November 5, 2013

Senco DS212 18-Volt Li-Ion Auto-Feed Screwdriver - Review

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A little while back Senco updated their line of cordless auto-feed screwdrivers. The new versions are not only powered by a li-ion battery, but they also have a space age look to them, giving it the appearance of something that Ripley from Aliens would use. Senco was nice enough to send us one of their DS212 18s to check out and here's what we thought.

After taking it out of the box and zipping a few screws in the shop, I immediately got angry. A week previous, I had installed the subfloor in my addition and I would have been much happier using this tool. Instead I went with the nail gun and PL Premium combo, but since squeaks on new floors drive me nuts, it was a long process making sure there was PL everywhere and no possibility of movement. The Senco would have solved everything. Just zip in some screws and rest easy.

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And I've used the term "zip" twice in this review because that's really what happens. You purchase the screws on a strip and feed in through the nose of the gun. To drive a screw, you push the nose of the tool and pull the trigger. In zips the screw. It takes a few to get used to the pressure needed and when to stop (or you'll strip out the hole), but if you have any kind of head on your shoulders, you pick it up in about a half dozen screws.

The Senco comes with some nice features. First, and this really isn't a feature, the battery is the same one used with the Fusion. It's nice to see Senco adding tools to their battery line-up. I always think it's pretty unfortunate when a company has a lone great cordless tool, but no platform to surround it.

But back to the features. The tool comes with two batteries (essential for the non-stop repetitive nature of the work you'll be doing with it), a tool-free depth gauge, and a tool free screw selector nose piece. The nose piece only extends down one side of the tool, so you can get pretty snug up to a corner or any other tight spots.

So this tool is designed for fast, repetitive screwing, like sub-floors, sheathing, wall board, and even decking (see here for a listing of compatible screws). But we found that we used the tool for a lot more than that. While it's not something to get "just to have around," it turned out to be a very useful tool in the shop. I was building some quick and dirty shelves and why bother with a traditional screwgun when I could just grab the Senco and start driving screws with one hand free. Then I assembled a stand for a laundry machine. Same thing. The Senco was right there and it was the much faster option. It's obviously never going to replace your screwgun, but if you get one for drywall, I almost guarantee that it will worm its way into other tasks as well.

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It's a high class tool and it comes at a high class price. This fella goes for about $380 at Grainger. Sure, it sounds like a lot, but when you start to think about the time it's going to save and the floor squeaks it's going to stop....well....that's a different story.

At Grainger

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

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at November 5, 2013 6:31 AM

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