Exceptional battery drill that lived up to all my expectations
Who am I? An amateur / enthusiast who does not work in construction or similar on a day-to-day basis. While you are going to see that I pretty much give this drill a terrific review, for the record I bought this drill with my own hard-earned money and only after much research over several months on various brands.
My battery drill requirements are:
- Portability: I need something light that doesn't tire me. Heavy duty work can be done on a bigger power too. Based on this, I limited myself to 10.8 to 12 volt drills.
- Usability: The drill needs to be functional and easy to use.
- Power: Despite accepting a certain limit to the power, I would still like something with enough torque to compete with 18 volt 2.5 AH battery drills.
- Longevity: I want a high-quality tool that will last at least 10 years.
- No percussion: I'd rather a dedicated SDS pneumatic drill as percussion in battery drills is usually very poor and added almost as an after-thought.
The following battery drills made the top of the list based on the above requirements:
- Fein: ASCM 12C which I bought for €250
- Mafell: A10M and allegedly made by Metabo for €270
- Bosch: GSR 10.8 V EC for €220
- Hilti: SF2-A for €240
The Fein directly bet all of the above drills in terms of:
- Chuck size: 13mm (Rohm 1.5 - 13mm) vs 10mm
- Outer chuck material: metal vs plastic
- Number of gears: x4 vs x2
- Speed: 400 / 700 / 1400 / 2500 vs ~400 / ~1400
- Torque: 40nm vs various but lower
- Drilling in wood: 40mm vs various but lower
- Drilling in steel: 13mm vs various but lower
- Accessories: 1/2 socket driver / tap adapter with various collects can be used instead of the chuck vs nothing (as far as I know neither of the other vendors offer these accessories)
Other points to note in the Fein drill that also vary with but are not even moderately excelled buy the competition are:
- Brushless motor
- 20+1 torque settings
- Detachable chuck with an integrated hex holder underneath
- A bit holder can be used instead of the chuck
- Fast battery charge time at 45 minutes
- An LED light for illuminating the work
- While I don’t have the length without the check for the Mafell, it’s 155mm with the Fein
- x2 batteries at 2.5 AH
- x3 year warranty on the drill, batteries and charger
- A charger that works for all Fein batteries
- Solid carry case with room for other accessories as well as having side handles so one can stack to cases vertically and carry both in the hand comfortably
- There is a belt hook for the drill with a strong magnet on the back which can hold several screwdriver bits and if you don’t like the hook, you can still keep the magnet : )
- It can drive 8 x 200 screws and I can definitely attest to the fact that this drill can drive very large screws in first gear
- For what it’s worth, it appears fairly straightforward to take the drill, batteries and charger apart not that I have tried. The fixings for the charger are under the rubber feet.
- Finally I would like to say that I believe that the price is reasonable for what this drill has to offer and that I believe it to be head and shoulders above competition within its niche.
Possible downsides. I say possible as I don’t see them as much of a compromise:
- The battery charger is quite big. I would imagine this is so it can charger bigger 18 volt 5.0 AH batteries. I don’t mind this so much.
- This is the heaviest drill at 1.3kg with the battery which isn’t really all that much considering what it offers and certainly exceeds my expectations for a light battery drill. Also, the other drills are not that further behind in terms of weight with the Mafell being 0.8kg, the Bosch 0.9 kg and the Hilti 1.2kg.
- The case is quite chunky for a drill of this size but I’m happy to have the extra space.
So the above are just the technical specs. What I’d like to convey here is how the drill performs in reality. As mentioned, I haven’t used it too much but can say that it exudes quality. It’s solid with no play around the chuck itself, the connection between the chuck and the drill or the drill and the battery. The trigger and battery release are robust and the torque detents are sharp and click well. When shaken, the only thing that can be heard is the chuck ring which is understandable. The drill truly is a pleasure to use and there is a huge difference between first and fourth gear in terms of speed. Once the trigger is released, the chuck stops rotating almost immediately. The chuck is a easy to use as it locks for tightening and is knurled metal. Changing gear is a little stiff but quite straightforward, irrespective of what combination of gear you are changing from and to. The ergonomics are superb including the placement of buttons, the comfort grips and balancing of weight. The size is just right for my medium sized right hand. I put a very large screw (~7mm x ~200mm), via a partial pilot hole, into solid wood and can say that the drill is very torquey for its size.
- I also bought the Fein LED Lamp, order number 92604200020 which fits neatly in the ASCM 12C case. The warranty for this was also x3 years. The lamp itself is excellent and quite compact
- The service tag containing the serial number is at the base of the drill, where the battery is slotted in. It took me a little time to find this.
- The drill is made in Germany by the company which invented the electric drill, both which I respect.
- You get quite a bit of documentation in the case.
- For the UK version sold here, the UK three pin plug is actually an adaptor fitted over the standard EU plug. I don’t have an issue with that and in fact think it makes it quite portable if you wish to bring the drill on the continent.
- The four-bar battery power level indicator can be a little unreliable - it seemed to deplete fairly fast from four bars to one bar and going from green to red on the last bar. However, I haven’t cycled through a full batter yet so take that with a pinch of salt.
- Be careful which Fein bit holder you buy. If you get the wrong one (ie: for one of the bigger drills), it doesn't work. The order number for the Fein bit holder for the ASCM 12C is 60510222010.
- The x3 year warranty is only valid when you register the product directly with Fein.
So, as you can see I am delighted with this drill and find it hard to find faults with it. While I accept that I bought this based on specs and reading some other reviews and watching some videos and didn’t get to use the competitors drills, I firmly believe I have chosen wisely in light of competitors offerings and expect to use it for many years to come. Thanks for making it this far. Jason.