on December 2, 2010
This is my third attempt at owning a compact drill/driver kit--I've owned the Bosch 10.8V and Milwaukee M12 combo kits previously and borrowed my tile setters Makita 10.8v kit, with the cool anvil type case, on lots of jobs. The Bosch and Makita have their place, but not in my lineup and the Milwaukee disappointed me so badly, I have realized they are not the manufactured they used to be, and I will most likely never buy a new Milwaukee tool again.
When I bought my first compact kit, I was hoping to find a drill that was light, easy on the shoulder (if you've ever tried to use an 18v XRP drill with a fully extended arm and your older than 24, you know what I'm saying) and small enough to navigate in tight places. I needed a drill for doing trim outs, removing appliances, installing fixtures and just general light duty work.
The problem a professional contractor will soon discover, these small drivers/impactors are so convenient and easy to use; you will start pushing them to their limit quickly and get frustrated with the lack of power.
The key to being successful with one of the small kits, you have to recognize they will not and cannot compete with the 18v tools, and none of the compact driver kits I have owned will drive 3" screws successfully (I typically screw my framing on small remodels and basement build outs, so I have a bit of experience here).
This DeWalt kit has the best power and balance combination of the kits I've used. It will not fit into as tight of a spot as the Bosch and Makita, but it has the minimum power this contractor can live with.
I have used the DeWalt on two jobs this month.
I installed new kitchen cabinets (20 boxes) and absolutely enjoyed using the impact driver for driving the wall screws and the drill for the drilling and screwing the boxes together, and I'm absolutely positive, using the drill to install the hardware will be a joy.
Also, I just completed the demo and electrical rough in on a small remodel and I found myself reaching for the 12v more than the 18v.
My only real complaint, there is no bit storage on the tool. You don't realize what you've got till it's gone :)
You won't use these for framing, and cant drill tile and concrete or set Tapcons(no rotohammer setting), but for lighter work, this set is awesome.
Quick charge time, descent power and compact design gives this tool a permanent spot in my tool trailer.
This DeWalt kit is the best of what I've owned and used to date.
on January 5, 2011
- compact, short, lightweight = a joy to use
- slim handle is great for smaller hands (e.g. women, kids)
- one-handed chuck uses all types of bits
- good high end speed for drilling
- well balanced
- stands upright; belt hook
- comes with an impact wrench
- excellent battery life between uses
- relatively inexpensive for additional battery packs (30 USD)
- powerful enough for 98% of my drilling/driving needs
- UPDATE: 90 day money back guarantee (which I ended up using)
- LED lighting isn't as good as the hex chuck version of this drill
- the one handed chuck adds length as compared to the hex chuck version of this drill
- not cheap (but worth the price I think)
- UPDATE: the impact wrench failed after light use
Dewalt was little late in releasing their compact driver drills (Bosch has had one for years), but they really set themselves apart for the rest with this one.
I think this category of drill is perfect for most homeowners. Bosch, Porter-Cable, Makita, Milwaukee, Dewalt, and others all make ultra compact 12V lithium ion driver/drills. They are all a vast improvement over previous options because:
1) Lightweight: e.g. drilling over you head to hang pictures
2) Lithium Ion Batteries: don't lose as much charge between uses
3) Compact: can fit your drill in tight places
All manufacturers except Dewalt put the battery in the handle which makes for a beefy handle and an off balance drill. Dewalt puts the battery at the bottom which balances the drill and allows it to have a more ergonomic grip. My wife tried some of the other drills with the battery in the handle and found them awkward to hold because of the size of the grip. She loves this one.
The combination of a lightweight drill with a slim grip makes this the perfect drill for many women. Even my kids can use it. My wife hates my Porter Cable 14.4 volt NiCad because it is so darn heavy that she has to use two hands and almost throws out her back doing it. Now my doesn't have to ask me to do the drilling because she can do it herself comfortably.
Dewalt is a great choice for drill to have around the house that every one can use.
UPDATE: After using the impact wrench to drive about 20 lag screws into wood, it stopped working. It started making an even louder racket and lost all torque. I couldn't drive anything with it. Luckily, Dewalt has a 90 day satisfaction guarantee so I returned the set. I could have sent it in for repair, but am thinking I will re-buy the drill only. I didn't find the impact wrench as useful. Since it has no clutch, it is hard to know if you are exerting the right amount of force on the screws. The drill was awesome though, so I definitely want that around. I deducted one star for the impact wrench.
If you found this review helpful, let me know with your vote. If not, then leave a comment on how I can improve the review.
This combination set of a drill/driver and impact driver is perfect for the weekend handyman. The tools are beautifully balanced, with the center of gravity for both being right behind the trigger...when you hold it, it's not either top heavy or bottom heavy. Since the battery isn't in the handle (unlike the Milwaukee, Bosch and Porter Cable), the grip is perfect for someone with smaller hands. The metal belt clip mounts to either side of the tool, so it can be easily used by both right-handed and left-handed people. The torque is more than adequate for 95% of the things I do. When I need something more powerful, I pull out my Milwaukee or DeWalt corded drills. Those beasts will drill through almost anything.
The only problem that I've seen - and it's a serious one - is the chuck on my drill loosens as I use it. The chuck slams to a stop when you release the trigger and the inertia loosens the bit. Torquing down on the chuck doesn't help. I've tried three different chucks, including one designed for hammer drills, and they all loosen...it's not the chuck, it's the drill. See the updates below for more info.
Incidentally, the kit has two batteries and one charger. If you buy the drill and impact driver separately, you end up with four batteries and two chargers. It's unlikely home users of this drill will need the extra two batteries. Commercial users, who might be using the two tools at the same time, may find the additional batteries useful.
Update - 2/1/2012 - I purchased a replacement chuck, but it didn't fit...the sleeve that adjusts the torque setting projects forward slightly and the new chuck jammed against it. The standard DeWalt chuck has a 3/8-24 thread and is 1.67" in diameter. There's roughly 0.05" of clearance between it and the sleeve. Anything with that diameter or smaller should work. I'll post another update when I find an acceptable replacement.
Update #2 - 2/7/2012 - The Milwaukee 48-66-1530 Griploc 3/8-Inch Keyless Chuck for 3/8-Inch 24 Thread Spindle on Hammer Drills fits. It's about 1/4" in diameter smaller than the OEM chuck and seems to tightly grip bits without slipping. The only problem I found was the presence of some small metal shavings between the two chuck sleeves. They were removed with some small tweezers, but not until after one of them nailed my thumb when I was tightening the chuck. I also tried a Superior Electric J0310 3/8 Inch x 24 Heavy Duty Steel Keyless Drill Chuck, but it doesn't have a through hole for a retaining screw. Without that, the chuck will eventually unscrew itself when the drill is reversed.
Update #3 - 11/21/2012 - Even the Milawkee chuck loosens up after a bit of use. Although I like the DeWalt's weight balance better, I am now using my Bosch PS31-2A 12-Volt Max 3/8-Inch 2-Speed Drill/Driver much more...the Bosch chuck doesn't spontaneously loosen up and drop the drill bit.
on December 1, 2010
I was trying to decide between HD's Ridgid R9004N Drill/Impact driver set and the new DeWalt 12V DCK211S2 Drill/Impact driver set for my own home DIY'er use. I like both brands for their reputation, but I was pretty much set on the Ridgid due to the lifetime warranty. That is until I decided to head on down to the local HD to try them before buying (my HD has a setup with all the drills out where you can run screws into a 4x10).
Both the DeWalt 12V Impact driver and Drill could run a 3" screw into the board with power to spare. The grips were very comfortable, and the tools were well balanced. And the impact driver was simply amazing. Why had I never owned one of these before?
The Ridgid was not as comfortable, though felt bulkier due to a fatter handle, somewhat top heavy, and was far weaker than the DeWalt. The drill only managed to run the screw about 2/3 of the way in and then stop, shutting itself off. I tried again. It turned maybe once then stopped. Again I tried. It turned a bit then stopped. This time there was some smoke rolling off the motor.
Well, needless to say, I know why DeWalt doesn't need a warranty like Ridgid's. I bought the DeWalt, and it was 10% cheaper on AZ than at HD!!!
on February 14, 2012
I'm a reasonably handy homeowner who has owned any number of cheapo drills/screwdrivers, but I've gotten fed up with batteries dying, low torque, chucks that don't grab, and all that. A friend of mine who's a much handier homeowner (has built some significant projects, including structural additions to his house) recommended this set to me, and demoed driving a 3" screw without a pilot. I also own a DeWalt corded drill for heavier jobs.
This really is like night and day compared to those $29 specials and compacts. Everything is well designed and solidly built, with useful features. The tools feel like low-end professional ones (they'll keep on going when used within the design parameters, and can be used all day) rather than high-end casual use. I've now owned them for about 6 months and use them regularly.
Both pieces fit very comfortably to hand. Others have commented that they fit small hands very well; I will comment that they both fit my very big hands (some XL gloves don't fit) perfectly. The location of the battery makes for a more secure grip, since it helps hold the hand in place. They're very light and are not at all tiring to use. Mechanically, both have a drive lock which stops the shaft instantly when you release the trigger. The trigger pull is progressive and smooth on both, making it easy to control the speed. Having the two pieces is very convenient; I can drill and drive screws without having to swap bits. The batteries are easy to remove, but lock securely, and charging is quick. I don't use the belt clip and don't particularly like the look of it, but it's there if you want it (I'd prefer the clip to be mounted to the body of the tool rather than the end of the handle).
Specifics for the drill: it's a standard enough drill/screwdriver combo, that feels solid. Nothing too special about it. The LED illuminator isn't positioned as well as it might be, as others have noted. The balance is very good; even driving a 3/8" hole through wood, it's easy to control one-handed although it's always a good idea to use both hands if you can. I find I have fewer misdrilled holes, probably because of the good balance. The one thing you have to be very careful about is that you always tighten the chuck firmly. The chuck clicks twice, a light click and then a firmer click, as you tighten it down. Always tighten it until it clicks solidly in place. That does take a fair bit of force, a lot more than with the old-style keyed chucks, but after the first time I didn't tighten it down, I learned quickly. The drill has two speed ranges (low for driving screws, high for drilling).
Specifics for the impact driver: this is a tool very much worth learning about. My first question to my friend was "why a drill and a separate screwdriver, rather than, say, a reciprocating saw?" An impact driver is a different beast from an ordinary power screwdriver, even with a clutch. The clutch on the drill/screwdriver simply limits torque; the impact driver uses hammer-like blows as torque demand increases (when there's only light resistance, it just rotates without hammer action). The advantage of this is that if used correctly, it can drive screws much harder without stripping either the head or the thread. But you have to use it correctly, which means firm pressure to prevent the bit from jumping out of the head (the usual way that Phillips heads get stripped). And watch out with the trigger, since at full speed it's very high RPMs (actually higher than the high range on the drill), so if you aren't pushing hard enough, it will jump out. It's surprisingly gentle, though; I've driven screws hard into plastic anchors into wallboard, and only very rarely stripped them (I built a few shelves on Sunday, and out of 50 screws, I think I stripped 2). Much less frequently than with a conventional powered driver or even an ordinary hand screwdriver. As others have also noted, the LED illuminator works very well on this tool. It does take some learning, but it's worth it. It's also very compact (somewhat shorter than the drill, so it fits into tight spots), and bits lock in (pull on the sleeve around the bit to release). I almost always prefer it for driving screws, but again, this is one tool you should practice with before using it.
The bag looks chintzy (it's a nylon bag with a reinforced bottom and a frame), but it's sturdier and more versatile than I thought. I can easily enough get both tools, the charger, a set of drill bits and another set of drive bits in plastic shell cases, several large screw drivers, a pair of large channel lock pliers, a full-size Vise Grip pliers, a hot glue gun, a spare bag of glue sticks, and a few bags of small hardware into it while still closing it. With some fiddling, I could probably also fit a small hammer for punching starter holes for drilling. Since my main tool box is an almost 40 year old Craftsman steel box that I got as a present as a child, I like being able to carry around something much smaller and lighter (10 lb is a lot easier than 30 lb). I actually prefer this to a hard shell case, since there's more flexibility.
All in all, I'd say this is a well-designed and executed tool set for a wide variety of uses.
I have the 5 piece Dewalt 20v Max kit and use the crap out of it and it continues to impress me, but the hammer drill/driver and to a point the impact driver are a bit chunky and heavy, so I went on a search for something more compact. Seeing as how the 20v max charger will charge the 12v battery, buying this seemed like a no brainier. Both are very lightweight, built well and perform flawlessly. I tested the impact driver with a variety of screws and lag bolts and to be quite frank, it surprisingly drove everything the 20v MAX impact driver did, albeit a bit slower and with about half the runtime. The Drill/Driver was amazing as well.
Also worth noting, these are actually 10.8 volt tools (Like all the rest of the subcompact tools available). Like other companies, Dewalt has fallen in-line and started going with MAX ratings. Meaning the batteries are only 12 volts when not under load. Audio companies have been doing this for years, so I guess it was only a matter of time before tool manufacturers started this practice. But don't let the rating fool you...They perform like nothing I've ever seen for this size and weight.
NOTE: Amazon has the Impact Driver listed as 79 inch pounds of torque. This is a mistake. Its actually 79 FOOT pounds, which equates to 948 inch pounds. And I believe every word of it.
IMPACT DRIVER: This thing has great ergonomics. Very balanced and feels good in the hand. I used the Milwaukee M12 for about a day and couldn't wait to stop using it. It's top heavy and the battery doesn't compensate enough which causes wrist fatigue fairly quickly. This Dewalt is quite light, but backs it's light weight with a ton of torque. As others have said, it's quite powerful for it's size. It'll drive 3 inch screws and drives them like a knife through butter. Also, as shown in the picture, the hex chuck will accept and hold the smaller bits, which makes working in tight quarters even easier. While the smaller ones don't lock in place like the full size ones, they are still held in pretty tight and don't fall out when turned upside down. And I LOVE the lights! They are quite bright and illuminate the work area nicely. There's no shadow like on some other tools with only a single light above the trigger. These are Cree made LED's which are much brighter than regular LED's.
DRILL/DRIVER: This is also a great feeling tool and quite powerful for it's size. I did some testing with it and was able to drill into a steel car frame with relative ease. It also runs true and is equally good for precision wood work. The single light on this definitely isn't as nice as the impact driver, but putting 3 LEDs on a spinning chuck would be an incredibly arduous task, so I understand the compromise.
CHARGER: The charger is automatic and charges the batteries in about 30 minutes. The light flashes while charging and turns solid red when done. Would be nice to have a multicolored LED or Multiple LEDs, but this is just being picky. It's nice and compact too. Also, if you have any of the 20V Max tools, that charger will charge the 12v Max batteries as well.
CANVAS BAG: Not much to say about this. It seems quite sturdy and holds both tools, the 2 batteries and the charger with ease.
The only negative I've found with this set is the FWD, REVERSE switch feels a little loose and "spongy". It hasn't been a problem thus far, and I'm doubtful I'll run into any trouble.
All-in-all, I am VERY pleased with this Impact Driver/Drill combo and highly reccomend to anyone looking for a powerful, yet compact set of cordless tools.
on November 28, 2011
I got to use this set while doing an historic rehab on a 1910 Victorian. Two things stand out for me with this set - (1) both drill/driver and impact driver have a phenomenal power-to-weight ratio. Both could be hanging off my belt at the same time up 3 stories on scaffolding and I would frequently "lose" them - forgetting where they were for a time. I mention the scaffolding only because they have both taken a swan dive from those heights onto concrete without a scratch.
(2) I have never seen screws driven or extracted as successfully as this impact driver was able to do. Instead of slipping and stripping the screw-head with a high-torque driver, the impact driver senses when it can't spin at speed and switches to a high-rate pulsing action which breaks the friction between the wood and screw. I found it fun to drive and extract screws.
Other things to note - the recharge rate on the battery is pretty quick and the use-time was exceptionally good. Of course, the latter depends on how much load you put on the tool, but as battery-operated tools go, these were both, as I said, exceptional. The tool profile fits really well into average-sized hands; it's not awkward or tiring as the larger tools with big honkin' batteries can be.
I do have one complaint: removing the battery can be difficult and frustrating. The latch assembly is on the battery, not the tool, and the direction that you have to push the latch is against the direction of removal; consequently, you find yourself fighting yourself somewhat to get the battery out. This becomes easier the more you use the tool but, as I mentioned above, the opportunity to change the battery was not that frequent.
All in all, very high marks. I came to Amazon today because they have a great deal on this set and the one I used was not mine. Now I have my own set; well - I just ordered it 10 minutes ago so I will have it soon.
on November 26, 2013
These are amazing tools and were perfect for just about every job. Here are some thoughts about them both.
-They are light weight, much lighter than the 18v/20v tools out there so if your using them all day or overhead it helps to have something this light
-They have the best hand grip out of all of the 12v tools out there. Most other 12v tools have the battery in the grip which gives them an unnaturally thick grip making them much less comfortable to hold.
-They have good power for their size. My boss had a set of the 14.4v Hiltis which were more powerful but twice as heavy. The bigger Hilti impact driver had a tendency to strip out the screw heads on deck screws. These might have been a bit slower at driving 2-1/2" deck screws but I felt I had more control and I stripped out less screws probably saving time in the long run. These were not really powerful enough to drill doors for knobs and I had to switch out and use the Hiltis for those jobs. Don't expect them to have the power of an 18v/20v drill or impact driver.
-The batteries last long enough. I got into trouble a few times on job sites without electricity when we were doing lots of drilling and driving but they charge in about 20min so when we have electricity I am able to charge them during lunch without problem.
-I took off one star because the dewalt tool line up is much smaller than the milwaukee or bosch lineup. If you just want the drill/driver combo then these are the best tools to get. If you want to invest in a whole 12v tool lineup, milwaukee has the most diversity.
on November 13, 2011
I have owned a number of drills over the years. I thought they were all pretty much the same. I needed to replace an older drill that had worn out and since I see DeWalt drills in the hands of the professionals, I thought it might be worth the extra money to invest in a high quality drill. I had priced the drill and the best price I found was a clearance item and it was $119. I wanted a drill and an impact driver and thought about buying them separately when I found them on sale. Then I saw this combination at a fraction of the price I had seen in the large home improvement stores. Once I had these in my hand, I couldn't believe what a difference there is between the homeowner drills I had always bought and these. The DeWalt are very compact and light but so much more powerful than the others. There is also a light that comes on when you are drilling to light up the drilling surface. I had never owned an impact driver and was never sure what the difference between the drill and the impact driver was. I had to install 4" screws and I could not believe how much more effective, quick and easy the impact driver is in setting screws. I had a number of projects to do this weekend and I actually enjoyed using my new tools.
on December 6, 2015
I use this pretty much daily. I also have a (very nice) 18V lithium set that I hardly every use - these units are so much lighter and get the job done for most all tasks. I've even used the drill for drilling 1/4" holes in concrete window wells (for mounting a well cover). They drill actually worked. The whole time I was thinking "I wonder what the designer of this tool would think of this use...". The impact unit was a revelation for me - I always used drill drivers. If you've not invested in an impact - do yourself a favor and get one. It drives screws and nuts so much easier and faster.