November 15, 2007

Skil 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Driver - Review

Skil_18.jpgSkil has recently gotten into the lithium-ion race with their nice 7-volt Power Wrench and now they're getting into some higher voltage with their new 18-Volt Lithium Cordless Drill/Driver.

Although it's fairly stripped down, the drill/driver comes equipped with some nice features. It's got a little light, located at the bottom of the handle that shines on the tip of the tool, brightening up the work piece. Right next to it is a three light indicator system that displays the charge left in the battery. The drill also has a 15 position clutch and a little forward/reverse indicator light.

Skil_18_base.jpgThe drill is extremely light, weighing a mere 2-1/2 lbs and is quite compact, measuring only 8" from tip of chuck to butt end. It has only one speed (with a variable speed trigger), with a maximum rpm of 800. This is a small number when compared to contractor-grade drills which can double that on their higher speeds.

But this drill isn't made for the contractor; it comes with only one battery and no case, it only has one speed, and the three-jaw keyless chuck only opens up to 3/8" as opposed to 1/2." These are all features that aren't necessarily bad, but they're not going to cut it for the full-time carpenter who is going to always need a battery at the ready and will want the flexibility of the 2-speed drill as well as the 1/2" chuck.

Skil_18_battery.jpgThe charger terminals on the battery are located on the bottom heel of the battery, exposing them when the battery is attached to the drill. This also exposes the drill terminals when the battery is charging. It's a strange design and one we've never seen before. Having two sets of terminals on the battery and having one exposed at all times, seems like a bad idea. Also, the battery is difficult to remove from the charger as well as the drill.

When we tested out the drill, we found it to be just what we expected. It's a good, basic drill. And while it's not up for any truly heavy-duty work, we were happy to see it easily handle most drilling and screwing tasks without any problems.

Skil_18_charger.jpgLike we said earlier, this is probably not the right drill for the contractor or even the serious DIYer, but if you're looking for a no-frills, lightweight, drill that will be used from time to time, this might be what you're looking for.

The Skil 18-Volt Li-Ion Drill goes for about $110 and comes with a charger and a selection of four driver bits that can be stored right on the charger. When compared to contractor-grade drills (the Ridgid is $189), this is a good price, but just keep in mind that this drill has its limitations.

At Amazon.com

Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion | Power Tools

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 15, 2007 5:28 AM

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