Batteries in drill-drivers have traveled up then down the entire voltage spectrum. I began using 9-volt drill , maybe it was 9. something, I don’t remember exactly. What I do remember is my reaction when Dad bought the first battery-powered drill for the construction site. I looked at him as if he had three eyes and shook my head. I knew this tool fad would never last! At least I can laugh about it.
Since that time drills have ventured through 12 volts, into and through 14.4 volts and have progressed to 18-volt tools , some have gone higher. With changes in battery technology, companies no longer have to have huge power plants attached to the tools , it’s no longer difficult to power a drill. Also, most tools can be fully depleted then fully recharged within an hour. As a result, not only are drill-drivers dropping in voltage size, they are dropping in physical size as well.
Today, manufacturers are again looking at end-user comfort. Drills have become smaller and lighter. We’re once again looking at 12-volt battery-powered drills , actually the term is drill-drivers because you have a clutch with adjustable settings. We’ve seen drill-drivers, compact drill-drivers and sub-compact drill-drivers. Next up is the ultra-compact drill-drivers.
The ultra-compact drill-driver shown above is from DeWalt. It’s the DCF610S2 (the kit includes the tool, two batteries and a 40-minute charger. The tool sans battery is also available as a DCF610). The term “ultra-compact” might not give you the best idea as to how small these drill-drivers really are, so take a look at the photo at the left. In it, the new ultra-compact tool is paired with a DeWalt DCD760KL – the company’s subcompact drill-driver. This is not trick photography. There is that much difference between the two tools. And to make the point even stronger, the next photo is the 12-volt battery sat next to the 18-volt battery.
DeWalt’s ultra-compact drill-driver weighs in at a mere 2.2 pounds (the battery accounts for just less than a half-pound). It’s easy to see how the size of this tool transfers to less user fatigue and added comfort. And due to that small size, this drill-driver is ideal for any job in tight spaces. It’s 6-1/2″ from tip to tail, and stands 7-3/4″ tall to allow easy access to tight quarters. And while you’re in those cramped spaces, the three LEDs located around the chuck collar light the entire work area so there are no shadows to deal with. That’s a nice touch for any drill-driver.
The DCF610 has 16 clutch settings and has a forward/reverse switch that also locks out in the center setting. On most 1/4″ chucks you see, you have to pull the chuck collar out as you slide in whatever driver blade you need. With this tool, you simply push a driver blade, as small as 1″ in length (a Phillips bit is included with the kit), into the chuck and it locks automatically , the installation is complete with the use of a single hand. To release the driver blade, pull the chuck collar and remove. A variable-speed trigger is used to adjust the speed from 0 and 1,050 rpm.
How does this ultra-compact drill-driver work? The new DCF610 drill-driver, according to a DeWalt Senior Manager, has the “ability to drive 207 2-1/2″ cabinet screws on a single battery charge, this tool provides users with the power and run-time needed to meet their jobsite demands.” With a 40-minute charger, I doubt you’ll run out of battery before the second unit is charged and ready to work.
The DCF610S2 also has a belt hook and contractor bag in addition to the screwdriver and should be available at home centers and industrial retailers during the fourth quarter of 2010. The suggested retail price for the kit is around $139. In addition to the screwdriver kit, the DCF610 will also be available as part of a combo kit that includes one screwdriver, one impact driver, two 12-Volt Lithium Ion battery packs, two bit tips, two belt hooks, one 40 minute charger and a contractor bag.
For more information on drills, pick up a copy of “Drills and Drill Presses (Missing Shop Manual)” from our woodworker’s Bookshop)
Or to read our latest review of Subcompact Drill-drivers, order a copy of Popular Woodworking Magazine’s December 2009 issue (#180)