Dewalt has finally launched their new lineup of cordless 12V Max lithium ion power tools. When I first previewed these new compact tools, it was love at first touch. We currently have the full range of tools in-hand for review, and will start off the series by discussing the tools’ common handle and battery design.
Handle Comfort & Ergonomics
My initial impression upon seeing Dewalt’s new compact handle for the first time was “oh, isn’t that a little… skimpy?” Luckily it doesn’t really matter how the handle looks, as long as it feels good. Let me tell you, the handle is downright comfortable. I would even go as far to say that Dewalt’s 12V Max handle is one of the most comfortable and ergonomic compact drill/driver handles in the market today.
Dewalt spent a lot of time and effort optimizing the handle’s design, and it shows. I have medium sized hands, and holding the drill and drivers just feels… natural. No strain, only comfort.
The handle is nearly completely covered with a rubber grip of varying texture and geometry. Critical palm-gripping zones are defined by a rough-textured rubber, and the finger-tip zones are covered by what I can only describe as inverse ribbing. A raised smooth-rubber edge contours between the distinct zones.
Stand it Up, Lay it Down, or Let it Hang
Dewalt decided to go with a sliding-style battery that allows the tool to stand upright when placed on a flat level surface. This feature by itself does not make a huge difference to me, but when Dewalt polled contractors, this is what many of them asked for. The flat-bottom design allows the drill to be set down quickly without the risk of it tipping over and damaging a delicate or finished surface.
In addition, the battery configuration gives these 12V Max tools a very comfortable balance. The center of mass, at least for the 3/8″ drill/driver is located right about where the trigger is. In comparison, many other compact 12V tools on the market today are somewhat top-heavy.
Positioned on both sides of the tools at the top and bottom, rubber bumpers ensure that the their hard plastic bodies won’t mar work delicate surfaces if a tool is put down on its side.
Finally, the 12V Max handle features a removable belt hook. The hook can be positioned on either the left or right side of the tools, and is included with most of the drill/driver models. Unlike some other belt hooks I’ve tried, these allow the lightweight 12V Max tools to rest close to the body, greatly reducing the amount of tugging felt on belts and pants. A built-in notch in the belt hook allows the tools to be hung from nails, screws, hooks or other such mounting points.
Battery Installation & Removal
The battery slides into the handle quickly and easily. A very audible click lets you know that it’s properly seated. Removal is just was easy. Simply unlock the battery and pull it out.
The handle design is superb, and has quickly becoming one of my favorites!
Check out our additional reviews of and posts about the Dewalt 12V Max cordless tool lineup.
Check out this thread for model number breakdowns and shopping links.