Saturday, March 24, 2007

A "cheap tool" that provided good value

Occasionally I'll make a tool recommendation. Its time for another one.

Walmart is selling a Black and Decker 14.4V cordless drill in a kit that comes with two batteries+charger for about $40. I bought one of these a while ago just to get the two batteries because I've got a B&D 14.4V sawzall and wanted some spare batteries and the whole drill kit was cheaper than buying the batteries separately.

I didn't expect much from the drill, but it has turned out to be OK. Not as powerful my expensive 14.4V Milwaukee, but its powerful enough to be useful, and light enough to not make you arm weary as heavier 18/24V units are.

I have quite a number of different cordless drills ranging from 7.2V up to 18V and they all serve a purpose depending on the task. Sometimes you need the raw power of an 18V hammer drill for drilling concrete, but that drill makes you arm weary wielding it.

This cheap B&D 14.4V unit has enough guts to do a lot of household tasks, and the batteries last long enough to get real work done with it. It would be quite suitable for a home woodworking shop, putting together shelving, screwing up curtain/drape/picture hangers, etc.

The only weak point of the kit is its charger. Its a "slow" charger that isn't smart enough to turn itself off when the battery is done. Most of the cheaper drills suffer from this same affliction. It takes about 6 hours to recharge using the charger that ships with it. B&D does however sell a smart "fast" charger for about $30 that is a useful addition for someone who wants to do production with with the thing. That recharges'em in about 1.5 hours.

If you want something that's not complete junk and won't set you back a lot of money, take a look at the B&D 14.4V stuff.

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