Compact 12v Drill-Drivers

Bosch PS30-2A

The Bosch 12-volt drill-driver is certainly a handful of tool. it’s near the top in handle girth (6-1/8″) and tied for the top in the drill- head-length measurement at 7-7/8″.

With a price tag at $131 and change, the PS30-2A is the fourth-most expensive drill- driver in our test.

the PS30-2A drilled a test-leading 8 holes in the 1″ spade-bit drill-a-thon. It also has the lowest upper-end speed setting in the group.

In the lag-screw test, the Bosch drill- driver performed admirably by installing nearly 32 lags. While that number was not the most lags driven, it was enough to position the tool in fourth place.

We all know that heat is a destructive force on batteries as well as tool life, but even with more than eight holes drilled, and the battery depleted, the PS30-2A registered a motor temperature of 108º (just below the mean temperature). And at 136º, the battery temperature was also positioned in the middle of the pack.

This tool gave our top pick a run for the money given its ability to drill holes and drive lags, but in the end, the ps30-2a was nudged out due to tool design. during use, the back of the drill rides heavily on the area between your thumb and forefinger, causing soreness.

The Bosch PS30-2A, two batteries and a charger are packaged in a canvas case. additional batteries are $33. or 877-267-2499 • Street price: $131.47

Craftsman 11812

The Craftsman NEXTEC drill-driver has the third-smallest girth size and is one of the longest drill drivers in the test with a drill- head-length measurement of 7-7/8″.

The good news is that this drill-driver is the least expensive tool in our test (at $80, it sells for $69 less than the most expensive drill reviewed). Unfortunately, the NEXTEC drill is also the least productive of the drill- drivers tested. While six holes were driven through the 1-3/4″-thick poplar before the 1.3 amp hour battery gave out (that was the third-highest test number for holes driven), only six lag screws were seated before the juice ran out on a fully charged battery. And those six screws required three attempts to drive them home due to multiple motor stoppages.

Also, the NEXTEC battery and the tool itself did not heat to the levels comparable with the other drills in the test (probably because of the lack of actual work). The tool’s temperature tied for the lowest in the test with a drill that drove eight times as many lag screws. And the battery temperature topped out at 123º, again the lowest in the test.

The NEXTEC drill driver is great for occasional use in the shop, or for do-it- yourself work around the house, but we don’t recommend this tool as your “go to” drill in this category.

Replacement batteries are $25 and the kit is packaged in a canvas carrying case. or 800-349-4358 • Street price: $79.99

Hitachi DS10DFL

Hitachi’s 3/8″ drill-driver is the only tool in the test that stayed with a traditional drill- driver design. The base of the tool is wide and holds the drill upright without issues. This allows for an easy pickup when reaching for the tool.

With the smallest girth in the review (5″) and a middle-of-the-road measurement for the drill-head length (7 1/2″), this drill fits comfortably in any small-to-medium hand.

The DS10DFl is priced around $108, the second-most inexpensive tool in the test. So you may guess the tool would place near the bottom when drilling holes or driving screws. But that’s not the case. In fact, with 48-1/2 lag screws driven, it’s only one screw away from the best results in the test; that could be a result of the slowest low- end speed setting (300 rpm).

The number of holes drilled is slightly different. Here the Hitachi drill-driver completed five holes before the 1.5 amp hour battery pooped out.

Motor temperatures for the Hitachi drill ran on the high side of those tested at 114º. But the battery temperature rated second from the coolest at 127º.

One area of disappointment is the battery charger. There is little information on the unit; it simply indicates a charging battery and when the battery is fully charged. Overall, we are impressed with the Hitachi DS10DFl and think this is a good-quality drill for the money. or 800-706-7337 • Street price: $107.73

Makita DF330DW

The Makita DF330DW places in the middle of the pack in both girth (5-5/8″) and in the drill-head-length measurement at 7-1/2″. It is noticeably top heavy and tips forward when set down. As a result, Makita’s drill- driver will not stand upright.

The purchase price of the Makita drill- driver pushed it into the top half of all the drills in the test at $134.

The DF330DW scraped the bottom of the tested tools in holes drilled with just four, but rebounded a bit when driving lag screws – 41-1/2 lags were driven on a single 1.3 amp hour battery that was fully charged.

Temperature testing came after the hole drilling phase and Makita’s drill-driver reached higher-than-average recordings. The motor temperature reached a test-high 116º and the battery temperature hit a sweltering 168º, the highest in the test by 30º.

The most curious feature that stands out on this tool is why engineers selected a 50-minute battery charger to accompany this tool. It’s the longest recharge time and makes the possibility of downtime while waiting for a battery to recharge a distinct possibility.

The Makita DF330DW is a good choice if you have an occasional need for a drill- driver of this size. But you’ll have to move on if you’re looking for a standout 12-volt, 3/8″ drill-driver.

Battery replacement cost is $40. or 800-462-5482 Street price: $133.99

Milwaukee 2410-22

The Milwaukee drill-driver is the standout tool in this test. It’s a stout tool that fits comfortably into larger hands – the girth size is tied for the largest at 6-1/4″ and the drill-head length is 7-1/2″.

The $149 purchase price is tops in the test as well, but in this case the outlay of funds is justified.

The 2410-22 has the highest torque rating and the highest, high-end rpm rating in the group. It is the leader in both test categories with eight holes drilled and 49-1/2 lag screws driven, each on a single 1.4 amp- hour battery charge.

After the eight holes were complete, the tool temperature came in tied for lowest at 105º and the battery temperature was a respectable, although not the lowest in the test, at 138º.

The Milwaukee 2410-22 is also the only drill-driver tested to include a fuel-gauge indicator light and the led shines upward to help light up the work area.

If pushed to come up with a downside to this drill-driver, I would have to comment on the size and weight of the tool. Small hands will find this drill-driver to be thick, but very usable. And there is a noticeable weight difference when compared to the other drill-drivers tested.

Bottom line: this drill-driver is at the top of the category and is well worth your investment dollars.

Replacement batteries are $39. or 800-729-3878 Street price: $149

Ridgid R82008

This drill-driver is available as part of a kit only. The kit includes the R82008 drill- driver, two 1.5 amp-hour batteries, a 30- minute charger and a flashlight that works off the same batteries. If you need the flashlight, there’s extra value here.

The ridgid R82008 drill-head-length measurement is the shortest in the test at 6-3/4″. It also had one of the highest girth measurements in the group. But if you need to squeeze into a small work area, this might be your tool. It is very compact and thick not only at the grip area, but at the nose as well. The single latch to release the battery from the tool is located on the backside of the battery. You have to change your grip to make the switch.

The Ridgid R82008 came in just below average with five holes drilled and ranked second from the bottom in total number of lag screws driven at 24-1/2, which is surprising given its 240 inch-pounds of torque.

The R82008 registered a cool 105º reading on the motor, which is tied for the coolest motor temperature. It didn’t fare quite so well in the battery temperature at 138º.

Overall, this is a good-working drill- driver, but i don’t think the tool performed well enough in the test to reach a “buy” decision. Even with the added flashlight I don’t think the kit is the choice to make.

Replacement batteries for the R82008 are available for $40. or 866-539-1710 Street price: $139


STREET PRICE $131.47 $79.99 $107.73 $133.99 $149 $139*
WEIGHT W/ BATTERY (LBS) 2.37 2.21 2.39 2.32 2.64 3.11
2 2 2 2 2 2
BATTERY AMP/HOUR 1.3 1.3 1.5 1.3 1.4 1.5
TORQUE SETTINGS 20+1 17+1 21+1 18+1 20+1 17+1
$32.95 $24.99 $38.99 $39.95 $39.00 $39.97
RECHARGE TIME (MIN) 30 min. 30 min. 30 min. 50 min. 30 min. 30 min.
RPM 0 – 400
0 – 1,000
0 – 400
0 – 1,300
0 – 300
0 – 1,300
 0 – 350
0 – 1,300
0 – 400
0 – 1,500
0 – 320
0 – 1,300
LAGS DRIVEN 31-7/8 6 48-1/2 41-1/2 49-1/2 24-1/2
HOLES DRILLED 8 6 5 4 8 5
108º 105º 114º 116º 105º 105º
BATTERY TEMPERATURE 136º 123º 127º 168º 138º 138º
TORQUE (INCH POUNDS) 220 195 195 200 250 240
yes yes yes yes yes yes
12 12 12 10.8 12 12
6-1/8″ 5-7/8″ 5″ 5-5/8″ 6-1/4″ 6-1/4″
7-7/8″ 7-7/8″ 7-1/2″ 7-1/2″ 7-1/2″ 6-3/4″
* Only available as a kit with flashlight


Glen is a senior editor of this magazine, the author of several woodworking books and the host of several woodworking DVDs. Contact him at 531-513-2690 x11293 or

About Glen D. Huey

Glen Huey is a former managing editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, a period furniture maker and author of numerous woodworking books, videos and magazine articles.