Cool tool-NOT!

Discussion in 'V.C.'s Parlor' started by Michael7, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. Michael7

    Michael7 Squier-holic

    My ancient Craftsmen 14.4V battery drill gave up the ghost recently. I had read some good reviews about these Harbor Freight 18V ones, so I pulled the trigger when they were reduced to $23 including the battery. That is half the cost of just the battery for the old one!

    I had it shipped to save myself a trip, and it took longer than I would have expected from their giant distribution hub in South Carolina. But I got it yesterday and plugged the battery in to build a charge.

    Afterwards, took it to my garage. It is heavier than the old one and has a great feel in the hand. Squeezed the trigger and the cool LED to illuminate the work spot went on. But nothing else! What the hey?

    Then I realized I hadn't selected the drill direction, ie, the forward or reverse button. Clicked on that and the whole damned button pushed through the drill and fell out the other side onto the floor! Button shown at the right, held by a paper clip to show the profile.

    After a call to customer service, my option is to take it back to the local store for exchange. I guess the old adage of "buy cheap, get cheap" still prevails and I'm back where I started and out the $7 I paid to have it shipped!

  2. Kenneth Mountain

    Kenneth Mountain Squier-Axpert

    my HF 14.4 is going strong - 15 or 19 clams ? battery don't last long but I don't need it to ?

    sorry to hear it - at least you can walk in and grab a new one - even great stuff breaks once in awhile ?
    Michael7 and dbrian66 like this.
  3. kjmac

    kjmac Squier-Nut

    Aug 14, 2017
    Omaha, NE
    I have a whole boatload of Ryobi 18 volt power tools.... probably about 10 or 11 in all. I bought my first ones back in 1983 when we finished our basement and aside from switching over to the Lithium Ion batteries, I have never had one fail. They are a good value for the money and Home Depot always has a huge selection (as well as Amazon).
  4. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    I’ll go to HF for some stuff... air tools, work gloves, specialty tools, 110V grinders/sanders/etc, but nothing battery operated.

    Here’s the problem with typical home shop use and rechargeable tools:
    You’re probably not using it enough.

    When I had a second job as a alarm/clock/PA/video installer, I had a Makita drill... I used it every day, and at least one of the batteries was always in the charger at night (used to near empty most days). That drill, and batteries lasted for years... as soon as I stopped working that second job, and even cycling the batteries regularly, the batteries went within months of no longer being used regularly. Same with the next two drills (Craftsman and Skill),

    The DeWalt I use at work every day gets used not quite as much as my old Makita, but I wear a battery down every other day or so... after a year of use, it’s actually better than when it was new...
    I know if I wasn’t using it regularly, it would be going fast. The price of these drills is mostly the battery, and even a HF will last well if you punish it... but since the core quality of the drill itself is less, what happened to you happens.

    For home, as long as the drill part works, I just look for more compatible replacement battery options. There’s a few out there online, I’ve found ones for my Skill on Amazon. I have also found decent batteries at pawn shops (where I found a 24V battery that fit my 19.2 Craftsman, kept it going a few more years).

    My wife brought a DeWalt corded drill to our marriage, I have used that drill more than my Skill (now failing batteries AGAIN), since she moved in.
    The convenience of no cord is nice, but I’m not really needing a cordless right now.

    If I did, I’d go hit some pawn shops...

    but not HF.
  5. vlxerdon

    vlxerdon Squier-Nut

    Dec 31, 2014
    Coastal Georgia
    Same here. Have a gang charger and eight batteries. The charger hold six and will not overcharge so there are always six fully charged ready for my tools. On another note,I also have a HF 18 volt drill that I have had for 4 trouble free years. Guess I.m lucky.
    Kenneth Mountain and Michael7 like this.
  6. Gloveberg

    Gloveberg Squier-holic

    Aug 30, 2015
    West Texas
    Word of warning for HF rechargeable tools (I found out the hard way)

    The chargers for their batteries DO NOT stop trying to charge them if they're at capacity and therefore will overcharge and render your battery a paperweight. Do not leave them on the charger, take them off when they are fully charged.

    I have a lot of HF stuff and for the average guy it's a great alternative but the fact they don't fix their chargers pisses me off because a new battery is half what the tool costs :mad:
  7. JoeInMichigan

    JoeInMichigan Squier-Meister

    Jun 10, 2018
    I use ryobi as well,bought a set from home depot years ago and have added to it with impact driver and newer batteries and they're all interchangeable. Home depot had drill impact driver charger and battery for 80$ week or so ago. The impact driver really is nice,used it on two decks last summer and helped building the float for my old schools homecoming this past fall and my buddy ran out for lumber and bought one of his own he was so impressed.
  8. Dinomikesr

    Dinomikesr Squier Talker

    Nov 25, 2019
    I can't speak for Harbor Freight drills. I've had a couple cheap Black & Deckers over the years. When the batteries on my current one got to so they wouldn't last for minor work and the cost of a new battery being $33 I decided to get a new drill. I spent $100 on a Dewalt that came with two batteries and a charger. Considering what I had used in the past this thing is just light years ahead on power and how long the battery lasts. I got it 6 months ago and it's killer.
  9. Michael7

    Michael7 Squier-holic

    I had lunch with a buddy yesterday and was very close to a HF store, so they swapped it out with a new one, no issue. The manager had a good laugh when I showed him the button that just fell out.

    If I had been smart, I would have asked them for the original battery and charger as compensation, but didn't think to do so. In any event, I think I can mind the battery management easy enough, since I usually know in advance when I am going to be free to work in the garage. I also have a Dewalt corded drill, so always have something available.

    I did need other things as HF anyway, like 10" garden wagon wheels and tires, which were $15.50 for all 4! I also get nitrile gloves there, and a few other things. If I relied on tools for a living, I know I'd be buying the best available, but for hobby stuff, these expendable tools are fine. My old Craftsman probably lasted 15 years, and this one is better made and the lithium battery is superior.
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