Finally... a new (affordable!) tool I like

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Went to HD to pick up some sandpaper the other day to work on the kitchen remodel and cab refinish I am doing. The Milwaukee rep was there, and he told me that HD was going to start carrying a pretty full line of Milwaukee at some stores, and Hilti at others.
He showed asked me if I had seen the new little Milwaukee 12v Li drill/ driver. I immediately chuckled, thinking of the little Fisher/Price see through drill I bought my nephew when he was 5.
He was adamant. These are real tools, he proclaimed. In my head, I was still seeing the red plastic drill bit rotating as powered by two double a batteries.
He plucked the MW 12v off the shelf. It was small. It had only 100 lbs of torque. (Again with the Fisher/Price image...) He let me try it and I was pleasantly surprised at the power. It will honestly drive a 3" screw into soft wood without a pilot. He claimed it was sold as being capable of driving 130 or so without a charge, but his own personal experience put it at about 80+. Impressive. It was something like $159, so I figured for someone it might be a good deal.
Seeing I wasn't buying, he asked if I had ever tried the Ridgid 12V Li drill. I didn't even know they made one, and didn't care. Another demo. Same driving capacity claimed, but with 120 lbs of torque, and an LED headlight on it. It felt exactly like the MW in my hand. Nice, but I am not a tool collector. Even at $129, I didn't bite.
But... they have a promo on now. For $129, you get TWO drills, two batteries, the charger and a softside case. I bit. I often set up two drill when working to do a line of repetition like one drill to drill holes, one to drive.
Here's the skinny:
You get two batteries that charge one at a time in 30 minutes. There is no memory; they discharge each time they charge.
This has a nice, heavy duty chuck on it that doesn't require hex ended bits and drivers to work. All your bits will work as normal.
The drills AND batteries are covered in the lifetime warranty. If one drill goes down and hits the warranty slow roll, you still have the other to work with.
I am working on a kitchen refurb, one in which I am completely refinishing the cabinets inside and out. When I do this, I remove all hardware from doors, drawers and stiles, fill the holes, and dry fit all the components. Then I drill new holes as needed, fit the component hardware and component to my liking, and remove them once more.
Here's what I have so far.
The little drill has a bunch of power. Not my Makita cordless hammer drill power, but it's 1/3 the size. I was really surprised at how much power those little batteries will transmit to the motor.
In 30 year old >hard< white oak, I drilled 238 holes 1/8" (diameter) X 5/8" deep, drove about 175 #6 screws, and changed bits about 45 times. I keep the same drill (testing the actual use and battery time) and started with a full, fresh charge. All the the holes were drilled, screws driven, etc. on just one charge.
The battery was recharged in 25 minutes.
I thought the LED light was a silly joke. It is until you get the bit about 2" out of the chuck, and then it actually shines on the tip of the drill bit and material. This was really handy inside the base units when pulling the drawer hardware.
The batteries are in the handle, so it makes the drill a bit chunky in the hand, but not uncomfortable.
The trigger has a really short throw, so it is a bit twitchy compared to my bigger drills. It does speed increases and decreases accurately though, with no jumping around in speed.
I like the fact it uses all my bits. Even in the small bits, the chucks held tightly. On larger bits (I had to drill out a couple of screws completely using a 3/8" bit) it held it easily as well.
The compact size it really, really, easy to get used to. It slipped into the corners, around braces, and into my tool bags without any problems. This is nice.
The housing has rubber bumpers around the case at strategic drop points. This is a good idea as all the tools take a tumble now and then, but the guys that design them never seem to take that into consideration.
All in all, I think HD has a winner with this one. It actually seems to do what it says it will, and more. And two for one, too. What a pleasant surprise from the HD guys. I will be reattaching all doors, hardware and drawer slides and hardware in the next few days. Rest assured I will scream like a mashed cat if anything goes wrong.
Robert
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A few months back, I bough a package set of DeWalt 18v cordless tools. Originally, I was going to buy Milwaukee since I was already a satisfied Milwaukee owner with a corded and cordless drill. It turns out now that the entire line was sold and is being manufactured overseas. That made me go with the DeWalt brand. If I can support mostly local production and get when I need, then that's the way I like to go.
And, I'm really happy with the tools I got. They're powerful and work well. I considered going to one of the higher voltage packages in the DeWalt line, but the tools would have been just too heavy for my purposes.
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Upscale,
Are the Dewalts made in the USA? I have an 18 volt Dewalt drill and saw that I bought about 8 years ago I just bought my second set of batteries last year and they have proved to be real workhorses in our home repair business.
Robert,
Nice score on the Milwaukee tools. I'll check them out today.
cm
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cm" wrote

The DeWalt 18v drill is the most ubiquitous cordless tool on any construction site I've been on in the last 7 or 8 years.

May be wrong, but I would have sworn Robert ended up with the Ryobi 12v iL?
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Humm I thought he ended up with the Ridgid. I'll go back and reread.
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"Leon" wrote

Ridgid, Ryobi, Milwaukee, what's the difference?
... apparently :)
Looking back, Robert apparently never even mentioned "Ryobi", but alas, when I think of HD and cheap, that brand immediately pops to mind.
Actually, and judging from what I see on construction sites, a lot of Ridgid tools, though not the Ridgid of yore, still seem to be pretty damn good, despite their now bastardized origin.
Witness my Ridgid planer, still trucking along after five or six years of use.
-- www.e-woodshop.net Last update: 10/22/08 KarlC@ (the obvious)
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Swingman wrote: ...

Those Ridgid tools _are_ the "Ridgid of yore" for them--Ridgid never made those prior to the licensing of the name.
The traditional Ridgid domain of pipe wrenches, threaders, etc., etc., are unchanged afaik.
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Not much. Warranty mostly.
The guy I was talking to in the store said that Milwaukee is trying to reach the serious DIY, semi-pro and pro guys with more affordable tools.
Then he said they are upping the ante on the Ridgid tools by making them better, with different guts than before and with more sturdy designs. They are now actively seeking the pro market, and will leave the DIY to Skil, Ryobi, and others.
So one is going up, and one is coming down on the quality scale.
I still can't get over the fact that the store has a large Hilti display. These tools are priced in Festool's domain, perhaps a touch south. Many are made in Switzerland, and seem well built, but awkward.
Someone will lose rack space. You aren't going to have $450 cordless drills in a big box stores for long. Especially when no one I know that isn't in the trades has used Hilti tools.

I think some are better. Their newer line of cordless drills are supposed to be pretty good, and priced competitively.

For about 5 years I used a 14.4 drill that was a Ryobi "Commercial" brand that I bought at the old Builder's square. That drill was a stud and was only used for roofing repairs and sheet metal work. It worked great. It wasn't cheap like today's Ryobi tools, but it was a winner.
You never know. I don't care anymore what color or name is on the tools. I just want them to do what they advertise, in the manner they claim.
Seems to be a trick to doing that, though. Perhaps explains why I was so pleased with the little Li 12v drill. In reality, it just does what it is supposed to do...
Robert
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In article

The "Lifetime Service Agreement" requires you to register your tool within 90 days.
"The Lifetime Service Agreement on RIDGID Hand Held Power Tools, Stationary Power Tools and Pneumatic Tools covers all worn parts in properly maintained tools, including normal wear items such as brushes, chucks, motors, switches, gears and even cordless batteries in your qualifying RIDGIDBrand hand held and stationary power tools; and replacement rings, driver blades and bumpers on RIDGID Brand pneumatic tools for the lifetime of the original owner."
Note the "properly maintained".
http://www.ridgid.com/Manuals/RidgidLSA.pdf
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On Thu, 20 Nov 2008 13:48:58 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@excite.com wrote:

Yeah - but "properly maintained" does not mean anything threatening to most owners. Rigid does not have the reputation of escaping their warranty by claiming the tool was not properly maintained.
--

-Mike-
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Yeah, none of that scared me a bit. Not even the fact I had to register within three months of buying the tool.
Besides, these guys aren't stupid. They have their actuarial tables that will show them how few people register, how few actually keep the paperwork needed for service, and any related costs involved.
One of my friends put serviced and together computer networks for large companies here in town, and of course corresponded with his peers across the US. With their network, someone came up with the paperwork that showed a research paper of how many people actually register warranties for different products. Across the board, it was less than one third!
In that same report it was postulated that across that same spectrum (in this case, mostly electronics) less than 10% of those registered products actually applied for warranty work.
Most folks are too lazy, disorganized, or disinterested to fool with warranties. I used to be pretty bad about it myself, but the ability to register products online has made a real difference for me.
I bought a Weber BBQ pit not too long ago, and it had a bent vent on it. I called Weber, and we both commented that I had not even registered the pit yet. They weren't able to do anything without paperwork.
I took my digital camera out, snapped a macro pic of my receipt, and emailed it to the warranty person's address. She called me back, then sent me the part all on the same day.
I'll give Ridgid the benefit of the doubt. These seem like nice drills and I have been using them a lot the last few days. I like them. I hope they last long enough that I do lose all the paperwork.
It is such a fist fight for customers these days with so many different products I think the warranty game has changed. Either the folks stand by their product 100%, or sadly, not at all.
Robert
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In the past regular maintence was included in that life time warranty.

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Robert
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DeWalt is a mixed bag or origin, one of the original "mutt" tools. Many of them are plainly marked with China or Taiwan as their place of origin. And remember, to be stamped "made in USA", they only need a certain amount of parts and labor with USA as their origin to be stamped as such.
My planer box said right on the box "assembled in Mexico from parts made in Taiwan, Mexico, Indonesia and other countries".
On the box.
I took apart my prized DW 18v drill when it quit working to see if there was something obviously wrong with it I could fix.
The case was made in Mexico, as was cast into the actual case. The motor was an old Johnson motor, although I understand that today they use a Taiwanese motor. No markings on the drive train or trigger, so no idea where they were made.
Cutting open the battery, they were Panasonic industrial made in China.
I don't think DW or other major brand makes an honest "made in USA" tool.
Robert
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Of course not. The way you know your cordless drill isn't made entirely in the USA is that it's doesn't cost $600.
--

-MIKE-

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I never thought I'd say this, but, on that same "compact" note:
And should anyone find a need for a bit smaller, lithium ion powered "screw driver", for use when installing cabinet hardware, etc, (and the occasional small drilling job when mounting hardware) be sure to check out, of all things:
<gasp> the 3.6v Skil iXO! Amazingly long lasting little thing ... and under $40.
I was looking for something _real_ small, that I could put in an apron pocket/tool belt, when installing drawer slides, door knobs and pulls, contemplated buying two because of their size/price and the need to have one always charged, but thus far have not been able to run that cheap little critter's lithium ion battery down during a normal day's use.
Not in the same league with your larger Ryobi "compact", but neither are its requirements.
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wrote

bench or in his tool kit. Verrrry handy!
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2 Ridgif 12 volt drills with lifetime warranty for $129.00?
That is a deal, thanks for posting Robert.
I'm confused however, the Milwaukee rep sold you on the Ridgid drill??? Perhaps Milwaukee is making the drill for Ridgid now.

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The rep for TSTI (or TSI) that was the holding company told me they are both his products, along with Ryobi USA and a couple of others, including a paint brush company.
He moved me over to Ridgid as he could see there was no sale on the Milwaukee products, most of which are now made overseas. That shift started well before their sale to the holding company.
But being a good sales rep, he sold me what he had in his line, making sure I didn't go to another brand he didn't represent. As a sidebar, the feel of the Ridgid and the Milwaukee are eerily similar.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: ...

W/ Milwaukee, don't believe there really was much "shift"; they began building overseas w/ the introduction of new products. They still afaik, have all the same US production facilities they ever had.
I've two of the 18V hammer drills; one has a Eastern Europe tag, the other (actually the newer of the two), US.
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