Compact 12v Drill-Drivers


These small tools pack a punch. What might seem a step down actually has big benefits.
By Glen D. Huey
Pages: 36-41

From the December 2009 issue #180
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Drill-drivers have moved through different battery voltages like a NASCAR driver moves through gears at Talladega. Many manufacturers pushed through 18 volts and upward to 24 volts, with a few reaching the 36-volt area. Then the power was downshifted and leveled at 18 volts, and along the way the newest power source was installed much like a new motor on a race car. Pushed aside are Ni-Cad and the other older power supplies to be replaced by the latest and greatest batteries
known as Lithium-ion.

As we move forward, drill-driver size has become important. Some consider 18-volt drill-drivers too heavy for non-stop use on the job, but like to have the power when needed. Nobody wants to hoist a heavy drill all day long. As a result, compact drill-drivers stepped into action with their lighter weight and smaller dimensions. What might seem a step down actually has big benefits.

Compact drills are great to use for extended periods of time, but if you have to work in small areas such as inside cabinets, even these tools can feel oversized. To squeeze into tight places and to make the job easy and less burdensome on our arms, wrists and shoulders, 12-volt drill-drivers are back in the spotlight.

These drill-drivers include 1/4″ hex-drive tools as well as standard chuck designs. To whittle down the list of candidatesfor our review, we set parameters that we felt would be the best choice for everyday use. Drill-drivers with 1/4″ hex heads are OK for some operations such as driving screws. But for simple drilling tasks, we didn’t want to have to have a dedicated line of tooling (drill bits with 1/4″ hex shanks). We decided that two-speed drills that afforded the operator the choice of torque settings, and had conventional chucks in a 3/8″ size, were the best bet.

While you might think that this list of requirements is limiting, we found six contenders that met our parameters. The six include the Bosch PS30-2A, Craftsman’s NEXTEC drill-driver, the Hitachi DS10DFL, Makita’s DF330DW (the only 10.8-volt tool in the test), the Milwaukee 2410-22 and Ridgid’s R82008 drill-driver.

Online Extras

* Click here to read the 18v Lithium-ion Drills Test from April 2008.


From the December 2009 issue #180
Buy this issue now