Which cordless scredriver for flat pack kitchen assembly?

I've got a while bunch of flat pack kitchen units arriving next week and want to get a cordless screwdriver to ease assembly. I've already got an 850W Bosch hammer drill with variable speed and torque so that'll do me for the big jobs but as a screwdriver it is a bit heavy and the lead will hamper leapfrogging around the units.
I'm happy to pay for reasonable quality rather than cheap tat as I'm sure once the kitchen is done SWMBO will be on me to do other stuff so I guess the budget is around 100. I've had a browse online, popped into Wickes, B&Q and Homebase this morning and also looked on the old threads on this newsgroup but there is such a vast choice I'm undecided what to go for. The Wickes/Kress jobby sounds pretty good but while I'm happy to pay the 95 mentioned in one thread I don't feel like stumping up the 130 it is currently going for.
What sort of torque should I aim for? I've seen figures ranging from 22 Nm to 55Nm but I don't know if 55 would be complete overkill or the 22 simply too weedy. I'm guessing I want between 14.4V-18V, two gears, two batteries and a one hour charger. If I could get NiMH batteries rather than NiCd then that would be great but the manufacturer specs seem generally evasive on that point.
Given I've got the Bosch for the heavy jobs and can borrow a friend's SDS hammer for the REALLY tough jobs are there any recommendations on what to look for or an outright good deal?
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Tiny Tim wrote:

<snip>
for putting units together I prefer to use the smallest of my drill/drivers an older version of this one http://snipurl.com/lzs3 (ish)
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Indeed. For this sort of stuff, I love my 12V focus 9.99 rechargable drill.
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wrote:

There is currently a good offer for the Makita 6228 from Screwfix for 75.
This comes with 2x 1.3Ah NiCd batteries, charger etc.
I've had one of these for several years (from soon after they came out) and it has had a lot of use. It's still as excellent in terms of control and performance as it was on day one.
I have three batteries for mine, but actually for the kind of work you have in mind, you could run all day, alternating the batteries on two.
The reason for the price is that newer models have superceded it.
The key points about cordless drill drivers are
- How good are the mechanics? Does the 2 speed gearing work properly as well as the clutch used when driving screws.
- How good is the speed control? You want to have the ability to make the chuck turn at a very low rate from stop when necessary. Having to squeeze the trigger halfway and then it takes off at speed is a hopeless situation.
- How good is the weight and balance? If you are going to do several days work, you don't want an acheing wrist at the end or a situation where it is hard to position the drill accurately.
- How good are the batteries? There is a huge variation within even one battery technology. This is the area where the cheap products skimp. It's not initially visible. Hence you find cheap products with lots of bells, whistles and lasers, but the batteries are crap. What is important here is the charging and discharge behaviour, how many charge/discharge cycles and whether the characteristics deteriorate rapidly. Especially if you are going to fast charge the batteries, this is really important and is what differentiates the decent products from the rubbish. If you look at the advertisements, you will find 32v products for as many pounds. It's a complete nonsense. You would be far better off getting a drill with good quality 14.4v NiCD packs than an 18v NiMH of dubious origin. Don't be taken in by the hype. Batteries are not the same.
--

.andy


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Also, rotor brake is essential for screwdriving, or you'll spend the entire day waiting for the thing to stop and won't be able to easily align flat blade bits with the screws.
Christian.
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On Fri, 27 Jan 2006 17:43:04 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

Absolutely right. I take that as implicit with proper speed control, though.
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Andy Hall wrote:

I have one too, highly recommend as a good DIY tool
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Tiny Tim wrote:

Yankee Screwdriver?
:-)
--
Adrian C

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Adrian C wrote:

you ever tried to put a kitchen unit together with a yankee ?
I have, first house we bought. the yankee was rubbish ! I ended up doing half a dozen units with a stubby pozidrive instead partly because I couldn't get the yankee in where it needed to be with the required pressure to wind it in and slightly because the stubby was all I had but mainly because SWMBO decided on flatpack from wickes rather than the magnet nylon welded pre assembled ones I wanted.
I am HWMBO in all matters involving any effort on my part as a result of that wrong footed, bad decision of maple & green over beech and blue.
we live n learn :-)
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On Fri, 27 Jan 2006 16:49:35 +0000, Tiny Tim wrote:

Take note of Mr Hall has already said. Particulary:
The mechanics, spindle lock is very useful. Allows you to use the device as a proper screwdriver should the batteries run flat or you have a particulary stuuborn screw to extract or put in.
Speed control should be independant of torque. That is you should have the maximum available torque at all speeds without having to use the the "speed" control to provide the torque. With the latter if the bit slips the driver shoots up to the no load speed as set by the control. At the very least ripping the head of the screw to bits, at worst gounging a big mark across the work.
Balance, I find that using an L shaped device as a screw driver tiring and you don't have as much control as a straight driver. At the very least you are not applying pressure in a straight line from the driver to bit and to the screw.
So I'd look for a staight line driver, with spindle lock and a selection of torque settings. I use an ancient B&D 9019, having had a look through Screwfix, Machine Mart and Argos catalogues it looks like the straight type cordless screwdriver has gone out of fashion. A google shows you can still gets parts though. B-)
--
Cheers snipped-for-privacy@howhill.com
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
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On Fri, 27 Jan 2006 21:05:51 +0000 (GMT), "Dave Liquorice"

Thanks for the replies, everyone. Although my initial use will be for screwing I do want a tool that will double as a cordless drill for lighter duties than my 850W Bosch and I'm quite happy with a "pistol" style device.
It does seem from the replies that Makita is the popular choice but what do people think of Worx products such as this from Argos....?
http://makeashorterlink.com/?G15F61A8C
or this one....
http://makeashorterlink.com/?I16F23A8C
even cheaper at Homebsae....
http://makeashorterlink.com/?V29F43A8C
It's 15 (25) (30) cheaper than Andy's Makita recommendation from Screwfix and has 1.7Ah (1.5Ah) (1.5Ah) batteries rather than the 1.3 Ah of the Makita.
I take on board what I've read about battery quality etc and that you can't assume much based on figures alone but the Worx tools look quite promising on the face of it. A Google search reveals very little that I can find about Worx other than this short thread, which seems promising....
http://makeashorterlink.com/?V27F52A8C
Thougts?
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wrote:

I have taken a look at the Positec (Worx) 14.4v product and they are certainly better than the 19.99 products. However, when looking at drills, I try to find a display model because it will have been picked up and played with by a number of people. I check:
- Gear control. Does it engage back and forth easily without needing to jiggle the chuck? I found that the Worx one had gone sloppy and needed the chuck to be jiggled to engage.
- Clutch mechanism. Does it feel smooth to operate? When it "gives" does it do so cleanly? Basically I set the clutch to low and mid settings, grab the chuck gently and operate the drill. Then I tighten my grip and see how the drill behaves. I repeat with starting against holding the chuck stationery. I didn't find the Worx product to be smooth in starting or slipping at all. Try a comparison with Makita etc. and I think that you will find the difference obvious.
- Trigger operation. The chuck should start gently turning from stop but still have reasonable torque. It should not leap away and need you to back off the trigger to slow down. You should be able to squeeze the trigger to full power, but then on release, the chuck should stop rapidly - almost instantly - not run on. The behaviour should be consistent. For screwdriving well and consistently this is essential. Otherwise screws will tend to be driven to different depths because of unpredictability. The Worx did these things better than the 19.99 products, but I found a marked difference between it and Makita.
- Batteries. You can't really test this in a shop, so I tend to look at reviews and experience. The ratings of Ah and even V are really only a rough guide because battery characteristics vary a lot between manufacturers. They are the largest cost item in a small to mid sized drill, so given that a manufacturer would like to claim a set of features, this is the place where costs can be cut without altering spec. To give you an example, a 15.6v Panasonic drill was put into a test with a number of 18v models. It outperformed all of them bar one in terms of how many screws could be driven and holes drilled on a charge. One has to look beyond the printed numbers, and the manufacturers don't provide that information in normal specs. What actually counts is whether you can get the performance needed and be able to continue working using two batteries.
- Spares and Service. Positec appear to have a UK sales office. I would suggest calling them and asking about arrangements for that. Ask them to fax or email you a spare parts list for the product. I couldn't find any references to service/spares anywhere.
At the end of the day, you have to decide what you want. Your original spec. was for a mid performance (not heavy duty) drill/driver - you already have options for heavier work - and a budget of 100.
Makita's drills have a good performance, excellent ergonomics and known track record, you can get spares and service, spare batteries etc. Plus, you can achieve this for well under your budget.
On the other hand, if price is a more important factor and you want to spend less than half of your original budget, you can do so. The results won't be the same, though.
--

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wrote:

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. My budget has not changed and I do want a decent product but if I can get something (equally) good for less than there's no harm in that. I certainly don't need the little toolkit that comes with From the printed specs it would look like the Worx stuff might be better, or at least better value if not actually "better", but I hear what you say about the finer niceties of operation. I would rather pay more for a quality product but I don't see the need to pay more for a "name".
The Worx stuff looked and felt OK with a 30 second fondle but there was no juice in the display models and I'm only now learning what to look for in a cordless drill/driver(/combi). So thanks again for your insight :-)
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wrote:

<snip>
Oops - editing error above - the phone went while I was finishing off my reply. I've fixed up the version in this post. Not that much has changed - just finishing a sentence.
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wrote:

It's OK, I figured out what you meant.
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wrote:

Exactly. Certainly don't be influenced by that.

Well.... if you are going to do a fair amount of work, you will begin to realise that if these aspects don't work well for you it will become irritating.

I completely agree. The important thing is to look carefully at the behaviour of the product, first and foremost, and then consider the other aspects.

You really do need to find a way to test with a battery pack. Operate the drill and again check the gear change etc..
Above all, try to do comparisons.
The larger B&Q stores have own brand drills which are similar to Worx, and they also have Makita, DeWalt, and so on although not at good prices.
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wrote:

<snip>
This morning I popped into a different branch of Wickes for materials and stopped by the power tools section just to review their offerings, and especially the 15.6V High Torque (55Nm) Swiss made drill with angle attachment mentioned in this discussion.....
http://makeashorterlink.com/?Z34832B8C
The price on the display was 94.99 as mentioned in the discussion, rather than 129.99 displayed in the store I visited yesterday. So with an eye for a bargain (I hope!) I snapped it up. It showed 129.99 at the till but they let me have it for 94.99. They weren't happy though, but I was :-)
It has a comfortable grip and weight, much better than the higher voltage lumps, and the highest torqu on display. Q quick test showed very good speed control and a brake stop. No hammer action, but that's not important, and hopefully it means the effort has been put into engineering a quality drill/driver rather than a jack of all trades. I just hope I've made a wise choice.
I'll report back once I've finished the kitchen, in a week or so.
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wrote:

Hah! Hah! Hah! - when I've finished the kitchen. This is taking far longer than I had hoped. I'll be lucky if I get the job finished in four weeks. Now we've removed the hideous vinyl tiles it seems the quarry tiles hiding underneath are not good enough to keep so I've got to redo the whole floor. Motivation is also slipping badly now so progress is getting ever slower :-(
Anyway, the Wickes cordless 15.6V drill/driver has performed admirably, with truckloads of torque, and the 90 degree angled chuck has proved very handy as well. The units didn't need as much screwing as I had feared but nonetheless the driver has helped speed things along nicely. It's completely overengineered for what I have needed to accomplish this time round but I think it will last me well into the future.
Cheers, Tim.
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Dave Liquorice wrote:
<snip>

Might this be due to the additional leverage available with the L-shaped variety thus allowing motors with a higher torque to be used (effectively)?
Mathew
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