HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX 18V brushless combi drill review

February 2020
Hitachi DV18DBXL JX 18V Brushless Combi Drill Review

Providing plenty of power and torque the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX 18V Brushless Combi Drill is feature-packed and costs £339 (from Amazon).

 

The compact 204 mm long body makes it easy to work in small spaces, while the ergonomic handle prevents hand strain when using the drill over long periods.

 

Using the most powerful batteries of any of the cordless drills we’ve reviewed, the 2 x 6.0 Ah Li-Ion batteries charge in 38 minutes and provide plenty of operation time. The charger even has a USB port for charging smartphones!

 

At the heart of the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX is a brushless motor which controls a 2-speed gearbox with 22 torque settings and 3 modes. If you’re drilling, hammer-drilling or screwdriving, this drill can handle it.

 

Using a high-performance Röhm chuck with spindle lock, changing bits couldn’t be easier. While a built-in LED work light, allows you to work in darker space.

 

As one of the most powerful cordless drills on the market, HiKOKI / Hitachi have included numerous safety features including an extra-long side handle and intelligent Reactive Force Control (RFC).

 

The RFC function cuts the power to the drill bit in the event of a sudden jam, prevent you from injuring yourself.

 

The drill, batteries and charger all fit neatly into a plastic carry case. A standard 1-year warranty is included and can be upgraded to 3-years online for free.

 

Overall, the HiKOKI / Hitachi Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX Brushless Combi Drill is worth the price tag. 9/10

 

 

Pros

  • Brushless motor
  • 2 x 6 Ah Li-Ion batteries and charger
  • 3-year warranty

Cons

  • No drill bits

 

 

 

Design

Featuring a compact design, the HiKOKI / Hitachi Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX is slightly over 20 cm tall and weighs only 2.5 kg with the battery.

 

The high-performance Röhm chuck with spindle lock ensures longevity thanks to its metal construction. It’s keyless design enables bits to be swapped with little effort.

 

Moving inwards, the torque control sits at the end of the chuck and has 22 positions. Next to this rotary control is the mode switch, which has 3 positions (drilling, screwdriving and hammer drilling). Completing the top is a 2 position gearbox control.

 

On the right side of the body is a socket for the side handle. It easily slots in and provides extra support. Under this is the forward/reverse motion button.

 

A highly reactive trigger sits under the chuck and increases the drill’s speed based on the amount of pressure applied. Surrounding the handle is an ergonomically designed rubber sleeve, which lessens the effects of hand strain when using the drill over a long period.

 

Pointing at the chuck, an LED work light sits at the bottom of the body and is easily activated. This highly useful feature makes completing any DIY task faster. A metal belt clip sits on the right side at the bottom.

 

Finally, the battery slides into place and is secured with a click. The retro-looking charger has 3 LEDs which indict how much charge is remaining. The charger also features a USB socket to charge a smartphone.

 

 

HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX drill charger

photo by HiKOKI / Hitachi

 

 

Features

As a feature-packed drill, the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX offers a range of functions, ideal for covering a range of DIY tasks.

 

A brushless motor sits at the heart of this drill and ensures longevity. It feeds a 2-speed gearbox with High and Low settings. This allows you to fine-tune the drill’s performance for the task.

 

The impressive amount of 136Nm torque means the DV18BLX delivers plenty of power and could be compared with several impact drivers. The 22 position torque control allows for the available power to be set in line with the job.

 

The mode switch enables further fine-tuning of the performance. With modes for drilling, hammer, screwdriving, you can cover a range of task while matching the drill’s performance with the job.

 

Hitachi’s Reactive Force Control (RFC) safety feature is built-in. This feature cuts the power to the drill bit if suddenly jammed, preventing you from injury.

 

Unlike most cordless drills which come with 3 Ah batteries, the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX comes with two, 6 Ah batteries. And while you might mistakenly think that they’ll take hours to charge, it only takes an impressive 38 minutes.

 

The batteries have one small downside. There’s no way to directly monitor how much charge is remaining. Instead, the battery needs to be placed on the charger, which has 3 LEDs which display how much charge is left.

 

That said, this is a common problem with many leading brands and so it’s annoying but not a deal-breaker.

 

 

Set-up

Opening the box for the first time, you’ll see the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX drill, two batteries, charger, side handle and 2 ended bit.

 

Firstly, it’s a good idea to charge the battery. It takes around 38 minutes to fully charge, so grab a cup of tea or coffee. When the first battery is ready, it’s worth getting the second charging.

 

Before you tackle any DIY task you’ll need to buy some drill bits as sadly, none are included which is a little surprising for the price tag. If you have some bits, then it’s worth experimenting with the DV18DBXL using a few pieces of scrap wood.

 

For drilling, select either the drill or hammer modes and set the torque setting around 12. Depending on the material, you might want to select the high gear setting, although the low position should be sufficient for lighter tasks.

 

Moving on to screwdriving, which has its own specific mode. So you’ll want to select that first and use the included double-end bit. It probably a good idea to keep both the gearbox switch and torque control on low. While on screwdriving mode, it’s worth experimenting with the forward/reverse setting.

 

A few other features worth trying on the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX are the LED work light and hammer drilling setting with the side handle attached.

 

 

Hitachi DV18DBFL2 18V Brushless Combi Drill action

photo by HiKOKI / Hitachi

 

 

Performance

If you’ve ever purchased a Hitachi tool before, you’ll know that they are well built and packed full of features. The HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX is no different, even though it’s fairly expensive!

 

It’s ideal for a range of functions and unlike a lot of cordless drills, it doesn’t lack power. There’s plenty of torque and power available. It handles a range of thin materials including wood, plastic, brick and more with ease. That said, it won’t handle thick metal or masonry.

 

The batteries lack LEDs to indict how much charge is left, which means you have to plug them into the charger to find out. However, as they hold a significant amount of charge and recharge quickly, this isn’t that much of a big deal.

 

While there are cheaper cordless drills available, none offer anywhere near the torque or battery capacity that the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX does.

 

 

Is the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX worth buying?

Overall the HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX 18V Brushless Combi Drill is a fantastic unit with only a few negatives.

 

For the price, we’d expect a few drill bits, yet only a double-ended screwdriver bit is included. This is a minor point but important if the DV18DXL will be your first drill.

 

The batteries, while high-capacity should have some LEDs to indict how much charge is remaining. Again you can check the charge using the charging base but this seems a little cumbersome.

 

The HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX case isn’t as sturdy as previous versions but does have slots for the drill, charger and 2 batteries. A nice feature is the USB port on the charger, which is ideal for keeping your phone fully charged.

 

In terms of the positive, there’s plenty of power and torque available as well as a multitude of setting to fine-tune the drill’s performance. This makes it ideal for a range of DIY tasks including hanging shelves, crafts, and assembling flat-pack furniture.

 

One very impressive element is the batteries. At 6.0 Ah, they’re twice the average for cordless tools yet quickly charge. Charging in 38 minutes means you’re not waiting around for long. Plus with two batteries, you can always have one ready to go.

 

Granted, it is expensive but it’s feature-packed and comes with a 3-year warranty (free upgrade online). Overall HiKOKI / Hitachi DV18DBXL/JX 18V Brushless Combi Drill Review scores 9/10.