Cordless drill jargon

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What does increased volt rating (say 18 as opposed to 12) offer and what is the advantage of a higher Ah rating on the battery? I would have thought that a higher-rated voltage (like 24) would be preferable to lower but seems like some 14 volt models are rated better. Aside from the obvious "would you rather have a DeWalt or a Ryobi" questions, what are the considerations?
FoggyTown
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foggytown wrote:

A higher voltage means that for the same power you need lower current draw, which means thinner wires and less weight. However you also need more cells in the battery, so the battery usually becomes bigger.
All else being equal a higher Ah rating means a longer runtime.

This gets into design and build quality issues.
Read the reviews and pick something that looks good.
I saw an 18V drill for $30CAD--likely it has nylon gears but would be fine for occasional use. When the batteries die you just buy a new one.
A pro might have other concerns, like weight, reliability, durability, service, torque, etc.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

All good points, I use a Porter Cable 14.4 and love it. Its not to heavy and I use it everyday. I mean everyday, and I rarely run the battery down and have to use the other that's in the charger. It has plenty of power in regular mode and in hammer mode. I have run it down while drilling 15 1/4 inch masonry holes in hammer mode. It's never been serviced, although I have bought a replacement battery after 3 years of everyday use. Now freaking Black and Decker owns them and I just wonder if I can say the same about this product a year from now.
Rich
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<shrug> B & D have owned DeWalt since the 1970's. While every tool maker suffers it's ups and downs, most DeWalt tools are usually some of the better ones around.
James...
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Sorry don't own anything from Dewalt. I do like the look of their miters but have never tried one. Maybe it's a subconscience thing and them having something to do with B&D.
I just can't bring myself to defend this company by buying it's products. I need a tool that just works and works hard everyday.
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evodawg wrote:

One of the first press conferences for B&D that I attended had DeWalt tagged on almost as an afterthought. The next year, the B&D conference was smaller and DW larger. The emphasis on yellow and black has continued, and the tools are used by a great many trades people, usually without complaint. Those first tools were back around '90 or '91 and were basically slight redevelopments of Black & Decker's Professional line, along with some re-badged Elu (the first slide compound miter saw and router).
Quality has been reasonably high all along, with a few lapses (but no more than any top notch tool company makes).
I don't like this trend to conglomeration any more than anyone does, but it isn't really useful, IMO, to "punish" the company by not buying products from a high quality division because they also have a consumer division.
If you want to avoid tools from any base company, from the looks of things currently you'd best be ready within the next five or ten years to have everything you need and never have a breakdown, because we may soon be limited to two or three or four major producers for almost all our tools.
Then again, it may once again become evident to big business, outside oil and defense, that over-sized companies are hard to aim, ponderous to move along, and darned near impossible to stop, while also being hard to navigate profitably. Works on a short term basis, especially with the tax dances acquisitions allow the accountants, but as the hot shot greed merchants discovered in the '80s, it ain't the true hot set up for long term profitability. By that time, maybe more of the MBAs who are bored with tools but in love with money will have filtered through the system and gotten fired for their idiocies (sure, bet on it).
In the meantime, expect, if things don't change, three or four major tool companies, plus some independents like Grizzly, by the end of the decade.We're really not far from there now.
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Very true Charlie - and thanks for posting it. I'm no apolgist for Black & Decker, but it's unfortunate when the rants (well, maybe rant is a strong word...) begin simply because they are the parent company.
B&D has actually done a good job of satisfying the market across the spectrum of needs. Those Professional series tools that they used to sell under their own logo were very good tools. I had a B&D Professional 3/8 drill motor that was every bit a professional level tool. Metal gears, ball bearings, strong motor, etc. It ran and it ran and it ran, through a lot of abusive time. I would have gotten it rebuilt, but about that time DeWalt came along under B&D. What used to the Professional line was now a new logo. Same great quality, as any DeWalt owner will attest.
The DeWalt line today is the testimony that B&D has indeed demonstrated that they are comitted to continuing a quality build, professional line. Quality did not suffer in any way. I wouldn't buy the black and orange product line, but then again it's built for the market it targets - light use, homeowner quality. Fine for that market, but many of us put our tools to use at a level that demands a professional quality tool even if we don't work full time in the trades.
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wrote:

Points well made Charlie, and I think you're right on target. In my opinion one of the factors that make a great tool company is having a core of people working for the company in decision making positions that are end users, or think like end users and really like tools. It has been my experience that much of that is lost in these consolidations.
Frank
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Charlie Self wrote:

Kinda like the Harley Davidson take over by AMC, debacle. Well we can keep our fingers crossed. I just can't imagine only 2 or 3 tool manufactures. Once again choice will be a premium. What happened to democracy when it comes to tools?
Do you think any of these Corporate Pinheads read these POSTS?
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If you don't know, Harley Davidson and AMC split many years ago. B&D is and has been a very successful company and perhaps they will do a better job than Pentair did. I remember all the squabble and lousy service when PC and Delta merged. This buying and selling of these major brand tools is not a first time thing and the quality of their tools has been worse since that merger IMHO.
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Leon wrote:

Yes I did know that since I have owned 4 since the split or debacle as I put it.
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I owned a 73 XLCH for 3 or 4 years. I like to refer to it as the Manual Sportster. It left me stranded 4 or 5 times and I finally traced the problem down to a bad connection between the coil wire and its insulated connector. I went back to Yamaha after that.
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Leon wrote:

Why do you have my name in there? I wrote nothing at all about Hardly Ableson & Co.
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LOL. I don't know Charlie. It's a mystery to me. That said, I can find a bug with software almost in the blink of an eye. Looking back, your name was in the top of the post that I responded to. I was negligent in removing your name. Sorry.
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Gee, If you really like the PC cordless you might love the B&D cordless.
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Send me one and I'll let you know!
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In general, the higher voltage tools give more power when you need it and longer run times when you don't need all that power. The tradeoff is that the high voltage batteries are heavier and more expensive. Most of us only have rare occasions when we need more power than 14 volts will deliver. But the 18 or 24 volt tool is heavier EVERY time you pick it up. It's easy to hook up a corded drill for those time when your cordless doesn't quite have what it takes.
More Amp Hours gives longer run time. But that's just a convenience issue for most people. I've never run down a battery before the spare got recharged.
Something to remember is that, unlike their corded cousins, cordless tools DON'T last forever, even on the shelf. Batteries die of old age or high mileage or both. The price of 3 batteries usually equals the total cost of a new kit with drill, 2 batteries and charger. About 6 years is all I ever got out of a cordless anything. So, resist the temptation to buy way more tool than you really need.
That said, I LOVE my cordless drills. All 3 of them. Wouldn't be without 'em.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain
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But never with anything else.
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So what I think I'm hearing is that a cordless drill can be considered a "consumable". Buy a cheap-ish one that works and replace it when it gives up.
FoggyTown
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The batteries will eventually die after one to five years. They can be rebuilt. The cheap tool is a cheap tool still applies.
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