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We’ve seen quite a few drill/drivers around the Toolmonger shop, but never a Porter-Cable. While we hear nothing but positives about their routers — lots of pro shops use only Porter-Cable — I don’t think I’ve ever run across anyone with a P-C drill. If you have one (or even if you just have an opinion) would you dish?

I saw the above pictured model at Lowe’s, and it’s available via their website for $100. Features include a “high-torque motor,” a two-speed gearbox, and a keyless chuck assembly. No-load speed looks to be either 0-350 or 0-1400 RPM, which seems a bit low for an 18V — though it is a NiCd 18V, which could account for that. Its 32-position clutch seems a bit excessive, too, but certainly not a drawback.

Interestingly, a quick Google search turned up pricing ranging up to $170+ for the same tool, though we also found a refurbished model for $70 w/free shipping.

Then again, this might be an even better question: Would you still pay $100 for a NiCd drill/driver — even one with a recognizable brand name? Or would you spend a few bucks to step up to low-end li-ion?

Porter-Cable 18V Cordless Drill/Driver Kit [Lowe's]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

29 Responses to Hot or Not: Porter-Cable 18V Cordless Drill/Driver Kit

  1. ToolGuyd says:

    I’d just like to point out that for $10 more, you can get the 2pc combo kit that includes the circ saw and the same drill. 2 NiCad batteries are still included, but you lose the hard case for a soft one.

    Based on price alone, I’d say NOT to this particular standalone kit.

    Personally, I’d up the budget and pick up a Li-ion kit, but spec-wise, this seems to be a decent drill at a great value (if bought as part of the 2pc kit).

  2. Woody McSawdust says:

    I have the Porter Cable combo set which includes a drill, circular saw, Reciprocating saw, and a flashlight. I got it refurbished for $100 and it is worth every penny and then some.

    I’m a hobbyist so I can’t comment on how it stands up to heavy usage. I can say that I’m very pleased with the set. The build quality is very good. The tools feel solid. The drill compares favorably to the Delta 18v cordless. It is lighter and has a quick stop mechanism (I don’t really benefit from it but it rates high on the cool-o-meter). The charge seems to hold longer than the Delta. The set comes with two batteries so there is always one ready to go.

    I’ve since added other tools that use the same battery including a hand vacuum, detail sander, and jigsaw. I use the vacuum all the time. The sander has a unique footprint requiring special sandpaper which is very difficult to find. I assume that means either the sander or more likely the 18v set is, or will soon be discontinued. I just picked up the jigsaw and haven’t tried it yet.

  3. joe bob says:

    Not a bad deal for some folks.

    I upgrade to Li-on when I need to replace a tool. The advantages of Li-on over NiCad make the additional cost a justifiable trade-off.

  4. MeasureOnceCutTwice says:

    If I have an option, I’d never buy another NiCad tool – Li ion makes so much more sense for me (better capacity and doesn’t drain itself if I don’t use the tool for a while)

  5. BillyRay says:

    I have several of the PC 18 volt. I got the drill about a year ago and use it almost everyday working full time in residential construction. My co-workers love their more expensive black and yellow drills but this one stands up to theirs at a third of the price. As for their Li-on, i have looked into them and have read some poor reviews. Their NICAD batteries have not failed me and despite being fairly larger than the lithium, they are a bargain to replace, 54 dollars at lowes for a two pack. My original two batteries still work fine and last long, i picked up two more along the way to keep in the truck/toolbox etc.

  6. fritzgorbach says:

    Had a 14.4 volt Porter Cable NiCad Hammer drill about 8 years ago. At the time I bought it it was more than the dewalt or makita. It was a fantastic drill. Drilled concrete, ran hole saws, drilled steel, really worked hard.
    After about three years, batteries quit. I tried to get new ones and PC no longer made them. Aftermarkets were available at about $160 a piece. Guess what – I tossed the drill. Had I bought a makita or a dewalt, batteries would still be on the shelf at the box stores, even now.
    I know porter cable/delta/black and decker/ dewalt is all one company now, but im still bitter about the drill batteries. I do however have a porter cable 690 router, biscuit jointer, and several nailers, and ive been happy with all of those.
    I guess the drill is probably ok, but batteries are the wear part. I think Makita(my drill of choice) still sells every cordless battery they ever made. They still have the old school stick batteries right at home depot, and I know a couple of guys still using those drills and saws.

  7. Phil says:

    I have a big investment in DeWalt cordless tools, and as the older stuff has worn out I have more or less standardized on the 18 volt lineup. I’ve worn out many NiCd batteries over time, but the tools are still going strong for the most part. Since DeWalt has released a LiIon battery compatible with the entire 18V line that I currently have, the last couple replacements have been LiIon. Yeah, some complain that the new battery does not fit the older tools quite right, but the functionality is still intact and the bonus is the batteries stay charged on the shelf. My current investment in tools remains, and they get a little future boost as icing on the cake.

    I recently picked up some Bosch ‘mini’ 10.8/12 volt Li tools (the PS20, which ended up as a gateway drug to the PS30 drill and the PS40 impactor) that I keep in my tool bag that follows me wherever I go. I love these little tools, and they’ve been indispensable for little projects and such, especially on the road and at friends’ places. This was all made possible by the size of the tools, and, more so, the fact that they can sit in the bag for a long time and still have a fully usable charge. I would not have done this with NiCD/MH tools, even in the same form factor.

    As for PC gear, everything I have a (detail sander, a pressure washer and 3 1/2hp router) is corded. I have not looked at the cordless PC gear every closely.

  8. browndog77 says:

    My first two cordless drills were PCs, and they were unbeatable! They were hands down the most powerful cordless drivers I ever used & 12 volt to boot, and the chucks worked as well as, if not better than, any Jacobs unit I’ve seen. This goes back about 18 years, and they changed dramatically by the time I needed a new tool. The new ones had a totally different feel, and just didn’t seem sturdy, so I changed to Milwaukee & never looked back. I still have the old PCs somewhere in the garage.

  9. fred says:

    @browndog77

    I’m guessing that 18 years ago – you bought the same PC Magnequench 12V dillis that we did. For their day they were pricey – came in a metal case with 2 batteries – a decent Jacobs style keyed chuck. As you note thime have changed – we converted to Makita’s – currentltly using their 18V LXT products – but have als bought a number of Milwaukee M12′s

  10. Matt says:

    Ten years ago, my first cordless tool purchase at a going-out-of-business Home Base– a 14.4 Volt Porter Cable. This drill outlasted a 12V Dewalt and a 12V Ryobi I bought in the meantime to have a lighter backup drill. As of now, only one battery holds a charge so I finally caved and bought the 18 V L/I combo kit w/ the impact driver and the flashlight. I was a little disappointed that the flashlight wasn’t LED but the drills seem fine so far. The batteries sure charge quickly. One drawback to the PC line overall is the hard-to-find (in a messy jobsite) grey and black. It seems they have added a lot more red to address this in the new product line.

  11. Matt says:

    Oops, let me edit “a lot” to “a little” more red. Owning Porter-Cable tools has shown me the wisdom of some of the more garish color schemes.

  12. OhioHead says:

    These P/C cordless tools are not the same tools as described above (great tools)!

    I am greater then 90% positive that these “new” P/C tools are rebranded Black and Decker Firestorm tools, these tools appeared just as quickly as the Firestorms left a specific “big box” retailer (Lowe’s), maybe the old Firestorm stuff was better built then I recall.

    From conversations w/ B & D employee’s/big box retail employee’s, these tools were introduced to go after the extremely successful Ryobi One+ available only at Home Depot in US.

    Remember who owns P/C & Delta (when these were introduced) and what that the same company had to do to reintroduce the “professional line” in 1992! Anyone —– DeWalt…..

    Just my $.02 worth,

  13. toolguy says:

    I also know that the new PC drills are based off of the Firestorm platform but they were not just a re-skin. The problems firestorm had were addressed and fixed but at the point the consumer had already lost confidence in the firestorm name.

    The point here is that they are designed for a specific user at a specific price. If you are a home owner who uses a drill/saw/sander infrequently these tools are for you. If you are a contractor who wants to use them everyday you will most likely be disappointed.

    What the consumer needs to remember is “you get what you pay for.” There is a reason that these are ~$100 and Dewalt drills are ~$250. and it isn’t just the color of the plastic.

  14. stevo says:

    My first ‘real’ drill was a 12V PC. Man I used the crap out of that thing. The batteries fainlly dies last year, after 12 hard years of use. naturally I was primed to buy another PC, since i have had such good luck with all my PC tools in the past. However, that was right around the time these POSs came out. Flimsy, and cheap. True Black and Crapper fodder. B&D could F*&^ up a cheese sandwich.

  15. Richard says:

    Just read the posts above. I too have had a 12v PC for over 12 years of hard use. Loved it. Batteries will no longer hold a charge longer than a cup of coffee going cold.

    I was going to get another PC, but with reviews and comments above, you guys may have saved me from future disappointment.

    I also agree with Stevo, B&D really know how to mess up a good product.

  16. Andy says:

    these drills are great I got one after my electrician picked one up and brought it to my job. The beauty part is it will take the Li Ion battery as an interchangable optuion I picked up the 100 dollar kit and when the batteries fry i will pick up a second Li drill. This drill is kicking the makitas LI’s butt which now is a weight in the back of my truck collecting dust.

  17. Andy says:

    these drills are great I got one after my electrician picked one up and brought it to my job. The beauty part is it will take the Li Ion battery as an interchangable option I picked up the 100 dollar kit and when the batteries fry i will pick up a second Li drill. This drill is kicking the Mikita’s 18v LI’s butt which now is a weight in the back of my truck collecting dust.

  18. Ricky From Porter Cable Parts says:

    I always either recommend people to go for Delta Porter Cable or Milwaukee drills and maybe Bosch depending on the persons requirements but to be honest if anyones looking for quality and an acceptable price then go for Porter Cable just wish Milwaukee reduced there prices.

    You can pickup this drill for around $130 at Amazon thats the cheapest i could find at the moment.

    Thanks

    Ricky
    Porter Cable Fan!

  19. Nathan says:

    I bought the 4-pc NiCad set plus 2 additional NiCad batteries in January 2009. The original NiCad batteries are still going strong but I’ve added a few Lithium Ion batteries. I’ve been so extremely happy with the tool set, I’ve added several expansion tools. I own rental property and do 90% or better of the maintenance. The ONLY downside to the set is the run-time of the NiCad batteries. The Lithium Ion batteries have a much longer run-time, therefore nullifying the only downside. As far as durability goes, I’ve dropped several tools (clumsy) with no visible or seemingly operational damage to the tool or battery.

    These tools have served me extremely well and I have since become a huge Porter-Cable fan.

  20. Anthony Yerace says:

    Porter Cable Was a good product, They made the 19.1 volt cordless drill (P.C. Only) then they were bought by black and decker and now 19.1 craftsman drill. B.D. lowered quality as they have a big name but low quality, so I have stayed away from them since. Used to hold up well now problamatic. Just A higher grade black and decker. I would like tosee the old porter cable, That was a good product Battery life was not as good as dewalt or Makita. They Ranked #3 of the three yet they held up longer when doing construction. Dewalt 1year, Makita 2 years more or less Porter Cable 5 Years or more but had to replace batteries once a year. At that time they were 200.00 + or – Ryobi was cheap now better than b&d. I,m retired now and just for the work i’m Doing bought a craftsman 19.1 volt cordless drill. Have used on a couple of big jobs held up nothing special still better than b&d but made by them. Craftsman has own specs.

  21. Kevin says:

    I’ve had the 19.2 volt PC drill and circ saw kit for over 12 years. Had to replace the clutch and chuck in the drill a few years ago and the batteries a couple of times, now the batts are really expensive. I love that’ll drill, but the cost of batteries has made me move on to the new PC li ion 18v drill. No complaints yet. Not as high quality as the old PC, but not to bad.

  22. Ron Holz says:

    I’ve used Porter Cable since i was a kid and i swear by it. I have the PC 18v Drill and Impact with the li ion and i only replaced my old one because the old batteries are hard to find these days and pretty expensive so far with mine I’ve loved them great power and very well balanced. I use them in a professional and personal aspect and i love them.

  23. Mike says:

    I bought the $129 kit from lowes with the circular saw and sawsall, and can say it is great. I was working at a job where another guy had a Rigid cordless impact and got to try it out and liked how it worked so I bought the Porter Cable version. This is the tool I use daily, it is rated at 1600 in lbs which equals about 130 ft lbs. But realisticly will tighten to about 60 ft lbs, so its not a replacement for the air impact but works great with small bolts, and to spin bolts with long threads. I like the fact that Porter cable had enough confadiance in these tools to give a 3 year warrenty

  24. Loren says:

    I have used nothing but Porter Cable for the last 25 years and am waiting for my new drill to show up on my door step. I average over 10 years of use for each drill. Little known secret. Take the battery to a batteries plus store. They open the case, replace the battery and you are back in business. I think the last one cost me around 45 dollars. Otherwise you are stuck with a good drill and no battery plus after useing it all these years it fits your hand. Old drill still runs but makes screeching noises now and then. Will have to get used to the new one.

  25. david says:

    I got a combo pack from lowes for about 160.00, comes with the light, drill, saws-all, and circ-say along with two batteries and a charger, I absolutely love the set, the only real draw back is the battery life but I guess that is to be expected. Just recently I started remodeling my basement and wanted to install some concrete anchors I found the Porter Cable hammer drill (bare Series) meaning no battery for 65 buck so I snatched it up, this thing struggles a bit with the 1/2 inch concrete drill but after a bit of work and a few batteries it gets the job done. I must say that for some reason I like the hammer drill a bit better than the one that came in the kit even without using the vibration setting.

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  29. Raymond says:

    I have the Porter Cable 1800D, employee dropped and broke the latch holding battery in place. Could not find housing part needed to repair. It is now useless, would advise looking into part availability prior to purchasing any tools. Most other drills I have easily found parts for PC does not for this drill

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