Pros: low price, decent amount of power
Cons: variable speed is hard to control with trigger, forward-reverse button hard to switch
When the wife gets it into here head that a project needs to be done, sometimes there can be no stopping here. When we decided to redig the beds in the back yard, it started out as a simple turning over soil and getting ready for the spring. That evolved into expanding (slightly) into ever-expanding (3 new beds, expanding one, adding a new vegetable garden). From there, it spiraled into a new fence by the new vegetable garden, but if we pulled down the old one, now we needed a new gate across the driveway to match... well, you get the picture. I like the work, but it was a never-ending succession of new and bigger tasks. All in all, her vision will be amazing once we finish. AND ... I get a whole bunch of new tools to write about.
When the gate became a reality, part of the design was to have 4x4 posts buried into the ground, and then have another set of posts attached to them to support the gate. Well, we have a pretty good Makita 14-volt Cordless Drill, but when you are talking about drilling through two 4" pressure-treated posts, sometimes you need a little more torque and staying power than an electric can give you. So, we went and picked up an inexpensive electric drill, the Black and Decker DR201K. We didn't want to spend a lot of money on a drill that we would rarely use (the Makita provides enough power for most jobs around our house, and this was a perfect match of low cost and decent power for what we needed to do.
[ about the BLACK & DECKER DR201K ]
When you open the package, there isn't much more than what you would expect for the price - an electric drill with a decent length cord, a double bit for using as a screwdriver, and the requisite instructions. I never opened them, so I don't know what they say - I mean, if you have to read the directions for this type of drill, perhaps you don't want to be using power tools at this time.
This is part of the Black and Decker home line, designed for lighter in-home work (when an electric just doens't have enough juice, I would suppose), and includes similar tools like their Sandstorm Sander and Firestorm Cordless Drill.
The drill is a 3/8" Variable Speed model with a keyless chuck - nice because you don't have a key hanging nearby or being loose to lose; however, sometimes it gets hard to REALLY tighten the chuck unless you get a good grip. They provide a two-way screw bit, as well, with a compartment on top to store it. The compartment is fairly secure, something that I have seen as a problem with some other models.
There aren't many extras on this drill, but the Level Indicator is a fairly nice one. Located in the back of the drill, the indicator helps you keep things relatively level while drilling - although anyone knows that keeping a drill steady while in use can be difficult. But at least it gets you started level.
[ drill ME ]
My first project with this was to drill through those posts. I had back-to-back 4x4 treated posts to drill all the way through using a 3/8" auger bit. The 5 amps of power were surprisingly strong enough as the drill bit dug in and the drill powered it through both posts with ease - a good sign, considering that the Makita would have probably have struggled at the end. Reversing it and pulling it out was simple, too.
The drill comes with "double gear reduction", which I think is just fancy speak to make you think it has more torque than it probably does. However, I found that it powered through nearly everything that we needed it to. Pressure-treated timbers were a breeze to get through, not to mention pine boards which this drill did a great job on, although the pressure-sensitive trigger sometimes makes it hard to avoid stripping the screws when they reach harder portions of woods (see my concerns below). But overall, it was a great buy for an inexpensive corded drill.
[ some minor CONCERNS ]
The direction button can be a bit sticky at times - I guess that's better than the alternative, but still can be a little hard to switch on the fly. It might become easier over time, but at first it made it a little harder to switch on the fly.
Another problem is the 'variable speed' portion of the drill. With our cordless, we are able to set how much torque we want - from 1 to 44 with 44 being a real forceful (for a 14-volt cordless) amount of torque. With this drill, you control your speed with the distance you push in the trigger - and it can be difficult to get it just right to give you the torque you want without stripping your screws. I got better over time, but it was a pain to start with. A limiter on the amount of power you get would be a nice add, but probably something you pay more for.
[ tech SPECS ]
Type ½ 5A 3/8" Variable Speed Drill with Kit
Power » 5.0 Amps
Revolutions/Min » 0-1,350 rpm variable
Motor » Double gear reduction provides added durability & improved performance
Chuck type » Keyless
Capacity » 1" (25.4mm) wood bit, 3/8" (9.5mm) steel bit
Cord Length » 6 feet (1.85m)
Extras » On-board bit storage for quick & easy access to accessories
Warranty » 2 Year Warranty
[ at the END OF THE DAY ]
This drill worked for us because it fit two major needs - we needed a little more power than our electric drill, and we needed something that wouldn't run out of battery in the middle of the project. It isn't a heavy duty drill - you wouldn't want to count on building your entire house with it, perhaps, but for that extra oomph, it does that job well. It handled the pressure treated posts with ease, and never futzed out like our Makita does during long projects. So, if you need a corded drill for around your house, and don't need to go that extra mile for a heavy duty, the Black and Decker DR201K should serve you well.
[ related GARDEN CONSTRUCTION REVIEWS ]
Black & Decker Bulls-Eye Laser Level »
A great tool to have if you need to get those pictures, frames and other indoor items just right.
Black & Decker Sandstorm Sander »
A capable small job sander - although the bag system doesn't work very well.
Black & Decker 3 1/4" Electric Planer »
This has been a time and again great buy for quick planing jobs.
Black & Decker Firestorm 9.6v Cordless Drill »
Okay for really small jobs, this drill was underpowered for a lot of jobs around the home.