We chose to do our initial review on power drill/drivers because they are universally used, by both contractors and homeowners. The 14.4-volt model is middle-of-the-road pricewise, and consumers can get more power for their dollar than with lower voltage models. As well, a 14.4-volt drill/driver can do most of the tasks of an 18- or 24-volt driver, but tends to be lighter in weight and easier to handle. All of the drill/drivers we evaluated had similar featuresadjustable clutch and dual-speed action as well as comparable heft and balance. One caveat is that we tested only new tools, and don't have frequency of repair or breakdown data.
These tests were performed with the understanding that drill/drivers are designed to meet the needs of two very different groups. Prices vary widelythe professional-oriented models cost quite a bit more because of stringent standards of quality, resilence and longevity. The higher price assures you longer lifetime and a tool that will not quit easily. For a lot less, consumer-oriented models such as the Black & Decker FSD142 Firestorm are available, containing added features but are likely to sacrifice durability.
We found that, for pros, the Bosch 32614 and RIDGID R83001 were hands-down our top choice; for the average do-it-yourselfer's needs, the Ryobi SA14402 and Craftsman 11453 are all-around good buys. And for non-demanding household use, there are the quick-switch functions and snappy features of the Black & Decker FSD142 Firestorm.
We performed these comparison tests in order to present our readers with the best review of the top models in the field. The test parameters are as follows:
* 2-1/2-inch deck screws driven through doubled 2x4 stock
* All screws driven on high speed; torque clutch set accordingly
* Battery was run down completely and fully charged before conducting first test