Most, if not all, trades have already worked out that 18 or 24volt drill/drivers are not always needed on every job. When it comes to the need for sheer power - then 18v or more, is the answer. But what I have found out from experience, is that there is quite a range of lighter duty jobs that are more than adequately catered for with a 10.8 or 12v tool.
With the smaller and lighter drill/drivers, I find they can be slipped into the front flap pocket of work trousers, or even into a side pocket. So, finding somewhere to put them while working on a ladder is solved. Their significantly smaller size also means that they can be used inside cabinets and in tighter spaces where bigger tools simply can’t fit.
Because of the type of usage they are put to, even the smaller Ah (say 2.5 or 4Ah) battery packs often last a day or more, even for a busy kitchen or shop fitter. The new Flex DD 2G 10.8-LD fits nicely into the above category – it is light and compact and fulfils all my criteria for a smaller and lighter drill/driver without compromise. It looks like a smaller version of an 18v drill driver, but it has the advantage of feeling lighter without lacking all the ergonomic rubber grippy stuff of bigger drills. In other words, this is no poor relation to a more powerful 18v model.
On top of that it is very well priced – roughly £110 ex VAT. Good enough to tempt non-professionals into buying a professional quality tool.
With a top torque of 34Nm I had no trouble driving 50 or 60mm long screws into softwood or some less dense hardwoods. Certainly, the most commonly used materials like chipboard and MDF are not really a challenge for the screwdriving ability of this drill driver.
The drill driver benefits from having a 10mm keyless chuck that clicks tightly onto drill shanks with the twist of a wrist, and stays put under working pressure. The machine can drill up to 25mm diameter in wood and up to 10mm in steel, and has two speeds – 0 to 350 rpm in slow gear and 0 to 1300 rpm in fast. The speeds are selected via a slider switch on top of the drill body.
With a 2.5Ah battery pack on board, the drill weighs just over the one kilo and the same pack will take approximately 40 minutes for a full charge via the diagnostic charger supplied. Battery packs have a charge indicator so you can see how much juice you have left.
Supplied as standard are a belt clip and a bit holder. These can be screwed onto the base of the handle with the hex screws provided and can fit either on the left or right hand side of the handle to suit the user. The belt clip is one that you will use because it is strong and rigid, so it does actually catch on your belt when you want it to. A trouser pocket may not be the only holding solution for ladder related work.
A few years ago I would have dismissed the idea of a light on a drill, but nowadays I find them very useful indeed, and the big bright LED just above the front of the trigger is placed well to illuminate the work area in front of you.
There are 17 torque settings and a driver setting selected via the usual collar behind the chuck. The settings are easy to select and most users will probably not use them very often, but for delicate work - inside kitchen cabinets for example, attaching drawer slides – it is actually very important not to overtighten screws into chipboard carcases. When I tested them, all it took was a minute or two of trial and error with the screws concerned to decide on the correct torque setting.
The trigger and forward/reverse arrangement is one commonly used on most drill drivers. The trigger is easily big enough for a forefinger, and the forward reverse switch above it is easily selectable without having to move your hand from the handle.
And then there is the Build Quality
To me this drill feels like a pro product in the hand, and I could find no signs of shoddy manufacturing on it. The body mouldings are precise and fit together well, and do not flex under drilling loads. Rubber overmoulding is carefully placed for a comfortable grip on the main handle. The rear of the motor casing has a rubberised cap for protection and there are rubber ‘bumpers’ on the sides of the body and handle above the battery pack, so that the casing will be protected when it is laid down on its side. You can’t always find a flat spot to stand the drill upright on its battery pack in some workplaces.
The battery packs are rigid and solidly encased and the slides are precise too, making loading and releasing a battery pack very easy via the single press lock on the front of it.
The Bottom Line
I have been using this drill on a range of lighter jobs like removing fittings prior to decorating, some woodwork involving drilling and screwing, and some cabinet fitting. It is a simple and straightforward tool that does what is asked of it. I was constantly surprised at how long the battery lasted – my record was a day and a half.
It is compact and comfortable to use, and was particularly useful when putting up guttering where it was small enough to put in pocket, and light enough to clip to my belt without making my trousers lopsided.
It is packed into a spacious rigid nylon case with the charger and two batteries. There is enough room in the case for a few spare bit boxes, drill bits etc. Frankly, with this drill I prefer having the nylon case rather than a larger rigid plastic one, because it is easier to find a spot for it in my crowded boot. Sometimes small is just as good as big, when it comes to drills anyway.