I’m new to this great site, so bear with me; my post is a bit wordy.
Recently, I was in need of a cordless drill to help with various projects around the house, including the rebuild of my old rotted fence. So I hopped over to Lowe’s and ended up buying a Hitachi 18V cordless drill, model #DS18DVF3. It was a pretty good buy at $119. It came with 2 batteries, a 30 minute quick charger, a cool spotlight (that shines a mile it seems), a nice case, and a $25 gift card to Lowe’s. It’s made in China and has a 5 year warranty. All told, after the gift card, it cost me $94. This guy’s got some nice features: 400 in/lbs. of torque, a ½” chuck, two speeds (0-400, 0-1200) and a very solid feel to it. The only problem I’ve run into is the chuck – you have to tighten it really good to keep the bit from getting loose. If I decide to keep the drill, I’ll probably remedy this with some hex shank bits.
Now my life gets interesting. Several days after I bought the Hitachi, my girlfriend went out and bought me a DeWalt cordless drill, model #DC727KA. Yes, every guy’s dream – a free drill! All of the sudden, I went from having no cordless drill to having two.
The DeWalt’s pretty cool. It’s a 12 volt model, comes with 2 batteries, a one hour charger/conditioner and a nice molded plastic case – no cool spotlight. It has 350 in/lbs. of torque and two speeds (0-400, 0-1400). It’s made in Mexico and has a 3 year warranty. It seems to perform pretty well for a 12V drill. As a matter of fact, it keeps up with the Hitachi neck and neck and even drills through wood a tad bit faster. However, a few things stand out on the DeWalt that concern me.
First of all, its battery is a bit loose, not a snug fit. No big deal I guess but a prelude to bigger problems? Second, when I release the trigger at full speed, the drill abruptly comes to a dead stop, makes a clunking noise, and jolts my hand. The DeWalt online help guy says this is normal as the motor is instantly reversing to stop the drill. Funny thing, the Hitachi drill stops just as quickly but with no jolting effect. It just stops very cleanly. Third, the DeWalt sparks a bit at the back end (through the vents) when running a full speed with an abrupt stop. Again, the DeWalt guy said this is normal as the motor is breaking itself in. I’m sure the Hitachi sparks as well, but it has some sort of shield in the back so I can’t see the sparks. Fourth and last, the DeWalt’s chuck seems to spin a bit off center. In other words, it’s just a wee bit wobbly. Nothing major, but mildly noticeable. The Hitachi…from what I can tell, perfectly dead on.
As far as the Hitachi goes, its only problem so far is the chuck. Other than that, it seems like a very well made drill. It’s solid as a rock. For some odd reason, the DeWalt seems a bit cheap. But I’m no drill expert.
Now you know everything I know. My big dilemma is which one to keep and which one to take back? I know DeWalt is famous for quality equipment. My contractor friend, who builds houses here in Dallas, swears by them and won’t use anything else. They’re all over his job site.
The Hitachi on the other hand is a very foreign brand to me (no pun intended) and I can find very little info on the web related to its quality and longevity. Sure there are reviews here and there, and most of them are glowing, but what’s the real story? Is the Hitachi built as well as it feels? Is the DeWalt built as cheaply as it feels? Or is the quality on the inside (DeWalt) and I’m just judging a drill by its cover (Hitachi)?
I’d love to own a DeWalt drill, but what I’d really love more is to own a drill that’s going to hold up for the next 10+ years (excluding batteries) and still leave a few dollars in my pocket. Forgetting that I got the DeWalt for free, what would you do? And before you tell me to go out and buy a Milwaukee or Rigid or Skil, or some other brand, keep in mind, the green stuff runs thin in my wallet.
I really appreciate all the help folks. This is a great board! I’m sure I’m going to be around it for quite a while with all my funky tool questions.