20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Items to keep you alive in the event you must evacuate: discussions of basic Survival Kits commonly called "Bug Out Bags" or "Go Bags"

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20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by jor-el » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:27 pm

Over the years while in the bag (uniformed service)there was a frequent need to deal with mundane tasks that involved the careful application of power tools. Securing doors and windows in the aftermath of burglaries, for example, or setting up command posts at various field locations. Now, in the past I would have had access to the resources of our Emergency Services Unit, who had all manner of battery powered stuff; angle grinders, masonry and dedicated concrete drills, hydraulic presses and clamps.
Still, ESU was often unavailable and I hated to have to divert them, so I looked into stuff I could get at Home Depot or Sears that could perform common tasks like drilling holes, cutting plywood, screwing down bolts, screws and the like. I found these:
Image

Image

Yes, they have their detractors. They're not for long hours of sawing 2x4s or flooring planks. They will do the base actions every once in awhile and they would weigh and cost less than these:

Image

Image

As I became interested in these, their popularity to the buying public waned, so availability of the base units and accessory attachments also decreased. As a consequence, my kit is composed of a mix of B+D and Craftsman units. They do fit and function, well enough to do light woodwork. They're also somewhat more compact, making them easier to use in tight spaces.

So. Anyone else use one?
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by NT2C » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:50 am

Speaking as a retired general contractor from your AO... The Black & Decker units are homeowner grade, not really something I'd want to have to depend on. The DeWalt stuff is well made but priced about double of what it's actually worth. Yeah, it'll stand up to some abuse, but we had guys killing the stuff anyway on a regular basis. Eventually, we switched to a different brand that I'll get to in a minute. The Makita stuff is pretty darn good, but like the DeWalt, stuff is not gentle on the wallet. Then we get to Ryobi, which is what we switched to after we moved away from DeWalt. Maybe not the same quality, but good enough for light to moderate general construction and it does eat too much of the profits if something breaks and HD won't warranty it (which they generally would). After that comes Harbor Freight... I'll pause here while you stop laughing and catch your breath. Harbor Freight stuff is a weird mix of utter crap and pretty decent crap. Their hand tools are generally pretty darn good, their corded electric tools also tend to be pretty good, and their battery-powered stuff, while not as good even as Ryobi, is good enough (most of the time) to get the job done, and they have a very liberal warranty policy that makes returns and replacement pretty painless. Couple that with the extremely low cost and they were the perfect tools to give the new guy on the crew to work with until he proved he could be trusted with better quality stuff. If he ran it over with one of the trucks or a Bobcat, dropped it off a roof onto a concrete driveway, lost it in the bushes behind a house while chasing a dog he accidentally let out, left it on top of a water tower for a week in the rain (all stuff that actually happened on my crews), then you just handed him another one and told him to get back to work instead of sobbing on your balance sheet the way losing a DeWalt made you feel like doing.

Oh, and now that I've retired guess which stuff I've kept for myself? The Ryobi and Makita tool, with a sprinkling of Harbor Freight and a couple of Bosch and Hilti drills.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by NT2C » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:55 am

I'll also add that I've heard very good things about Rigid brand battery tools now, and also Milwaukee, which I forgot to mention earlier. The Rigid tools that I still have after retiring are my compound miter saw (and table), and my 10" portable table saw, both of which I really like and which seem well made, as well as a selection of pneumatic nailers that I've also found to be worth the money.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by majorhavoc » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:34 pm

NT2C wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:55 am
I'll also add that I've heard very good things about Rigid brand battery tools now
NT2C beat me to it re: Rigid as another brand to consider. I think of it as a contractor grade version of Ryobi. I'm a Ryobi guy myself, but I'm strictly DIY/homeowner. If I were a contractor I'd be looking at Milwaukee, Makita or maybe Bosch. Porter Cable has really gone downhill in recent years, at least IMHO. And I can't figure out what Dewalt is trying to be: contractor grade or spendy consumer level stuff. I think they have a brand identity issue at this point.

Re: Ryobi - it's definitely homeowner grade, but it's served me very well over the years. To the one, every tool I've purchased is still running (well) and at this point I'm so invested in their tool line it would be extraordinarily expensive for me to switch.

And one other thing I give Ryobi extra credit for: they've left their 18 volt battery/tool interface format untouched over the years. My 14 year old drill still works with the newest lithium ion batteries. Seems like every other brand has changed format at least once during that interval. Lots of orphan tools out there from other brands.

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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by NT2C » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:06 pm

majorhavoc wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:34 pm
And one other thing I give Ryobi extra credit for: they've left their 18 volt battery/tool interface format untouched over the years. My 14 year old drill still works with the newest lithium ion batteries. Seems like every other brand has changed format at least once during that interval. Lots of orphan tools out there from other brands.
Ryobi did start out as 9.6v and then 14.4v though, so there is that. They do still sell batteries for those tools though they are quite expensive. (I have a nice little 1/4" Ryobi 9.6v drill that the charger for is an AM/FM radio and cradle for the drill while the battery charges, but at $54.99 each for those batteries I won't be buying one.) As for Ryobi being consumer grade, I see them as more low to middle end contractor grade, especially over the past couple years. I did manage to kill one of their 14.4v drills once (stirring a 5 gallon pail of silver roof coating and I forgot to gear it down to the low range) and I have a battery sawzall of theirs that, while it still runs, does so reluctantly after being used to cut through a leaking plaster & lath ceiling in a frantic search for the water line that let go and which we were having trouble shitting off. It seems they don't work so well after being filled with wet plaster dust, go figure. :? :lol:
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by SRO1911 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:08 pm

When I was doing maintenance full time I had pretty much every 18v tool dewalt made, before the 20v lithium came out. When I moved to welding I kept using them, until I got stuck on a job in Midland and ended up hanging sheet instead of welding. One of the guys on the crew had this tiny red impact and was running laps around everyone with the big 8 pound drills.
He carried a half a dozen batteries in his pocket and never slowed down.
I finished the job, put all my yellow stuff on craigslist and went wild with Milwaukee m12 stuff.
7 years later and its still going strong.
Smaller, lighter, far more compact and tough enough to run 4 inch lag bolts or drill half inch holes through 1 inch plate.

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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by moab » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:14 pm

HF gets my vote. My mother worked there for a while a couple years ago. And the warranty is unbelievable. I'm not sure if you have to pay for it. But if you do it's like a dollar or something stupid. She said guys would bring in OLD OLD power tools and get new ones. No questions asked. HF makes some quality stuff. In gun building. My main job. I use HF press, drill press, jig saw, various hand tools, air tools (their air tools are great and cheap as hell.) If one ever broke I'd just go replace it. But non have.

But as far as home improvement and the like - where I use a drill or other common power tools most - I'm like you. It's a once in a while type of thing. I've never had to use the warranty on the HF stuff. But it performs well. And I don't need contractor grade. Few do. And as NT2C describes. Sometimes it's cheaper to go disposable tools that are good enough. Rather than the high end stuff. Unless it's something where precision is necessary. I do use a better drill press than my cheap HF or Ryobi I don't recall which I have.

I would steer clear of these 3 in 1 units though. Just get each tool dedicated to your task. A jig saw and a cordless drill should get you past most things bug out related. THrow in a sawzall and a 4 inch angle grinder. And your good to get into and keep safe in just about any enclosure.

Been looking at the 18v and 20v 1/2" drive cordless drills HF has over the last month. As my Sears 18v has finally taken a dump after a couple decades. We used to have a Sears repair center with a used tools section near me. I bought a lot of sears and craftsman stuff. But HF is the place. IT's also where I buy my consumables - rubber gloves, sand blast media, towels, jersey gloves etc. etc. The place can't be beat for price. ANd like I said - from my mothers recent experience most people don't know how good the warranty is. It's literally no questions asked. They bank on guys never having a problem. But never having a problem turning things in on warranty either. She thought some guys were bringing in stuff they found at garage sales, replacing them for new, and then selling them. It's that good.

Someone needs to make a site like Camel Camel Camel for HF. For those that don't know. Camel Camel Camel is a site that tracks Amazon pricing on specific products. You can look up the current price of any product and find out it's pricing history over the last years or at least months. So you can tell if your getting the best deal at that time of year or should wait. HF is ALWAYS having sales. On EVERYTHING. A common item in gun building is the HF 12 ton press. It sells for around $175(?). But in different parts of the year can be had for $99 or less.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by moab » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:15 pm

SRO1911 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:08 pm
When I was doing maintenance full time I had pretty much every 18v tool dewalt made, before the 20v lithium came out. When I moved to welding I kept using them, until I got stuck on a job in Midland and ended up hanging sheet instead of welding. One of the guys on the crew had this tiny red impact and was running laps around everyone with the big 8 pound drills.
He carried a half a dozen batteries in his pocket and never slowed down.
I finished the job, put all my yellow stuff on craigslist and went wild with Milwaukee m12 stuff.
7 years later and its still going strong.
Smaller, lighter, far more compact and tough enough to run 4 inch lag bolts or drill half inch holes through 1 inch plate.
I will say I have a Milwaukee sawzall. And it's a great tool!
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by woodsghost » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:55 pm

I worked customer service in Home Depot for some time in 2015. I was pretty impressed with Milwaukee tools. Partly because they were better than the others, and partly because of their warranty. Now when I buy tools (as opposed to receiving them as gifts) I buy Milwaukee.

Working customer service, I did have people return busted Milwaukee products. I know some of them were "HD rentals" though, which pissed me off.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by majorhavoc » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:28 pm

moab wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:14 pm
HF gets my vote.
I've never quite had the nerve to try any of their cordless tools. But this thread isn't the first place I've heard they're surprisingly good for the money. Like I said earlier, I'm just too invested in the Ryobi 18 volt tool line at this point.

I have had good luck with a lot of other Harbor Freight stuff. Torque wrenches, hex and torx wrenches, tap and die sets, etc.

One of my all time best HF buys was their corded 1/2" impact wrench https://www.harborfreight.com/12-in-hea ... 68099.html to change the sprockets on my motorcycle (my attempts to remove the mounting bolts with a 2 foot breaker bar were laughable). That thing is an absolute beast. I have no doubt if I used it on a regular basis in a commercial shop I'd wear it out in short order. But for the occasional use DIY'er, it's a bargain.

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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by jor-el » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:39 pm

First item of the new kit:
Image

The price of a hammer drill module from B+D or Sears or a used one off Ebay would be more than this and not include a battery and charger.

BTW, battery NOT compatible with the Bolt-On/Matrix

Here's the Hypermax:
Image
Note it has 5 slots for power contacts

Now the Bolt-On
Image
Has 4 slots for power contacts

And the Matrix
Image
Also has 4 slots.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:49 pm

I ended up with ryobi because that was what my dad was buying people for christmas that year, but I've been happy with it. My brother upgraded to DeWalt brushless and upgraded me to his lithium ryobis and now I'm looking at really investing into batteries at which point I'll be committed. The one tool that really has me sticking to ryobi is their cordless transfer pump, looks like a great way to harvest water out of hard to reach spots, or to run water through a home water filter off the grid.

Which leads me to my biggest hurdle; what is the best way to charge cordless batteries off of solar? Solar charging a battery, to run it through an inverter, to put it back in a battery seems really inefficient with all the loss at each step, anyone come up with a way to charge them more directly?
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by NT2C » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:08 am

RonnyRonin wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:49 pm

Which leads me to my biggest hurdle; what is the best way to charge cordless batteries off of solar? Solar charging a battery, to run it through an inverter, to put it back in a battery seems really inefficient with all the loss at each step, anyone come up with a way to charge them more directly?
Ryobi used to have a 12vdc charger for their batteries, I have no idea if they still do or not but anyone competent in electronics could make one of the 120vac ones into a 12vdc charger if they don't.

Ninja Edit: Figured I'd look before I hit the "Submit" button... here ya go: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-18-Vo ... /100342149
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by majorhavoc » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:18 am

NT2C wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:08 am
RonnyRonin wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:49 pm

Which leads me to my biggest hurdle; what is the best way to charge cordless batteries off of solar? Solar charging a battery, to run it through an inverter, to put it back in a battery seems really inefficient with all the loss at each step, anyone come up with a way to charge them more directly?
Ryobi used to have a 12vdc charger for their batteries,
...
here ya go: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ryobi-18-Vo ... /100342149
Oh man, you just got the wheels turning in my head ...

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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by RonnyRonin » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:54 pm

Much obliged NT2C, that is certainly a step in the right direction, not sure how I missed that. Getting straight from a battery or solar panel to a 12V plug is not much of a feat, I will add that to the list right behind the transfer pump.

Eventually I will likely get some kind of battery hub (in the style of a GZ yeti or a power kodiak, but DIY or offbrand) and most of those have 12V plugs. For a long time I've debated cordless tools vs. a gas generator+corded tools, but the better lithium batteries and cheaper solar seem to be pushing me pretty steadily toward cordless.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by NT2C » Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:38 am

RonnyRonin wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:54 pm

Eventually I will likely get some kind of battery hub (in the style of a GZ yeti or a power kodiak, but DIY or offbrand) and most of those have 12V plugs. For a long time I've debated cordless tools vs. a gas generator+corded tools, but the better lithium batteries and cheaper solar seem to be pushing me pretty steadily toward cordless.
While 12v plugs are fine (and have the advantage of being internally fused) I prefer to feed 12vdc to a marine grade fuse block and go from there to short lengths of wire terminated in Anderson powerpole connectors. On the device I want to power I cut the 12v cord about 6"-12" above the 12v plug and put powerpoles on both, so that I can still use it in a conventional manner if I want to. The advantage of doing it this way is that it takes up far less room than a row of a dozen 12v sockets would, uses blade fuses instead of glass fuses in the plug, and as a ham, powerpoles are the defacto amateur radio 12vdc connection and I can quickly connect to another ham's power supply or provide power to them in an emergency.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by woodsghost » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:56 am

NT2C wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 1:38 am
RonnyRonin wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:54 pm

Eventually I will likely get some kind of battery hub (in the style of a GZ yeti or a power kodiak, but DIY or offbrand) and most of those have 12V plugs. For a long time I've debated cordless tools vs. a gas generator+corded tools, but the better lithium batteries and cheaper solar seem to be pushing me pretty steadily toward cordless.
While 12v plugs are fine (and have the advantage of being internally fused) I prefer to feed 12vdc to a marine grade fuse block and go from there to short lengths of wire terminated in Anderson powerpole connectors. On the device I want to power I cut the 12v cord about 6"-12" above the 12v plug and put powerpoles on both, so that I can still use it in a conventional manner if I want to. The advantage of doing it this way is that it takes up far less room than a row of a dozen 12v sockets would, uses blade fuses instead of glass fuses in the plug, and as a ham, powerpoles are the defacto amateur radio 12vdc connection and I can quickly connect to another ham's power supply or provide power to them in an emergency.
That is a pretty sexy idea! I've been thinking I need to look into the world of 12v tools and appliances. And I need to get a solar station set up. But first things first. A car and a house.

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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by jor-el » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:16 pm

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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by Thrive » Sun Aug 26, 2018 9:21 pm

Reading these posts I think we'd all agree that there are many fine choices, with the variety of our experiences some will have different opinions than others. The best Value may not be the best Performance, perhaps neither are the most Durable. This thread began under Bug_Out_Gear so we shouldn't be looking at the cheapest, for example because in the scenario we can't go to HF for their warranty nor depend upon B&D to survive under adverse conditions.
I started with Craftsmen 12 + 18v cordless, then switched to Ryobi 18v (NiCad) when the Craftsmen died. I've put them through a lot, I'm still very happy with Ryobi for their value + versatility and recommend them accordingly. However... a couple of years ago we took down 3 old buildings on the farm (my wife & I did the demolition) putting all of our tools through the paces. Milwaukee (corded) "Super Sawzall" didn't last long and was unrepairable by Milwaukee service center. I also wore out a Ryobi corded recip because Ryobi cordless was Not up to the task - At All. I needed a set of Powerful, Durable cordless tools to compete this work. So I spent the $$ on a Dewalt 20v kit. Impact driver pulled rusted lag screws, recip cut beams and the nails I couldn't avoid. This 20v cordless worked Better than other corded tools.
Suggestions: see the following 20v Dewalt product: USB source; lighting; impact driver; saws - including chain saws. Note that there are a few models for a given tool: key word is "brushless" for safety, durability, longevity. Check Acme Tool for selection, Amazon for price.

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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by Halfapint » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:39 pm

So I’m of the “buy one, cry once” thought train. I could get Dewalt batteries for free from work (seriously people! Read the TSA rules!!!!)so that’s what I got. I bought a shit load of Dewalt tools lightly used and have used them for years now.

However, I was wanting something lighter that I could use for menial tasks like cutting brass and doing shit around the house without having to deal with the 30lb Dewalt still. So I went to harborfreight and got their 20v system (Bauer I think?). I’ve had it just the drill since January. While the only thing I’ve noticed that’s lacking is the battery. I don’t have any of the small Dewalt I only have the 4 amp hour batteries. But other than that this thing has run hard for a while. I want to get a couple more just to see, plus 1 year no questions asks warrenty. I’m favt when I bought it the lady was like if it breaks, sears down, or really just anything, bring it back we’ll give you a new one!

My buddy who’s really into tools and stuff said that HF has been head hunting head engineers from the likes of Dewalt, and other big and companies. So I the saying it but their stuff my be getting a lot better.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by moab » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:58 pm

jor-el wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:16 pm
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Image
Wow. That's a really great deal. You just can't beat HF. For the normal person that just uses their tools for - not a job - lets say. I mean I have a whole 6ft tool chest and most of the tools are from HF. And I will most likely hand these down to my son whenever I die. lol.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by jor-el » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:14 pm

So far haves used both the hammer drill/driver and jigsaw in a bedroom renovation involving laminated wood floor tiles. Maybe 2-4 running hours inter-spaced with plenty of time for cool-downs. So far no tool failures.
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by Stercutus » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:19 pm

My current set is 24 volts, Kobalt, Li-Ion. I have zero complaints. They outperform my 18V Ryobi set I bought back in 2004 and the Old Milwaukee 20V set I was given in 2011.

I still have the other sets. I went through three sets of batteries with the Ryobi and two sets and a charger with the OM. Currently none of the batteries work for the old sets but the tools work just fine.

The Li-Ion batteries are worlds ahead in performance. They run full out until they die and recharge quickly. With the other sets typically I would run out of charge on my second battery before the first was done recharging. With these the charge holds until the dead one is recharged.
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be rememberèd—
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother

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jor-el
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Re: 20 Volt Multi-Tool Sets: Opinions and Experiences

Post by jor-el » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:04 pm

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Is a 1/4 impact driver that useful? So long as it can work on passenger car lug nuts I suppose...

An angle grinder is kind of useful. Often need to cut metal stuff that's thick as a chain.
My son, you will travel far, but never be alone, for I am with you, my M14 and battle axe comfort you.

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