I have to throw my hat in the Ryobi ring. I lived in Costa Rica
for nearly four years doing natural building - timber framing, cob, etc., and making furniture. I built a house, basically a big tree house, for a friend of mine there. I brought down one of the Ryobi contractor kist - drill, impact, sawzall, circ saw, jig saw - on sale
at HD for $179 (Christmas sale). We also had a Makita drill and some dewalt hand drills, and a cheap
Sears planer - the Delta
model with sears stickers on it.
The Ryobi kit held up under the abuse admiralty - I more than once dropped the impact from 40 feet trying to screw in some perlins out on the edge of an 8-foot overhang, and too lazy to extend the lanyard.... I drilled more 3x1" mortises into teak
trees that I can count with the drill. Those in-cads held up pretty well in place we used to joke was where electronics
came to die (the old iPods could be guaranteed to die in three months).
Having worked at many building job sites and 6 yeas as a yacht joiner, I have to wonder if some of the 'you won't see those cheap
tools on a jobsite' mentality is a bit of macho bravado. Yes, older versions of the big names had a great advantage, but now so much seems to be coming out of the same factory in China
. Ever since B&D bought up Dewalt, PC, and Delta
, they've all become the same ingredients with different packaging.
I used the Milwaulkee M12 for a gig with the doing some boat wiring
on support boats for a major sailboat race
. I like that the drill has an all-metal gearbox
, but the impact driver had a sensitive trigger that at times would start, stop, and hen go full bore. Not fun with tiny screws. And with the handle style, there's no way to attach a lanyard for going aloft.
I just bought the new Ryobi Li kit at HD. So far, I love the Li batteries, and the fuel
gauge on them. They fit my hand well, the circ saw has the blade on the left side where I can see the line to cut, and the impact driver's collet is spring loaded - simply push in the bit and it clicks in,, and to release, pull back the collet and a spring ejects the bit ( with a bot of force - the first time it shot a couple feet across the table...)
I think the biggest test is going to be what feels good in your hand.
Now, how to make a prop shaft that I can hook into the drill..... ;-)