Hitachi 18V Cordless Drill Review

This Hitachi 18V cordless drill review will analyze several aspects of the Hitachi DS18DBFL2 cordless drill driver to decide if it is the best cordless drill.

The most famous feature of this Hitachi cordless power tool is the impressive lifetime warranty. This power tool is equipped with a brushless motor. Brushless motors have more power since there are no brushes to create friction and heat that result in a loss of power. A brushless motor also means that the tool will run longer between charges. This Hitachi drill features an ergonomic tool body and grip design, making a better balanced power tool.

This is a kit that comes with two Lithium-ion slide batteries, a charger, and a number two Phillips bit. All of these items, including to drill, fit neatly in the included carrying case.

Pros

Cons

  • Lightweight cordless drill weighing in at 3.5 pounds
  • Ergonomic handle provides good tool balance
  • LED light is powerful and useful
  • Lots of torque to make it through hard surfaces like concrete
  • Multiple clutch settings
  • The batteries are expensive to replace
  • The on board fuel gauge is difficult to read to let you know when the battery is getting low.

Top FAQ’s

Q: Is the listed weight of 3.5 pounds for just the tool or the tool with the battery attached?
A: The listed weight is the total weight of the drill with the battery attached.

Q: Does this drill have a reverse setting?
A: The drill has multiple speed settings as well as reverse.

Q: Is this drill suitable for contractor level usage?
A: This drill can handle contractor level usage, but make sure to have plenty of batteries as they will lose charge quicker than they recharge.

Q: Does the lifetime warranty cover the batteries and the charger or just the tool?
A: The lifetime limited warranty covers the drill only.

My Overall Impression

Either people really love this tool or they really hate it. With a moderate level of use, this tool holds up to all of its claims. It has a lot of torque for a cordless drill. The 620 pounds of torque make it a powerful cordless suitable for the vast majority of household materials. If you compare it to a corded contractor grade drill it will pale in comparison. However, if you use it as it is intended, it is a small beast that will chew through the right materials. It is a well designed drill that has nice balance and a super bright LED light. It is well suited for projects around the home.

In-Depth Features

  • The clutch provides for 22 different torque settings
  • There is an optical trigger switch that is wear resistant allowing for variable speed actuation that is more accurate
  • Ratcheting 1/2″ all metal keyless chuck locks safely in place for quick and secure bit changes
  • The Lithium-Ion slide batteries are lighter weight and last longer between charges
  • Integrated metal belt hook
  • Drill has 620 in/lbs of torque, turning 1800 rpms
  • There is a built in LED light to light up dim or dark workspaces
  • The drill weight is 3.5 pounds with the battery attached
  • 2 year battery warranty
  • 1 year battery charger warranty

Maintenance

Part of the beauty of this drill is that it is virtually maintenance free. The brushless motor has several characteristics including the fact that is practically maintenance free. Avoid using the drill on materials that are too hard. Clean all dust and debris from the housing between uses and when storing the drill in the case.

Battery Life

The battery lasts longer than NiCAD batteries while weighing less. The battery amp hours are 1.5. It takes longer to charge the battery than it does to discharge the battery using it. The batteries seem to be inconsistent so the actual life of the battery varies greatly. It can even vary between the two batteries that are included in the kit. Hitachi does warranty the batteries for two years and the battery charger for a year.

Who Can Use This Hitachi Cordless Drill?

This tool is appropriate for all levels of experience. While it can be used for contractor level usage, it is best for a moderate usage level. Those that use this tool more than for moderate use tend to complain about how quickly they go through the battery. It has plenty of torque for softer metals, and concrete, but best on plastics, woods, and aluminum. The lifetime makes it a great tool to include in the beginner tool belt, yet with the capabilities of a contractors drill.

Things Not to Like

Without a doubt, the batteries are the weak link for this cordless drill. When they do need replacing, which they seem to need rather quickly, they are expensive. Battery consistency is also a problem. Several people report one of the batteries losing charger quicker than the other. The warranty is great, if you can prove the problem is a covered issue. Not only is the warranty process difficult, but the customer service is lacking.

Hitachi DS18DBFL2 vs. Makita XFD12R

The price points on both of these models is virtually identical. They are also virtually the same size and weight with the Makita being just a touch lighter and bit shorter. Both are impressive performing compact cordless drill drivers. The big differences seem to lie in the power and the batteries. The Makita 18v cordless drill has 530 in/lb of torque compared to the 620 in/lb of torque for the Hitachi drill. While the revolutions are higher for the Makita, the loss of torque is notable when using harder materials. The battery of the Makita has better reviews. Fewer consumers complain about a quickly depleting battery. Makita users also claim that the batter charges much quicker than the Hitachi batteries. The warranties for both models vary greatly. The Hitachi has a lifetime tool warranty with a warranty of two years for the batteries and one year for the charger. The Makita tool has a 3 year warranty for both the tool and the batteries. There is no warranty for the Makita charger. The Hitachi kit includes a Phillips bit while the Makita kit has no bits included.

Final Thoughts

While the Hitachi cordless driver drill is a high performing tool, it is difficult to give it the moniker of the best cordless drill. It is a powerful drill with plenty of torque allowing it to drive through materials much harder than its design claims. However, when it comes to the battery this model falls short of the level of performance needed to be called the best cordless drill. The battery drains fairly fast, this could be because of the extra torque. This is not as much of an issue as the life of the battery. These batteries need replacing shortly after the warranty is up. The consistency of the batteries is poor so some batteries will last the two years while some last less than that. When you do have to replace the battery look to spend more than most other models of battery.