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Hitachi is offering a 12V impact driver and a drill-driver as a kit with two batteries and a charger for around $170 at Lowe's and elsewhere.
So far tool engineers haven’t been able to put the incredible torque technology of an impact driver together with the high speed of a true drill/driver–in a single tool. But a few tool companies have cooked up the next best thing. Because their batteries are interchangeable on different tools, Porter-Cable and Hitachi soon will be offering a drill/driver and an impact driver that share two batteries and a charger–for much less than you’d pay for two full kits, each with their own batteries and chargers. I can’t imagine many woodworkers needing two batteries for each tool. I’ve heard that Makita is offering a similar kit, so I think a trend has formed.
Impact drivers, with their staccato of hammer blows, ratchet up the torque from a few hundred to over one thousand ft. lbs., yet the non-continuous force doesn’t strip out screws and or torque your wrists. Suddenly, even a 9- or 12V tool can power home a long screw or a thick lag bolt. Try one: The screws just melt into the wood.
The problem comes when you ask an impact driver to drill. They only take those 1/4 hex-shank-type bits, which are pricier. And they don’t spin very fast. They’ll do the job, but much slower than a two-speed drill-driver in high gear. That’s why you really want both tools–at least until engineers manage to fit the two technologies into one slim package.
Hitachi is offering its kit (two-tools-two batteries-one charger) in the 12V size (KC10DFL) with a list price of $170. I would think 12 volts are plenty for drilling in a woodshop, and with the impact driver, it is definitely enough power. Better yet, 12V lithium-ion batteries are surprisingly small and light, making these tools about half the weight of 18V tools, and easier to handle for fine woodworking tasks.
If you mix a lot of carpentry in with your cabinetry, you might want to step up the power to 18V and choose the Porter-Cable kit, the PCL318IDC-2. Again it combines a drill-driver and an impact driver, with two batteries and charger. It also throws in a flashlight, all for $230.
Porter-Cable offers a similar kit, but at 18v it goes for $50 more. P-C throws in a powerful flashlight for good measure.
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I am looking for an 18v drill driver. I have had good experience with Craftsman, but some reports of poor battery life. 2009 FWW report states battery life of Craftsman best of 10 tested. any recent experience as to battery life and torque of battery drill drivers?
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