Archives for October2012

Ryobi and Ridgid – Separated at Birth?

Both Ryobi and Ridgid make some really good power tools. Ryobi is targeted towards the DIY market, while Ridgid is aimed more at the professional user. However, there more in common to these two tool lines than you might think.

If you’ve ever looked at Ryobi or Ridgid power tools, you may have noticed some similarities in the design. In some cases, the similarities are exact. For example, the “No Hand Here” on the compound mitre saws for both power tool lines is exactly the same!

The reason behind this, is because both Ryobi and Ridgid are manufactured by the same Hong Kong based company, Techtronic Industries Company Limited (or TTI). TTI is an Original Equipment Manufacturer behind such brands as Milwaukee, Craftsman, AEG (AEG is basically, Ridgid in Europe).

Quick Review: DeWalt DC970K-2 18-Volt Drill/Driver Kit

DeWalt DC970K-2 18V Drill/Driver Kit

DeWalt DC970K-2 18V Drill/Driver Kit

The DC970K-2 is Best For:

This tool is suitable for DIY use This tool is suitable for PRO use

Our Rating: 4/5



The DeWalt DC970K-2 18V Drill/Driver is a cordless drill was one of the first drills that was launched in DeWalt’s compact drill line. The DC970 drill included in this drill set, is essentially the same one as the DC759KA. This tool is suitable for the most basic jobs around the house, and even does heavy duty DIY as well as some PRO jobs. Though powerful, durable and overall very reliable, the DC970 is an entry level 18V drill in DeWalt’s cordless drill line.


The drill features two speed settings which are rated at 0-450 RPM and 0-1,500 RPM. The ½ inch chuck is all plastic. It should be durable enough to withstand most wear and tear, though the model’s more expensive cousins (especially in the XRP line) will have a more rugged all metal chuck. There’s 17 clutch (torque) settings on this drill, which makes it very versatile for all kinds of applications. The 380 UWO (Unit Watts Out) means that the drill is also suitable for professional use.

This is a compact drill based on the older wider DeWalt battery base. If you intend to use Li-Ion batteries, you’re better off buying a DeWalt drill with an updated base, because while the Li-Ion batteries will fit, the base will overlap the battery by ½ inch on the front and rear of the battery.

The two batteries included in this drill are rated at 1.2 Ah. DeWalt’s top end 18V XRP battery is rated at 2.4 Ah. So if you’ve ever used an XRP tool, you’re looking at roughly half the runtime with these batteries. The charger included with this set, the DW9116, will charge each included battery in about an hour.


Overall this drill set presents a good value for the money. If you’re looking for a quality entry level drill, that is powerful to handle a wide spectrum jobs, this set is worth the money.

What’s Included in the Box?

  • Cordless Drill (DeWalt DC970)
  • Two 18V batteries (DeWalt DC9098)
  • 1 hour charger (DeWalt DW9116)


  • Value
  • Relatively High Torque


  • Base doesn’t fit well with DeWalt’s Li-Ion batteries
  • Plastic chuck


  • Voltage: 18V
  • Max Power:  380 UWO
  • # of Speed Settings:  2
  • Maximum RPM: 0-450 / 0-1,500
  • Clutch Settings:  17
  • Chuck Size:  1/2″
  • Chuck Type:  Plastic, single sleeve ratcheting
  • Tool Weight:  4.7 lbs
  • Warranty: 90 Day Money Back / 1 Year Free Service / 3 Year Limited

Black & Decker 15557 10 Piece Drill Bit Set

Black & Decker 15557 10 Piece Drill Bit Set

Black & Decker 15557 10 Piece Drill Bit Set

The Drill Bit Set is Best For:

This tool is suitable for DIY

Rating: 2/5


Overview & Features

The Black & Decker 15557 10 piece drill bit set is a very basic drill bit set suitable for basic around the home use. It’s rated for usage in plastic, wood and steel, but you won’t probably get much life out of them if you do the latter. The drills included in this set range from 1/16th of an inch all the way to 1/4 inch. These are probably the most common drill sizes that a home user would require. Whenever you’re using any of these drills, it’s a good idea to lubricate the drill bits with a lubricating agent or oil in order to prolong their life. If you’re drilling a large hole for example, you may want to start off with a smaller sized drill bit and then work your way up.

Low Grade Steel Construction

This particular drill bit set is made out of low grade steel that may snap or break under pressure, needless to say, it’s not as reliable as some of the other drill bits from Black & Decker’s high end brand, DeWalt.


If you’re looking for a basic inexpensive drill bit set the Black & Decker 15557 is a good buy, and a good pairing with the Black & Decker 9099KC 7.2V Cordless Drill. It’s suitable for basic DIY usage around the home. If you’re planning to put a basement together, or for more serious DIY work, go with drill bits from DeWalt.

What’s Included in the Box?

  • Plastic Drill Bit Holder
  • Drill Bits
    • 1/16 Inch
    • 5/64 Inch
    • 3/32 Inch
    • 7/64 Inch
    • 1/8 Inch
    • 9/64 Inch
    • 5/32 Inch
    • 11/64 Inch
    • 3/16 Inch
    • 1/4 Inch


  • Inexpensive


  • Low grade steel construction


  • Warranty: 2 years

Quick Review: Black & Decker 9099KC 7.2V Cordless Drill with Keyless Chuck

Black & Decker 9099KC 7.2V Cordless Drill with Keyless Chuck Review

The 9099KC is best for:

 This tool is suitable for DIY

Our Rating: 2/5



I’m a big fan of DeWalt Power Tools, which Black & Decker owns. Before DeWalt was bought by Black & Decker, many B&D products used to compete with DeWalt’s product line. Now B&D has re-positioned their own power tool product line with a focus on the occasional power tool user, or the beginner DIY.

The 9099KC Cordless Drill however, falls outside that category. Current B&D products take on a grey/dark orange design, and this particular cordless drill has an all black colour scheme, with an orange trigger. This is consistent with the product branding of many older B&D products, and this is where this drill inherits its features from. This is an inexpensive drill, that is suited for very light work, and that’s about it.


The Black & Decker 9099KC features an integral 7.2 Volt NiCad battery, which isn’t much to say the least. You cannot remove the battery from this drill, so to charge it, you plug the drill into the wall via a cable.

Charging takes several hours, and if you’re doing a lot of drilling the NiCad batter will drain very quickly. It does offer a keyless ½ inch chuck – but then again, this isn’t really a differentiator. You can select two reversible speeds on this drill 325 RPM or 650 RPM, for basic driving and drilling. The handle is all plastic – better drills will have a rubberized handle.

Low Torque

The 9099KC provides about 60 in-lbs of torque, which is good for doing light work, but it will fail at doing more complicated DIY tasks. Funny thing is, that many B&D drills have poor torque ratings.


There are better drills available out there, that are smaller in size, weigh less, and are more powerful. However, they probably cost twice as much.

This is a basic cordless drill, for basic use around the house. Don’t expect much from it, but if you’re looking for something inexpensive, basic and no frills, this is probably the drill for you. Because the battery is not removable, this drill is suitable for really one off type small jobs around the house.

What’s included in the box?

  • 9099KC Drill
  • Charger Cable


  • Inexpensive


  • Non removable battery
  • Low voltage, low runtime
  • Not powerful


  • Weight: 3.0 lbs
  • Torque: 60 in/lbs
  • Product (L x W x H): 9.125 x 6.5 x 10.0 inches
  • Warranty: 2 years

How to Choose a Cordless Power Drill

A cordless power drill is a useful tool to have around the house. Whether you’re doing simple tasks like assembling new furniture, hanging up picture frames, paintings or mirrors, or doing your own DIY renovation, there’s a right type of cordless power drill for each of these jobs, or even better yet, one that will cover them all.

Determine the Usage

What will you be using your cordless drill for? For most people, a cordless drill can serve many useful functions around the house. A good quality drill for this type of work will cost anywhere from $50 to $100. If you’re more serious, and are into DIY renovation, expect to spend a bit more. If you have a house that has a brick or stone exterior, consider a hammer drill option. With the right set of bits, a hammer drill will allow you to drill into those hard surfaces with a hammering action. You will not be able to drill into concrete or other similar hard surfaces without a hammer drill.

Choose a Reputable Brand

There are a lot of cheap no-name power tool brands out there, that quite frankly don’t live up to the quality and performance of more reputable established power tool brands. Do yourself a favour, and don’t buy the cheap stuff. Well known power tool brands are the names you’ve already probably come across, such as DeWalt, Makita, Bosch, Ridgid or Ryobi. Each of these companies make drills that is suitable for an occasional user, as well as the professional contractor.

Leave the Gimmicks Out

We’ve seen many cordless drills that come with a lot of bells and whistles such as built in levels, fancy LED lights, digital battery displays and many other useless gimmicks that don’t add any usefulness to the drill itself. Often times, drills that contain these features, fall short in many other areas, so leave the gimmicks out, but keep the LED.

More Voltage Means More Power, But at a Heavy Price

Voltage determines the power of a drill. Cordless drills can vary from 6V all the way to 36V, and even higher.  Keep in mind that, the higher the voltage the more powerful a drill will be. This fact however has some drawbacks, because higher voltage drills weigh more.

In theory, a 12V drill will deliver less power in the form of torque, than its 18V counterpart. Also, lower voltage typically means a smaller battery, and hence, lower run time. But, voltage isn’t everything, and we refer to “Choose a Reputable Brand” for the explanation.

There are many low end drills with high voltage ratings that get outperformed by drills with a lower voltage rating. Typically, the outperformers, are the cordless drills that are manufactured by the more known manufacturers. So choose a brand name.

If you’re comparing apples to oranges (or Hitachi to Ridgid if you want to go by colour), you will have to look at detailed drill specifications in order to make an assessment on which cordless drill is better.  For general work around the house, select a drill between 12V and 14V. More serious DIY work would require something more powerful, between 18V to 20V.

Torque, Torque and more Torque

Don’t skimp out on torque. For everyday (or every other week) home use, you should get a drill with at least more than 200 in/lbs of torque. Higher torque ratings means that the drill won’t have any issues when drilling into harder materials. Most cordless drills will also come with an adjustable torque setting, so you will be able to set how much torque you’re applying when performing drilling or driving tasks. Usually better drills have more torque settings, but you should look at drills that have at least more than 15 settings.

Adjustable Speed Settings for Various Applications

You should look for a drill that has more than a single speed setting. For example, lower speeds (around 300 RPM), are good for precise driving, while higher speeds (600 RPM+), are good for drilling. Higher end drills will usually have three speed settings. Almost all cordless drills are reversible, allowing you to drive forwards or backwards, and most will alow you to further control the drill speed with a variable speed trigger.

What’s the size Chuck?

The chuck is the part of the drill that holds the drill bit. Typically, chuck sizes are ⅜” or ½” inch. If you’re not going to be doing heavy DIY work, choose a ⅜” chuck size. Larger chuck sizes are more common on higher end more expensive drills, and will allow you to use large drill bits for various applications. Almost all cordless drills come with a keyless chuck. This allows you to secure the drill bit by simply twisting the chuck with your hand.

Runtime, NiCad or Li-Ion?

Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries will offer a longer runtime than NiCad batteries. However, the latter costs much less. There’s still a lot of quality drills that still use NiCad batteries. The DeWalt 725KA Cordless Hammer Drill is one such example. It comes with NiCad batteries, however you have the option of upgrading to Li-Ion batteries in the future. Li-Ion batteries will be the dominant battery in three to four years. Most drills that you buy in a set, will come with at least two batteries (don’t bother will less), and a charger. Some will even include bits, but the good drills rarely do.

Concluding Remarks

In summary, choose a brand name, determine the usage, don’t worry about the bells and whistles, and get a drill with a lot of torque. If you follow these simple rules, the drill you get will serve you for many years.

Quick Review: DeWalt DC825 / DC825B 1/4-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Driver

DeWalt DC825B 18V Impact Driver Review

DEWALT DC825B 1/4-Inch 18-Volt Cordless Impact Driver (shown without battery)

The DC825 is Best For:

This tool is suitable for DIY use This tool is suitable for PRO use

Our Rating: 5/5



The DeWalt DC825 impact driver should be a staple of any handyman’s toolbox. For me, it has become one of my most often used and versatile driving tool. I’ve used the DC825 to drive regular construction screws into 2×4’s, to driving flooring screws into 4×8 plywood subfloor sheets, using the tool to build a deck, as well as driving tapcons into masonry and brick. Almost always, the impact driver has handled these applications effortlessly and with ease. I rarely use a regular drill to drive in screws, and the only time I do, is because the impact driver is unavailable.

Driver Features

The DC825B is the bare tool (all you get is the tool itself). The DeWalt DC825KA is the same impact driver except that it comes with two 18V XRP batteries and a charger. We will be looking at the bare tool, plus the NiCad batteries that come with the DC825KA set. If you’re purchasing only the tool, you can use DeWalt’s NiCad and Li-ion 18V platform.

Lots of Torque Means Driving With Ease

Impact drivers have generally two to three times the torque a regular drill possesses. The maximum torque of 1,330 in-lbs (111ft-lbs) means that the DC825 can effortlessly drive screws of varying length and size, as well as handle various nuts and bolts. The 0-2,400 RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) and 0-2,700 IPM (Impacts Per Minute) will ensure a fast application speed in whatever you’re working on.

Because of the smaller ¼ inch hex shank quick release, if you intend to use this tool for automotive use, you’re better off buying the DeWalt DW059K Impact Wrench, which features a more robust ½ inch drive size. This impact driver comes with a frameless motor, that will offer extended tool durability and lifespan, as well as replaceable brushes that can be easily serviced.

Compact Driver, Perfect for Tight Spaces

This impact driver is nice and compact, making it perfect for working in tight areas. The textured anti-slip comfort grip that is a staple of many other DeWalt tools ensures the user of a firm grip. This impact driver has a built in LED light. This also has been a common feature on most DeWalt tools, and though the light output is fairly dim, it does help out illuminating the work area, especially in darker light settings.

DeWalt DC825 vs DC827 vs DCF826 vs DC825B

If you don’t want to get confused about the many impact driver variants of this model, you can skip this part. The DC825, DC827 and DCF826 are essentially the same impact drivers, that share identical parts. The B in the DC825B denotes a bare tool, without the battery.

The only differentiator is that if you’re buying them as a part of a kit, they are supplied with different batteries. The DC825KA comes with two 18V XRP DC9096 batteries, which use the older NiCad technology. The other two kits are supplied with 18V Lithium Ion batteries. The DC827KA comes with two DC9180 batteries and the DCF826 is supplied with two DC9181 batteries


The DC825 and it’s impact driver variants have been around for quite some time. Powerful and compact, the DC825 can be used for a variety of applications, and is a worthy addition to any toolbox, especially if your other tools are from the DeWalt 18V line.

What’s Included in the Box?

The DC825KA comes with two XRP batteries, a 1 hour quick charger and a carrying case. The DC825B is a bare tool only.


  • Powerful impact driver with lots of torque
  • Small size good for tight spaces
  • LED light illuminates work area
  • Compatible with DeWalt’s NiCad and Li-Ion 18V platforms


  • None


  • The DC825KA Comes with NiCad batteries, though it can use DeWalt’s lithium batteries. Though the NiCads are still readily available, expect a general phase out of the technology within a few years. If you’re looking for the same impact driver with newer Lithium Ion technology, get the DC827KA or the DCF826KA

DeWalt DC825 / DC825B Specifications & Warranty

  • Voltage: 18V
  • Drive Size: 1/4″ hex shank quick release
  • No Load Speed:  0-2,400 rpm
  • Impacts/Min: 0-2,700 ipm
  • Max Torque: 1,330 in-lbs
  • Max Torque: 111 ft-lbs
  • Tool Weight: 2.2 lbs (Without Battery)
  • Tool Weight: 4.2 lbs (Compact DeWalt 18V Battery)
  • Tool Weight: 4.8 lbs (DeWalt XRP 18V Battery)
  • Tool Length: 5-3/4″ Inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5lbs (Tool Only)
  • 1 Year Limited / 90 Day Money Back / 1 Year Free Service