Take something that is already good and continue to make it better. That’s what Hitachi did with their new Hitachi DS10DFL 12V Micro Drill Driver. This drill is also part of Hitachi’s KC10DFL 12V Driver Drill and Impact Driver Micro Combo Kit. Features like a smaller size, lighter weight, better batteries and more power are just a few of the improvements that make this new tool stand out. In a market with many new tools in the sub-compact category, it can be a tricky endeavor to add value as well as good features.
One of the first things we noticed about this tool is the battery style. While many companies have opted for the in-handle design for 12V models, Hitachi stuck with the more traditional style that sports a square based battery. This style allows you to balance the drill or driver on the battery end and have it stand up, which in some cases makes it easier to grab rather than setting it down on its side like other sub compacts. My second reason is that I like the battery bulge on the end of the handle because when you are up on a ladder and you are using a universal drill hook, it gives something for the tool to hang from.
What made our testing fun was the fact that we had an older Hitachi 12V Ni-Cad of the same tool to make some comparisons from. The first thing we noticed was the difference in the size and weight. The new tool was definitely more compact, about 3/4 of an inch shorter in length and weighing in a half pound lighter. We noticed the grip angle was improved greatly, and so was the grip diameter, which was made smaller on the new tools. This is helpful since it will accommodate a larger variety of hand sizes more comfortably. In our field use, we actually used both the new and old drills side by side to install a replacement door in a home. It quickly became evident that the smaller size of the new tool did not detract from its power. In fact, the new tool was substantially more powerful (just to be fair to the older drill driver; it has been well-used for the last few years so we allowed for the possibility that this played into the capacity and performance of the batteries). The bottom line is that the new Hitachi DS10DFL Lithium Ion Micro Driver/Drill is more powerful, more compact and just… well, better. As far as some of the other goodies on this drill, there is a two-speed transmission that can be switched from high to low on the top of the body. There is also an LED work light built into the base of the chuck that will shine a light whenever needed when you are drilling or driving a screw. The one thing we did not like about this drill was that you had to use two hands on the chuck to tighten it fully. We found that if you did not use both hands, once the chuck was snug up to the bit, the motor would start to spin.
The Hitachi DS10DFL 12V Peak Lithium Ion Micro Driver Drill really offers super compact size and big tool power. Combine this with Hitachi’s new 10-Year Lithium Ion Tool Warranty and you will have a tool that will definitely be around for a while in your tool collection. With the obvious improvements over the last 12V drill, this new set is the way to go. For our Performance rating we gave this set a 7/10 because it shows great power and compact size but we did not like the chuck system on the drill. For our Value rating we gave the set an 8/10 because it is hard to beat the long warranty period and the competitive price.