Lightweight Design, Long Lasting Battery, Compact
Written: Nov 29, 2004
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Great performer, easy to use all day, powerful, light, compact
Cons:Wish it had a magnet or clip to hold a spare bit
The Bottom Line: A high quality, high performance cordless drill with power, run time at a lower weight/size. Great charger also.
I used a Dewalt 14V cordless drill for a number of years and found the short run time a problem at times. I saw the better battery chemistry used by Panasonic and a few others as a big improvement so I was delighted when the Dewalt died due to a slipping clutch. Bought the Panasonic at Amazon when it had a sale that helped me also get the matching lantern.
LIGHT WEIGHT - The drill body is light (4.4#), further helped by a lightweight battery (4.8# total tool weight), yet the Panasonic still has plenty of power (390 in.pounds)and runtime (3.5 Ah). In size, it is very compact, which makes lugging it around in a drill holster easy, and makes me feel safer when I'm on a ladder or roof with not enough hands for holding material, tools and a safe handhold.
BALANCE of the tool is very good so that your hand and wrist don't feel stressed to hold the drill in various positions. It stands upright if set down on it battery. I'm 5'6" tall, weighing 145# so most other cordless 18v drills are too heavy to use on a large job, bulky and with their large mass, unwieldly. The Panasonic gives me more power than other brand 14v cordless drills, yet at the same size and weight.
RUN TIME is hard to verify so far because I haven't had any big jobs since getting the drill. I purchased the accessory lantern which uses the same battery and it seems to last as long as the old Dewalt flashlight, but the power of the Panasonic light is much brighter also.
USE The chuck is easy to use, griping and releasing bits. It seems to need more twists than the old Dewalt to change the size of the chuck when switching from a small to a large bit...but not a problem area. It is a full size 1/2" chuck, not a small 3/8" one. The reversing switch is in the usual location above the trigger and it operates easily. The speed control of the trigger is very good. Twisting power is very good also, much stronger than the old 14v Dewalt. If there is a CON, it is the lack of a convenient storage location on the body for a spare screw driver bit. Most other cordless drills have at least one. The battery charger is fast (55 minutes to full charge) and intelligent so it won't damage a battery that is too hot or cold to accept a charge properly. With two batteries to swap between the charger and the drill, the Panasonic will never have to take a break...let some one else use it so you can.
STORAGE CASE The blow mold plastic case seems like an after thought compared to the great drill. It is unnecessarily large given its lack of storage for spare bits, etc. of other cases. Except for a Panasonic sticky label on the outside of the case, there is no marking at all, and the large sticker peels (falls off) easily. The case is tough, so it will protect the tool if dropped, but the plastic latches may not be strong enough to keep the contents inside.
COLOR Something minor to mention is that it doesn't come in some yellow or orange color plastic drill body. It is a modest grey tone color. At a job site, you'll find a lot of other yellow bodied cordless tools. It is unlikely that someone else at a job site will have a Panasonic to get mixed up with, but my Dad always painted his own color brand on his tools so they couldn't get mixed up with some one else.
PRICE - VALUE Well, this is where the Panasonic purchase decision requires some thought. The Panasonic gives nearly all the twisting power benefits of an 18v cordless, at a better weight, size, balance and run time. If you have a smaller hand, and you use the drill for projects more than mounting towel holders, this is a good, but expensive choice. There are many choices in cordless drills for a lot less money, but if you need the power of a good quality 18v drill, then this is a great alternative, probably with better run time. Since I bought the Panasonic under an Amazon promotion where there is a $25 discount off my next purchase, the drill's full price of $199 was offset a little bit. I think this drill is better than any competing 15.6v cordless.
I WISH IT HAD - Besides some type of clip holder for a spare bit on the drill body or battery, I wish the battery had some type of state-of-charge indicator so one could tell how much charge is remaining in the battery before I get on the roof, climb inside the attic, crawl under the house, etc. This isn't a big deal, but a nice feature that no one offers, not just Panasonic.
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