Most helpful positive review
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Good drill with small flaws
on June 18, 2011
This drill isn't a bad choice for a homeowner. I think someone who uses a drill on the job would probably do better with lithium batteries. The extra weight of the NiCads probably won't be a factor for me as I won't likely be using it continuously for long hours, or over my head very much. NiCad batteries will usually last a couple of years longer than lithiums if used just for homeowner projects. That is dependent on having good batteries with temp sensors and a smart charger, which this unit does have.
Evidently the memory problem with NiCad batteries isn't a problem with high load equipment like drills. And since NiCads maintain almost full power until they are depleted you would often run them all the way down anyway. They do have a higher self-discharge than lithiums, but you will usually have enough power in the first to have the second battery fully charged by the time you need it.
Good power, as you would expect from a Dewalt. There is very good trigger control, and even when running at high speed the chuck stops instantly when you release the trigger (with a clunk).
Well made chuck. It grabbed a 1/16 drill bit and there is no wobble. A 3/8 chuck makes no sense when a 1/2 can do the job as well. You aren't limited to drills with the base turned down to 3/8. It seems to be a trend to put half inch chucks on drills that would previously have had 3/8, a trend I like.
The apparent temperature sensor in the battery and smart charger are both a pro and con. On the pro side, the batteries should last for quite a while. My last Craftsman, which didn't have that advantage, lasted less than a year before the batteries were useless.
The grip is comfortable for my hands. It is a tad nose heavy, but the balance generally seems fine.
You can leave a battery in the smart charger indefinitely as long as it is plugged in. So if you are doing a project the next day you can leave it plugged in overnight with no damage to the battery.
The light placement is absurd. You need a bit that extends around six inches from the chuck so the light is really any good for positioning. For anything 3 1/2 inches or shorter, the light is blocked by the chuck and your target is in shadow. Unfortunately the tips of most bits and many drills I use fall into the shadow and the light is useless. Most manufacturers are putting the lights on the base to avoid that problem.
After heavy use of the first battery, don't expect it to be charged when you use up the second. It takes about 5 hours to charge a completely depleted battery, most of that time spent with the dot/dash signal that the battery is too hot to charge. That was in an air conditioned room with a battery that hadn't been under load. Outdoors or in the garage in the summer you might not have the second battery recharged that day. This is also a problem with lithium batteries, so it is just something you have to be aware of. My last drill didn't have the problem but the batteries didn't last a year either. It is a good feature to protect the battery, but it can slow you down if you have a lot of heavy load work to do.
The hammer drill might be OK for putting Tapcons into manufactured blocks, which use a fine aggregate. For aged poured concrete it is nearly useless. The instructions say to use the high speed (low torque) setting and put only enough pressure to keep the drill from jumping or it will hang up. To drill into the aged poured concrete around my house I have to use my large corded 1/2 inch hammer drill and put all my weight into it.
Overall I'm happy with the purchase. Dewalt makes good equipment and I expect it to last a good bit longer than some other drills I have owned. I didn't buy it to replace my corded hammer drill. I like having a half inch chuck and the power is more than sufficient.