Take something that is good and make it better. That’s what Hitachi did with their new 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 these new tools stand out. In a market with many new tools in the sub-compact category, it can be a tricky endeavor to add value and good features.
One of the first things we noticed about these two tools 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. I point this out because I like this design a lot better than some of the in-handle design batteries. There are a couple reasons for this. For one, I can 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.
Our test tools arrived all packed up in a cardboard box. Inside the box was a nylon carry bag that was large enough for both tools and the charger with more room to spare for bits and accessories. The dividers inside the carry bag are held in place with Velcro so they can be removed if more space is needed and if that is not enough, there are also pockets on the outside too. The tools themselves have main bodies made of black ABS plastic with a green rubber overmold for that extra grip we have come to expect. Both the impact driver and the drill are very similar in size and weight. The overall balance of both tools is superb, which helps to make sure the user does not get fatigued and that you have good control over the tool. Variable speed motors and triggers are standard on both tools as well. The included quick charger provides a full charge in about 30 minutes – which is what we’ve come to expect for ~12V lithium-ion based battery systems. While performing our testing, we noticed that the batteries were 10.8V with a peak of 12V. This find did not seem to affect the performance of the tools, but we figured it was important to note that these were not full 12V batteries. The best way for us to explore the tools in this combo kit is to take a closer look at each one.
DS10DFL 12V Lithium Ion Micro Driver Drill
Driver Drill Specs
- Chuck Size: 3/8″ keyless
- Torque: 195 in/lbs
- No-Load RPM low: 0-300
- No-Load RPM High: 0-1,300
- Clutch Stages: 21+1
- Length: 7-13/32″
- Weight: 2.2 lbs
What made our testing fun was the fact that we had an older Hitachi 12V Ni-Cad combo set of the same tools to make some comparisons from. The first thing we noticed was the difference in the size and weight. The new tools were 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 combo sets side by side to install a replacement door in a home. It quickly became evident that the smaller size of the new tools did not detract from their power. In fact, the new tools were substantially more powerful (just to be fair to the older combo set; they have been well used for the last few years so we are allowing for the possibility that this has played into the capacity and performance of the batteries). Bottom line is that the new Hitachi DS10DFL Lithium Ion Micro Driver/Drill is more powerful, more compact and more… better! (Can I even say that?) 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.
WH10DFL 12V Lithium Ion Micro Impact Driver
Impact Driver Specs
- Chuck Size: 1/4″ hex
- Torque: 840 in/lbs
- No-Load Speed: 0-2,500 RPM
- Impact Rate: 0-3,000 BPM
- Length: 5-15/16″
- Weight: 2.2 lbs
In our comparison of the old impact driver to the new, we were able to see that the upper hand went to the WH10DFL 12V Peak Lithium Ion Micro Impact Driver. The overall dimensions of the new impact driver shrunk considerably in comparison to its older brother. Even compared to some of the other sub-compact impact drivers on the market, the body on this Hitachi is among the smallest. With 840 in/lb of torque, the driver has the guts needed to drive almost anything you would be able to throw at it. We used it for sending in self tapping screws into an aluminum door frame, for driving a multitude of different screws with both Philips heads and hex heads and also for putting in some 1/4″ lag bolts. Three inch deck screws were also sent home without any trouble. For its minimal size, this impact driver delivers great results. Of course, to add to its usefulness, an LED work light was added that very effectively illuminated dark work areas.
The Hitachi KC10DFL 12V Drill/Driver and Impact Driver Micro Combo Kit 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 set of tools that will definitely be around for a while in your tool collection. With the obvious improvements over the last 12V combo kit, 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.