Roger Bisby: Drilling in with Hitachi

Roger Bisby: Drilling in with Hitachi

Roger Bisby finally gets his hands on the new Hitachi DV18DBXL brushless combi drill.

This drill has been a long time coming and people keep asking for it. I had intended to review it in the middle of last year but it got delayed. This is both good and bad.

We have had more of a chance to get some feedback from early adopters, and Hitachi fans, and we have seen how it performs out on site.

It looks, to all intense and purposes like other Hitachi 18 volt drills but, due to the brushless motor and compact gearbox, it is a little shorter and a lot more powerful.

The 136Nm of hard torque (which is the start-up torque) puts it up there with Milwaukee and Makita. It also similar to the Bosch in that it has a sensor that cuts off the power if it feels a sudden sideways movement. This is a highly desirable feature that you also find in Hilti brushless drills.

It could save you a damaged wrist or a smack in the jaw. I tested this feature a number of times and the LED light flashes until you release the trigger and re-start it.

Apart from the sensor there is a very long side handle to help the drill from being whipped out of your hands, but I think we all know that people will use it without the side handle, especially as it is too long to get into those tight spots.

I also found the screw in to be a bit of a fiddle compared to clamp on handles, but with patience it works well enough.

None of these extra-long handles seem to have the ability to spin around from one side of the tool to the other, so if you want to swap sides you need to unscrew it and rethread it on the other side.

I wonder why they can’t make a handle that simply slides through the body. You could even use it half and half as a ‘T’ bar.

The drill comes with two 6amphr batteries and a very fast charger that will, under ideal conditions, put a full charge into a depleted battery in 38 minutes.

In my initial charge it took closer to one hour, but after that it bedded in.

They say that it takes up to 6 charges before a battery is run in so it makes a bit of a nonsense out of the run time tests I carry out but, for what it is worth, I drilled on 64 28mm holes into 40mm chipboard followed by 15 x 10mm holes through a dense concrete block and rounded it off with a 65mm hole through 150mm of softwood.

Interestingly, the battery didn’t fall off a cliff as many do. It stopped and then after a few seconds gave me another couple of holes like the beast that wouldn’t die.

The combi drill means you get a percussion action for masonry bits. There are also the usual torque settings for precision screw driving. Since the advent of impact drivers it is interesting to see that hardly anyone seems to be driving screws in with drills these days.

If you are one of the few tradesmen/women left on the planet who doesn’t own an impact driver you can pick up this drill as part of a twin pack.

If you are happy to share two batteries between two tools it would seem to me to be a very economical way to buy but whatever you do you may be pleasantly surprised by the price of this drill. I think there might be a bit of a run on it.

For further information on Hitachi click here.

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