brands such as Ryobi, Ridgid, Hitachi, and so on. Both Makita and Dewalt are top rated. They have slightly different strengths and weaknesses and features. They differ in how their illumination LEDs work to light up where you're drilling. You may like one that stays on longer afterwards, or has a wider field, etc. However, both have established stable strategies for growing their product lines within the same batteries. Makita, for example, has 18v batteries in 2, 3, 4, and now 5 amp versions. The bigger ones are more expensive and weigh a bit more but also last longer. For a drill, any of those battery sizes would do fine for you, but they show that you won't be seeing some new battery design in a couple years. Personally I use Makita LXT brushless drills and impact drivers and have had nothing but good luck with them.

    For any drill, brushless means less maintenance and better battery life. However, internally, the construction of brushed motors tends to be higher in these tools (brushless saves the manufacturer quite a bit of cost). Brushless has really only been possible with the ubiquity of cordless equipment -- you can find brushless 110v systems but they don't work as well and don't last as well.

    One last thing: If you haven't tried an impact driver, check one out and read some reviews. They use the same mechanism used to attach your lug nuts on your car's wheels, and can drive a screw better than any drill/driver can do. They are also extremely compact. Consider one of the popular two-tool kits with a drill/driver (or hammer drill/driver, which lets you put smaller holes into brick or concrete) and an impact driver. I pull my impact driver out more than I do the drill. They've become really popular the past decade or so, and you may find it's the tool you really need much of the time. The kits come with a drill, impact driver, charger, and a couple batteries, so you always have a spare battery around and can use the same batteries on both tools.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Quote Originally Posted by rec head View Post
    The only thing I'd research is battery life span and replacement cost. Since you won't be using it every day those will be the most important things in the long run. Believe me, I just shelled out about $100 for replacement batteries. That wasn't the first time either.
    That is a good point. I am still using the original 3 batteries which came with my 15 year old Makita.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    FWIW, if you can't find a good deal on a brushless drill check out CPO. I picked up a rebuilt 18v Milwaukee for about $60 off retail a bout 2 months ago.

    Also, I'm a big fan of the brushless Milwaukee drills. Even their tiny drills (12v) have some oomph. I forgot a ratchet when we set up our Interbike booth + had to rely on one + one of those universal sockets to open up our crates. There was enough torque to pull those things apart (though I went through both batteries... they charge in 30-45 min when new).
    elysian
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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Quote Originally Posted by rec head View Post
    The only thing I'd research is battery life span and replacement cost. Since you won't be using it every day those will be the most important things in the long run. Believe me, I just shelled out about $100 for replacement batteries. That wasn't the first time either.
    That (battery life and cost) was the issue I ran into with the one and only cordless drill I had. Two years ago I purchased a Dewalt corded drill and have all the power for however long I need to complete projects around the house.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    I second 11.4’s advice re makita and impact drivers. A friend who hires himself out on weekends loves his makita drills and drivers. I switched from an underpowered ryobi to a much better makita after helping him repair a deck.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Happy Makita owner here

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Don't measure modern drills by batteries on earlier generations of cordless drills. The new lithium ion battery packs last forever, are very resistant to abuse or deterioration, and are simply superb. I have a Makita drill and impact driver combo with four 3-amp batteries and have never exhausted a battery in a day unless I was drilling holes in brick or oak all day. And after six years the batteries haven't needed replacement. As lithium ion, they don't even need recharging unless they are actually worn down -- they don't burn down on their own.

    Also, note that once you've invested in the batteries, you can use all the other cordless tools they make, which for Makita are pretty much all first rate -- jig saw, reciprocal saw, grinder, mini router, you name it. The tools mostly run around $100 each, which makes it affordable to buy more tools to use your cordless infrastructure. When you do this, you definitely want to be doing it around a brand that has good tools across the board. Makita is #1 in my opinion, Dewalt is #2, and Milwaukee has a number of good tools. So pick your brand.

    I have a second combo set of the 18V Makita drill and impact driver, with two chargers and four batteries, all in mint condition. I never had to use it because my original set was so reliable. Anyone interested, drop me a pm.
    Lane DeCamp

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    I'm a super happy Dewalt owner. The lithium cells have fantastic run times and charge quite quickly. Tons of power, clutch works very well for driving screws. Fits my hand well and is well balanced for easy handling. I have a corded Bosch hammer drill for when I need to poke holes in concrete...
    Guy Washburn

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    I use an 18V Milwaukee brushless hammer drill at work, as well as a 1/2" impact gun. Both take a beating, and are surprisingly powerful and capable.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Quote Originally Posted by King Of Dirk View Post
    Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans! Happy Thursday, everyone else!

    I need a good cordless drill. It occurs to me I should choose with future cordless tools in mind to maximize battery compatibility. What do I want? Porter Cable? Ryobi? Hilti? Dewalt? Hitachi?

    Use case: I'm not becoming a construction contractor, just want to do light to moderate repairs around the house.
    Makita brushless is hands down the best cordless impact driver I have ever used, and certainly the top of the list for utility of any tool in my kit. But DO NOT buy from Home Depot- the tools they sell are not the same inside as those you'll find at your local mom and pop store. Sounds nuts, but it's true. The guts are plastic, and your tools won't last.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Quote Originally Posted by ides1056 View Post
    Makita brushless is hands down the best cordless impact driver I have ever used, and certainly the top of the list for utility of any tool in my kit. But DO NOT buy from Home Depot- the tools they sell are not the same inside as those you'll find at your local mom and pop store. Sounds nuts, but it's true. The guts are plastic, and your tools won't last.
    +1 on this advice. Even seemingly identical models with the same serial number are constructed differently for sale at a box store versus sale at a tool store - that's why they are so much cheaper, it's, well, because they are cheaper. HD and Lowe's contract directly with the manufacturer to bring the cost down - usually by replacing metal bits with plastic bits.

    HD and Lowes are great for a lot of things, but don't buy quality electric tools from them. Go to a tool store and spend the proper money for the proper tool.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Thanks for the info on the big box stores.

    It's too bad I was buying tools right before Li-ion batteries were really available. It's hard to get rid of 7 or 8 tools when the batteries die but the cost of batteries sucks too.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    If your uses is infrequent, hard to beat this makita combo

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Makita and Milwaukee. No regrets. I've got a corded Milwaukee hammer drill and cordless Makita. Both are fan ing tastic.

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    Default Re: Cordless drill etc

    Makita is nice, but you really need a Festool. Just tell your wife you really need it, they really are so choice :)

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