Specs and Tester's Comments-Compact Drill/Drivers

Specs and Tester's Comments-Sub-Compact Drill/Drivers

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Specs are provided by each manufacturer and are not verified by Tools of the Trade.
Subcompact Drivers: Bit-Holder Type
THIRD PLACE
BoschBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
PS20-2A1.30-500; 100 inch-pounds4.40 seconds / 3rd39 / 6th1.8 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
13
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
This is the updated version of the Pocket Driver, the tool that started the 10.8-volt LI subcompact driver category a few years ago.
Performance: This tool drove the fewest screws on a battery charge, but it had enough power to drive them quickly. More important, it had enough power to be useful on the job.
Ergonomics: A very small body along with good balance and the lightest weight makes this a comfortable driver to use. Bosch is the only brand to put the cells of their batteries with two toward the front of the tool, which makes the handle thicker in front. Finger grooves in the handle help smooth out this front bulge, but it feels a little odd.
Controls: Single-speed range model.
Features: The improved bit holder has a magnet to hold the bit before you can lock it in, and makes this the only driver that can be used with 1-inch bits. Has a standard single-LED headlight with flashlight mode. Comes in a flat, zippered, fabric case.
Street Price
$129

Contact
Bosch Power Tools
877-267-2499
www.boschtools.com
HitachiBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
DB10DL1.50-400: 88 inch-pounds5.06 seconds / 4th (tie)66 / 1st1.9 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
14
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
This tool is labeled a 19.2-volt tool but is said to be actually 20 volts. With the same amount of cells as the other tools, it should be considered comparable.
Performance: This tool has a surprising amount of power and really great battery capacity. It was a top performer when driving large lag bolts.
Ergonomics: Being on the large side, the Craftsman is only average in ergonomics. With the fattest grip, hand comfort suffered. But overall, the balance is pretty good.
Controls: The short, tapered clutch adjusting ring was a bit hard to turn. Rubber inserts on the trigger and speed selector switch are a nice touch.
Features: The dual-LED light is mounted on top of the battery housing and provides good area lighting. Works in flashlight mode, too. Has two metal-bit storage clips, a built-in bubble level, and a color-coded battery level light. Comes with a fabric duffel bag.
Street Price
$129

Contact
Craftsman
800-932-3188
www.craftsman.com/c3
SECOND PLACE
MakitaBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
DF030DW1.30-350 / 0-1,300: 200 inch-pounds5.89 seconds / 8th49 / 4th (tie)2 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
15
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
The first and only subcompact driver with two speed ranges for added versatility.
Performance: Results were on the low end of the screw speed test. However, it performed very well for drilling and driving in actual working conditions.
Ergonomics: This was my second favorite in the comfort category. Its compact body design and soft rubber grips make for a great feel, and it balances perfectly in your hand.
Controls: This is the only dual-speed range model in this class. The high-speed mode saves time on jobs like drilling pilot holes between driving screws.
Features: The knurled bit holder could scratch up a finished surface, but at least it free-spins with a minimum of contact. The single-LED headlight has a flashlight mode and stays on for about 10 seconds after releasing the trigger. Comes with a belt holster, but I find these tools small enough to fit in a nail pouch. Comes in a plastic case.
Street Price
$159

Contact
MakitaUSA
800-462-5482
www.makitatools.com
WINNER
MilwaukeeBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
2401-221.40-500: 100 inch-pounds4.05 seconds / 2nd47 / 5th2.1 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
16
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
Great comfort and a few handy features make this driver the category winner.
Performance: This driver is the strongest in the class, with the fastest screwdriving times and the capability to do what we need from it in the field.
Ergonomics: This tool has the best feel of any subcompact. Its small size combined with great balance and a nice grip give it the comfort edge.
Controls: Single-speed range model. This tool is the only subcompact with a soft rubber surface on the trigger. The one nuisance is that the reversing switch hits a right-hander's trigger finger when in the reverse setting.
Features: This tool is the only subcompact with a battery-level indicator. It also has the only one-handed, self-locking bit holder, which is the best of the bunch. It clicks open, clicks closed, and is spring-loaded to help eject the bit. Has a standard single-LED headlight with flashlight mode. Comes in a flat, zippered, fabric case.
Street Price
$129

Contact
Milwaukee Electric Tool
800-729-3878
www.milwaukeetool.com
Subcompact Drill/Drivers: Chuck Type
SECOND PLACE
BoschBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
PS301.30-400 / 0-1,100: 220 inch-pounds5.10 seconds / 5th49 / 4th (tie)2.4 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
17
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
Our favorite chucked subcompact is a bit large, but it's big on comfort, too. It sports a great design and has plenty of power.
Performance: This model managed to drive more screws than its smaller brother, yet still drove fewer than its performance on the job would indicate.
Ergonomics: Though this model is the largest and second heaviest of the subcompacts, it's very well balanced and comfortable to hold.
Controls: The dual-speed range switch is recessed on the top of the tool, making it less likely to be accidentally moved. I like the large, tapered chuck on the Bosch most because it is the smoothest to use.
Features: Has a single-LED headlight with a flashlight mode, but its diffusing cover makes it too dim in partially lit areas, like inside of an open cabinet. Comes in a flat, zippered, fabric case.
Street Price
$149

Contact
Bosch Power Tools
877-267-2499
www.boschtools.com
CraftsmanBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
320.118121.30-400 / 0-1,300: 195 inch-pounds5.17 seconds / 6th61 / 2nd (tie)2.2 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
18
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
This new drill/driver features a lot of capability, especially for the money.
Performance: This tool's screwdriving capacity on one battery charge is excellent. The field-testing also proved this drill/driver to have enough power for everything we put it though.
Ergonomics: A generally comfortable and balanced tool. The angled head provides a good feel. The ribbed rubber grip on the Craftsman helps it stay grippy, even when covered in sawdust.
Controls: Dual-speed range model.
Features: Has a standard, single-LED headlight with flashlight mode, but it suffers from illumination that is too diffuse for partially lit areas. Comes in a flat, zippered, fabric case.
Street Price
$90

Contact
Craftsman
866-798-6657
www.craftsman.com
MakitaBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
DF330DW1.30-350 / 0-1,300: 200 inch-pounds5.62 seconds / 7th49 / 4th (tie)2.3 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
19
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
This brand-new tool came out during our test period. It's basically our runner-up Makita driver with a chuck added to it.
Performance: Had results on the low end of the screw speed test, like the driver model. However, it performed very well for drilling and driving in actual working conditions.
Ergonomics: The compact body design and soft rubber grips make for a great feel, but the chuck adds 0.3 pounds to the front, so the balance is not centered over the handle.
Controls: Dual-speed range model like the driver, but the chuck provides even more versatility for high-speed uses.
Features: The single-LED headlight has a flashlight mode and stays on about 10 seconds after you release the trigger. Comes with a belt holster, but I find these tools small enough to fit in a nail pouch. Comes in a plastic case.
Street Price
$169

Contact
MakitaUSA
800-462-5482
www.makitatools.com
RidgidBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
R820071.50-575: 120 inch-pounds3.78 seconds / 1st61 / 2nd (tie)2.5 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
20
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
This strong little drill/driver, called the Micros, led the way for putting chucks on subcompacts. This tool and its class competitors have all shown up within the past year.
Performance: Shop-testing produced top results for this tool, and it proved to have the most torque out in the field, consistently handling bigger screws than the others did.
Ergonomics: The head is fat and stubby, the tool is noticeably front heavy, and it is the shortest by far of all the subcompact drill/drivers. This all translates into poorer balance, yet I found it fairly comfortable to hold and use.
Controls: Single-speed range model. Its large-diameter chuck makes cranking down bits easier. A patented mechanism called a "Chutch" combines the chuck, clutch, and gearbox into a single assembly to make the tool as short as possible.
Features: Has a single-LED headlight. with a flashlight mode. Comes in a flat, zippered, fabric case.
Street Price
$129

Contact
Ridgid Power Tools
866-539-1710
www.ridgid.com
RyobiBattery Amp-HoursRPM Range / Maximum Torque Screw Timing / RankNo. of Screws / Rank Weight
HJP001K1.20-550: 110 inch-pounds5.06 seconds / 4th (tie)55 / 3rd2.3 pounds
Image
StoryID
884891
ToolNumber
21
ComponentId
tcm:78-1628426
Tester Comments
This tool had decent numbers in the trials, but the lack of a clutch or one-handed chuck make it less convenient to use.
Performance: Battery duration tested pretty well for this tool, but in our real-world testing, it struggled more than others. It has too many performance compromises overall.
Ergonomics: Its tall body and protruding battery made it harder to use in tight spots, but it stands up easily.
Controls: Single-speed range model. This is the only model in the test without an adjustable clutch. This makes it less suitable for hardware screws that can snap if overtightened. The chuck is the only one that requires two hands to tighten, and it can be difficult to grasp the small chuck tightly.
Features: This is the only subcompact tool without a headlight. It has two flat, magnetic grooves above the battery that are useful for holding bits or fasteners. Comes in a flat, zippered, fabric case.
Street Price
$80

Contact
Ryobi Power Tools
800-525-2579
www.ryobitools.com