Monday, July 25, 2016

DeWalt Cordless 20V Drill Review for Beginners

My compost bin frame in process
I do not have much DIY experience. I have zero woodworking experience.  I certainly have not used power tools as an adult - before now. It would seem that I am not the best candidate for writing a review about a cordless power tool. On the other hand, perhaps I am the best reviewer of tools for DIY beginners.  If you are anxious about your first power tool purchase, be confident that the DeWalt Cordless 20v Max Drill Driver Kit is an excellent choice.

Why I Needed to Purchase Tools

I have purchased a small piece of land with a very rustic hunting "cabin" in West Virginia - affectionately referred to as The Shack.  I plan to live up there at some point.  In the meantime, I want to learn to be as self-sufficient as possible.  Which includes learning to do more than unclog a toilet, replace light bulbs, and change locks on doors. I can paint and I have laid carpet successfully in very small rooms.  But that is the extent of my DIY ability.  But I want to do so much more.

My very first project was building a wooden trellis (with much help) and tearing it back down for transport. The plan was to install the trellis on my own.  So far, digging the holes in my yard has me stymied and that project is on hold.

My second project, which I have successfully finished, is a small wooden and wire compost bin.  I purchased the DeWalt Cordless 20v Drill for this project. I had dire misgivings about purchasing a cordless. And I made a beginner mistake that made me think my review of this item would be negative.  However, it ended up that this drill works GREAT. I found that once I fixed my mistake, this drill is reliable.  I am so glad I purchased it.

My Dad - The Roofer and Builder

My dad owned his own roofing and pole barn business.  He also built our barn.  I was young, but I helped with both building our barn and occasionally with his business during the summer.  I held boards, carried shingles, and pounded nails occasionally.  But I did not handle the power tools.

This feels like a million years ago. But I clearly remember the portable generator and the corded saws and tools.  Surely, I can build things now.  It's in my should come naturally, right? No. Not so much.

Shopping for Power Tools

How overwhelming, shopping for power tools when you have no experience.  I very much wanted to follow in my father's footsteps with the generator and the corded tools.  However, generators are expensive.  They also weigh a good bit.  Depending on which one I purchased, I wouldn't be able to haul it up in the back of my Jeep Wrangler.  I also noted that tools don't "feel" like they did all those years ago.  Due to being much lighter and made with more plastic components they feel cheap and chintzy.

I felt like I "gave in" and purchased a cordless drill. After much window shopping, I chose the DeWalt Cordless 20v Max Drill with the lithium ion battery. Although, at the time of purchase, I felt little to no confidence about a "power tool" that was battery operated.  I intentionally saved my receipt so I could return the drill after it failed.

My DeWalt Cordless 20v Max Drill and Driver 

My drill came with a bag, two batteries, the charger, and the drill.  I purchased a set of drill bits separately.  Once I was no longer hesitant, the drill worked great for pre-drilling holes and screwing in screws. It was powerful and I could easily adjust the speed. Changing bits was exceedingly easy.  The light feature was very helpful as I was working inside my shack with little natural light in the area I was working. The bag was perfect to make sure I had everything together in order to carry it back and forth between the apartment and The Shack.

DeWalt cordless 20v max drill and driver kit

Initially, I thought the fully charged batteries were going dead following just a few holes and screws. I was ready to return it - my biggest concern being realized. Then I realized that the light on the charger lights as though the battery is fully charged when you just lay the battery onto the charger - as I was doing.  However, and this is very important, the battery must click onto the charger in order to charge properly. I feel silly admitting that I hadn't known that but am sharing the information to make sure the next beginner understands that.

That one slight user error was the only thing that has given me pause about this wonderful cordless drill.  The price was great. The drill has plenty of oompf. Figuring out the settings was easy for even a rank beginning like me.

And with the help of my drill (and a DeWalt cordless 20v Max saw) I was able to successfully build my first item - a wooden and wire compost bin.  

For DIY beginners as well as those of you who understand the meaning of volts, RPMs, 3 speed transmission, ratcheting chuck, and carbide insert may be interested in this video provided by DeWalt.  

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. What a fabulous review! You know Dawn, I really admire you for so many reasons and this is just one more. I have never used a drill in my life and I would be scared to death that I would somehow drill a body part and suffer life threatening injury. I do have a cordless screwdriver that I dearly love. I very much appreciate this review from a woman's perspective. If a man recommended it, I would still question the weight and the amount of strength required to change the bits. You have made me believe that maybe, just maybe I could use a drill without drilling my hand to a table, my foot to the floor or put a hole in my head trying to figure out the drill bits. Ok, perhaps I exaggerate a little, but you have truthfully shown me that woman can use a drill and that we should not shy away from power tools.

    1. I don't think you exaggerate at all. I have/had the exact same fears and feelings. I just know that drill is going to skitter across the board and put my eye out! This little drill is a bit heavy due to the battery. I wouldn't want to stand on a ladder and drill things into the ceiling. But... otherwise, it is quite easy to handle and not heavy at all.

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  3. I love victories like this one, Dawn! Reading about your power drill experience is so very encouraging, which is huge because I'm small, not at all strong, and have a husband who would rather do things himself. Occasionally, though, I want to tackle a project. Now I just might do that, on my own. And I might just have to buy this for my husband, who definitely is NOT a believe in battery-operated equipment. I think, together, we can win him over!

    1. I think you should buy a tool for yourself (this one or one you would use), start a project, and I bet your husband would borrow your tool. I bet he'd be convinced to go cordless after he borrowed this drill. I think you should try a little project. I had such a feeling of accomplishment when I finished my simple little compost bin.

  4. What a fantastic review, I must tell you Dawn in my opinion you choose the best, DeWalt cordless power tools are the best. You'll get a lot of use out of that tool. I must say again a very good choice. Good luck with all of the work ahead of you.

    1. Thank you so much for the validation. I window-shopped many times. And just at the store display, the DeWalts felt better made to me. I'm glad I made the choice. I'll need some luck with all the work ahead.

  5. I am sure that you will be using this drill for a long, long time. I am so glad that you are fearless in your new experiences. I'd be shaking in my shoes trying to live off the grid, but would love to try it sometime. First I have to find my courage, like the cowardly lion! I do enjoy reading about your escapades.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate them. I definitely would not call it fearless though. It is just that there are no witnesses to my level of fear... except for the dogs. And they aren't going to talk because they know who feeds them! I am often literally quaking in my rubber boots when I'm doing these things.

  6. What a great review from a woman's point of view. I can use a screw driver to take out screws and a hammer to hang a picture on the wall, but that is about the extent of myh DIY abilities. You have given me confidence I could now do more for myself!

  7. That's the kind of review that makes me think maybe even I could use a power tool. My husband has some, but I've never had occasion to use them. I'm not very good at making things. I'm better at photographing them after they are made. I'll pin this so I can find it again if I'm ever in need of this.


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