Most helpful positive review
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2002
After reading about the clutch and gearbox problems some owners where having with the early production models, I was worried I might have to switch brands again and have an oddball 18V system that wouldn't be interchangeable with my other DeWalt 18V tools.
I needed a replacement for my worn out DW997K 18V hammer drill that I used every day on the job for two years, with the only repairs being an occasional motor brush change.
I decided to bite the bullet and purchased the DW988K. The first thing I did was check the clutch operation in all three gear ranges, and was glad to find that it was working correctly.
I am now looking forward to another abusive relationship with this DeWalt cordless.
Overall, it feels more solid and works as good or better than the old DW997 it replaced, although the clutch adjustment collar seems a little more fragile compared to the old model. Time will definitely tell. I don't care for the location of the spare bit storage. I liked it better when it was tucked up out of the way on the upper motor housing of the old model where it was less likely to interfere with or snag on things, but since I don't use it for extra bit storage that often, I can live with it.
I also wasn't sure that the DW988's "Max" 3rd gear was necessary, but after using it for a while, I can say that it does help get the job done faster when drilling small 3/16" or 1/4" holes in hollow masonry block. I occasionally will push it to a 5/8" hole in hollow block using Medium [2nd] range.
The DeWalt website lists the maximum size hole saw in wood as 2", but I routinely use it in the hammer mode with a 3-5/8" or 3-3/4" hole saw in 2X or 3/4" PT plywood and engineered lumber to cut in old-work fixture boxes and ceiling fan support boxes and on smaller jobs to make holes in joists to pull cable bundles or run conduits. I have also used it in low range with a 4-5/8" hole saw and 18" extension to make holes through double 2X for bath vent fan and dryer ducting. Large holes like this required one fully charged battery for every third 4-5/8" hole through 2X material, but the job went quickly in tight quarters without having to drag out my large DW124 right-angle drill and extension cord. It has also been used on occasion for rewiring jobs with a 9/16" and 3/4" X 54" long Diversibit to drill down inside a buildings wall cavities and into a crawl space below.
The DeWalt's all metal 1/2" ratcheting keyless chuck is manufactured by ROHM, the same company that manufactures chucks for Bosch and others, has been around for a few years and has proven itself to be extremely durable and damage resistant even when making contact with other metal objects while drilling. The spindle lock is also an excellent feature and once you've had it, you'll never want to own or even use a keyless chuck equipped drill without it ever again.
Overall, I would recommend the DW988. DeWalt seems to have the bugs worked out of it and it has performed well for me in every drilling task asked of it, even if it exceeded the tools design rating.