Review By Dean Bielanowski  Ryobi Website - http://www.ryobi.com.au

 


Ryobi 14.4v Cordless Right Angle Drill
Model CAD1402VK
 Review

By Dean Bielanowski

Regular corded or cordless drills are certainly one of the first items to buy if you are setting up a workshop, or just for general DIY tasks around the home. If you are re-modeling or just making fine furniture, there are times where the size of the drill doesn't allow you to get into tight corners to add that all important fixing screw or fastener. Enter the right angle drill. A device that will allow you to get into many smaller areas where the normal drills cannot go. In our continuing line of reviews of Ryobi's Professional Series range, today we take a look at the CAD1402VK cordless right angle drill (model CAP-144 in the UK).

What's in the Box?
The CAD1402VK ships in a molded plastic carry case. Inside you will find the drill itself, two 14.4 volt cordless drill batteries, a battery charger and small printed manuals. The size of the case is not much larger than the contents themselves, so you can store and organize the tools in the case without consuming valuable shop space. The printed manual contains basic functional and safety instructions to get you hard. The CAD1402VK is a fairly simple tool to use, and should be a no-brainer for anyone that has ever used a drill before. A quick read up on the included charger operation is a must however, and naturally, you should read all applicable safety information.

The Drill
If you take a look at the photos in the right hand column, the Ryobi Right Angle Drill is far from the look of a standard drill. It has to be designed long and narrow, particularly at the head to get into all those tight areas and angles. While you can buy small right angle drill attachments for your standard corded/cordless drills, and while they do work well in most situations, once they are attached, the whole assembly of drill + attachment can be a little awkward to handle and can be quite heavy for use in overhead applications. The single unit right angle drill is, in general, more compact and easier to use than a two unit tool.

Let's take a closer look, starting from the top of the tool and working our way down. Up top is the drill chuck. It is a keyless chuck capable of taking bits up to 10mm (3/8") diameter. While 10mm is a little smaller than say the 13mm chuck that is somewhat standard on regular drills, it is sufficiently large enough to handle almost all drill bits and drivers you would need for tasks that this drill would commonly be used for. You do need to hold the inner ring steady while tightening or loosening the outer ring to secure or release a drill bit. This is generally not a problem but because of its smaller size, it can be a little fiddly at times, especially if you have large hands. I don't see it as a major problem, although you do have to make sure it is tight enough on round shank drilling bits to stop them slipping. The hex shank drill/driver bits are no problem at all. The distance from the front edge of the drill chuck to the back of the drill head is only 110mm (4.3 inches). Note that this does not include the length of a chucked drill bit or driver. Even so, the drill head is quite compact and allows access to areas standard drills cannot get to. On the reverse side of the drill head is a rubber overmold grip. This provides some user comfort and helps in aligning your driver or drill bit with a mark (if it is visible) by reducing slipping of hand or fingers. It also affords the tool a little more protection if you are bumping the tool around in tight spaces.

Moving down the shaft, we come to the rotational direction selector switch. This has three positions. The central position locks the trigger so it cannot be used. This is handy if you have kids around. If you push the selector to the left side (if holding the drill in the right hand), the drill chuck will rotate clockwise for normal drilling or screw driving operations. Push the selector through to the right and the drill operates in an anti-clockwise rotation when the trigger is pressed. This is used to remove screws or back out a drill bit if needed, or clear out a drilled hole. It works just as your standard forward/reverse selector works on a normal drill, so not much more to say in that department.

Next is the trigger itself. The CAD1402VK is a variable speed drill with speed controlled by the trigger itself. The more you push the trigger in, the faster the drill chuck rotates. Variable speed ranges from 0 rotations (stopped) to 800 rotations per minute. The 14.4v motor is capable of delivering 12Nm of torque. While its not enough torque to pull out heavily embedded or 'stuck' screws, it performed well during use and managed to disassemble plenty of screws from a 25 year old kitchen demolition where the screws had been painted over several times. At full speed, when you power off, the drill gives a little hint of recoil, so it does indeed feel reasonably well-powered in the hand.

On the back side of the trigger and rotational direction selector is another overmold rubber grip, and is the main handling part of the tool. This part of the tool is oval shaped, so it grips comfortably. In fact, during use, what I found to be the best feature of the tool itself was not how it drilled, how it unscrewed or how long the battery lasted, but it was the balance of the tool itself. The CAD1402VK is extremely well balanced. If held upright, there is the slightest hint of forward bias, tipping the head, but it is barely noticeable. If held horizontally, there is almost no noticeable imbalance between battery end and drill head end. This weight equilibrium across the tool makes it very easy to use and very easy on the hand, arms and muscles. User fatigue was almost a non-issue with this tool, which is surprising considering it does weigh around 2kg (4.4 pounds).

Moving down, we come to the base of the tool. A couple of driver bits (flat and phillips head) are included and sit securely in slots in the base. They wont fall out, but are easy enough to take out or put back in. At the back of the tool is a yellow wrist strap. If you place a hand through the strap and then hold the tool normally, there is a greatly reduced chance of dropping and damaging the tool. This is especially important as you will likely be knocking this drill around in tight corners or spaces, and could very easily knock it out of your hand if you are not careful.

Batteries
At the very base is the 14.4 volt battery. In fact, Ryobi have included two of them in the kit, which is great news. You should never be without battery power as one can be charging while the second is in use. The batteries themselves are rated at 2.0Ah and contain NiCD cells, so you do have to look after them as they can be prone to memory effect. With common sense you will get good life out of the batteries. At 2.0Ah, they seem to go on forever, and with the quick charger included, which is similar to the one that comes with many other Pro Series Ryobi tools, you can be back up and running in an hour thanks to the rapid charge cycle. I prefer to leave them on the charger a little longer to ensure a complete charge. The charger features indicator lights that can tell you when a battery is fully charged, or even if the battery is damaged and not taking a charge.

The batteries themselves constitute perhaps half of the tool's overall weight when attached. They attach via small spring latches on either side of the battery and grip firmly to the drill base. They can only fit in one way because of the asymmetrical pole design.

Use & Conclusion
Some of the task we used the drill for included attaching drawer fronts to drawer boxes, even when the drawer was already installed, removing screws from shelf supports in a thin pantry cupboard where a regular drill, or even a decent sized hand screw driver would not fit, plus general DIY fit ups, shelf attachment and curtain rod installation around the house etc. We found battery life to be excellent, with a backup always ready to go. The tool delivers enough power and torque to handle most tasks, however, it did come unstuck on larger diameter screws and bolts that were heavily imbedded in hardwood. We expected as much. Even our normal 18v driver and corded drill could not budge them. Tool balance was the real highlight, and user comfort rates very high. The Ryobi CAD1402VK offers good performance, is not overly complicated to use (simple design with easy to use features), feels solid and durable and most important of all, delivered the results we were expecting. As long as you take care of the batteries and use sharp drill bits with this tool, you should find that if you purchase this tool, you will achieve results similar to what we realized in our tests and in general use.

The Ryobi CAD1402VK retails for AUD$199 and is available in Australia from Gasweld, Total Tools, Mitre10 and other popular tool retailers. If your local retailer does not stock them, ask them to order some in!
 

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Ryobi CAD1402VK Photos
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Drill, two batteries, plus battery charge, all in a nice molded case.


Long and thin is the order of the day with right angle drill design.


The compact right-angled head allows you to get into tight spaces.


The variable speed trigger and forward/lock/reverse switch.


A couple of drill bits are thrown in to get you started, and can be held in the bit clips on the base of the drill.


Asymmetrical battery pole shape means it can only go in one way! Two 14.4v batteries are included with the package.


Attaching drawer pulls is a task the right angle drill excels at.


Its long body means you don't have to grab a step ladder to reach up into high places...


No problem with general screw driving tasks into wood either.
 

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Reproduction in any form prohibited with express prior written permission. Copyright 2004