Tool Addicts

Tool Addicts

Small cordless drills offer big benefits.

comments (9) January 13th, 2011 in blogs

woodheat Roland Johnson, contributor
thumbs up 20 users recommend

Bosch drill is handy, powerful and has a great drill chuck. 
Rockwell drill is offered as a set with an equally small impact driver.
Bosch drill is handy, powerful and has a great drill chuck.  - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Bosch drill is handy, powerful and has a great drill chuck. 

Photo: Roland Johnson

For years I watched cordless drills get more powerful and with every power upgrade came an increase in weight and size.  My old Makita 9.6 volt drill looked pretty small compared to the behemoths, but it had all the power I needed, had a real drill chuck so I could use small bits accurately, and was handy enough that it didn't wear me out during a day of installing drawer guides or hardware. My Makitas were getting old and I was looking for a replacement, but I didn't need 24 volts and I sure didn't want a drill that needed two hands to hold steady, so I didn't buy, I just kept looking...and hoping.

A few years ago small drills started reaching the market.  Lithium-ion battery technology combined with advances in small, powerful motors made it possible to create small, handy drills with big-drill power.  The drawback was that most of these new drills used quick-release hex bit collets which are convenient but have enough run-out slop that drilling small holes accurately placed for hardware was frustrating at best.  I hoped for a small drill that wasn't a slow-speed driver and that had a real drill chuck.  Well, my desires have been filled by at least a couple of manufacturers. 

Bosch developed the PS-31 a couple of years ago, bringing it to market last year.  It's a great little 12volt drill with awesome power, a sensative 20 position clutch and a very good 3/8in.drill chuck.  Two speed settings offer good power for driving screws and good speed (1300 rpm) for drilling small holes where speed is a real benefit and a battery gauge to let me know how much fuel I have. The grip is comfortable, balance is good, a well placed light offers precision in the dark. A smoothly progressive tirgger,and sufficient power for any shop chore making this drill a pleasure to work with.  I can drill pilot holes and run hardware screws all day and still be able to play my mandolin in the evening, no wrecked hands.  The drill sells for about $170.00.

Rockwell Tools has a 12 volt li-ion drill (RK2510K2) that has a 15 position clutch, two speeds, a somewhat poorly placed light (throws a shadow right where the bit meets the wood), and a good 3/8in. chuck.  Slightly larger than the Bosch the lime and black drill is still sized for all day work without fatigue.  Good power and nice balance make the drill pleasant to use.

Rockwell offers free batteries for life, a pretty interesting incentive as the price of a replacement battery can often be close to the price of a new tool.   The drill is only available paired with an equally compact 12volt impact driver, the pair sells for about $170.00.

OK. now I've shown you a couple of small drills with real drill chucks that are in my shop.  What have you got? 

posted in: blogs, , Bosch, drill, Rockwell, cordless

Comments (9)

woodchuck1954 woodchuck1954 writes: I, too, started with the original Makita 9.6V stick battery drill. I got it so early, a keyless chuck was not available.
I used it for three years of installing corrigated metal roofs. It finally died about when it was 20 years old. Plenty of power, for what I did. I bought the Bosch 10.8V
impact driver and the pocket driver was the rebate. But it was that slow, quick-chuck driver. I hardly ever use it. The impactor is a pleasure to use. One of these days, I will buy the real drill driver, without the batteries and charger. Tool-only goes for just under $100.
Posted: 5:38 pm on July 23rd

TedFurlong TedFurlong writes: I recently purchased the Hitachi 12V Lithium Ion Drill/impact driver set, after having a set of well made but bulky 12V Makita Ni-metal hydride drivers. I investigated the porter cable set recently (Fall to Winter 2010) mentioned in FWW, but the Hitachi set came with a lifetime tool warranty, flashlight, and the batteries were slightly higher capacity (1.5 vs 1.3 amp-hr) at the same price as the porter cable set ($140 at the local Lowes). I have been using them the last few days to hang kitchen cabinets, drill large diameter holes for pipe and conduit, and I am very, very happy. They have decent capacity, great torque, charge in 30 minutes, and just fit everywhere. Putting up those cabinets, I remembered a comment I heard from Scott Phillips when he visited the local Woodcraft franchise. This, before the advent of lithium cells. Scots said that for most woodworking needs a 12V was more than enough, and when thinking about getting 18 or 24V setups, we should think about having to hold that weight above our heads for any length of time.

After I first used this new light drill/driver, the first thought I had was "Someone's gonna have to pry this out of my dead fingers to get it away from me!"

Posted: 2:23 pm on February 15th

bobbresnahan bobbresnahan writes: I hate to pick up any drill but my Bosch and when friends yank out their behemoths I get a warm fuzzy feeling. Haven't liked a tool this much in quite a while.
Posted: 11:03 pm on February 14th

Globaldiver Globaldiver writes: I have the DeWalt lithium ion set (drill/driver and impact driver). I love the weight, the balance, the battery life and the quick recharging. These are sweet tools. I liked them so much I bought another set to be able to keep multiple bits and drills set up at once rather than swich out as the project progresses.

I also bought the light, and while working on a project that had me in the attic a lot more than I liked, I really got a lot of use out of it. Worth the investment.
Posted: 12:28 am on February 11th

JTSteve JTSteve writes: I have a pair of the 12v Ridgid drill/drivers with regular chucks that I got on a special when buying both at the same time. Great size and weight with plenty of power, and the pair lets me have a drill bit in one and a driver in the other. Very satisfied with them.
Posted: 3:10 pm on February 9th

Lesadams Lesadams writes: I have been looking at similar drills from Milwaukee, Ridgid, and DeWalt. Any chance we might get a more detailed comparision, including all the models?
Posted: 1:21 pm on February 9th

falsedawn falsedawn writes: Roland, did you mean "sensitive" rather than "sensative"?
Posted: 12:02 pm on February 9th

Chod Chod writes: Here, here! on those little Bosch Drills. I've got the impactor, drill, the right angle driver, and 4 or 5 spare batteries. I like the brand and batteries so much that I recently bought the Multi-Max 12V. Bought it fora specific job and since then have used in regularly. Great control and a very versatile tool for make fine accurate cuts in difficult locations.

Only down side is that the batteries really don't like the cold. I've got 4 12 volt units with bags that I have to take out of the van every night or they'll be dead.
Posted: 5:12 pm on January 14th

PORC PORC writes: I LOVE my little Bosch Drill. When I bought mine, I also got a small impact gun, flashlight, and case. I already had the little right-angle drill with hex chuck, so now I've got 4 batteries and four great tools. I couldn't be happier with the set-up. I take it to EVERY job. I too don't need the big arm breakers much, so when I do, I pull out the corded 1/2" drill to do the heavy lifting.

Great little review. I agree 100% with you!
Posted: 10:56 am on January 14th

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