Friday 5 October 2007

What's happening at DeWalt? Problems with DC935KSF XRP 14.4V cordless drill

We have had some real problems with DeWalt drills lately. We have for a long time preferred the DeWalt DC984K2 XRP 14.4V, but this has recently been superceded by the DC935KSF. We must have owned well over 20 of the old DC984K2s, and we can only recall two ever developing a fault.

These are serious bits of kit, costing £250 a pop from Screwfix, and get heavy use from our handymen, so we are pretty fussy about them working properly.

But of the four new DC935KSF models that we have bought, two have developed faults that have required them to be sent back: in one the chuck would not lock closed and kept releasing the bit; with another the chuck just wasn't centered properly, so the bit would wander around.

Plus, the slowest speed you can run the drill at is too fast to be able to grip the chuck with your hand to make it lock onto the bit (any regular user of drills will know what I am talking about: rather than screw the chuck in by hand to grip the bit, you just hold the chuck still and gently use the drill's power to close the jaws onto the bit). If you try and hold the chuck it just whizzes out of your grip. You have to turn the chuck manually, which makes changing bits a chore.

And none of our handymen like them - the older model just feels to be better quality (although DeWalt insist the replacement is a huge improvement, saying that the chuck, motor and battery are all of higher quality than the old one).

We won't be buying any more of this model of DeWalt. Screwfix have kindly agreed to swap our dodgy DeWalts for the Makita Lithium-Ion BHP440SFE 14.4V even though the Makita costs a bit more, which is very nice of them. This Makita might be a little lightweight for our use, if so then we will probably upgrade to the Makita BHP441SFE Lithium-Ion 14.4V

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Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce,

You may even find that the Makitas have more torque than the DeWalts - some Makita 14.4V have even more torque than the DeWalt 18V models! If you're after the ultimate cordless combi drill, then you may want to consider the Makita BTP140SFE. It's bit pricey at £349.99 (Screwfix), but well worth it for a conplete all-rounder!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce and any other fellow bloggers,

the reality is that if you put a 12 volt Dewalt (DC945K) up against the 18 volt Makita (BHP451 or 844DW) you will find that the Dewalt performs just as well. The Makita units run at a slower speed than the Dewalt in 1st gear and the 2nd and 3rd speeds are not ideal for the various applications that the drill is sold for.

As for the torque, these are measured in different ways by different manufacturers and therefore many different torque values can be obtained depending on how they are measured. Both the Dewalt and Makita will put a 2" hole into timber, which is as large a whole as anyone would need to drill with a solid bit. In fact the Dewalt is capable of drilling much larger sizes using a holesaw.

My job is to test these powertools for a highly reputable woodworking/tool magazine and I can assure everyone that the new Dewalt models are superb and that they will perform equally if not better than their Makita equivalents.

The other myth that I would like to kill straight away is that of lithium ion. Lithium Ion DOES NOT give the user more power or run time, it only provides a lighter battery to the user. The downside is the cost of these and the number of charges that can be obtained from them.

The Dewalt, in my view, is still the benchmark in cordless. The number of tools that are available in the 18 volt Dewalt range is staggering.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to pick up on the comment that Lithium-ion battery chemistry does not give the user more power or run time. This is not strictly true. A 3.0Ah Li-ion and a 3.0Ah NiCad may have the same charge capacity but the power delivery curve of the Li-ion battery is more stable than NiCad. A Li-ion battery will not 'fade' as much as a NiCad and will therefore offer, technically, a greater amount of power for a prolonged period of time.

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