Cordless drill recommendations?

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I'm in the market for a cordless drill and wonder what others like/dislike. I'm thinking 18V and preferably LI-ion batteries.
I was all set to buy the Makita BDF452HW based on some comments posted a couple months back, but I'm seeing reviews pointing out problems with the batteries and/or charger, and with an off-center chuck. Both problems seem to be hit-or-miss, where most units are good but some are not. So I might still go with that one, gambling that I'll probably get one without either of the problems. But I'm wondering what else anybody likes.
Reply-to address is real John
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John wrote:

Well, I keep wishing my old DeWalt would die so I'd have an excuse to get a new one with some improved features, but it just keeps trucking on.
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J. Clarke wrote:

Same here!
In fact, over a year ago, I posted a message about my 14.4v making a funny smell.
I'm still using it!
I have a bunch of DeWalt 12, 14.4, and 18 volt cordless tools, and have been happy with all of them.
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I also have a Dewalt 18v drill that I am pleased with. But no Li-Ion batteries. I am not convinced that the advantages of Li-Ion make up for the big cost increment.

If you might ever want other cordless tools, think about families of tools from the same maker with interchangeable batteries. That is one of the reasons that I choose Dewalt. Check out the other tools in the same product line up. Differences there may be enough to tip you decision one way or the other.
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"Bob Haar" wrote

Excellent point! I have a DeWalt circle saw and mini-shop-vac that run on those four 18v batteries. The circle saw gets rare use, but handy when you need it.
But the shop-vac is particularly handy as it goes up into any attic without cords, perfect for sucking out AC drains/pans, for sucking insulation out of windows after that crew gets finished, for cleaning up after minor a plumbing/electrical/drywall fixes, and can also be run with a cord.
One of my most traveled tools, it is almost always in my truck ... and one of those tools whose whereabouts is somehow always in my subconscious, it's that handy.
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"Swingman" wrote:

After my 77 got legs, the 18VDC DeWalt became my circular saw of choice.
Great little gadget for breaking down sheet goods.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

Ditto that!
I keep mine at the lumber rack, with a Matsushita carbide blade and zero clearance foot installed. I love that saw!
All of my 18v DeWalt tools were picked up as part of a refurbished 6 tool kit for $300. My plan was to sell the 4 1/2" angle grinder, impact driver, and recip saw on eBay, and keep the circular saw, hammer drill, chargers and batteries. Nothing made it to eBay
The angle grinder has turned out to be super handy for cutting bolts and threaded rod, shovel and mower sharpening, and even some power rasping. Bolts and rod that took multiple fiberglass discs with the Dremel are child's play for the grinder.
The recip saw has proven to be a fantastic pickup, as all of my recip saw use is usually short work, like removing a door jamb, pruning trees, cutting a single hole... Only during an extended pruning session did I need to swap a battery.
I do my own vehicle maintenance at home. The impact driver has gotten a bunch of use during tire rotations and the inevitable Wrangler repairs.
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Does a battery powered impact driver generate enough torque to bust loose lug nuts and reinstall them to the proper torque?
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wrote:

Depends on the driver and the torque spec.... :)
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Lee Michaels wrote:

It doesn't have to re-torque them. I do that with a torque wrench, by hand, as I have aluminum wheels on all my cars.
No problem getting them loose, if they were properly installed. If the nuts were put on in typical shadetree mechanic style, you'd need to break them loose before jacking the car.
What gave me the idea to use it on the car was the number of them I see in the pits @ Lime Rock Park.
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B A R R Y wrote:

A typical half-inch 18v cordless impact wrench gives about the same torque as an "average" half inch drive pneumatic. That's enough for most use on cars.
Since nobody said it, do _not_ use an impact wrench to _tighten_ lug nuts (or any other fastener) unless it's a tool that is designed for the purpose and has the necessary torque control or unless you are using a purpose-made torque limiter with it. You can get a set of torque-limiting extensions from Harbor Fright for about 60 bucks--how accurate they are I have no idea--personally I use a torque wrench unless I'm on the road fixing a flat.
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On Sun, 28 Dec 2008 13:38:36 -0500, J. Clarke cast forth these pearls of wisdom...:

More like a typical 18v cordless impact will deliver somewhere around 1/2 the torque of a typical 1/2 drive pnuematic. Most     1/2" pnuematics will deliver around 600 ft/lbs of torque - thereabouts. Fairly typical of 18v cordless is in the 300 ft/lbs range.
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I bought a DC500 cordless vac too. It was my subsequent purchase after buying the DeWalt DC6PAKRA six pack tool kit. And, although I haven't used the vacuum extensively, the times I've used it have always been somewhat unique such as my recent clean up job of a litre of applesauce spreading out on the kitchen floor. It had a little trouble with the thickness of the sauce, but did get through the job eventually. Followed it up by vacuuming some water to clean out the hose. Handy little tool when you need it.
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That's what I wonder about. Which maker has the best complement of cordless tools. I guess I'm the Bohemian of the group. I haven't done construction for a living for several years but the 14.4v Ryobi I got around 8 years or so ago is still doing everything I need. I did use it when I was working and it always did fine. Sometimes I need to grab the 2nd battery but between the 2 (orig. ones that came with the kit), I always seem to make it through the day. The batteries never did power the little circular saw good enough for much of anything. When I go to replace it, that is the one thing I'd be looking for. An accompanying saw (and maybe some other tools) that would make it through a few cuts without killing the battery.
Ed
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Bob Haar wrote:

Just a comment for those who aren't aware of it--old 18v deWalts work fine on the new 18v lithium batteries. So far I haven't felt the need either--by the time enough of my existing batteries have died the death to make getting new ones worthwhile I hope the lithium ions will have come down in price. OTOH, their new charger will handle lithium ion, NiMH, and NiCd, so I can rebuild the dead packs with NiMh. Haven't gotten the new charger yet though.

Yep.
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I set out to buy an 18V too, but found that the 15.6V Panasonic has plenty of power, less weight, better feel in my hands. Go to the store and actually handle a few before you buy. Some are just too big to be practical for most applications. We also have a 12V at work that is used for many light jobs and is the drill of choice at times.
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"John" wrote

No LI-on batteries, but the DeWalt 18v is still the most ubiquitous cordless drill I see in use on construction sites in this neck of the woods, with Ridgid actually showing up quite frequently among the South 'O the Border types recently.
These guys make a living with their tools, so I've always considered that to be one of the best endorsements for a tool you can find.
I have a DeWalt, and four batteries ... it replaced a Makita about 10 years ago, and has been trouble free the entire time, despite numerous unscheduled flights off 8' ladders.
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Swingman wrote:

How well do your batteries hold up? I'm on my second set of batteries in both my Milwaukee and Porter Cable. The PC is about 10 years old, the Milwaukee 5. Both sets of batteries are getting weak again. I do try to cycle them across the chargers every several weeks, but I don't coddle them by bringing them into the house when the weather gets hot.
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I've two Milwaukee 18V; one probably approaching 10 now, the other about 3 -- no battery failures, no special treatment--I recharge them when they go down. Milwaukee did a replacement on the old ones at some time owing to a possible vent that could get clogged that had caused some overheating during recharging aiui. I never saw any problem but took the advantage last year iirc on the older. The newer weren't subject to the recall.
Only complaint would be they're somewhat big and heavy, so would recommend to OP to check in person as someone else already suggested. Suitability would depend mostly on what purpose(s) one is after--I wanted tough for heavy work; I'd buy something much smaller for cabinet work, etc., if were doing that to great extent these days.
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"Mark & Juanita" wrote

They get enough use that they get re-built after about three years after purchase, once that's done with the heftier battery packs, I get much more life, more power, and a lot more time between charges.
I've got' em on rotation now so that I don't need to re-build but one every two years. Part of maintenance costs, but not a big part to make a difference for the convenience.
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