Rating: ★★★★½

While I’ve reviewed a number of large tool combo kits before, this is the first “smaller” one that I’ve had the chance to test out.  While the “official” name for it is a “Two Tool Combo Kit”, it actually has two tools (a drill driver and an impact driver) plus a light, so in my mind that would be three tools.  I’m not here to debate what constitutes being considered a  “tool” though, so let’s get in to how they all work, shall we?

First of all, I really like the case that the case that everything comes in – hard plastic, and really designed to take a fall (I dropped the case out a second story window onto concrete with the tools inside – everything still worked perfect) and protect the tools.  I worked some construction when I was younger and know the pain of dropping something off of scaffolding by accident and watching it shatter below.  I don’t know how high of a drop this will take, or what kind of impact it’s even rated for, but for small drops it really does the trick.  another thing that’s really nice about the case, is that it’s all compartmentalized inside of it, allowing you to store bits and things for easy carrying.

With the tools themselves, it’s almost like Hitachi took the best features from other manufacturers and incorporated them all in to one nice little package.  For starters, the batteries slide into the base of the handles horizontally, instead of vertically.  What that means for you is there’s no post sticking out of the tops of the batteries (like a DeWALT), and the connection is very secure – no risk of being up high and accidentally hitting the button to make it drop to the ground.  I’ve seen plenty of people who have has to use duct tape to hold their batteries in because the plastic clips snapped off – there’s really no danger of that happening here.

The grip on both drivers is extremely comfortable to hold, and the tools are incredibly light – even with the batteries in them.  I spent an entire eight hours with them attached on my belt (they have nice belt clips to facilitate that), and never noticed the extra weight.  Even when using the tools over my head, I didn’t have any fatigue that you would normally associate with using heavy tools.  Along with being light weight, they’re also decently ergonomic to hold, and fit my hands quite well.

Each tool also has a little LED on them under the chucks, and this is where my main gripe comes in to play – the light shuts off as soon as you release the trigger.  I know it’s a small gripe, but I’ve gotten used to using a drill where the LED stays on for a few seconds after you release the trigger – it makes it easier when you’re in a cabinet or other dark places.  The LED’s that are on the Hitachi drivers are a lot brighter than others I’d been using though, so that’s a big plus.

As for the performance of the drivers themselves – I couldn’t ask for them to be any better.  The drill driver has two gear settings, and they both have an adjustable trigger clutch, so they’re good for just about any application.  The clutch on the impact driver is really great, because for the first time I didn’t have any issues with running half inch diameter lag bolts their full eight inches.  On other impact drivers I had tried that test on before, there would inevitably be some issues with it locking up before bottoming out.

As for the included light (or the tool that isn’t considered a tool), it’s very useful.  The head has a nice swivel on it, and it’s bright as hell.  I haven’t had a power outage in a while, but I’m sure there will be one this Winter (there is every year), and I’ll be ready for it when it comes.  I keep one of the two included batteries inside the light just on the off chance something happens.  I shouldn’t need to talk about battery life – it’s an 18 volt lithium ion battery, and lasts as long as the others I had tested.  I do with that there was some sort of button to push on the battery itself to indicate how full the charge is (like a RIDGID or RYOBI) – unfortunately it’s just a guessing game with these.

Overall, I really like this kit.  So much so in fact, that it has replaced the RIDGID drill I had been using as my new drill of choice.  The fact that the belt clips are metal, and adjustable for either the right or the left hand sides makes these drivers extremely versatile.  Couple that with the how light they are in the weight department, and you can easily overlook the few negatives (speaking of which, I forgot to mention there’s absolutely no place to store bits on either of the drivers themselves – an extreme oversight) that there are.

My final score is a rating of four and a half stars (if we could give three quarters of a star I would) out of a possible five.

Pros:

  • The drivers are light weight and durable, which makes for less fatigue and strain
  • The case is a lot better than the cloth bags that other companies use
  • The clutch works perfectly on each of the drivers

Cons:

  • The LED light doesn’t stay on after the trigger is released
  • No place to hold bits on the drivers
  • No indicator on the batteries for how much charge is left

You can get a Hitachi KC18DHL 18-Volt Lithium Ion 2 Tool Combo Kit from Amazon for $249.99










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