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alex HalfDork
7/21/09 11:16 a.m.

I've been putting it off for a long time, begging/borrowing whenever I need them, but since we moved into the new house, and I have more frequent need, I think it's time to bite the bullet and pick up some cordless hand tools.

Also, for a while at least, I'll be using these semi-professionally, so they need to be pretty tough. I won't be 'making a living' with them for decades or anything, so I don't need absolute, no compromises top-shelf stuff.

My barely-informed opinion is that NiCad might be on the way out in favor of Li-Ion; if that's the case, I'm a little reluctant to invest in a million NiCad tools. Thoughts on that issue would be appreciated.

I know and like DeWalt stuff in my experience. That's what I've had in my hands the most since that's what my buddy has. I'm open to competing brands, however. I'm not loyal to one. Yet.

Obviously, I'll need to be able to use/swap batteries between tools, and a large range of available tools is a big plus.

Can I go wrong here? Should I walk into one of the big boxes and just pick something at random?

therex SuperDork
7/21/09 11:23 a.m.

I have a dewalt 18v sawzall & drill, and it's awesome. The yellow and black is a little pricey, but the crazy number of tools out there for the 18v system is, IMHO, totally worth it.

carguy123 Dork
7/21/09 11:25 a.m.

In my experience the best buy is what you can get at a reasonable price AND what you can buy replacement batteries for. I've had several brands including DeWalt that I've been unable to get batteries for quickly or even inexpensively.

Right now I have lots of Ryobi stuff cause I can always get new batteries at HD which is around the corner from me. I also have the Black and Decker Firestorm which I thought would be easily available only now I'm finding B&D is changing things up and the Firestorm will soon be superceded by things that won't interchange.

Batteries are the weak link.

Also get as high a voltage as you can afford. I've found the higher voltage systems have more torque, which is especially useful for large drill bits, long screws and those small power saws.

alex HalfDork
7/21/09 11:40 a.m.

I'll likely be able to get away with a hammer drill, and maybe an impact driver, for a while, at least in cordless.

I don't mind cords on the bigger stuff like saws and such, since I'm frustrated by assless tools of destruction, and I've yet to find a battery sawzall that didn't piss me off. Should I give them another look?

cb New Reader
7/21/09 12:07 p.m.

i have a whole nuch of ryobi cordless stuff. 18 volt and have never had an issue with any of them. i also have a gooyear 24 volt cordless impact that has not let me down. even after 3 years of service on a tow truck.. i love it.

foxtrapper SuperDork
7/21/09 12:14 p.m.

I really like my Craftsman 19.2V stuff. I've had a number of others, used a greater number of others. All in all, I find this to be about the best bang for the buck. There are a great many tools in the line, and they've upgraded to a backwards compatable lithium ion battery.

Currently, I've got the circular saw, the sawzall, the jig saw and two drills. Next planned purchase is a right angle drill.

DILYSI Dave SuperDork
7/21/09 12:43 p.m.

If I was building a new collection right now, I'd be looking for 18V or better, and interchangeable Li-ion batteries.

ignorant SuperDork
7/21/09 5:45 p.m.




They sell reconditioned name brand tools for little, relative, money. Check it out.

Brust Reader
7/22/09 1:02 a.m.

I'm I the only guy that doesn't trust cordless? Must be ingrained from my pop, and I haven't tried anything in ten years, but it's sure nice to have the grid backing you up- never dealing with batteries. How often realistically are you that far away from an outlet (besides a pick n pull)?

spitfirebill Dork
7/22/09 7:22 a.m.

I love the Dewalt cordless drill I now have. It replaced a Ryobi that was crap. At least the batteries were. I previously used Makita cordless drill that I loved too. My corded drill is Makita and its been a good one. I don't have any other cordless stuff and not real sure I would like a cordless circular saw or sawsall. I use stuff pretty hard.

dxman92 New Reader
7/22/09 8:04 a.m.

I use a pretty ratty 15 year old Craftsman cordless drill at work that i've had no problem with..

alex HalfDork
7/22/09 9:22 a.m.

In reply to Brust:

I'm sorta with you. I haven't used a battery circ or recip saw that was worth spit, but I haven't used one in a while, either. But, my buddy has used and abused his DeWalt drills and drivers for several years now, and aside from the batteries eventually crapping out, (old NiCad) they've never disappointed, and he's really hard on his stuff.

That said, I think I'm with you, Dave. I feel like Li-Ion is the wave of the future.

Foxy, how does the warranty work with the Craftsman stuff?

nickel_dime Dork
7/22/09 12:31 p.m.

Has anyone had any luck getting batterys rebuilt? I've got a 19.2v impact from Mac Tools and of course I can't find a replacement battery anywhere (including Mac Tools).

foxtrapper SuperDork
7/22/09 6:10 p.m.

It's a powertool, the lifetime Craftsman warranty applies only to hand tools. When the battery packs on my old drill went (7 years or so), it was cheaper to buy a new drill/charger/battery combo than to replace the batteries. None of the tools have ever failed.

Brust, I do not miss tripping over the tangle of cords and the running of hundreds of feet of extension cords. Not in the slightest do I miss that.

These cordless tools are not the feeble toys of yesteryear. My drills will sink a half inch bit right through a 6x6 without hesitation. I regularly cut off 4" branches from trees with the reciprocating saw.

BAMF Reader
7/22/09 8:56 p.m.

I work for a company that designs and builds custom stuff (furniture, museum exhibits, etc). We use Dewalt cordless drills and circular saws. Many of our other corded tools are also Dewalt, though not all.

When it came time to buy my own cordless drill (or select on for my birthday, rather) I went with an 18V Dewalt with a hammer drill. Living in an 80 year old house with brick exterior and a limestone basement necesitates that function.

At work we seriously run our drills all day long. The worst that we have encountered is a trigger that slowly failed. We ordered new parts and fixed it up. This is on a drill used indoors, outdoors in a variety of temperatures and conditions.

Now, if you're a serious tool snob, then it's Festool all the way. I just cannot justify their prices for my personal use.

confuZion3 SuperDork
7/22/09 10:28 p.m.

Best bang for the buck?

Seriously though, you cannot go wrong with a good cordless drill. I bought my dad a Ryobi 18 volt Li-Ion drill for christmas two years ago. The guy at the store promised me (no matter how many different ways I asked him) that the company would replace the batteries for free if they EVER died. I got home, registered the drill on Ryobi's site and sure enough, it appears as if it's true.

That mother lover built a large deck, countless iterations of a gigantic tool chest, drilled holes in my Miata, screwed many a screw, and it just keeps on keepin' on. And it's using the same batteries that it came with two years ago.

Of course, if you can find one thing that is also other things--it might be a deal. It's pretty cool when your drill can transform into a cordless sawzall, a circular saw, a flashlight, an AM/FM radio, and a hammer (not recommended, but possible) at the touch of a button and a flick of the wrist.

mulluthuntur New Reader
7/22/09 11:38 p.m.

I have the craftsman 19.2v set. I like them. I love the impact driver and air pump though. Craftsman has a ton of stuff that runs on those batteries, and when i was researching most of those tools were made by ryobi iirc.

right now i have: -saws-all -circular saw -impact nailer/stapler -impact driver 1/4" (you will never drive a screw with a drill again) -flashlight -drill -and air pump -and a cool case to put them in

-next on the list is a work radio

for the big stuff though i really want a dewalt 1/2" impact

alex HalfDork
7/25/09 7:02 p.m.

Well, I just happened upon a clearance for a display set of Bosch 18v Li-Ion tools. A four pack of hammer drill, recip saw, circ saw and a light for $250. No batteries in the deal, but I'll get an impact driver free with a mail in rebate, so I think I did OK.

I'll report back on how they work once I get some batteries for them.

Speaking of: does anybody have a source for cheapo batteries for these things? Can I beat the $99 in-store price?

Helterskelter Reader
7/25/09 9:11 p.m.

Milwaukee. It's worth the extra expense. A cordless driver is absolutely essential. Most anything else can/should be corded.

Opus Dork
7/26/09 11:24 a.m.

I have never gone wrong with Makita. I bought the Drill/Impact Driver set and have used them endlessly. Li-Ion 18v. Batteries last a reasonable amount of time, recharge in 15 Minutes. The impact driver has proven itself the most important tool I bought this year.

curtis73 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
7/26/09 11:45 a.m.

I worked for a contractor for three years using my Ryobi 18v kit and it never missed a lick. It was ridiculously cheap, never had to buy more batteries, had enough torque to snap off any drywall screw, and had a nice slip clutch.

I think the kit came with flashlight, driver, sawzall, circ saw, dustbuster, and two batts and a charger. The driver finally died, but it wasn't its fault. I dropped it off a 24' ladder onto a concrete floor.

NYG95GA SuperDork
7/26/09 12:01 p.m.

Commercially. I've always stayed with Milwalkee, but lately, I've been collecting more and more of the Craftsman 19.2 C3 tools. Impact driver, drill, right angle drill, planer, flashight, 5" circular saw, sawzall, vacuum cleaner. Looking at the jigsaw next. The battery prices are insane, but they last a long time; longer than the chargers do sometimes.

NYG95GA SuperDork
7/26/09 12:12 p.m.
confuZion3 wrote: Best bang for the buck?

Battery powered hand operated field impact generator.


cwh Dork
7/26/09 12:48 p.m.

There are deals to be found out there. A client in Trinidad need two 18v Dewalt batteries. After much searching, I found them at Amazon on line. 110.00 for two, but that was 50.00 less than HD.

Carrera30 New Reader
7/26/09 1:48 p.m.

I have a pretty full suite of 18v Black & Decker stuff that's served me well. I have 2 drills, a reciprocating saw, circular saw, hand vacuum, flashlight, and 18" hedge trimmer that all take the same battery. I think they also have a weed trimmer that takes the same battery that I'm considering picking up.

I have 4 batteries and 2 chargers (one charges 2 batteries at a time) so I never worry about running out of juice in the middle of a job. I bought a bunch of the stuff when they were phasing out the "Firestorm" name and bought most of it on clearance. Still takes the same B & D battery pack, just had the "Firestorm" name on it. The batteries alone typically retail for about $30 a piece, so when you can find a cheap set or tool that comes with one for $35 or $40 it makes it worthwhile.

The drills have an adjustable torque range and the head pops off to accept quick change bits, etc. It's a pretty sweet kit.

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