Rigid 12 & 18 v here
I have limited experience with different brands. I had Dewalt for a while and switched to Porter cable. The general consensus is that the Ni-cad batts last appx 5 years and you get about 2.5 years from the lithium ion. IMO the smaller size and faster charging time is worth it on the lithium ions.
I had the same problem with my impact. Brad new out of the box, batteries wont charge. Took it back and got a new one and no problems since
I have the 18v lithium ion Makita it's great! It is my fifth Makita.
I found out my issue and it turns out that you kinda have to give the battery a good push then all is well, I thought the battery just slips in like all the other chargers I used.
I've used Hitachi for years
I have alot of Dewalt and everyone in our company save one guy has Dewalt. Better power and ergonomics. As far as the claim of batteries not lasting...... I guess someone forgot to tell mine as I have some batteries still going after 12 yrs of use. They are not as strong as when they were new..... but I have only had a few fully fail and they got replaced. As I have multiple drills, recip saw, circular saw, lamps, sheetmetal shears, cut-off tool, spiral saw, multiple chargers..... etc etc I will not be switching anytime soon. I must admit that the last non-Dewalt I used for more then an instant was yrs ago so the only comparison I can give is on the breakdowns and failures I see going through our warehouse. One thing I really like about Dewalt is that everything they make can take either lithium-ion or regular nickel-cadium batteries. They are universal to all 18 volt tools.
Now only Bosch made in Switzerland.
Red, yellow, green, blue. Blondes, brunettes, redheads. I know some people bleed one or the other but I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.
Which model? My kids bought me a 14.4V Diehard a few years ago and while it is OK for occassional use I have found that the batteries loose the charge after sitting for a few days.
Also they don't hold it for very long and after drilling a few holes with a hole saw they start to loose their oomph.
milwaukee: super heavy duty, great warranty, a little heavier
dewalt: powerful, not as durable, lightweight, warranty not as good
makita: heard alot of good about them but I had a bad experience with their older 14.4 stuff.