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Craftsman Professional 20-Volt, 1/2" Drill Driver
Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Posted - 4-9-2008
Cordless drill drivers are common in the wood shop and the Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver is Sears' latest entry into that venue. This tool has all of the features you need and the power to use them efficiently. Despite the large battery capacity, the Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver weighs just 5.5-Lbs with the battery installed.
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver features a comfortable, ergonomically designed handle. A rubber overmold gives a good sense of grip. They also added an LED work light at the base of the handle that shines upwards just ahead of the chuck to illuminate the work area.
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver kit shown here (#928169) includes all of the features described below and a canvas "Contractor Utility Bag". In addition to protecting everything, the bag makes keeping all of the components in one place or taking the Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver where needed easier.
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver features a heavy-duty motor that powers a metal two-speed gearbox. A simple slider switch atop the motor changes between the low and high speed ranges. The low setting of 0 to 350 RPM also produces 500-in. lbs of torque, plenty for any reasonable driving chore. They even include a removable auxiliary handle to help control that torque. The High setting has a 0 to 1300-RPM range for drilling operations.
The motor can be reversed using a simple push-through selector above the trigger. The trigger itself controls the variable speed feature and has a good feel to it, the trigger throw is sufficient to make using a specific speed easier.
Chuck and Clutch
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver comes with a keyless, 1/2" capacity chuck. The 3-jaw chuck holds bits firmly with just hand pressure. The 1/2" capacity makes the Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver compatible with virtually any bit used in the wood shop.
The clutch has 24 positions from locked up completely for drilling to a very light slip setting for driving small fasteners. A ring with numbered graduations controls the clutch setting and has easy to feel detents at each graduation.
Lithium-Ion Batteries and Charger
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver comes with two 20-Volt Lithium-Ion battery packs that maintain their power for longer periods than older battery technology. Exactly how much longer is impossible to predict because people and jobs differ greatly. Suffice it to say that the Lithium-Ion batteries last longer than any older battery-styles, often by a bunch.
These plug-in battery packs have a row of LED lights on their front end that indicate the current charge level. A quick look at these indicator lights lets you know when it is almost time to install a fresh pack.
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver battery packs have something called SmartChip circuitry built in that lets them "talk" to the charger. This helps charge the pack efficiently and prevents overcharging if left on the charger after they reach full charge.
A 50-minute charger is included for freshening discharged battery packs. The charger is automatic and has a pair of LED lights on its face that tell you what is going on. A chart in the instruction manual deciphers what the lights are showing.
In the Shop
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver feels good in the hand including the balance. The Lithium-Ion battery pack is surprisingly light for the voltage when compared to older technology but is about normal for similar voltage Lithium-Ion packs.
The power is good and the controls placed within easy reach of normally sized hands. The chuck tightens securely without having to strain and holds bits well without loosening. The clutch also works well, is predictable and seems to hold its setting precisely when driving multiple fasteners of the same size.
Battery life in our evaluations was very good even though we tended to do everything at once. In a normal work setting they will last far longer. The charger is effective and freshened discharged packs in slightly less than the advertised 50 minutes in most cases.
The Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver is a good all-around drill driver that will handle drilling and driving chores of virtually any home wood working shop as well as all of the home-related tasks. With a price of $269.99 (4-10-2008) its value rivals that of similar tools on the market. In some cases, the Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver 20-Volt kit is priced a bit under lower voltage drill drivers from other manufacturers.
Other 20-Volt Tools
Craftsman Professional 1/4" Impact Driver
Features heavy-duty gearing and a Quick-connect 1/4" coupler to be compatible with the bits on the market. It has a variable speed trigger and a forward-reverse and lock slider switch above the trigger. With a maximum 1200-in-lbs of torque, 0 to 2500 (no load) rpm and 0 to 3200 BRM, this impact driver handles woodworking chores easily. The Craftsman Professional 1/4" Impact Driver (#928128) carries a regular price of $79.99 (4-8-2008) without batteries or charger.
Craftsman Professional 20-Volt Orbital Saber Saw
This 5.6-lb (no battery) portable saw features a variable speed trigger, 0 to 2200 SPM and a 1" blade stroke. The trigger also has a power lock-off button to prevent accidental starts. It has a 4-position orbit action control and a built in LED work light. Blade changing (uses the popular T-shank blades) is tool-free and controlled by a simple lever on the front. Two wood and one metal blade are included. A roller guide near the base helps prevent blade deflections. The base tilts to 45-degrees to the left or right for bevel cuts. The Craftsman Professional 20-Volt Orbital Saber Saw carries a price of $69.99 (4-8-2008) without batteries or charger.
Craftsman Professional 20-Volt Orbital Reciprocating Saw
This handy 7.3-lb (no battery) saw features a variable 0 to 2500SPM with a stroke length of 1 3/16". It also has a three-position Orbital Action dial. A Quick-Clamp mechanism makes changing blades fast and tool free. An internal electronic brake stops the blade quickly when the speed-varying trigger is released. The shoe is adjustable (tool-free) and pivots for more control. A pair of LED work lights are built in. The Craftsman Professional 20-Volt Orbital Reciprocating Saw (#926314) has a price of $69.99 (4-8-2008) without batteries or charger.
See the Craftsman 20-Volt Drill Driver on the Sears web site - Click Here
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