OT - Cordless Drill

advise against Li-Ion
All my contractor friends who bought Li-Ion drills threw them away when the batteries crapped out after a month. One of them burst on fire. Li-Ion is great for cameras but for prolonged high energy drawing activities, they do not do so well. NiMH does very well if can handle the weight. So if you are an occasional user, and want light, Li-Ion will work, there’s certainly a number of reputable companies producing them, but the experiences I’ve heard from friends using these tools is that they are not contractor grade by any means. It’s enough for me to keep from upgrading.

There are better brands out there, but mine was a gift, and has worked for years with no trouble. I will never touch Black and Decker stuff again. It is the cheapest of the cheap, and breaks quickly.

DeWalt, period, end of story.



– Last Updated: Jan-28-08 7:27 PM EST –

How they stack up

Craftsman doesn't make their stuff, who knows, Deeewalt might for all I know. Best thing is the return policy.

BTW, Dewalt is Black and Decker* and has been since the 60's. I had a 12' radial arm saw with a B&D Tag on it but it was all Dewalt. The homeowner B&D is the one to stay away from, the yellow stuff is good.

Bosch blue is my favorite

*Porter Cable, Delta, Hitachi

I like having the power when I need it. I screwed my shed together with an 18 volt Makita. Nothing stopped that drill and lasted almost all day. When I needed to, I used my power Makita drill. I just don’t like being encumbered with a power cord.

I have until spring to decide. My wife’s been thinking again. I hate it when she does that. She says our deck needs replacing and a redesign.

The more she thinks, the more I think I need to go paddling!


Value is relative
I use Panasonics every day at my job where I don’t have to pay for them. I’ll admit that I’ve spoiled myself. My personal cordless is an old DeWalt 12V that’s been just okay since day one but cost less than half of what the Panasonic goes for. I also drive a Taurus wagon ‘cause I won’t spend what it takes to drive a Swedish model. You’re entirely correct about priorities vs. expectations vs. what’s ‘good enough for me’! Happy drill-drivin’, Chip.

For light jobs, the little Makita
is a nice drill, but you aren’t gonna build a deck with it.

And some of the 14V drills are better than the 18V drills.

If weight is a factor, think about the Lithium Ion batteries.


Vastly contrasting experiences?
Maybe your friends had some early adopter issues. Battery problems do pop up somtimes, think exploding iPods, laptops, etc. My best friend is a contractor and is the one who got me lusting after a Li-Ion (he one upped me after he had been lusting after my Fein). They are lighter, deliver more power, last longer, and go through more charge cycles. As Li-Ion production costs go down, you eventually won’t even find nimh or ni-cad tools anymore.

In reality, Li-Ion batteries are far superior to NiMh and are used in many “prolonged high draw” applications. Cell phones, laptops, power tools, even electric cars. Li-Ion has evolved far beyond beyond just being a “camera battery.”

Deck work
Maybe some pros would chime in on this, but for a deck, I think you’ll be better off with a corded drill. At least if you are driving screws all day.

Look at the test article I posted and note the number of screws sunk on a battery charge. Although I guess if you have two batteries and a fairly fast charge, you’d be okay.

I used two drills when I built a largish deck. Set one up with a preset, bit/countersink, and the other with your screw bit.

My wife had all kinds of ideas about the deck design. But he with the saw and screwgun had the final say. She’s used the deck about once a year over five years and hasn’t complained about the missing octagonal corner the pagoda, which was exactly about what I expected. Your results may vary. We do have to live with both the deck, and the wife. I’m sure you’ll make the right decision.


Happy deck-building

dewalt 18 volt hammer
I run the the dewalt 18volt hammer for work,

and the batteries can be had at home dept for

a 2-pack for 150.00.

I’ve also used the hilti cordless which was

roughy the same in voltage but it had a slower

top end drilling speed which I didn’t like for

every day use. But the batteries lasted the

longest of any drill I used, but Hilti cordless

drill package was almost 600.00.

Weight/power and voltage
Generally you will find that experienced tradesmen will buy the lowest voltage/lightest drill suitable to their application. For example, you don’t need an 18v/3Ah(typical of nimh) drill as a woodworkers shop tool. You’re much more likely to find the professional woodworker using a 12-14.4v. But if you need to sink 3" screws all day long, an 18v is appropriate.

The other thing is you have to be careful about confusing voltage for power. Now I have an 18v Fein that was one of the most powerful drills on the market when I got it. It makes about 530 in/lbs of torque, and with a 3Ah battery, that means pretty formidable run time in heavy use.

Contrast that with some higher voltage tools from Porter Cable, for example. They make a 19.2v drill. Despite that voltage, it only develops 470 in/lbs of torque, and on a 2.4 Ah battery. The (new)19.2v Craftsman only makes 410 in/lbs. So these are much heavier, aren’t going to be more powerful, and won’t run as long despite the higher number in front of the v.

The message is that higher voltage ≠ more powerful. The motor and battery combined with solid engineering are far more important than voltage alone.

All dis jabberin’ about power tools
Me idee fer makin’ some big wampum be ta open a nudie bar / power tool store waar de “models” would demo power tools. It be a gold mine… Who wants in?

Fat Elmo

Corded drills
Yup, got a good Makita and two older B&D drills. The two drill set up is a good idea.


At the Home Depot Makita has a sweet little package - a drill and an impact driver in 18V Lithium Ion. They charge in 15 minutes. I am a carpenter and cabinet maker, and use them every day. These tools are light and small and work great. There are versions out there that have more power etc. but these are so great because of size weight duration of charge, a little light on the end (don’t laugh) etc. If you have never used an impact driver for putting in screws, you will never want any thing else again. That set is under $300. On the other end of the spectrum the Milwake V28 is awesome.

Made me think Elmo! Count on me as an adviser. I’ll select all the applicants for the demo job.


Did the same
thing when we built my dad’s 16x16 deck. Except we had 3 guys with 3 sets of cordless drills, each one had a drill bit for predrilling and a driving bit for putting in the 3" long deck screws. My 18v craftsman held its charge on one battery through 3/4 of the deck before I had to swap out. My dad’s brand new Rigid 18v went all day on one battery. I’m lusting after a Hitachi 18v pro series, really like the design of the ratcheting all metal chuck. As soon as we buy our new house I’ll have an excuse to buy it too :slight_smile:

What other cordless tools do you have?
You want to stay within brands and voltage.

If this is the only crodless, and you will get more tools, you really can’t go wrong with Dewalt 18 volt.

DeWalt 18V
I like the high speed (2000 rpm) option. Three speed.

Baser instincts
I knew the instant I typed ‘Swedish model’ that it would trigger somebody’s latent urge to browse in hardware stores!

Dewalt, 1/2" 18 VOLT. I’ve had two of them for 8 years. Batteries lasted me about 3 years. Depends on how much you use it. Darn good drill, but I wouldn’t buy anything else Dewalt makes. Most of it is crap.