Reviews say the 12-volt Hitachi DS12DVF3 drill is a good budget pick for most homeowner drilling and driving tasks, but they don't recommend it as highly as the top-rated budget drill, the Porter-Cable PCL120DDC-2 (*Est. $90). Unlike the Porter-Cable drill, the Hitachi lacks a built-in LED light, but it comes in a kit with a separate work light. It uses a nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) battery, instead of the longer-lasting lithium-ion type the Porter-Cable uses. Hitachi's five-year warranty is a plus, but overall, reviewers prefer the Porter-Cable -- or, if you can afford to spend more, the heavier-duty 12-volt Milwaukee 2410-22 (*Est. $150).
We found the most objective review of the Hitachi DS12DVF3 at ConsumerReports.org, based on tests performed in 2007. Wood Magazine provides a much more recent review, but doesn't document the testing process. Hitachi, as a cordless-drill brand, is covered by the annual J.D. Power and Associates customer survey as well as a 2007 survey at Builder Online. We also found detailed owner-written reviews of this specific Hitachi drill at Amazon.com and at Lowes.com. A YouTube.com video review of the drill shows its capabilities with lumber and steel, as well as the degree of effort it requires.
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This review compares the Hitachi DS12DVF3 cordless drill with 66 other cordless drills. Each drill gets separate ratings for speed, power, run time, battery-charging time, noise and ease of handling. A handful of owners also rate the Hitachi drill here.
Review: Cordless Drill Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
2. Wood Magazine
The Hitachi DS12DVF3 is recommended by this tester as the best value in cordless drills, with praise for its excellent run time and 30-minute charger. The five-year warranty, work light and eight-piece bit set are also pluses.
Review: Top Buys in 6 Basic Power Tools, Doug Hicks, May 2009
3. J.D. Power and Associates
Though Hitachi ranked third in the 2009 survey of cordless drill buyers, it lost ground and ranks eighth in the 2010 survey -- though still above the industry average and rated "better than most." The rankings are based on six factors, with drill performance most important, followed by ease of use, battery performance, price, versatility of battery system and warranty.
Review: 2010 Cordless Drill/Driver Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, June 2, 2010
Hitachi ranks in the middle of the pack in this 2007 survey of 3,428 builders and contractors -- ranked eighth out of 15 brands that make cordless drills.
Review: 2008 Builder Brand Study, Hanley Wood and Readex, March 31, 2008
More than 60 owners review the Hitachi DS12DVF3 drill/driver here, giving it a high average rating and judging it a good value for ordinary household tasks. One notes that it's not powerful enough for big construction jobs, another that the maximum drilling speed is relatively slow.
Review: Hitachi DS12DVF3 12-Volt Ni-Cad 3/8-Inch Cordless Drill/Driver Kit, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Hitachi DS12DVF3 earns above-average ratings here, especially for tasks that don't require too much power -- based on reports from about 20 users.
Review: Hitachi 12-Volt 3/8" Cordless Drill Kit with Flashlight, Contributors to Lowes.com
This video review of the Hitachi DS12DVF3 is silent but gives a good demonstration of it in action as it drills through both lumber and steel. You can see that the drill is reasonably capable, but you can also see the effort required.
Review: DS12DVF3, "Eddykrok", April 11, 2009