In one expert test, the inexpensive Hitachi DS18DSAL tops the charts, drilling and driving as quickly and powerfully as 18-volt drills costing $200. It's also a pound or two lighter than most drills in its class, at 3.3 pounds. Like pricier drills, the Hitachi comes with two lithium-ion batteries, which experts say last longer and hold their charge between uses better than older types. But the Hitachi batteries take longer to recharge -- 40 minutes, rather than the usual 15 to 30 minutes. Hitachi backs the drill with a lifetime warranty -- the lifetime of the tool, that is, which Hitachi defines as "the period during which all components are available." The batteries carry a two-year warranty, but one owner at Amazon.com reports problems getting batteries replaced under warranty.
Overall, the top-rated DeWalt DCD760KL (*Est. $220) gets more consistently good reviews among 18-volt cordless drills. If you want to spend less and don't need tons of power -- for example, if you mostly use your drill for light-duty work rather than extensive projects like home renovations -- a lightweight 12-volt drill like the top-rated Milwaukee 2410-22 (*Est. $150) might suit your needs better.
ConsumerReports.org conducts the most thorough test of the Hitachi DS18DSAL, comparing it with dozens of other cordless drills. About.com's woodworking guide also tests this drill and writes a more descriptive review than ConsumerReports.org does. Owners rate the Hitachi DS18DSAL at Amazon.com and Lowes.com.
Experts here rank 67 cordless drills -- including the Hitachi DS18DSAL -- from best to worst, based on their own tests of each drill's speed, power and more.
Review: Cordless Drill Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Chris Baylor, in About.com's guide to woodworking, awards the Hitachi DS18DSAL 4.5 stars in this test. Baylor finds the drill comfortable to use with a chuck that holds the bit securely, but "a bit of an annoying, high-pitched squeal when in operation" is a minor drawback. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Hitachi DS18DSAL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Drill/Driver, Chris Baylor
With over 40 customer reviews posted, the Hitachi DS18DSAL maintains a 4-star rating here. Most love the drill, but some report battery problems and poor customer service.
Review: Hitachi DS18DSAL 18-Volt 1/2-Inch Drill/Driver, Contributors to Amazon.com
The Hitachi DS18DSAL is one of the top-rated cordless drills at Lowes.com, averaging 4.5 stars with more than 50 owner ratings posted.
Review: Hitachi 18-Volt 1/2" Cordless Lithium-Ion Drill with Case, Contributors to Lowes.com