Shop Talk

November 2011's Featured Tool of the Month

  • Small Power Tools, Surprisingly Big Performance


    Porter-Cable’s PCL212IDC-2 12V Drill Driver and Impact Driver Kit – Compact Lithium-Ion Tools from the Capable Hands of Porter-Cable


    It is universally know that everyone needs a good power drill. Whether used for tough carpentry applications or for simple maintenance around the house, professional crafters, carpenters and home-owners alike share a common need for a power drill that can get the job done. A power drill is essential, and when that great and indispensable drill comes to users with a companion tool that is nearly as awesome, there is almost nothing better. Accordingly, Porter-Cable’s PCL212IDC-2 lithium ion drill driver and impact driver kit
    is one of the coolest things to hit the market in a while, and what’s more, the kit is surprisingly affordable. The two-tool kit ranges in price from about $130 through $150. This price includes the 12v lithium ion drill driver, 12v lithium ion impact driver, two lithium ion batteries, a 30-minute battery charger, two belt hooks, a Phillips #2 and double ended screwdriving bit, and a roomy, heavy-duty storage bag.

    So the tool kit is a really comprehensive package and it comes at a really great price, but can it perform up to snuff? The answer is an unequivocal yes. These drills are comfortably compact, lightweight and versatile, and yet they still manage deliver the high-performance, aggressive power required to handle, essentially, any job you can throw at them. Seriously, what these tools lack in girth, they make up for in sheer, high-quality power and because the tools are perfectly compact, you can spend that power comfortably in tight, awkward, or overhead applications.

    The drill driver and impact driver are built solid for durability but also incorporate just the right amount of rubber over-mold for comfort and usability. They are also designed with a single LED light (on each tool) that ensures greater visibility in less-than-perfect work environments and with a sturdy belt hook (again, on each tool) that can be removed or relocated, the tool is easily portable and always where you need it. For that extra bit of technological pizazz, the drill and impact driver are also outfitted with magnetic bit holders to oh-so-conveniently store your drill bits.

    To get a little more technical with, specifically, the drill driver, the tool has a two-speed gear box which allows users to operate the thing at variable high-speeds ranging from 0-315 RPM to 0-1,200 RPM. The drill additionally offers high-torque fastening with 220-in/lbs of max torque and because it comes standard with a single sleeve 3/8-in spindle locking chuck, the drill offers optimal gripping power and bit retention as well. Altogether, and also with an adjustable clutch with 20 individual clutch settings (providing versatile performance in a huge range of materials), the drill driver a seriously awesome little power tool.

    The impact driver, on the other hand, is itself a surprisingly powerful little machine. The thing packs 950-in/lbs of torque without producing kickback and with a ¼-inch quick release hex chuck, the driver wastes no time changing accessories or applications. The thing boasts 2,400 RPM, 2,500 BPM and variable speeds and, accordingly, this impact driver makes driving screws essentially effortless. Additionally, because the tool weighs just slightly over 2-lbs and because the tool’s torque and power is transferred perfectly and directly into each fastener (rather than into your hand and arm), the tool’s aggressive high-performance comes at very little cost to operator control and comfort. 

    After all that awesomeness, though, it seems only fair that I now drop a bomb or two. For all the great features this drill and impact driver offer, neither of the tools features a battery level indicator and, by virtue of their 12v design limitations, their battery reserve will occasionally leave a bit to be desired. These two cons, however, pale extremely in comparison to their overall power and high-performance. Despite their small size and average voltage, these tools can really run with the bulls and they do a great job doing it. In the end, Porter-Cable’s PCL212IDC-2 is, without hesitation, an incomparable bargain offering two high-end industrial power tools (equip with all the trimmings) for a surprisingly great price.