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Make no bones about it: this drill absolutely will not compete with your Milwaukee, Bosch, or DeWalt in terms of features or reliability.  On the other hand, you can have one for about a third the price of a battery alone from those other companies.

As we mentioned in this week’s Tool Talk podcast, we visited the cabinet shop of a company that refurbishes jet interiors a while back and saw these scattered all over the shop.  For low-torque/low-stress situations, these make a quite decent solution.  And maybe HF was listening — they’re on sale for $15 again right now.

Hell, just pick ’em up for the parts!  It’s pretty tough to find a motor and battery for this price anywhere else.

18V 3/8″ Drill w/Keyless Chuck [Harbor Freight]


45 Responses to Dealmonger: Drill Master’s $15 18V Cordless Drill

  1. l_bilyk says:

    Do you really think people who post on this blog will buy one of these? Maybe for parts. Otherwise, i’m pretty sure that the guys (and girls) that post on here like tools quite a bit, and are willing to shell out more than $15 for a drill

  2. Lorenzo says:

    I’d buy them just to attach them to a couple of inline skates and have some fun!

    Hmm… perhaps a time for a new, fun project?!

  3. smoore says:

    I don’t think ANYONE will buy ONE of these.

    I think ANYONE who needs one will probably buy FIVE.

    Awesome post. Cheap screwguns rule.

    Rain. Who cares?
    Lost. Oh well.
    Dropped. Damn! Hm, that’s a good lunch I just dropped! Oh wait, it still works!


  4. Brau says:

    I can see if I were teaching a class where tools prone to abuse and disappearance (schools), these would be very attractive. Also, if the battery alone could be modded to fit other brands then it’s a hell of a deal.

  5. Kurt Schwind says:

    I can’t see it as someone’s primary. But for $15 this is perfect for any place where you don’t need to use your primary. Like what smoore says, rain, dropped, who cares.

    When tools are this cheap, schools should be able to afford them for shop class.

  6. Nkt says:

    I have one of these. I bought it at HF about a year ago, with an extra battery. By now, with fairly light use, both batteries are completely useless. Maybe it’s the cheap dumb charger they included that killed them, or the fact that I tend to leave the battery in the charger overnight, but they wouldn’t stay charged for even one day now. A dozen screws, and I need to put it back in the charger. I am thinking of rebuilding the battery packs and getting a smart charger, just to practice my soldering…

    The battery pack on my drill uses slightly different connector (with a protruding stick at the top), so it it theoretically possible they have made a leap in quality. I wouldn’d count on that, given even lower price that I paid.

    I definitely wouldn’t recommend this one, unless you really need a throwaway tool you wouldn’t regret losing.

  7. Jaxx says:

    Would make a excellent present for that lady in your life, much better than those electric screwdrivers they always seem to have knocking about.

  8. TL says:

    Not a bad deal for a linnen closet tool. For those times when walking all the way downstatirs to the garage to get the real drill is just too far.

  9. Stu says:

    Worked in a shop that bought 5 of them – short story, utter crap – not worth even the $15 – the chuck is poor, bits slip – the batteries which are weak when new die after a few months. A good lending tool perhaps…

  10. I wonder if the motors might survive a few minutes in a school robotics league. The one I have personal knowledge of uses DeWalt drill motors, which I believe they get at substantial discount from a repair depot. But for other uses where discounted nice motors aren’t available, the $15 cheapies might be viable.

    Stu, a good lending tool if your goal is to wean people off the habit of borrowing your tools! 😉

  11. Joseph says:

    Just bought one of these at HF to replace the Black & Decker Cordless that I already had. The B&D went bad after only a few uses and cost about 3 times as much. To get a new charger and bettery it would cost more than the original purchase price.

  12. Tony says:

    Many thanks to the folks who shared their reviews of this drill. I was tempted by this week’s HF ad, but I’d rather put the $$ toward a decent, if more expensive, secondary drill. My primary is a $70 (sale price) Craftsman, and it’s been worth every penny.

  13. pilotx1 says:

    Has anyone gotten the chuck removed from these drills? im using a pair of the motor/ gearbox combos for a super cheap battlebot. A few of my friends are in on this and this is my drivetrain if i can get the chucks off

  14. JJ says:

    I purchase one of these, also. The motor is great. The batteries are junk. No staying power.

  15. eric says:

    Hello, don’t know if this is the right place for it but I have a question about HF 18v chicago cordless drill batteries. I have seen some at HF that look exactly like my 18v craftsman drill battery. I was wondering if the chicago batteries will work with a craftsman drill. Just looking for a cheap replacement battery for my drill. thanks.

  16. Brock says:

    This is great for parts, for anyone who does their own electronics projects. The variable speed controll is great, and a battery and motor, its a great deal, i bought two for a remote controll submarine i’m making for fun.

  17. Hawdis says:

    I know you guys are tool snobs, but I wanted to leave a positive review for this drill. My craftsman 18volt died a couple of weeks ago and I got this drill with flashlight combo for $20 and I am currently redoing a house and this thing is perfect for many uses. I’ve used it for hanging drywall (screws), replacing locksets, countersinking cabinet screws, etc. For this price it is unbeatable. I have a DeWalt corded that I use for anything where I need real torque. The battery seems to last forever and it has decent power. My two cents.

  18. Jamie says:

    I have bought several of these as well. They are good light duty tools. However, these tools are part of Harbor Freights Drill Master line of slide pack tools. The line has impact, impact driver, reciprocating saw, circular saw, and ratcheting flashlight. The impact tools are GREAT, as are the saws. This 18 volt tool (93440) is basically the screwdriver of the line. The opinion of this tool lover is that these tools, when used as a SYSTEM of tools, are a great alternative to paying the price of a used car for a tools set. Try the system, not just the drill. You will be pleasantly surprised. As for the charger, I bought a digital timer at Wal-Mart and I used one outlet to charge for the 5 hours and the other to do a monthly charge on another battery. As for the premature failure of the battery, THESE BATTERIES CANNOT BE LEFT ON THE CHARGER, SO UNPLUG THEM WHEN THEY ARE CHARGED FOR CRYING OUT LOUD ! Or, get a decent timer . Peace Out !!

  19. angela fedder says:

    I’m contacting you about Delta cordless batteries. I need a replacement 18v battery for my tool set and I don’t know where to look. Do you have or do you know where to look for these batteries?

  20. Jason says:

    I’ve gotta ditto the comment about using these as a system. I’ve got two of these that I use strictly for car stuff, to keep the good ones for work from getting greasy…I’ve been totally shocked by the performance of these cheap little drills. Sure, it’s no DeWalt, but unless you’re actually drilling massive holes, one of these will probably work for you. And the money you save could be spent on DeWalt stickers, so everyone will still think you’re a tool snob 🙂

  21. xcaliber says:

    Good read, thanks for all the comments. I am here in search of a new battery for this drill. I own one of these kits with the flashlight, jigsaw and orbital sander. I really like the drill, in fact I like the gearing better than a dewalt. If I could just find a good battery for it so it doesn’t let me down everytime I need it, it would be a great drill for the price.
    That being said, I would recommend anyone looking to buy this drill save their money and shell out a few more clams for a good drill, you’ll be much happier.

    my .02

  22. JK says:

    I purchased one of these drills a couple of years ago. I could not justify spending big bucks (to me) on a more expensive model because I really do not need it on a regular (or even irrigular) basis. For big jobs I just use my corded B&D. I like the power the drill has, but like others, the first battery only lasted a couple of charges and now it has no staying power whatsoever. After reading some remarks about the battery and the charger, I purchased a new battery, charged it for only six hours the first time, and now only charge it for two hours when needed. The batter has lasted for over a year and a charge is good for a dozen sheets of drywall, which is a good day’s work for me. It may not be top of the line, but I like it.

  23. Debra says:

    I received one of these combo sets as a hand me down from my boyfriend. However, before passing the kit on to me he managed to lose the battery charger stand and plug in. I know I can buy a second battery at HF but does anybody have any idea where to get a new charger? Please help. THanks.

  24. james salvinski says:

    I purchased one of the combo kits. (drill and a light) When I got home I tried to charge the battery, but the battery would not take a charge. I went back to the store and exchanged the battery. I got home and charger the new battery. After charging I installed it on the drill and drill turned once. took it off the dill and installed it on the light, and the light turned on for about 30 sec. Now I have to go back to the store and gey my money back. I spent more money in gas then I spent on the kit.

    Please Don’t buy this drill, save your money and buy a Dewalt, bosch, or any other name brand drills

  25. JSRCRB says:

    Debra – I called harbor freight who sells the unit. We determined that my drill used the charger base 28285-0ZZA (I did not need the cord – just the base). It is backordered but cost was $1 plus shipping. Full charger with cord should not be too much. Hope this helps

  26. Les Dumas says:

    Does anyone know where to get a case for the 18 volt drill?

  27. Ventmaster says:

    I bought one of these recently for my dryer vent cleaning business and it works just fine. All I need is something to spin the brush while I insert it, so it’s perfect. If all you need is something to do light duty jobs around the house, etc., this is a great deal.

  28. larry says:

    Bought 3 each of the Drill master chargers and batteies. One battery was bad and two of the chargers went in the first day. That should say it all.

  29. Dane says:

    One thing to think of for people who are enjoying knocking this drill is the motor size. Not just the voltage. DeWalt 18v drills use an I believe 700 size motor where as this is only a 550. For $15 its unbeatable. Especially for someone who is into off-roading. If it gets dunked in a river crossing or crushed in a roll over its no huge loss.

  30. James Mason says:

    I bought 10 of these just for the freaking battery pack. My several year old drills had long lost usefulness because the battery packs were dead and replacements were in the range of 70.00 for one. The Mah rating was higher than my drill’s old dead batteries. I just dismantled my battery pack (screws) and dropped in these batteries and it is like new.

  31. James Mason says:

    PS the battery chargers on these drills do not have a shut off. When they are charged disconnect the battery or you will ruin your battery.

  32. Some Sonofmydad says:

    On 15 Sep 2011, James Mason pointed out this system uses a dumb charger. The instructions give a max charging time. Exceed that and the battery (and/or the charger) may be done.

    Have this tool and the HFT Drill Master reciprocating saw in this battery system (one of at least four that won’t interchange). Found this page on a search for a charger. Best regards.

  33. Dan says:

    Well gentleman…..Let me tell ya, I bought one of these and have had it for 3 years. For a cheap piece of crap, it has held up very well. The battery:….DON’T let it charge all night long (24 hours). I charge mine for around 6 to 8 hours and it got me through my work…NOT HOURS OF IT…just about 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour. HEY! what do ya want for $15? (how long does your $150.00 drill get you through on continues work???) My battery finally not holding a charge. I will try zapping it with the car battery to see if I can get more life out of it…if not, bye bye, no loss after 3 years. If I could find this now! I would buy it again…probably 2 or 3, just to have on hand…for that price, WHY NOT!

  34. Jerry says:

    I bought a drill master 1/2″ 19.2 volt drill that Ireally liked.I used it mainly arround the house,plenty of power for what I needed it for,the battery stayed up for a long time, no squaks there,in fact for the use I got out of it the battery is just now running down.
    My only peeve I have with it is when I went into the box to get the charger to charge the battery there was no charger so now I have a great little drill that I can only admire or use for a door stop because I can’t locate a Drill Master 19.2 volt charger and I shiver to think what I will have to pay for it if I ever do.I guess maybe the cheap little drill won’t be so cheap anymore.

  35. william sims says:

    I have a drill master that take’s a 18.0v batter and i got It from harbor freight and i took it in to them and they Told me they don’t sell that drill any more and there was Not any thing they could do with it i ask them if they Could get replacement batter and they told me no so i am Sending you this to find out if you know were i can get One.

    Thank You
    So Much
    William Sims

    • J. Tanner says:

      I just purchased this 18V Drillmaster/ Flashlight today

      12-28-13 at HF in Henderson, NV. for $19.99, don’t know who you talked to, but they seem to be available


  36. PutnamEco says:

    You could try having them rebuilt by any of the battery rebuilders scattered throughout the country. I have had good luck with mtobattery.com and have heard that voltmanbatteries does a good job as well. Then again it appears they are still for sale on the harborfreight website.

  37. Rich Mercer says:

    No replacement batteries available. good luck when tese wear out in 6-12 months.

  38. Craig says:

    I bought one of these a few months ago I really needed a drill and not much money to spend. After a few months of allmost everyday use when I pull the trigger half way it works but when I pull trigger all the way for full power the motor stops. Anyone have an idea of what I can do to fix this even if its a temp fix untill I can afford to buy a real drill.

  39. Craig says:

    Also I put the battery in the flash light it came with to make sure it wasnt just the battery but the light worked fine.

  40. mike Escamilla says:

    Drill Master item 93440 i lost the charger can i buy one or do you sell the same drill so i can buy another one than i will have two drills and one charger. Thank You

  41. Allen Zelenak says:

    Charger for drill burned up, having terrible time trying to find replacement charger. I have two batteries an no way to charge them… This is far from one of my better drills but I would also hate to throw it out. Any suggestions to where I can find a charger would be greatly appreciated.

  42. paul says:

    I’m on Harbor freights website right now and the charger for the 18 volt model is 5.49 why are you guys having such a hard time finding 1 its right on the website

  43. Gnarlywood says:

    I have bought probably a dozen of the model drill pictured. Yes this is not top-of-the-line quality, nor does it have twist-your-elbow-out-of-it’s-socket torque. (For THAT I use my 30 year old Makita corded drill! ok, it’s only 29…)

    I have used these for quite a few years. A couple battery packs quit, but it was due to rust inside, probably caused by a lack of care these attract since they are so cheap.

    I will continue to buy these or their newer cousins. It’s worth noting that I’ve only lost a few to chronic burgleries, whereas my “better” tools are gone.


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