Hitachi 10.8-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver - Review
Probably the most interesting tool in Hitachi's new 10.8-volt lineup is their new right angle impact driver. We're pretty sure that this is the first right angle impact driver in any of the new micro lines of tools, which is why we were interested in checking it out and seeing how it holds up to both it's larger cousin, as well as finding out what kind of niche it can carve for itself in the world of tool functionality.
First, like Hitachi's mini-reciprocating saw, the ergonomics are off the charts. Again, the crazy Spiderman design, which we've been critical of in the past, gives it all the right bulges in all the right places (well, we never thought we'd ever write that sentence), making it a very easy tool to hold and maneuver into tight spots, which you'll likely be doing with the right angle feature.
Also like the recip saw, it's a stripped down affair and pretty light on features; just the drill and a little LED that lights up the work area. While we like the bare bones nature of this, we're big fans of the battery indicator light that Milwaukee puts on all of their 12-volt tools. Because lithium-ion batteries die at a moment's notice, it's good to know how much juice you have left before climbing up the 24' ladder.
We did a number of tests with the Hitachi and found that there is some solid strength in this battery. We didn't have much of a problem sinking a 1-5/8" drywall screw into a mahogany 2x4. It wasn't a very fast process and not something that the tool is really meant for, but it's nice to know that the power is there. This helped us out on the job site from time to time by saving ourselves from having to get out the 18-volt to just remove a single screw.
But it's doing the smaller tasks, the kinds of things that this tool is made for; adjusting hinges, electrical work, etc, that the Hitachi really excelled. The functionality of this tool reminded us of the Skil Power Wrench, and like that tool, this would be a nice item to have both around the house and at the job site. Because the head of the tool is so small it has no problem squeezing into some very small spaces and because of the aforementioned power, it can tackle other more demanding projects as well.
Unfortunately, the charger, like the tool, is a simple affair with only a single indicator light which goes red when the battery is charging. Most other chargers have a number of indicator lights to help you know what exactly is going on with your battery. We've found that li-ion batteries are a little touchy, particularly in the cold weather, so it's nice to have some indication as to what's exactly going on.
The Hitachi comes with two batteries, a charger, a case, and a bit. It costs about $175, which is a little more than we would have liked and pushes it to the upper edge of most 'around-the-house' budgets, but in reality it's a fair price for such a handy tool.
Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at February 27, 2009 5:07 AM