Panasonic 15.6-Volt NiMH Cordless Drill - Review
Yup, Panasonic makes power tools. A lot of people don't know that, and it's really too bad. The tools that they make, and they only make a handful, are of such high quality that they should be as well known as DeWalt, Bosch, and Makita. The 15.6-Volt NiMH Cordless Drill is no exception. In fact, it may be the best drill we've ever used.
While there is a lot of good to say about this drill, it's the look and feel of it that really impresses us. Not only is it perfectly balanced and fits the hand like a glove, but it is nice and light so you can spend days on end using it and never feel any fatigue. It is also relatively short from chuck to tail; allowing it to get in places that the bulkier 18 Volt drills can't fit.
One thing to note with this drill is that it uses NiMH batteries. Panasonic also sells the same drill with Ni-Cad batteries, which have a lower capacity and fall victim to the memory effect, shortening their lifespan considerably. The Ni-Cad drill is cheaper, but we don't feel it's worth the money. With replacement batteries being so expensive, you'll want to stretch out your battery for as long as you can. As far as the 15.6 volts goes, we found that to be plenty of power, even for heavy-duty usage. This drill effortlessly (and endlessly) drove three inch screws into 4x stock and had no problem drilling through 3/8" steel. There was never a time when we opted to use an 18 volt drill over this one.
This was our primary drill for over two years, and trust us, we beat the tar out of the thing. We dropped it in a lake, we kicked it off of a 30 foot high scaffold, we froze it, and we drove over it. All the abuse in the world and the drill kept working like it always had. When the batteries finally withered away (as they all eventually do), we opted to replace it with a Makita because the price was right. Don't get us wrong, the Makita is a great drill and the impact driver that comes with it is far handier than we ever anticipated, but retiring our Panasonic felt like an amputation.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at March 2, 2007 10:47 AM