Pros: Well designed with excellent fit and finish. Nicely priced, good tool for the home craftsman
Let me start by saying that before I received this nifty drill, I already owned three other corded drills. My first electric drill was a Sears Companion 1/4 inch which I received as a Christmas present in 1968. (Companion was the cheap version of Craftsman at that time.) I have since purchased a Craftsman 3/8 inch and was given a Milwaukee 3/8 inch. All of these are probably at least 30 years old and are still in very good condition. But, they are all sort of bulky and not particularly well designed or assembled by today's standards. Both the Craftsman and the Milwaukee are powerful enough to snap a screw if torqued too tight and frankly, I wanted something a little lighter.
The Ryobi D45C was on my Christmas list and I was very happy to be "surprised" Christmas Eve. Unquestionably, the design, features, and what I call, "fit and finish" are clearly superior to my three older electric drills; but, more on that later.
Weight: 3.74 lbs
Power Requirements: Standard 120 VAC at 4.5 amps
RPM: Variable from 0 to 1000 with reversing switch
Chuck: 3/8 inch heavy duty - keyless w/molded,rubber grip
Clutch; 24 position, for setting torque
Cord: 10 ft. with molded strain relief and 2-prong, polarized plug w/integral cable clip
Body: high-impact, two-piece plastic, double-insulated shell which integrates both horizontal and vertical levels as well as bit storage clips on lower grip.
Warranty: 30-day money back guarantee and two year parts and service. 1-800 number to Ryobi service
This is the first drill that I have, which came with a fitted case. Immediately I find that to be a big plus. I like tools and I like to keep them in good order. For me, tools are for doing repairs and for building things. I don't need them in my job, but I do need them to keep the house in order and to play at my hobbies. I want my tools to be of good quality and I want them to be ready when I need them, even if it is after several months. To that end, a case is essential to keeping a tool clean and ready. With the D45C, the case is ample to securely store both the drill and a Black & Decker 43 pc drill bit storage pouch.
The D45C clutch driver/drill has a molded high-impact plastic housing which is ergonomically designed. It feels comfortable in your hand and is well balanced. You will find no ill-fitted parts, flashes, or sharp edges. The trigger works very smoothly and precisely, so it is easy to control the variable speed through its range from slow to fast (0 to 1000 rpm). There is also a yellow slide switch just above the trigger that allows the drill to be reversed. Here again, a nice design in that it slides from left to right through the body (not back and forth on one side). This ensures trouble free operation as it is not likely to get clogged with dirt or dust. The trigger also has a locking button which is flush with the body, just behind the trigger on the left side... pull the trigger back all the way for full rpm and press the button to lock the trigger ON. Pull the trigger again and the lock button is released. (All my drills have a similar locking feature, but not nearly as well designed or smoothly operated!)
This Ryobi also has a couple of neat little features, that illustrates that their design team is doing its homework. There is a small tube level fitted in the top of the drill housing to help in drilling horizontal holes. Similarly, you will find a small bullseye level on the back of the housing which is a great aid to drilling vertical holes. In addition, since the D45C is designed for twisting screws, you will find two screwdriver bit clips built into the housing, just below the handle grip. Included are two, double-end screwdriver bits; each having a Phillips head on one end and a straight blade on the other. (Sizes PH3 - 7 and PH2 - 6.)
The D45C is labeled as a "Clutch Driver". What that means is that the drive mechanism is equipped with a 24-position, twist-to-adjust clutch which regulates the amount of torque that is transmitted to the chuck and whatever it is holding. With my other 3/8-inch drills, I have had occasion where I have actually snapped a screw by driving it too hard. I suppose if you are a practiced carpenter or cabinet maker, this doesn't happen; but for me, well, what can I say. In any case, the D45C has a clutch. Set it for a lower value range (say 1 to 4) and the drill clutch will simply slip when it gets resistance beyond its torque setting. Set it higher, and the torque applied to spin the chuck is greater. At the highest setting, the clutch is locked to the chuck and you have a full-power drill. Simple and nice!
This is the first drill that I have owned with a keyless chuck. Most older drills require a chuck key which is sometimes most inconvenient (which pocket did I put it in). The Ryobi keyless chuck works very well and is easy to tighten or release with just the twist of your wrist. It is also nicely machined with polished jaws so it holds even the smallest (1/16 inch) drill bits firmly and it operates smoothly. The chuck is covered with a rubber grip so it is easy to handle.
So far, I haven't drilled a lot of holes with this new tool. Frankly, I can't wait to see if getting into serious work with it will dampen my enthusiasm for the D45C. At this point, I am quite impressed with everything that I see. It is nicely designed. beautifully finished, and has an assortment of features that I find surprising for a drill in this price range. I'll come back in a couple of months and add another paragraph to let you know how we are working and playing together.