Review: Dewalt FLEXVOLT 60V Stud & Joist Drill

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Dewalt’s Flexvolt 60V Stud & Joist Drill may look familiar, I mean without the battery and add a cord, paint it red and you might be reminded of an old industry mainstay. But let’s forget about that old drill, made by another manufacturer and focus on what I might call the most powerful cordless tool I have ever used.

The two variable speed settings (forward, with single speed reverse) coupled with the ” E-Clutch® System” make for a high performance machine ready to handle probably anything you throw at it. I must remain honest and admit that I entered this review thinking I already knew how it would perform but not only that but how I would be sure to point out a huge flaw in the overall design. After using the drill on multiple projects, large and small, I can not say I have found a definitive job task this drill should be able to perform but cannot. Because it can and will, and it will do it faster and safer than any other drill before.

The E-Clutch system senses reactionary torque caused by a bind-up or stall and reduces speed to a manageable level until control is regained. This is a significant technology and the first in any large pattern, full-sized rough-in drill I have used. All right-angle drills I have used, owned or tested have had mechanical clutches. Mechanical clutches are sufficient only that they will save your knuckles, face or knuckles and face sometimes but the problem is they will not always prevent a hard stop or throw from a ladder. In fact most of the time when a mechanical clutch engages on large right angle drills the user is thrown or pinned up against a nearby object and almost always materials are damaged. The E-Clutch is sensitive but will allow you to get the job done without excessive engagement and stopping. Its so smooth it will take a few engagements before you’re completely aware of why the drill stopped and what exactly is going on, I know I felt this way at first and drilling with a right angle drill is nothing new for me this long into my plumbing career.

For the video review I loaded the drill with a 3.0Ah Flexvolt (9Ah 20V equivalent) battery,fully charged. The battery had been used multiple times before on other Flexvolt and 20V MAX tools. After drilling every hole needed to complete the drain, waste and venting rough-in on a three bath house, 40 holes 2-9/16″ & 3-5/8″ diameter, the battery had used 1/3 of the total capacity as indicated by illuminating 2 of the three LED lights on the battery when finished. The whole house was drilled using nothing but cordless and not more than one battery. What a time to be alive.

The weight of the drill and its balance seem comfortable although the d-handle protruding off the backside of the head is less useful for actually drilling than it is useful for carrying and pulling the drill and bit from a completed hole. I have not used the side handle bar for any holes to date but it is included in the kit and would be useful for added control while drilling or mixing various materials like small batches of concrete or drywall compound etc.

Overall I was thoroughly impressed, I could not find any detail that stood out as a flaw or that I would consider suggesting to change. It provides more than enough power needed to complete a plumbing, hvac or electrical rough-in with ease. Its fast and efficient in its use of battery power; evident by the battery capacity used to drill all the needed holes in the video. As the Flexvolt system continues to grow and remains backwards compatible with all the 20V MAX tools I can without a doubt recommend taking a close look at this tool if you’re thinking of trying a new tool line or already on the 20V MAX platform and need to add a high performance right angle drill to your tool arsenal.

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