By Erik Elwell

Publication Date: September/October 2002

Cordless Hammerdrills

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Bosch

3670-04

5.6 lbs.

Nicad

0-5,000/ 0-17,500

2.0

0-450/ 0-1,500

425 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$229

Comments: This is a very solid tool with plenty of power. I like the slip ring on the chuck that keeps the tool from marring your work. The chuck is also easy to use and provides exceptional holding power. The tool feels solid, well engineered, and likely to last. www.boschtools.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

DeWalt

DW984K-2

5.2 lbs.

Nicad

0-30,600

1.7

0-1,800

400 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$229

Comments: This is a high-quality, reasonably priced tool. It handled all drilling tests easily. It's got nice feel and balance with well-designed switches. I like the Rohm chuck with ratcheting mechanism and slip ring. I also like the grip. www.dewalt.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Makita

8433DWDE

5.3 lbs.

NiMH

0-6,000/ 0-19,500

2.6

0-400/ 0-1,300

340 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$269

Comments: This model has good power and battery life. The chuck performed well, but it's got a lot of plastic on the housing. The electric brake snaps too loudly for my liking and the handle didn't fit my hand very well, but all in all it's a very good tool. www.makitatools.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Milwaukee

0514-24 (kit)

5.6 lbs.

Nicad (standard), NiMH (accessory)

0-19,000

2.4

0-450/ 0-1,450

350 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$230

Comments: Here's a good, solid tool with adequate balance and feel. It's got a heavy-duty metal chuck, a decent switch design, plenty of power, and an easy-to-use charger. The battery reverses for working in tight spaces and better balance for overhead work. www.mil-electric-tool.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Porter-Cable

9877

5.25 lbs.

Nicad

0-18,850

2.0

0-475/ 0-1,450

360 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$249

Comments: I like the switch design on this tool. This well-crafted, solid-feeling tool is nicely balanced and has a good grip. It has plenty of power and is comfortable to use for long bouts of drilling. www.porter-cable.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Metabo

SBT15.6 Plus

5.4 lbs.

Nicad

0-26,000

2.4

0-450/ 0-1,600

484 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$299

Comments: I found this model adequate, but it didn't make the top of the list. Its switches are awkward and poorly placed. It's got decent power but seems to lack the refinement and engineering some of the other tools have. I like the interesting pulse action that helps remove over-tightened screws. www.metabousa.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Panasonic

EY6931NQKW

5.1 lbs.

NiMH

0-30,000

3.0

80-550/ 300-2,000

286 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$339

Comments: The hand guard grip on this model gives it a different look. I found this a solidly built tool with good power and battery life. Its unique chuck with locking collar grabs bits positively. This one has very smooth mechanics, too. www.panasonic.com/commercial_building/power_tools/

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Bosch

3870-04

6.1 lbs.

Nicad

0-5,000/ 0-17,500

2.0

0-450/ 0-1,500

450 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$259

Comments: Bosch's 18-volt tool is virtually identical to the company's 14.4-volt tool, except for the extra power and weight. This is a nice tool to have when you get into the hardcore stuff. It's a little heavy for daily use, but is still easy to work with. www.boschtools.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

DeWalt

DW988K-2

5.9 lbs.

Nicad

0-34,000

2.4

0-2,000

450 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$299

Comments: I like everything about this tool -- its power, feel, switches, and price. The chuck with ratcheting mechanism and slip ring is a great feature. The large battery gives me the power and runtime I need on my jobsites. www.dewalt.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Hitachi

DV18DV

5.3 lbs.

Nicad

0-22,500

2.0

0-400/ 0-1,500

350 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$335

Comments: This is a nice, compact, powerful tool with long battery life, well-designed switch placement, and a strong chuck. It performed comfortably in the 1/2-inch hole test, keeping pace with the rest of the pack. Although the chuck housing is plastic, it didn't lose a single bit during the test. It looks and feels durable. www.hitachi.com/powertools

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Makita

8443DWDE

5.7 lbs.

NiMH

0-6,750/ 0-21,000/ 0-17,500

2.6

0-450/ 0-1,400

400 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$329

Comments: The tool is virtually identical to Makita's 14.4-volt model, except for the additional power and weight. The extra power seems to give this one a smoother feel than its little brother. This tool performs well for 18-volt users, although the handle wasn't my favorite. www.makitatools.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Milwaukee

0524-24

6 lbs.

Nicad (standard), NiMH (accessory)

0-20,800

2.4

0-500/ 0-1,600

400 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$260

Comments: I like the tough metal chuck. The switch placement is good, too. The larger battery gives you more weight and more power. This tool has the same features as its 14.4-volt cousin: nice balance, good power, an easy-to-use charger, and that cool reversible battery. www.mil-electric-tool.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Porter-Cable

9887

5.5 lbs.

Nicad

0-19,500

2.0

0-500/ 0-1,500

390 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$289

Comments: This drill is virtually identical to Porter-Cable's 14.4-volt tool. It outperformed its 18-volt rivals in the drilling test by a couple of holes. And, at 19.2 volts, it's not noticeably heavier than the other 18-volt tools I tested. www.porter-cable.com

Tool

Weight

Battery type

Bpm

Batteries provided

Battery amp-hours

Rpm

Max. torque

Chuck size

Street Price

Hitachi

DV24DV

8.8 lbs.

Nicad

7,200/ 0-31,500

2.0

0-400/ 0-1,750

576 in./lbs.

1/2 in.

$325

Comments: This one's the bulldog. It's significantly different from the others in terms of size, shape, and power, and is truly a dedicated cordless hammerdrill. It doesn't do double duty as a drill/driver like the other tools. It has the most power of any tool in the test. If you spend a lot of time far from a plug, I'd give this tool a second look. www.hitachi.com/powertools

This article is reprinted courtesy of Tools of the Trade