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Dewalt Circular Saw and Combi Drill Review

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gidon

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14.4v Combo Kit Model: DW984SA
Circular Saw: DW935
Combi Drill: DC984 XRP

For some of the history behind this purchase please look here.

The drill and saw come in a blow moulded tough case, with the two batteries and a quick charger (which does NiCd and NiMH batts upto 18V). First impressions are very good. Usual tough Dewalt plastic, batteries snap postively into place and nice all metal chuck on the drill.



First the drill: this is the latest model with extra torque (47Nm), new trigger and larger 2.4Ah batteries. For full spec see here. It's heavier than I'm used to at 2.5kg. I weighed my Bosch 9.6v drill and it was 1.5kg - but it feels a lot lighter than the Dewalt. Still not too heavy, and passed the holding-it-at-full-arm-extension-for-30s test. It has three speeds: the top speed feels comparable to my corded drill and drove a 13mm drill bit into some pine as quick as I'm used to (if not quicker) with my corded drill. The torque on this drill is unbelievable - in fact on the lowest speed (highest torque) mode, even at torque set to 1 (on scale up to 22), there was too much torque for driving some screws into soft pine.

I used the drill all day yesterday and no sign of the battery even starting to run out. It's a vast improvement on my Bosch - but I'll keep the Bosch for lighter screwing tasks to save swapping bits.

I tried the hammer action on some bricks at the back of the garden and it again performed similiarly to my corded hammer drill. I need to put it to the test further, but I did buy the drill for DIY tasks too - and that's where the hammer action and high speed (1800rpm) will come into their own I hope.

Two negative notes: firstly the speed selector switch sometimes sticks and you have to spin the drill a little to get it unstuck. This was the same on the other two identical drills I got - so it's a design 'feature'. Not a big problem but slightly odd. The second very minor point is at the lowest torque setting the torque coller becomes loose and rattles a little. Another slightly odd design 'feature'.

Overall very pleased with the drill - couldn't really ask for more.

Onto the saw ... The first thing that strikes you is how light it is. You could hold it all day. And the second thing that strikes you is how quiet it is with no load. You can't really believe it's going to cut through wood! But it does and pretty effortlessly too. I've tried it on 1/2",3/4" MDF with no problems. And 5/4" oak again with little difficulty. Again I used it all day (on and off) and the batteries lasted well.

The blade on the saw is very very thin ~ 1mm kerf. To try and save the battery I guess. This does mean that the cut you get is not like I get from my beefy corded Dewalt saw. It's not really a finish cut and will need smoothing for most projects. But then I didn't get this saw for finish cutting. I got it to safely cut large boards and planks down to size in a small workshop, where I feel very uncomfortable with my large corded saw. For this job it's a dream - I wish I had got it sooner. And if something's too big I just take it outside, rest it on some battens and cut away. Of course you still have to be carefull with this saw, but it's much much safer to use than a corded saw and I think it's just made my corded saw redundant!

In conclusion at the price I got this kit (£236) it's amazing value. Even at Toolstation's current price of £284 I think it's very good value. You'll pay over £200 for the drill alone, which makes the saw at under £70 a bargain I think!

I may add to this review as I use the drill and saw more. Please feel free to comment or ask me any questions.

[EDIT - 1/11/04]
Have used the saw a little more and still pleased with it. Took it to the timber merchants and cut some 6/4 Ash to fit into my boot. Didn't think it would manage it but it did. The blade will bind if the cut wood closes on it. But I quite like this - means there's little chance of kickback. And safe enough to just rest the planks on some 4x2's and cut away. (Did get some odd looks from Atkins and Cripps staff!)
[/EDIT]

Cheers

Gidon
 

Keith Smith

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Thanks for the review, I've been asked a couple of times if the 14V saw was really up to the job and obviously from what you say it is. I have the 18V and like you I now very rarely use my corded saw. There is a slight inherent risk with these saws because you don't plug them in and I have inadvertently started mine a couple of times when I picked it up.

One slight point about the review is the charger, if it is anything like the chargers that came with my 14V equipment, it says it will charge 18V on the bottom, but 18V batteries won't fit in :?

Thanks again

Keith
 

gidon

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Thanks Keith - glad you found the review useful. I had a look at the 18V version the other day and it looked quite a bit more substantial (much stiffer sole plate), but the 14.4V is good enough for my needs at present ...

There is definitely a risk of becoming a little blase since it's so easy to use and feels so safe.

Strange about the batteries - I can't check with my charger since I have no 18v batteries but will look out for that one.

Cheers,

Gidon
 
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