SKIL DL181901 Review

Editor Rating: 4.6/5

Great Product

SKIL DL181901

Reviewed by: Timothy Henderson

Last modified: Apr 12, 2022 @ 1:41 pm

  • Design
  • Functionality
  • Price

SKIL DL181901 Review

Focusing on the DIY market, yet delivering features worthy of high-end units — the SKIL DL181901 is the ideal drill/driver for the aspirational home user.

Featuring a 0.5-inch keyed chuck, this machine is compatible with large-diameter bits and mixer attachments — allowing you to take on substantial projects without having to purchase a contractor-level drill.

Knocking out a solid 950 rpm, it’s suitable for time-heavy and repetitive driving jobs such as laying fence panels and securing decking, while also ideal for boring into drywall, plaster, and masonry.

Highly controllable, you can crank up or step down the speed by squeezing or easing off the two-finger trigger. And, for constant drilling projects, you can lock on the motor with a simple thumb-press to reduce the onset of digit fatigue.

The drill casing boasts a top-mounted bubble — elevating precision by ensuring that both your driving and drilling are level. Furthermore, a substantial secondary handle increases accuracy — and, being rotatable through 360 degrees, you can position this grip to suit your drilling/driving style and the demands of your project.

The DL181901 hails from SKIL, an originally all-American company founded in New Orleans in 1926 by Edmond Michele. Renowned for its innovation — it invented the world’s first circular saw — SKIL is considered a reliable and robust brand, but with products that are easy-on-the-wallet. Since 2016, the SKIL company has been owned by the Chinese conglomerate Chervon.

The DL181901 replaces the popular SKIL 6335-02 model. While this earlier incarnation is still available for purchase online, it’s no longer in production — being superseded by its more powerful DL181901 sibling.

Pros:

N
Two-finger trigger operation.
N
950 rpm.
N
0.5-inch keyed chuck.
N
Reversible operation.
N
Rubberized grip.

Cons:

N
The bubble level is small — making it difficult to read.
N
Insufficient torque to mix heavy plasters.
N
Challenging to securely position the secondary handle.

Features and Benefits of the SKIL DL181901 7.5 Amp 1/2″ Corded Drill


With nearly a century of innovation and all-American power tool know-how — you accept that with the SKIL DL 181901, you have a drill that promises reliable and durable use.

However, with so many comparable corded drivers on the market — what is it that separates this unit from its similar drilling cousins?

Here are the key stand-out features:

Controllable Speed


Whether you’re drilling or driving — I suggest that the user-friendly controllable output of the DL181901 SKIL will appeal.

Operated by a variable speed trigger, the chuck steadily accelerates from 0-950 rpm as you gradually increase pressure — meaning no need to break from your project and adjust clumsy switches.

While the output velocity may seem modest compared to some models — for example, the 2500 rpm of the DeWalt DWD112 — it should prove sufficient for the home DIYer. Furthermore, its 7.5 amp motor will provide ample torque to drill into robust base materials.

Fatigue-Busting Trigger


Hardcore drilling is akin to being a beast in the bedroom — stamina is crucial.

Time-heavy and repetitive jobs can take their toll on your precious digits — increasing downtime and extending the length of your project. Hence, it’s pleasing to see that the SKIL drill DL181901 offers two-finger operation — easing the stress and allowing you to power on for longer.

Furthermore, with a lock-on option, you can tackle mammoth jobs with no requirement to keep the trigger depressed.

0.5-Inch Chuck


Although targeting the DIY market, this drill has aspirations to play with the big boys.

Incorporating a 0.5-inch chuck, this unit can handle substantial bits and stirrers — although, for the latter, the DL-181901’s torque may be insufficient for seriously viscous mediums. This is in contrast to the majority of most home-grade drills that feature either 0.25-inch and 0.375-inch chucks — making them suitable for more modestly-sized bits.

Additionally, being keyed, this driver has serious grip — preventing slippage in dense materials. However, you know that after a couple of weeks, you’ll lose the key — so get yourself a couple of spares to prepare for this common DIY eventuality.

Secondary Handle


For extreme jobs, or for projects that demand the ultimate control, sometimes you need more than one hand. Therefore, I welcome the generous secondary handle of the SKIL DL181 901.

Rotatable through 360 degrees, you can adjust the grip to suit your drilling style and the demands of your target material. Furthermore, by allowing you to spread the drill’s 5.53 pounds of weight across two hands, it reduces fatigue.

Bubble Level


Although a budget machine, the manufacturer has still managed to include a nice additional feature.

The upper casing of the SKIL DL18 1901 boasts a bubble-level, elevating precision and ensuring that your screw-driving and drilling doesn’t involve weird, maverick, and haphazard angles. This guarantees that your pictures will hang straight, your table legs aren’t bent, and your shelving is at 90 degrees to the wall face.

Rubberized Grip


When holding an impressive and powerful tool in your hand, you need a strong grip. Not only can slippage be a safety hazard — your drill shoots off in the wrong direction and bores through your free hand — but also decreases precision, making your projects look like they’ve been completed by an amateur.

Hence, I welcome the large rubberized grip incorporated into the DL181901 SKIL. With tread that wouldn’t look out of place on a wet-weather Formula 1 tire, its promises reassuring stability, perspiration reduction, and safe operation.

Reverse Switch


Drilling is like sex — at the end, you need to pull out.

But, you can just give it a hard yank and hope for the best — this can lead to a damaged bit, or cracking of your base material (when drilling obviously, not after intercourse).

Therefore, it’s nice to see that the SKIL drill offers a reversible drive feature — allowing you not only to slowly and steadily withdraw your bit, but also permits the removal of screws when dismantling furniture or taking down shelving. Furthermore, with thumb operation, you can switch to reverse mode without releasing your grip — reducing downtime.

SKIL DL181901 Specifications


 SKIL DL181901
Weight5.53 pounds
Chuck0.5-inch keyed
Speed0-950 rpm
Current7.5 amps
Cord LengthSix feet
Power120-volts
Dimensions13.42 by 10.27 by 3.34 inches
WarrantyOne year

SKIL 6335-02 vs SKIL DL181901


In early 2020, the manufacturer ceased production of the SKIL 6335-02 and replaced it with the DL181901. While the original machine is still available online, it’s been dropped from the official SKIL website.

The SKIL 6335-02 specs are virtually the same as its newest incarnation — including
a 950 rpm speed, variable trigger, lock-on feature, and bubble-level. The only significant difference is that the DL181901 boasts a larger 7.5 amp motor — allowing the unit to knock out greater torque in the lower speed settings than its 6335-02 cousin.

That being said, the now discontinued machine remains a popular unit with a loyal following — read any online SKIL 6335-02 review to see what I mean.

What Users Say About The SKIL DL181901


In reading this SKIL DL181901 review, you’ll have grasped that I consider this machine to be an excellent DIY-grade drill driver that’s at a price-point cheaper than a good night out.

However, that’s just my opinion. And as my wife is always making clear to me, it doesn’t count for much.

Hence, to ensure a thorough review, I delved into the opinions of owners of this machine, to discover exactly what these guys thought about the DL181901.

Pleasingly, the views expressed were consistently positive. Users of the SKIL drill welcomed its generous 0.5-inch chuck, applauded the 360-degree rotating secondary handle, and praised its substantial slip-busting rubberized grip.

To be fair, not all owners were completely convinced by the unit.

One owner expressed that while the bubble level was welcome, it was too dark and small to allow fuss-free reading. Another doom merchant moaned that the torque was insufficient to mix cement — although what he expected from a machine cheaper than a car tank fill, I’m not sure.

However, all these owners did agree that the unit offered a reliable drill/driver suitable for light-to-medium home use.

Alternatives To The SKIL DL181901


Although a notable drill — it’s not going to excite everyone.

If the SKIL D L181901 isn’t stimulating your power tool libido, fear not. I’ve put together some credible alternatives that may get those drilling juices flowing.

If you demand more grunt than the DL181901 can deliver, this machine could be the solution.

Knocking out a mighty 416.6 in-lbs of torque from its 9.0-amp motor, this drill has some serious guts — allowing it to drive into dense woods and metals while permitting the mixing of seriously viscous mediums. However, while more powerful than the SKIL, it has a lower top speed.

  • Harder on the pocket than the SKIL model.
  • 850 rpm compared to the 950 rpm of the DL181901 SKIL.
  • No bubble-level — a feature of the SKIL drill.
Want more speed than the SKIL can deliver for time-sensitive projects? If so, this impressive unit from power tool specialists DeWalt may spark your interest.

The DWD112 pushes out an eye-watering 2500 rpm — nearly three times the velocity of the SKIL. Hence, if your jobs involve repetitive driving — such as laying decking — this could be the ideal unit. That said, the high rpm does mean you lose substantial torque brawn — and, due to the brand, it’s a higher-priced machine.

  • 0.375-inch chuck, smaller than the 0.5-inch of the SKIL.
  • No secondary hand grip — included with the DL181901.
  • Includes a hard carry case — not a feature of the SKIL DL 181901.
If the SKIL drill is the right price — but you’d like a few more features for your hard-earned dollars, I believe I’ve found the answer.

While pitched at the same affordable DIY cost as the DL181901, the Black & Decker BDEDMT delivers additional incorporated tools — including an eleven-speed clutch to protect against screw stripping, optional attachments such as jigsaws and sanders, and handle incorporated screw heads.

  • Higher rpm — 1200 rpm as opposed to the SKIL’s 950 rpm.
  • Smaller chuck — 0.375-inch in comparison to the 0.5-inch of the DL181901.
  • Lower torque — 4.0 amp motor, the SKIL has a 7.5 amp.

Conclusion


For the serious home-improver, the DL181901 offers pro-level features but at a DIY price point.

Incorporating a mighty 0.5-inch chuck, the unit will accommodate the beefiest of bits and mixer attachments. And, with an output of 950 rpm — repetitive drilling and driving projects will be completed in a timely manner.

An in-built bubble level and a rotating secondary handle both increase precision, while its two-finger operated variable speed trigger with lock-on option decreases fatigue on lengthy jobs.

Sure, it’s not for everyone.

It lacks the torque demanded by trade-pros, and with its speed lower than 1000 rpm — it’s not going to excite hardcore driving enthusiasts who demand the Formula 1 of drills.

However, for an affordable DIY unit that’s as capable of screwing decking as it is boring into masonry — the SKIL DL181901 is worthy of consideration.

SKIL Cordless HD527802 Hammer Drill FAQs

Q: Where Can I Find a SKIL DL181901 Manual?

You can obtain the user guide for the SKIL DL 181901 on the official SKIL website. Alternatively, click here for rapid access.

Q: Is the SKIL DL181 901 a Hammer Drill

No. This DL181901 SKIL doesn’t have a hammer function. If you’re looking for a mighty machine to power into masonry, I suggest checking out the DeWalt DW511.

Q: Are SKIL Drills Made In the USA?

Not anymore. While the headquarters of SKIL is in Naperville, Illinois, the majority of its products are manufactured in China.

Q: Is the SKIL DL181901 Any Good?

Yes. While at an affordable price point, the DL181901 SKIL offers numerous features, including a bubble level, rotating secondary handle, rubberized grip, and a generous 0.5-inch keyed chuck.

Q: Can I Mix Plaster With the DL181901 SKIL?

While the SKIL DL181901’s 0.5-inch keyed chuck will accommodate most mixing attachments — the torque of this drill may be insufficient to drive seriously dense plasters. If you’re looking for a machine capable of drywall cover mixing, I suggest looking at the Metabo HPT D13VF.

Q: Where Can I Buy SKIL DL1819 01?

The DL181901 from SKIL is an affordable DIY-targeted machine with high-end specs. You can get hold of  the impressive DL181901 here.

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