Hitachi DS12DVF3 Drill Driver Combo Review

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hitachidriver“You use 12 volt cordless drills?” That is a statement I have heard a lot over the last year or so whenever someone enters my workshop. The answer is, “of course I do, don’t you”, and here is why I use them.

It has to do with the amount of bench work and assembly that goes on in the shop. Most of the work is done with brad nailers and pocket-hole screws. I have all the heavy duty drills, 18 volt, hammer and corded drivers, but when it comes down to handling them all day at the bench, it gets downright fatiguing.

Since my older 12 volt drills had run their life span, batteries won’t charge and new ones (batteries) are the same price as a new driver, it was time to treat myself to a new outfit. I can drive screws all day with this lightweight Hitachi and have energy left over.  In this case, size and weight made it an easy decision.

The small frame fit comfortably in my hand, no overbalance in either the chuck or the battery end, comfort grips to ease hand strain and correct drive angle, made for an easy to get used to tool. Also in the kit was a well written manual with all the usual safety warnings, the charger, driver bits, a reversible belt hook that folds out of the way and of course the second all important battery. It all came packaged in a hard case.

Incidentally, not all manufacturers supply the second battery with their cordless drills, especially lithium ion models. The light in the combo kit was just a bonus. It was the drill that mattered, but since then I have found the light quite useful as well.

I found the drill to have plenty of power (230 inch/lbs of torque) and  22 clutch settings. The lower settings are handy when setting small size or brass screws. Crank up the clutch to 22 and it has enough guts to drive 3 inch deck screws. With a half hour charge time, there was never any worry about down time with the drill.

I have seen drills that had wobbly chucks, some from badly fitted gears, others from slack bushing, and some from badly beat up drills with bent shafts. Unfortunately this happens to be one of them with a wobbly chuck right out of the box. I should have taken it back right away but again, that 2 hour drive to the big box store came into play.

I have not taken it apart to find out if it is sloppy bushings or bearings. So far it has not caused me any grief. The 3/8 chuck holds my drill bits and drivers securely. By the way, this little drill never leaves the workshop. It is dedicated strictly to assembly.

For the amount of use this drill has had, it is showing little wear. Well, maybe a little on the chuck grip were I have had to use it in a tight spot and scraped a little rubber off. For the price ($88), this has been an amazing bench tool. It has saved me lots of time, effort and I daresay money in the long run. This is one of those tools that I can put a full recommendation to in spite of the wobbly chuck.


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