Friday, April 30, 2010

Hitachi Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill and Impact Driver

I'm a planner (in all caps). So if Father's Day is 2 months away and I haven't figured out my husband's gift, I'm behind schedule.

In truth, I'm working on a rain barrel (post coming soon!) and our drill died. I need a new one to finish it, and Father's Day is conveniently close, but...shh! Don't tell him.

Shopping for a drill turned out to be like shopping for a digital camera or a computer--the choices overwhelmed me. Prices range from $30 to several hundred dollars. There are many different brands. And each brand has a variety of cordless drills.

So, I called my brother, a tried and true handyman, who also makes purchases very carefully. He guided me on my choice--he loves his Makita. However, he said, "If you're in the market for a cordless drill, you might as well get an impact driver." Huh? What's an impact driver? He explained that it makes driving screws easier, that he uses his 95% of the time (his drill the other 5%), and that he could never work without one again.

So I proceeded to look for a set: cordless drill + impact driver. Finally, I narrowed it down to two:

Hitachi KC 10DFL

  • 10.8 V Lithium Ion Cordless Drill (DS 10DFL)
  • 10.8 V Lithium Ion Cordless Impact Driver (WH 10DFL)
  • 2 batteries that are interchangeable, a charger, and a nifty bag

Makita LCT203W
  • 10.8 V Lithium ion cordless drill (DF030DW)
  • 10.8 V Lithium ion cordless impact driver (TD090DW)
  • 2 interchangeable batteries, a charger, and a nifty case
  • $149 in-store @ Costco (or @

My brother told me to get the Makita. He's had his for 10 years and has loved it. I read this review and this review. Both sets include the same features. Costco has an AWESOME return policy. The Hitachi set has a 10-year warranty.

I bought the Hitachi. Why? It's hard to say. I'm quite sure I would be happy with either one. I think the Hitachi edged out the Makita, because it was $10 less, and I was already at Lowe's. (Costco's next door, but I was tired...)


  • The voltage levels were a little confusing to me. The Hitachi and Makita at 10.8 V is actually the same as many other drills advertised as 12 V. You get 12 Volts at maximum power, but the average over the life of one charge is 10.8 Volts.
  • Here are some other resources I used: Consumer Reports Home and Garden Blog,, Cordless-Drill-Reviews, Popular Mechanics, Consumer Search, How Stuff Works.
  • To all the women out there: Don't be afraid of power tools! Just start off by squeezing the trigger a second or two. Pretty soon you'll be the next female version of Bob Vila.
  • The combo kit provided the best value. Priced separately, the Hitachi runs $200 or more. The Makita tools separately will cost you about $200 as well.