MSRP: $149.99 (Includes internal 2 ah battery, charging cable, 8 drill bits, and 10 screwdriver bits)
I’m sure many of you out there, especially the ones that haven’t had their morning coffee yet, are wondering what the heck they’re looking at. Is it a massage gun? A hair drier? Well it’s actually a 12-volt drill from a new company called Hoto, and it’s here to defy your expectations.
If you search for 12v drills on Amazon, you’ll find it full of cheap, lousy ones from Chinese companies. Now it’s not that tools made in China are inherently bad, it’s just these no-name ones are in fact, bad tools. When I stumbled upon Hoto, I assumed it was the same tech in a more expensive, futuristic package. I decided that it would be fun to snag one and see how much abuse it could take before its inevitable demise.
Here’s the thing though- it didn’t die. In fact, it took everything we threw at it and kept on rolling without complaint. It drove sixty 1/4” by 1 1/2″-long lag bolts into solid poplar one after another, unscrewed them all, drove them again, and still showed half battery life. We drilled 1″ holes with a spade bit until it triggered the heat warning, and after a minute it was ready to go again. It was like the little drill that could.
Now before you throw all of your other tools in a dumpster, there are some downsides to this futuristic form. The ergonomics are a bit… challenged, missing the type of contours you’d expect for a handheld tool. The digital clutch worked fine, but the pulse mode (to prevent screw stripping) just seemed to prevent the drill from doing anything at all. And then there’s the real Achilles heel: the internal battery. Usually when a battery is drained you slap in a fresh one, or toss it on a charger for a few hours and go again. The Hoto can only be charged via USB, and it does not charge quickly. We actually didn’t get a full charge time, since we all left the office before it charged up, but I’d guess that it takes at least 8 hours to fully charge, and it can’t be used at all while plugged in.
For $150 I just can’t recommend the Hoto for a hardcore woodworker. There are just a few too many compromises for full-time shop usage. But, if you’re a homeowner or DIY type, this is a compelling option worth looking into.
Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.