1 2
volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/11/17 8:55 a.m.

The Dewalt 18V Ni-Cad cordless drill died on me this weekend.  I got it second hand, have 3 battery packs for it.  The specific failure this weekend was the battery charger crapping out, but none of the 3 packs works especially well, or for very long.

Mrs. VCH was shocked, SHOCKED to discover I only had the one drill (since I typically have 3 or 4 of everything).  But that's correct- no corded drills, and only this one cordless.  I find I really, strongly prefer cordless for a drill- there's so many times when the convenience of it really makes it awesome.  But, I have 2 pretty good projects going on, both of which require a drill.  And I presently have zero (0) drills.  

No hard and fast budget, but let's say nothing stupidly expensive.  Has to be something I can walk into a store and buy tonight.  In the greater Baltimore region.  #1 priority is durability/ longevity.  Next would probably be battery life.  Which cordless drill do I buy?

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/11/17 9:08 a.m.

THESE seem pretty popular....

dculberson PowerDork
9/11/17 9:11 a.m.

At home, as a very active DIY guy, I've been very happy with my Ryobi 18v Lithium drills. The batteries are stout and hold up for a long time but don't cost an arm and a leg to replace if they do wear out. I'm about 5 years in on the first three Lithium batteries I bought for them and one is wearing a bit but the other two are great.

At work, where we use the tools constantly, we have DeWalt 20v "max" Lithium drills and they perform very well. They're more powerful and more compact than the Ryobi. They're better built. But they cost 2x+ the price and the batteries are way more expensive too. But the money does go somewhere - they're better tools.

Either one offers a good ecosystem of tools - lots of options for things that run on the same batteries. I have a big pile of the Ryobi tools I've been building up for 15 years, starting with the NiCd batteries then moving to Lithium once they offered them. (It was nice of Ryobi to make the new batteries compatible with the old tools!) If I had it all to do over again at home, though, I'd strongly consider the Kobalt 24v stuff (at Lowe's, good tools and the batteries are *CHEAP*) or the Ridgid tools (at Home Depot, batteries have a lifetime warranty and tools are well built).

Like anything these days there's a million options and almost none of them are terrible. So it's easy to get caught up in the details.

Woody MegaDork
9/11/17 9:14 a.m.
dculberson PowerDork
9/11/17 9:16 a.m.

Do you have or have you ever used an impact driver for screws? It will change your life. You should get a combo kit with a drill and impact driver and two batteries. Seriously the impact tool is amazing - effortless driving of 4" screws into framing lumber, etc. It's not going to remove lug nuts - that's not what it's for - but it's great for taking off the smaller nuts and bolts on a car.

My suggestions, in ascending order of price:

Ryobi - $128

Ridgid - $159

Kobalt - $199

I have no experience with those HF drills but I would be very wary of them. My past experience with HF cordless tools was really really bad, long term. And I have a fair amount of HF stuff that I'm happy with - cordless tools just wasn't one.

Toyman01 MegaDork
9/11/17 9:19 a.m.

I use Rigid at work. Durable, great batteries, fast chargers. I get two+ years out of them which is better than any of the other brands. 

I think the Ryobi stuff is made by the same company that makes Rigid. I eyeballed it hard the last time I bought a drill but stayed with what I know works. 

SkinnyG SuperDork
9/11/17 9:22 a.m.
dculberson said:

Do you have or have you ever used an impact driver for screws? It will change your life.

I bought a Milwaukee drill/impact kit years ago, and thought "what am I realistically going to use the impact for?"  Then I used it.  "Freaking Everything" is what I'm using it for - it's awesome!

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/11/17 9:23 a.m.

In reply to dculberson :

I have had the same experience with no-name cordless stuff.  Which is why I lean towards Dewalt/Makita/Milwaukee.  I have a Makita corded circular saw and love it- very well-built.  I have heard/read good things about the Ridgid stuff, too.  I had one of the OLD Milwaukee 18V NiCad drills that was actually American made.  But the batteries all died.  

The problem seems to be, buy the time you buy batteries, and a charger, you might as well buy a whole new drill.  It's similar to the toner cartridges vs printer issue.  cheeky

Thinking about asking for one of them new 3/8 cordless ratchets for Christmas, but the drill is kindof a NOW need.  

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
9/11/17 9:33 a.m.


Nothing we use at work has lasted even close to as long as the Ridgid stuff, and for consumer use you get lifetime warranty.

T.J. MegaDork
9/11/17 9:38 a.m.

I bought a Dewalt impact driver via this forum and I love it. My next cordless drill will be a 20V Dewalt so I can share the batteries. I have 2 cordless drills now, one is a little Craftsman one that I stripped out the plastic gears so it only has one range now and the other is also a craftsman that my wife bought me a couple years ago on a good sale. It seems to work just fine. I don't think it really matters too much what you buy if you are a typical user.

pinchvalve MegaDork
9/11/17 9:52 a.m.

I have the Makita set, and so far I am VERY happy with it.  I went from a 12v to the 18v LiOn and the increase in power and range is huge.  The driver is an regular and impact drill and driver in one and the torque driver is the only way to go for big screws.  I have had it for over a year of heavy home/DIY use and no issues to report.  

I added this: 

It  really comes in handy for little cutting jobs everywhere.  I love it, and with a lot of supervision, the little guy even gets to cut stuff with me sometimes.  

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/11/17 10:03 a.m.

I consider myself a "heavy home" user.  We have a 150 year old house, 3+ acres, barns, a garden, and my shop- with 20+ cars.  I probably use the cordless drill every week, for something.  And it's usually greasy or gross.  

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/11/17 10:13 a.m.
Zomby Woof said:


Nothing we use at work has lasted even close to as long as the Ridgid stuff, and for consumer use you get lifetime warranty.

Have you guys used the Makita stuff?  How does it compare with the Ridgid?

java230 SuperDork
9/11/17 10:21 a.m.

I love my Makita stuff. I have been through a number of batteries over the years (construction work) but the stuff just keeps going. Brushless is great! If you use it a lot and want a long lasting tool id look at brushless.


About the cream of the crop is the Hilti stuff, its $$$$ though.

Toyman01 MegaDork
9/11/17 10:24 a.m.

I have used Makita. Their batteries suck. After have 3 fail at $100 a pop, I dropped the drill and impact in the trash and switched to Rigid. Rigid warranties their batteries for life. Send it back and they will send you a new one. In three years, I have yet to have one fail. 

The0retical SuperDork
9/11/17 10:58 a.m.

Makita - I've had the 18V White one from Home Depot with the 2Ah Lithium Ion batteries for 8 years now. That thing is damn near invincible. It spent a couple years in a commercial aviation environment and it's been dropped off just about everything including the empennage of an ERJ145 and survived. The last few years of it's life have been heavy home usage.

My father has a Rigid but he doesn't use it as heavily as I use mine, seems pretty good. We had Dewalt 18V Lithium Ions in our boxes when I was working on aircraft for the DOD. They were always more than adequate.

tuna55 MegaDork
9/11/17 11:09 a.m.

I have been very happy with my Milwaukee M18 drill. The batteries last forever.

dj06482 SuperDork
9/11/17 11:45 a.m.

My father-in-law has the Milwaukee 20V Lithium set with the drill driver and impact driver.  He used it every day for years installing kitchens/baths, and it still goes strong.  The impact is a life-safer for certain activities (i.e. screwing down backer board before tiling a floor).  He has one extended 20V battery which is amazing in terms of battery life.

frenchyd HalfDork
9/11/17 11:47 a.m.

I own both DeWalt and Milwaukee plus the usual consumer stuff like Ryobi and off brands as a result of Christmas presents. 

Hands down Milwaukee is the work horse.  My go-to   If I've run both batteries out I'll grab the DeWalt but it's big  and a lot weaker. 

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/11/17 12:14 p.m.

Sounds like I'm just going to have to spend a half-hour at the box store and put hands on a few of these.  Milwaukee, Makita, and Ridgid seem like the odds-on favorites right now.

BrokenYugo MegaDork
9/11/17 9:22 p.m.

Stay away from the HF cordless stuff, AvE on youtube tested one a while ago, he was not impressed, the battery tested well below it's stated capacity, among other things. 

volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/12/17 6:11 a.m.

The deal maker for me was trying one of these things out.  The facilities guys at work all use these, and they were happy to share their opinions on the various models they'd tried.  So, last night, I picked up a brushless drill and impact driver combo. 


volvoclearinghouse UltraDork
9/12/17 7:48 a.m.

Also, a big Thank You to the GRM community who chimed in here with your opinions.  It means a lot to me.  I told Mrs. VCH last night that I got a drill that was "GRM-approved", and that the diversity of backgrounds and skill sets here really helps with stuff like this.  People here aren't just into cars- but they are generally hands-on, which means using tools in various capacities.  I trust and value everyone's input.   laugh

pinchvalve MegaDork
9/12/17 7:58 a.m.

Good choice!  Milwaukee makes great stuff.  

billfrombyron New Reader
9/14/17 4:53 p.m.

I am not sure if they are available in the US or not, but I have a <3 yr old Maktek brand which is basically ace hardware selling last years makita model with a reduced price.  Still comes with the makita warranty :)

Still runs strong after a great deal of abuse.


1 2
Our Preferred Partners