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Tool review: Compact Power Drivers

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More to consider before buying
Chuck comparison
Enlarge Image
Drivers with a 3/8" three-jaw
chuck (left) work with hex- and
round-shank bits. Models with
a hex chuck (right) accept
only bits with 1/4" hex shanks.

More to consider before buying

Charge time. Each driver comes with two batteries and a charger. All required from 30 to 60 minutes to top off, but given the run time per charge shown by most of the drivers, you'll likely not exhaust a battery before the second one is recharged.

Chucks. Six models feature 3/8" three-jaw chucks, while the others have quick-connect 1/4" hex chucks, as shown at right. Neither style proved a deal-breaker, unless you plan to drill much with the tool; only the three-jaw chucks accept round-shank bits.

Grips comparison
Enlarge Image
Eight of the 10 drivers feature
thicker grips, like the Bosch
PS20-2A (left). The Hitachi (right)
and Ryobi have slim grips.

Clutches. All the tools sport clutches with at least 10 settings -- most had 18 or more -- and we found all the clutches helpful to prevent stripping out or shearing off heads of brittle drywall screws, as well as tiny brass hinge screws.

Grip comfort and balance. Most of the drivers felt comfortable and nicely balanced. Those with three-jaw chucks proved slightly more front heavy. Battery packs on some models feature small stems, resulting in slimmer grips, as shown at right. The triangular-shaped packs on the others slide into the handles, requiring thicker grips that could be uncomfortable for small hands.

Continued on page 3:  Our recommendation



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