View Full Version : 1/2 inch vs. 3/8 inch chuck

05-07-2002, 09:55 AM
I'm planning on purchasing a cordless drill and although I have pretty much decided on the 14.4V Dewalt, I am not sure if I should go with a 1/2" chuck or just a 3/8". My question is, how often do most people really make use of the larger chuck size and is it worth the extra money? I know the 1/2" Dewalt is a slightly more powerful drill overall, but I am curious about the chuck size issue.
Thanks for any advice,

05-07-2002, 10:07 AM
Ater spending many years in the tool repair business, My oh so humble opinion would be:
If you need to turn a bit with a 1/2" shank more than once in a very great while, Put a cord on your drill!
While cordless tools are getting better everyday, and the one you speak of is among the best, don't be fooled into thinking they are the same thing as their corded counterparts. FWIW!!
--Dave D
Oh also-- as of around Y2K time period, Internally, the only difference in the dewalt 14.4 1/2 & 3/8 was the spindle that the chuck mounts on. That's it, no difference in power or gearing. (That may have changed since but I havn't cracked one open in awhile)

05-07-2002, 11:28 AM
It may also be important to consider how small a bit the chuck will hold. I believe the 1/2" chuck won't hold as small of bits the 3/8" will.

05-07-2002, 11:44 AM
I have the 19.2V Porter Cable with the 1/2" chuck. It has been well worth the money. The only downside of the drill is that it is a bit heavier than the Dewalt and others in its class. After working with it a while (and building up strenght in my arm!) I don't notice it so much.

Also, I have had no problems with small bits.

05-07-2002, 12:47 PM
Not quite sure why you would say the 1/2" chuck won't hold smaller bits as well. I see no difference at all. The most common drill bit installed in our drills is a 4 penny finsh nail with the head cut off. The 1/2" chucks hold it just fine. What would you need that would be smaller than that? Every drill I own, 39 of them, have 1/2" chucks. My employees and I very seldom have the need for the larger chuck except for when we are using hole saws. The simple fact that the large chuck is there for that odd time we do need it is the reason why I always go with the 1/2". Is there really that much of a price difference? Being that I don't even consider the 3/8" drills, I never bothered to notice.

05-07-2002, 01:05 PM

I know of what Cliff speaks. I have one drill that won't take the smaller wire gauge drill bits. The jaws of the chuck, when fully closed, still leave a small gap that is too large for those small bits.

I haven't tried my new DeWalt cordless on that wire bit. I'll have to see if I can find it and try it in the chuck.

Pastor Paul

05-07-2002, 01:06 PM
The cost difference is only about $30. I just didn't see any reason to spend it if I wasn't really gaining anything that I was going to use.

Sonny Edmonds
05-07-2002, 03:46 PM
Recently I was buying a 1/2" chuck for another purpose. The difference in the two was that one closed flush, no gap in the center of the jaws.
The other did not it had a limit on just how small it could grip.
I bought that one because it suited my purpose.
But if a chuck will do the smaller sizes and give you the added convinence for a now and then larger bit, why not get it?
If you are going to have more drill motors later on, then you could decide to have both sizes.


Sonny Edmonds
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
God Bless America !

05-07-2002, 10:09 PM
I have 3 Makita 14.4's with a 1/2" chuck. While it isn't necessary, it sure is nice just to be able to pickup a 1/2" shank bit and go. I personally would go for the 1/2" chuck.

05-08-2002, 02:58 AM
I also have a Mak 14.4 with a 1/2" chuck. I bought it specificaly for drilling doors with a hole saw for locksets.