View Full Version : OT, Cordless Drills

06-24-2005, 07:25 AM
My Chinee, no name, cordless drill died and I'm in the market for a new one. Was just wondering what experiences/thoughts you all might have as to brand and best bargain for the price.


John B

06-24-2005, 08:17 AM
I have had good luck with both Dewalt and Makita.

06-24-2005, 08:24 AM
My cordless Drill experience:

I needed an 18 volt 1/2 inch cordless drill. The Brand models all cost around $100-$200.00 dollars. I knew there was a high risk of my dropping the drill from 20- 25 feet from the ground due to the work application. I bit my tongue and went to Harbor Freight and bought the two speed 18 volt cordless drill for $39.00 on sale and I bought the 1 year extended waranty $5.00. I have now had that drill for 3 years and it has been like the energizer bunny it keeps going and going. Normally I would not recomend a cheap chinese import but this one was the exception. Just my two cents worth.

06-24-2005, 09:12 AM

I'm pretty sure Dewalt has the edge right now. Just be sure to look at the specs. Dewalt is making several different grades of tools, and the only way to distinguish between them is to check the specs. I pertsonally have used an 18V at home for over 10 years, and it has sered me well. We also use Dewalt here at work, and they have been excellent. You know what kind of abuse they would take at work!

Cecil Walker
06-24-2005, 10:11 AM
John: I have to agree with Chief and Arbo. I have both DeWalt and Makita, both have served above and beyond the call of duty for close to 10 years now with no problems. I am told that Porter Cable is also a very good product but do not own one.

06-24-2005, 10:38 AM
I have one of the Porter Cable 14V models. It came with an xtra powerpak, but I've been a little disappointed with the longevity of the batteries. Maybe the problem was user error. I only used it occasionally. But after 2 or 3 years neither battery would hold a charge more than a couple of days. And now, for all intents and purposes, both are essentially dead.

I've decided that unless I develop an ongoing need for daily use of a cordless, then I'll just stick with my corded Milwaukee. Now There's a real drill!!

Paul Alciatore
06-24-2005, 12:01 PM
I've had a Dewalt 12 volt for about 6 or 7 years and it is just great. I have had to replace one battery so far and the second one is starting to go now. Thanks for reminding me to get one.

Paul A.

Milacron of PM
06-24-2005, 12:39 PM
Hitachi 12 volts at Lowes...the cheaper one, but still has 2 speed transmission and clutch. Comes with 2 batteries, charger, and flashlight (handy flashlight as it uses same battery, stands on it's own and tilts, etc) for only a pittance more than buying 2 new batteries for most drills.

In other words, the whole shebang, drill, batteries, charger, flashlight, case...cost maybe 20 bucks more than just 2 replacment batteries ! Because of this sort of thing, I've never bought a new battery for a cordless drill. When the batteries wear out I just buy a whole nuther kit. That way, if I buy the same brand and model, I have ~two~ drills and new batteries, etc.

Also, if you stick with 12 volt drills you can still use the old 'batteryless" drill with alligator clips via your truck battery, if need be.

Having said that, I'd still prefer it if the replacement batteries weren't such a rip off and I could justify buying just the batteries.

06-24-2005, 01:37 PM
I have bought Dewalt and the Black and Decker Fire Storm lately and I like the Fire Storm a little better as far as ergonmics. I used to do a lot of drilling at work and the Makitas we used had a higher speed that we needed to spin in sheetmetal screws, but when drilling screws into wood constantly, you need to the low end torq of the Dewalt. We started buying Dewalt and have never looked back

06-24-2005, 01:38 PM
I have bought Dewalt and the Black and Decker Fire Storm lately and I like the Fire Storm a little better as far as ergonmics. I used to do a lot of drilling at work and the Makitas we used had a higher speed that we needed to spin in sheetmetal screws, but when drilling screws into wood constantly, you need to the low end torq of the Dewalt.

06-24-2005, 02:27 PM
D. Thomas, or anyone else doing it or thinking of it.

I can only speak for Makita and this is not a condemnation of the product, the mistake was all mine.

If you want to use some kind of hookup to a 12V car battery be very aware of polarity! IF you hook it up backwards you will fry the PWM trigger switch. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//redface.gif About $40 worth.

Was trying to test one with it taken apart. Slid the battery onto it's contacts backwards pulled the trigger.....poof.

Not sure about the other brands but I think all the high priced ones have controls like the Makita. It's what gives them real good power when you just slightly pull the trigger.


06-24-2005, 03:13 PM
I just bought a Skil 18v. Two speed. Gobs of torque. Came with a stud finder and laserlevel for $99.00 Canadian at Good Ol' Canadian Tire Corp. I like it. OTOH, I had a cheap Chinese 18V and it lasted about 5 years. About the lifespan I expected for the battery.

06-24-2005, 04:05 PM
I bought an 18v 2-speed Dewalt and screwed down 600 sq ft of artificial wood decking with it. Three thousand square drive compound thread 3" screws - worked great and it's still like new.


J Tiers
06-24-2005, 04:07 PM
I have had a DeWalt 996K hammerdrill/driver for maybe 7 or 8 years. (I rarely use the hammer drill feature, dunno why I got that.)

However, I have noticed recently that the output shaft is getting pretty sloppy in its bearing. I have not used it THAT heavily, NOT industrially or in daily construction work, I go a couple weeks at a time without using it. I certainly haven't put a lot of stress on it sideways.

I have generally liked it, other than its clumsy getting into small spaces, and I had to get a right angle adapter.

But the wallered-out bearing issue seems to be a problem... it shouldn't do that. Kinda made me re-think DeWalt a bit....... makes it seem like a CHEAPO brand to me ....

[This message has been edited by J Tiers (edited 06-24-2005).]

3 Phase Lightbulb
06-24-2005, 04:35 PM
I have a nice Robi 18v cordless w/keyless chuck that came with one of those large Robi combo packs (circular saw, sawzaw, jigsaw, flashlight, etc) and I also bought 4 China cheap-o 18v cordless w/keyless chucks for about $10 each brand new shipped to my house.. The Robi 18v definitely has an edge on quality, battery life, power, etc. But the China 18v keyless drills are worth far more than $10 each and that impresses me even more..


06-24-2005, 04:37 PM
I picked up a cheap Ryobi complete with 2 batteries, a case of bits and sockets and a studfinder at one of the big box stores. I bought it because it was cheap and I needed one to throw in the car, but it has been working out suprisingly well.

3 Phase Lightbulb
06-24-2005, 04:41 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by PaulA:
I picked up a cheap Ryobi complete with 2 batteries, a case of bits and sockets and a studfinder at one of the big box stores. I bought it because it was cheap and I needed one to throw in the car, but it has been working out suprisingly well.</font>

Is it the 18v Ryobi? I think it's probably the same one that came in my 18v combo pack.. I'm really impressed with how long it lasts and how much torque it has..


06-24-2005, 05:19 PM
Dewalt 18 volt hands down.


3 Phase Lightbulb
06-24-2005, 05:33 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by IOWOLF:
Dewalt 18 volt hands down.</font>

Yup, the expensive ones are good when you're drilling something close to the ground with your hands down..

The Cheap-o China Specials are great when you're drilling something with your hands up and it falls out http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


Milacron of PM
06-24-2005, 05:34 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Dewalt 18 volt hands down.</font> Not a very meaningful statement without knowing if you've tried most of the other possiblities (or know alot of folks who have, or read many unbiased reviews, etc)

And is it "the best" PERIOD or "the best bang for buck" ? I suspect "the best" PERIOD is a Festo, but it's quite expensive so a moot point for most.

06-24-2005, 05:54 PM
JESUS CHRIST MR. THOMAS, SOME OF US DONT WANT TO BABBLE ENDLESSLY ABOUT THE PROS AND CONS OF CERTAIN THINGS.I stated my opinion base on years of working as a professional in various lines of work I have used makita which I swore by for years a good tool,Craftsman too proprietory,Dewalt has many tools to choose from so I say this based on usability.

06-24-2005, 05:58 PM
Just bite the bullet and buy a Milwakee. I've never been able to kill one as opposed to crap that Makita sells

Milacron of PM
06-24-2005, 06:13 PM
IOWOLF,the problem is you don't want to "babble" at all about the important details and leave it for everyone to just assume you know the score.

Perhaps you need a bumper sticker that says "To save time, let's just assume I know everything, ok ? "


06-24-2005, 06:16 PM
Ok, I'll take one from you.I know you have several in use, can you spare one?

06-24-2005, 06:27 PM
I just retired my 15 year old Bosch for a Home Depot Ryobi 14.4 volt machine. For 80 bucks it's made well and comes with a flashlight and spare battery.

It's good enough. I hate to be a 'consumer' but I find the battery replacements cost just about as much as a new machine, that's why my 9.6 volt Bosch didn't get another set of batteries.

Ryobi makes a pretty good tool and I've used a lot of different brands over the years.
The best drill, corded Milwaukee. I've had the motors apart and they are very well made.

Porter Cable. I've had several PC tools. I won't buy anymore, I think they stink...Badly.

While we're at it, my favorite saw is the Skill worm drive. Boy have I pushed that tool!

06-24-2005, 06:47 PM
For me it's been a Milwalkee 14V job. My wife (what a lady) gave it to my for my birthday, the year before she got me the MIG machine. She did all the research at the time (about 3 yrs ago) and, based on published reviews, got the Milwalkee. It sees home use, but I used it at work for a year and a half. I can't count how many screws I've driven with it, but that's its primary use. I beat it up a little.
Solid machine, but I've had the same experience as many with the batteries. I rebuild my own battery packs, but the Milwalkee has a weird sized cell (some kind of sub-C size) and I can't do this one. The replacement was half the cost of the entire drill set. I've got one original and one replacement battery. I got about 2 years out of one of the original batteries. Three of the 12 cells in one of the packs failed.

When the batteries are finally dead, I'll probably find a way to "cord" it up and keep using it - and get another one with good batteries. It's very handy - hell, I've even used it to wind small transformers.

06-24-2005, 06:59 PM
This is what I did. (Corded it up) I thought I could use it with a 12 volt SLA battery but it didn't work out well.

The batteries on my Bosch were an odd size and I would have had to make a special holder for them.

I like the Ryobi but tools are like cars. Want to know if it's a 'good' car? Ask when it has 150k miles on it not the day I bring it home.

06-24-2005, 07:05 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by RobDee:

I like the Ryobi but tools are like cars. Want to know if it's a 'good' car? Ask when it has 150k miles on it not the day I bring it home.</font>

Amen. And I guess it's fair to say that, at 3 years old, mine is a pretty young cordless drill. I'd have to say, however, that in general, the cordless drill is one of my most useful (therefore favorite) tools. I'll never let myself be without at least one.

06-24-2005, 07:06 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by RobDee:
This is what I did. (Corded it up) I thought I could use it with a 12 volt SLA battery but it didn't work out well.

Dumb question: What's an SLA battery?

06-24-2005, 08:50 PM
I like the Bosch, and Makitas. We also have a Panasonic but the chuck on it is horrid. Uncle has a Dewalt, it is also nice. I would give the thumbs up to the drill that has battery packs that can come apart so you can replace the cells in them. Just standard Nicad or NiMh cells. Dont know if any company actually does that though.

06-24-2005, 10:59 PM
I have a Makita 9.6 volt and a Ryobi 14.6 volt.

The Makita has been a work horse. I have had to replace the battery, on the third one in about 13 years.

The Ryobi is a very find drill and has power. I bought two new batteries for under $50 just the other day at Home Depot. The batteries where about $50 each at one time. This is one of the saw/drill kits, very good produce. I like both units.

My son is a carpenter and he likes the Dewalt 14 volt over the 18 volt. He has had both drills.

06-24-2005, 11:05 PM
SLA =Sealed Lead Acid. They have a gell instead of the standard acid of your car battery and can be used in any position.

These are the batteries used in things like UPS(Un-interruptable Power Supply) used on computers.

I use them here for alternate energy.

And there are no 'dumb' questions.

"Everyone is stupid, just on different subjects."
Will Rogers

06-25-2005, 10:45 AM
Look at the new 28V Milwalkee. I have not seen the unit yet but I know the battery pack is amazing.

06-25-2005, 09:25 PM
The new Milwaukee 28v lithium/ion battery seems to be the 500lb ape now.Out performs the 18v by 2 to 1.Also cooler after. Weighs LESS than the 18v batt.Cooler after discharge, so it can be charged sooner.
Pricy tho, but prolly a good deal for full time use.

06-25-2005, 11:36 PM
i like the 18V Dewalt "hands down". it drills though things like a homebuilt flamethrower through butter.

seriously, i've had it for about seven years and never had any problems. when i was putting the metal roofing on my polebarn last fall it was pefect because it has the variable torque setting. i think i went through two battery packs putting all the screws in for the entire roof (about 30'x 35' of roofing). the downside is it's a bit heavy (but almost all cordless drills have this problem). it does have enough torque though that it will twist your wrist around before it stalls.

andy b.

Bruce Griffing
06-26-2005, 12:26 AM
I have two Makitas, a DeWalt and a Ryobi. The oldest Makita is 20 years old and still runs fine. The Makitas are workhorses. The DeWalt (18v hammerdrill) is too heavy for most work, but very nice when needed. The Ryobi (12v)is suprisingly good. Ryobi 18v batteries are presently on sale at Home Depot two for $40. I am thinking of buying a couple and using the cells to repair some of my older batteries.

06-26-2005, 06:30 AM
Thanks for all the replies, Guys, now I've just got to decide what to spend for my use rate.

John B

06-27-2005, 08:02 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by RobDee:
SLA =Sealed Lead Acid. They have a gell instead of the standard acid of your car battery and can be used in any position.

I should have know that it wasn't "Somebody's Liberation Army".

06-27-2005, 10:00 PM
I use a Milwalkee almost every day. A work mate has a Dewalt (fancy Black&Decker).

The Milwalkee is a better built drill. It is "tighter". The gears seem to run better, it's quieter. The Dewalt feels cheap. It flexes and is noisier than the

Both are about the same age and both get the job done.

I'll buy another Big Red.


06-27-2005, 10:08 PM
one day at work, on my daily "checkin the garbage bins" I found a 18volt dewalt...asked the guy bout it, he said it was dropped from a ladder and didn't work.

I was a little confused, cause the motor wouldn't even turn...what the hell would cause a drill dropped from a ladder to just up and stop? I could see if it was a broken casing or something...but no.

i asked him if i coudl have it, he said take it...companies loss anyway...he had already ordered a new one (I even got the battery).

took it home, took it apart and found that the brushes actually snap on. i clicked it back in place and it's worked fine for me for a year and a half since i got it. my only problem is the lack of charger. my father in law has the same drill, so i use his charger...but once i move i'm screwed! batteries aren't cheap eitehr...somethin like 90 bucks each!

either way, i've been surprised. i was used to 14 volt drills, and this one has performed WAY above it's expectations for me.


J Tiers
06-27-2005, 11:10 PM

My one purchase from them was total crap, a corded 3/8" drill. The output shaft just fractured right off like the cheap chinese thing it probably was.

No, that's insulting the chinese. It was a cheap AMERICAN POS.

Not making THAT mistake again.... It makes the DeWalt look good.

BTW, the new DeWalts have some sort of really cheap feeling yellow plastic in the housings. My older one feels much stronger and less flimsy than teh new ones, its plastic has always been a sort of orangey yellow.

Do they have two grades?

06-28-2005, 01:50 AM
Buying a cordless drill really is a crap shoot- you don't really know what you're going to get. Buying a name brand is no guarantee of quality. I have a name brand and some el cheapos. Guess which ones I use the most- the el cheapos. They just feel better and haven't broken like my expensive one.

A friend has a Dewalt 14.4, and he swears AT it, not by it.

I have or should I say had, a no-name that had poor plastic in the case. The drill itself was smooth running and powerful enough, but the plastic case was brittle. Every boss where the screws held it together broke. I rebuilt the guts into a compact aluminum case, and powered it with AA nicads. It's handy to get into small places, but the run time isn't very long, expectedly. My next step is to replace those nicads with ni-mh's. I'll actually get more runtime than the original pack.

06-28-2005, 02:51 PM
Dropped my beloved dewalt 14v non-heavy duty model (forget the model name) off the ladder the other day. This makes about 7 times I've dropped that thing, but this time it did not get up.

Took it apart to find the trigger assy was arcing (sealed component). $50 for a new trigger assy. Guess I'll get a new drill for that much money...


06-28-2005, 07:55 PM
i have a porter cable 19.2 at home and like it. use dewalt at work and would have to give it the edge.
porter has a plant here in TN, don't know how much of their product line is made over here, but worth a try to keep the money in america.

06-28-2005, 09:59 PM
Panasonic has the best power to weight ratio in my experience. However, this comes somewhat at the expense of motor longevity. I've seen two Panasonics die after years of use. My older Makita's (9.6 and 12 volts)won't quit and have reasonably affordable replacement batteries.

06-30-2005, 07:23 AM
This is why I can make the statement"Dewalt 18v hands down"