I have had my Makita cordless drill since about 2000. The batteries have been real troopers. Recently, the two battery packs it came with had only been able to hold about 5 minutes of charge each, but with two packs, it was usually enough if you act quickly. Getting new battery packs has been on my mind for a while, and I have kept my eyes open, but nobody locally stocks them anymore (although I have yet to check a couple of stores that sell nothing but batteries.) Last night, I discovered that they simply did not hold a charge at all. This was when I needed the drill to disassemble Kim’s table and take down her ceiling lights. I managed to get the table disassembled with a screwdriver and socket wrench (a 1+ hour job that should have taken 5-10 minutes), but could not do the overhead lights by hand and will not be able to reassemble anything by hand.
This morning, I poked around the Sears website at prices. It turns out that if you only consider home-drills (i.e. excluding ones built for industrial or commercial purposes and excluding the unusual ones like right-angle and tight-space drills), most well-equipped corded drills are well under the price of just a single cordless battery! I believe ALL of the power drills were well under the price of both batteries! The batteries I’ve priced in the past few weeks ranged from about $80 to $100 each. The drills start at $50 (clustering around the $50-$80 price point) and can go as high as $130. As convenient as cordless is, I have miles of orange extension cord. Besides, corded means I can work immediately. Cordless work has typically needed a battery recharge before the job because the batteries slowly lose their charge when sitting over time.
For well under the price of a single replacement Makita battery, I picked up the highest power (6A), largest chuck (1/2″) Craftsman corded drill. The retail price on that was $70–pretty close to the battery–but it’s on sale for $10 off and you get another $10 if you buy online and pick up in the store. I’m not going to argue with $20 off. Today, I guess we’ll see how well store pickup works. I have never done that with any store before and have heard both shining endorsements and horror stories of in-store pickup at various places. Now, I get to brave the mall the day before Christmas eve. Wish me luck.