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Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit
Take it with you power and versatility
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 7-15-2014
One of the hitches in the do-it-yourself git-along is amassing a capable group of power tools that will help you deal with some of that seemingly never-ending punch list of tasks associated with living indoors. Porter Cable was one of the originators of power tools and continues to offer user-friendly tools that can help you be a better DIY’er. This review looks at the Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit (#PCCK614L4) that contains a core group tools with far ranging capabilities.
The Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit includes a #PCC601 ½" Drill/Driver, a #PCC660 Circular Saw, the #PCC670 Reciprocating Saw, a #PCC700 Flash Light, one #PCC680L Standard Battery, one #PCC685L Max Pack Battery, the #PCC691 Standard Charger and a nice Standard Large Kit Bag. To help get you working right away Porter Cable includes a double ended screw driving bit, a 6 ½" 18-tooth carbide circular saw blade and a 6" wood cutting reciprocal saw blade.
Batteries and Charger
The Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit comes with one standard lithium ion pack and one of their butt-kicking super packs. Both packs are 20-volt Lithium Ion batteries with built-in thermal protection should they begin to overheat. Both of these packs use a keyed slide type connector that makes crossing the connection impossible. It’s like they know us or something.
The standard #PCC680L battery pack has a 1.5 amp hour rating and has a surprisingly trim profile. The #PCC685L pack has a very stout 4.0 amp hour rating and is roughly twice as thick as the standard pack but has the same footprint.
To keep the batteries fresh you get an 110V, 1-amp automatic charger. This charger uses a moderate charge rate and is protected against overloads to preserve the charger itself and the cells of the batteries. Charge time is about 78 minutes but that is always mitigated by the amount of charge left in the battery when charging begins. This charger uses a simple light that signals its progress with the flashing or steady state defined by simple graphics next to it.
The #PCC601, ½" drill driver included in this kit is just 8.25"-long and weighs only 3.5-lbs but features a 283 watt unit motor that drives through a two speed gear box that produces two variable speed ranges of 0-350-rpm and 0-1,500-rpm, selectable through the sliding switch on top of the motor housing. The ergonomically designed grip area has a rubber over mold that makes it comfortable and slip resistant.
This drill driver has a keyless chuck that works easily and holds bits tightly. It also has a 23-position clutch with the final setting being locked up for drilling operations. Below the chuck is a LED headlight that comes on when the trigger is depressed slightly to make it easier to engage fasteners in dim work areas more easily.
The #PCC660 circular saw handles many of the lumber cuts with its relatively compact design. Despite the smaller overall size the #PCC660 circular saw has all of the big saw features that let you work effectively and accurately. Included is an automatic retracting blade guard and a dust port that directs debris down at the rear of the blade housing. Blade changing is done with an included hex wrench and a push button arbor lock.
The grip areas are ergonomically shaped and have rubber over molds that give the operator a solid sense of grip and control. To further enhance safety there is a trigger lockout that must be depressed before the trigger switch will start the saw. The battery is located at the lower rear of the #PCC660 circular saw which enhances the balance to make using it less fatiguing.
The #PCC660 circular saw has a high-performance motor that generates 3,700 RPM's at the 6-1/2" carbide tooth blade. You still get a sizeable 2-1/8' cutting capacity (at 90-degrees) and can cut bevels with the angling shoe up to 50-degrees! The front angle lock at the shoe has a scale that lets you set the needed angle quickly. An easy to use cut depth adjustment lets you limit the cutting depth securely when necessary.
The #PCC670 reciprocating saw could well be the most versatile tool in this outfit. Reciprocating saws have become synonymous with contractors because of the wide-ranging versatility they bring to the workplace. As with its bigger brothers the #PCC670 reciprocating saw can use any of the blade designs made with the virtually universal tool free shank.
The #PCC670 reciprocating saw sports a high performance drivetrain with a 1" stroke length. The variable speed trigger controls the 0 to 3,000 SPM (strokes per minute) range available. This saw uses the simple twist style, tool free blade release. Rubber over molds in the grip areas make this a secure, comfortable tool to use. It has the metal, pivoting shoe that helps eliminate oscillations. All of these features are packed into a DIY-friendly compact design just 14.5" in length.
When kits like this first started including flashlights it thought they were added as fluff to make the tool set appear larger or more valuable than it might be. After finding myself using these flashlights frequently I realized that they are way more useful than I thought.
Incidentally, the trigger in this case is actually an On/Off switch. The head with the LEDs pivots a bit over 90-degrees from straight up to angled downwards a little to make lighting a work area much easier. The head has a ratchet that holds it firmly at a bunch of pivot angles.
In the Shop
The Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit may not be the first choice for professional contractors but should be high on the list of must-haves for home owners and everyone in the DIY crowd. This group of tools brings a wide range of capabilities with the added freedom of being cordless.
Throughout the evaluation all of the tools in the Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit performed perfectly and show more power than I anticipated. This isn’t “lean on it all you want” type of power but if you let the tool do the work, they all perform just fine. I also like that they use cutters and accessories that are commonly available at home centers everywhere.
All of the Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit tool benefit from Porter Cable’s considerable experience in making comfortable, easy to use tools. These tools feel good to the hand and the grip areas are designed to make it easier to be accurate when using them. This type of design also makes these tools less tiring when you have lots to do.
The canvas carry bag is nicely made and does protect the tools but more importantly it keeps everything together. That makes it easier to prevent the frustration of leaving one of its components behind.
The Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit is a well thought out group of tools that fits the needs of DIY and home shop workers. Despite the modest price point these tools are well made and should last a long time with simple common sense care and use. Their design also means that you can replace or add cutters at your local home center of hardware store.
The Porter Cable 20V MAX* Lithium Ion 4-Tool Combo Kit has a street price of around $229.00 (7-13-2014) which is not bad at all for the capabilities these tools represent. Even when you are doing the work yourself it is nice to have the proper tools on hand so you can save some of your time as well as money.
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