Cordless Drill/Screwdriver


Chestnut
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I'm looking for recommendations for a small drill/driver. Ideally I'd have a 1/4" chuck like an impact but just operate like a standard drill with no noisy impact.

So I've been wanting a small light cordless drill/driver for a while. I have the big heavy hammer drills and they really aren't the best as they don't fit in small places. I have an impact but TBH i hate impacts as they are good for driving 3_1/2" decking screws but are completely unnecessary / potentially dangerous for smaller work. I also really hate how loud impacts are and it'd be nice to not have to wear thick earmuffs just to drive a small screw.

I've found this (https://www.acmetools.com/shop/tools/milwaukee-2505-20) and it has my interest. There is also this (https://www.acmetools.com/shop/tools/milwaukee-2401-22-m12-cordless-lithium-ion-screwdriver). So i wanted to see if there are any out there that have experience with these tools or others that I'm missing. I respect your opinions more than some BS sketchy review site.

Oh I currently have 18V&20V dewalt batteries. I also have a bunch of 18V festool batteries. I don't want a new battery system but for this use case it seems prudent to drop to a 12v line as there seems to be more offerings there.

Thanks in advanced.

 

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The Dewalt 20v Impact Driver that I have has 3 speeds. At the lowest speed there's not a lot of power. If you get the Dewalt 12v line the batteries will charge in your other chargers.

If not, I'd be tempted to get into the Milwaukee M12 line since there's so many other tools. I've heard that the installer tool you linked above has some issues with the offset driver not staying locked in.

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I think you might be very happy with that Milwaukee 2401-22.  I have the 3/8" chuck version of that drill/driver and find myself reaching for it quite often.  It's quite light and fits into tight areas nicely when needed.  Also, for a 12V tool, I find that it's usually capable of handling any job that I throw at it.

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There are some hydraulic drill impact drivers that are supposed to be more quiet than the regular ones, but I've never had one in my hands.  I think Milwaukee has one (haven't looked at your links yet, so you may have already found this).

You want an impact driver, if you are going to drive screws, or at least, for anything larger than very small ones.

I use a number of the M12 tools in my mechanics shop, and have been very impressed with each of them.  I use Makita for wood stuff, and have no complaints with anything they make either.  I just didn't want to get the greasy tools mixed up with the ones for working on wood.

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24 minutes ago, legenddc said:

The Dewalt 20v Impact Driver that I have has 3 speeds. At the lowest speed there's not a lot of power. If you get the Dewalt 12v line the batteries will charge in your other chargers.

If not, I'd be tempted to get into the Milwaukee M12 line since there's so many other tools. I've heard that the installer tool you linked above has some issues with the offset driver not staying locked in.

That's interesting. The dewalt 20V line seems to not have the features that I'm looking for. The installer kit with the right angle driver has my attention as that is specifically something that had me interested in the festool line. In fact it's really hard to not continue down the festool line as i can get an installer tool that uses the same 18v batteries as all the other tools.

I found a bosch tool that is almost the same as the miluwake one. The big benefit the bosch has is the standard forward reverse setting. I have a feeling the stupid button on top of the M12 would drive me bonkers. See beelow. The bosch tool unfortunately doesn't have bit storage.

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5 minutes ago, Tom King said:

You want an impact driver,

I have an impact driver and hate the thing. It's fine for 3.5" decking screws but for the 3/4" wood screws on cabinet hinges and drawer slides they just don't provide any feel and bring to much risk of snapping screws. There is also no finesse for just a hair tighter or looser. Once the impact starts to go it's a full hit both directions. Yes yes everyone tells me to use a hand screw driver but i don't want to.

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I have this one DeWalt small impact driver (or maybe its predecessor - I've had mine for a year or two) and have been happy with it. I didn't shop around much, as I was already bought into the DeWalt line and already had lots of batteries for it.  I use it mainly as a screwdriver, and don't notice that it's particularly noisy.

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7 minutes ago, G Ragatz said:

I have this one DeWalt small impact driver (or maybe its predecessor - I've had mine for a year or two) and have been happy with it. I didn't shop around much, as I was already bought into the DeWalt line and already had lots of batteries for it.  I use it mainly as a screwdriver, and don't notice that it's particularly noisy.

I basically have that impact and have had it for 10 years. It's only been 10 years of dislike. I should again specify the noise of the impact is equal in dislike to the actual impact action. There is no finesse with impacts. It's either hit it again in or hit it again out. I'm not changing tires on a car i don't need 100 ft lbs or torque on a 3/4" screw. :D

I am surprised that you don't find it loud. If i use mine with out hearing protection my ears ring for days afterward.

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I got my dad this one (refurbished for $15-20) when he was having hand strength issues and it's great to use in place of a traditional screwdriver. For $50 though I think it's too much and I'd rather buy into a 12v line of tools.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-4-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Screwdriver-Kit-HP54L/205545276

That Milwaukee selector on the top looks really annoying.

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3 minutes ago, legenddc said:

I got my dad this one (refurbished for $15-20) when he was having hand strength issues and it's great to use in place of a traditional screwdriver. For $50 though I think it's too much and I'd rather buy into a 12v line of tools.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RYOBI-4-Volt-Lithium-Ion-Screwdriver-Kit-HP54L/205545276

That Milwaukee selector on the top looks really annoying.

I was hoping for something a bit more than that. It'd be nice to be able to drill 1/4" holes for shelf pins etc maybe run a 3/4" forstner for figure 8s. I have a feeling a 4V tool just won't run a drill very well.

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I've used a few 12v drills and my favorite for the type of application you mentioned would be installation drills.  Festool started it but as you mentioned most of the bigger brands carry their own now.  I personally have experience with the Milwaukee and Festool.  Both are great drills and I would be hard pressed to say I personally like one over the other.  That said there are features that might be more important to you such as the toggle switch for forward/reverse.  Here are the advantages one has over the other, again for me YMMV

Milwaukee advantages

1.  It's cheaper.  Considerably so if you get it in a bundle with other tools.  As you Festool almost never discounts their tools.  Only time they do is when you bundle it with another tool and the savings is minuscule comparatively speaking.  That said there is (was?) a recon version up today.  I paid around 1/3 for my Milwaukee drill compared to a new CXS.

2. 1/4" Chuck.  You can use standard 1/4" bits on their 1/4" chuck.  As you probably know Festool uses centrotec bits for their version of the 1/4" chucks.  And aside for some very rare instances only Festool makes centrotec bits.  Which as you also know ain't cheap.

3.  Other chucks.  2 points here (1) The milwaukee has a close quarter chuck.  Festool does not.  Not for the CXS.  They say its because the cxs is small enough that it's not necessary but I have found on more than one occasion that is not the case.  Or at least using the close quarter on the Milwaukee was much easier.  (2) The chucks on the Milwaukee are metal and seem better built.  Now this isn't a drill likely to get alot of abuse so it may not matter.  Also this makes the Festool drill slightly lighter which may have been their thought.

4.  Batteries.  Much cheaper / easier to get batteries.  Again Milwaukee loves to bundle their tools so it's much easier to get multiple batteries and ones with higher AH.

5.  Balance.  This is totally subjective.  But the Milwaukee just feels better in my hand.  Not by alot but noticeable.  I've seen reviews on the contrary however so I would try it yourself.

 

Festool advantages

 

1.  Control.  I think Festool has the (or one of) best clutches.  I can't quite quantify it but I just feel like I have more control when driving in a screw. 

2. Weight.  Haven't looked up the exact numbers but the CXS feels lighter for sure.  Especially when comparing it with the Jacobs and Right angle chuck since, as mentioned, Milwaukee is metal.

3.  Forward / reverse switch.  Maybe the biggest reason to go with the CXS.  You already mentioned it so I won't explain the differences.  I personally like the Milwaukee switch as it allows me to keep my index finger on the trigger and just toggle the switch with my thumb.  I've seen alot of reviews on the contrary for this one also though.  So again I would try before you buy.  This alone may make up your decision depending on how much you hate Milwaukee's switch placement.

 

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Also if you like the power of the impact but hate the noise check out Milwaukee's surge impact.  They make them both in 12 and 18 volt.  It's a hydraulic driver.   Peak power is a little less but soooo much quieter.  I use the M12 version all time when I'm not so concerned about control.  Especially when you need to drive alot of longer screws.

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34 minutes ago, jussi said:

I've used a few 12v drills and my favorite for the type of application you mentioned would be installation drills. 

I really appreciate the post. On the M12 installer Is the forward reverse switch reachable with your hand on the tool or do you need to re reposition or use another hand to change directions? Is the offset chuck useful? It seems like it cold be. Festool still makes one they just dont' include it in their set any more. It makes it seem like it's not a useful accessory.

So in your opinion between the festool and the M12 the M12 would edge out just because of price? There have been a few drills on recon and I almost bought one. Even at reconditioned prices it gave me pause. I will say that as far as batteries go festool's really aren't that expensive. Ok well they used to be comparable. When i bought airstream batteries last they were $84 for 5.2 Ah. They are now $100. I also got 2 festool batteries free with a tool purchase so sales are possible but few and far between.

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32 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

I really appreciate the post. On the M12 installer Is the forward reverse switch reachable with your hand on the tool or do you need to re reposition or use another hand to change directions? Is the offset chuck useful? It seems like it cold be. Festool still makes one they just dont' include it in their set any more. It makes it seem like it's not a useful accessory.

So in your opinion between the festool and the M12 the M12 would edge out just because of price? There have been a few drills on recon and I almost bought one. Even at reconditioned prices it gave me pause. I will say that as far as batteries go festool's really aren't that expensive. Ok well they used to be comparable. When i bought airstream batteries last they were $84 for 5.2 Ah. They are now $100. I also got 2 festool batteries free with a tool purchase so sales are possible but few and far between.

I misspoke earlier and meant to say the middle finger depresses the trigger, not index.  See pics below.  This is different that the traditional T type drill where the index finger is used.  I'm wondering if people who have complaints about the toggle switch are holding it in that fashion.  For me it's not a problem and I don't have to reposition my hand to adjust the switch.  Oh and another critcism I have of the CXS is the switch has 3 positions.  Forward, Reverse, and neutral.   I have no idea what that neutral position is for.  When in that location the trigger is locked and cannot be depressed.  So if you don't depress the switch all the way in either direction you accidentally lock the trigger.  Not a big deal but annoying.

AFAIK the CXS has never had an offset chuck.  The Offset chuck uses a friction ring which is not compatible with the cxs.  They're meant for their larger drills.  I have one for my C15 and it will not fit in a CXS.  They're more useful on the larger drills for sure but I think they could also be useful on the CXS even if It's not an everyday tool.  You could probably accomplish the same thing with the right angle but it's hard to deliver the force behind the drill with the right angle attachment. 

For me if I could only choose 1 yes I would go with the Milwaukee.  Everything else is close enough that the much lower price coupled with the MUCH larger 12v line Milwaukee has I think would go red over green.  Also I forgot to add that the Milwaukee is brushless while the CXS is still brushed.  At least mine (I've had it for 5+ years) is and I'm almost sure the current model is also brushed.  The only differences I know of is the battery style switched from stick to slide on. 

But again I highly suggest trying out the Milwaukee in person.  I showed it to a friend and even demonstrated how to hold it properly and he said he still hated the toggle switch position.

Recon prices are usually 25% off although sometimes they are a bit lower or higher in case you want to factor that into your decision.

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18 minutes ago, jussi said:

I have no idea what that neutral position is for. 

it will not fit in a CXS

Every dewalt drill I've used has the neutral position. It comes in handy quite a lot when I'm transporting a pile of drills and want to lock the trigger from running the gun. Nothing is worse than having a 4" hole saw start to take off in a pile of tools.

I just know it exists i know nothing about compatibility. If i was going festool I'd go C 18 more than likely as it's a bit bigger than the CXS but uses the 18V batteries.

I"m going to run to Acme right now and fondle all of them.

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2 hours ago, legenddc said:

Had no idea you were supposed to use your middle finger for the trigger. I'll have to see if Home Depot has one on display next time I'm there.

A while back festool rep told me it’s so the pushing force is in line with the bit which helps not only to apply more force but perhaps more importantly lessens the likelihood of stripping the screw when the bit slips out of the screw.  

2 hours ago, Chestnut said:

Every dewalt drill I've used has the neutral position. It comes in handy quite a lot when I'm transporting a pile of drills and want to lock the trigger from running the gun. Nothing is worse than having a 4" hole saw start to take off in a pile of tools.

I just know it exists i know nothing about compatibility. If i was going festool I'd go C 18 more than likely as it's a bit bigger than the CXS but uses the 18V batteries.

I"m going to run to Acme right now and fondle all of them.

If you can see if they will let you drive some screws in. Let you test out the balance and clutch in action. 

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9 hours ago, Chestnut said:

 There is also no finesse for just a hair tighter or looser. Once the impact starts to go it's a full hit both directions. 

I think you are biased by the unit you have owned for some time. My Kobalt 1/4" impact has 3 speed ranges, but is trigger-variable within each, so finesse is quite possible. I'm sure the modern impacts from the more popular brands are similar.

Honestly, I use it for all but the tiniest / most fragile of screws, and would even on those, except that the weight of such a tool makes it a little tricky to balance when you don't want to rest it on the screw. The driving action has never been a problem.

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11 minutes ago, wtnhighlander said:

I think you are biased by the unit you have owned for some time. My Kobalt 1/4" impact has 3 speed ranges, but is trigger-variable within each, so finesse is quite possible. I'm sure the modern impacts from the more popular brands are similar.

Mine acts like a drill up until it hits the torque to cam over the impact. After the impact starts hitting there is zero finesse. A hit on the anvil is nearly a half a turn on a small screw. I've used some other friends impacts and they operate the same. Maybe mine starts the impact action at a lower torque? I doesn't much matter i've been wanting a driver for a while. I don't really get the point of impacts TBH I'm not mounting tires or running 6" lags.

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I know this does not have the same chuck as the impact and that might be a no go for you, but I have the DeWalt Atomic Drill/Driver in addition to their larger drills. I use this one for a lot of the smaller drilling and driving and does just fine for my needs. It is a lot smaller overall and would work with the batteries you have. 

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I have the Bosch Go screwdriver but for drilling is a no Go... even though it is quite powerful there is no retention mechanism on the bit other than a magnet. As a screwdriver works fine though, it's nice and compact and charges via USB.

Just checked and there is a new version, the Bosch Go 2, but most likely it's a no go too :p

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I have had the DeWalt 12 volt set of drill, screwdriver and impact driver. I use them for almost everything. I use the screwdriver a lot. It is perfect for all sizes of small screws, but it is powerful enough to sink 3" construction screws in softwood without much problem. The clutch works great and very repeatable.

DeWalt recently released brushless versions of the kit. They are really short and supposed to be more powerful. I am going to have to save up for a set.

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