7 years ago, I bought a 4 tool 18v cordless tool set made by Coleman (yes the camping company). It had a drill, sander, flashlight, and jigsaw, and was like $60. Wasn't really satisfied with any of it, and only regularly used the drill (and sometimes the flashlight). I work maintenance for a living, and have only used DeWalt 14.4 and 18v cordless drills professionally, and love them. But I really don't know anything about the different brands, as I don't do much purchasing in my position. And don't mind saving money by not going for the most popular brands, as long as the product isn't cheap. Anyway, the batteries on the Coleman set barely hold a charge anymore, and the drill is just cheap (one speed, low torque... the 14.4v DeWalt at work is clearly superior in every way imaginable to the 18v Coleman). I'm in the market for something new.
I'd consider buying a tool set if it really was a good deal, but I don't think I really need anything else at this point besides the drill (and I prefer corded saws personally anyway). Maybe having 2 drills would be nice. A big one for drilling, and a smaller one for screw driving. I would be using the drill for home maintenance projects and woodworking (but they would only get used a couple times a month). Mostly drilling in wood, and driving screws. Things like siding repair, framing, and building small wood projects. Definitely want at least a 2 speed drill. I don't care that much about the voltage, as long as the product is good, battery holds a charge, and there is enough torque. It would be nice to have 2 batteries as well. Would like to spend around $100, but don't mind going up to $200 (but wouldn't it be nice to get it for like $50-75!)
Anyway, I hope that's enough information to go on. I'm looking for general product/brand recommendations, and of course, specific deals that are on going. I have a Lowes right by my house (and a 10% off coupon), but I'm in a big city, so other B&Ms aren't far off. Shopping online isn't out of the question either. Thanks!
A 14.4 with a lithium battery[reconditionedsales.com] might be what you're looking for - it'll go toe to toe with the dewalt in terms of torque, but will be much lighter & last longer because of the lithium battery. The one linked comes with 2 batteries (and a flashlight, if you care about that).
I'd agree with a corded drill for heavier jobs - I just use the cordless for small things, but bust out the 1/2" corded drill if I need extra power, and of course the good 'ol hammer drill is always on reserve in case I need to get really serious.
I can second the Hitachi. I have a 12V Hitachi. Its lightweight and has plenty of torque for anything I seem to throw at it included drilling wood and plaster. I also have a Dewalt, but since it is bigger and more awkward I always seem to grab the Hitachi first.
Though I wasn't entirely excited about the brand, that Hitachi looks promising (and the video sure helped, ha). But I'm curious, Recon's website has the drill for $99 "Reconditioned", but the same set is listed on Amazon, from the seller Recon Sales for $79 "Refurbished" but in the description also says reconditioned (not to mention the $59 "Grade C" option as well). Anyone have any idea why the Amazon price is cheaper than the webpage price? Are they different products? Is reconditioned different (and better) than refurbished, or would maybe the Amazon listing be "Grade B", a step below? All 3 come with the same 1 year manufacturer's warranty. But then again, new tools come with a 10 year warranty. That is a big difference... decisions.
if you're looking for compact drills...check out DeWalt's new 12V MAX li-ion line. It's very light and compact yet powerful. Although it's a 12v, it delivers enough torque and power and almost comparable to 18v systems out there. The trade-off is shorter battery life. Check them out at lowes and home depot and hold one in your hand. They are VERY comfortable. You should be able to score a DCK211S2 drill/impact driver combo set for around $170-$180 if you shop around.
Personally, I'm a Dewalt user. I've never had any problems with their tools, and if you see my tool room, you'd think I worship DeWalt. It's not really the case because once you invest in a cordless system, you want the same brand so you can use the same batteries. So keep that in mind. If you plan on expanding, pick a brand that you would be happy to expand with. I have DeWalt 18V and I like it because the 18V batteries (new and old) will work with over 250 18V cordless power tools since 1996. Thats a very extensive line of tools you can select from. Digging through Craiglslist, you can find a lot of used Dewalt tools that will work with the current or old 18V batteries. My friend uses Makita and had compatibility problems with newer and older Makita tools and batteries.
Agh, forgot Hitachi, thanks for throwing it in there, bzhayes. Good brand, solid tools. I'll also parrot what sye said about smaller tools. My dad had a 12V Makita and a heavy duty Milwaukee, but he bought the $80 Craftsman Nextec because it's so much smaller. He has been pretty happy with the difficulty of jobs that it can tackle, and because of its smaller size and lighter weight, he's more likely to either have the tool with him, or to not mind grabbing it to fix something (whereas before, it took something failing to function, as opposed to just being a "little off" to warrant grabbing a big drill). I'd guess the above-mentioned companies are all manufacturing something similar.
We'll see what the "grade C" looks like, but $60 for that Hitatchi seems unbeatable in terms of slickness. Thanks for the input everyone. I would have been more inclined to go DeWalt if there was an actual deal ongoing, but there is no way I'd pay retail. There was a SD about a a Bosch 18v drill back in December, that I would have considered long and hard. Too bad no promotions were ongoing when I needed a new drill. I guess I could always wait, but there is a project I'm trying to knock out soon and the drill I am using is just frustrating.
Finally, it really does make sense to choose a brand and stick with it for the sake of interchanging the batteries, (if one is to collect a number of cordless tools). And maybe one day I will have a need for more cordless tools and going with the Hitachi may have been a bad choice on that front. However, I really don't like using cordless saws. I'm sure they are handy in some applications. But ripping with a circular saw, or demo-ing with a sawzall, I wouldn't want to run out of juice in a key point. Or hammer drilling into block. And the amount of time I actually use those tools is minimal (and for the time being, with my job, I can always borrow a tool if need be).
Thanks everyone for the information and input! I'll try to remember to report back on my purchase.
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