We’ll admit it: we’re always tempted to dismiss out-of-hand any drill that’s this pretty. But when we tore into the new SC1400 lithium-ion drill from Black & Decker, we discovered it holds a few surprises for those willing to look more than skin deep. For a drill that looks like it came from the shop where they built the cars for The Fast and the Furious, the SC1400 packs a wallop.
Read on for our hands on experiences with this slick-looking drill.
You’re going to have to live without unboxing pictures because our unit shipped directly from Black & Decker and wasn’t encased in the normal plastic clamshell and paper mess you see in the stores.
We can tell you that like most power tools from B&D, it doesn’t come with a hard or soft case. Instead, the base station pulls double duty as a charger stand. As it’s safe to leave the drill in the charger without fear of overcharging, though, we can’t really see any strong need for a case. A small red light on the charging stand indicates charging activity.
Note: Click on smaller images for larger ones.
The SC1400 also ships with eight double-sided driver bits — four Phillips, two standard, and two square for sixteen bit ends total — and eight drill bits in commonly-used sizes. The drill bits live right in the back of the charging stand while the driver bits fit into a more portable small rubber holder.
At first glance we couldn’t help but notice the carbon-fiber-ish finish wrapped all around the casing. While we suspect that it’s not real carbon fiber — or at least that it’s not structural carbon fiber — it does at least look pretty authentic; it’s not obviously a sticker or something.
Once we got past the carbon fiber, we immediately noticed that the SC1400 is very light compared to other 14.4v drills we’ve owned. It also feels quite solid, which is impressive considering its weight. Its fit and finish reminded us more of tools aimed at pros than of consumer tools.
There’s a three-LED meter on the top rear of the drill that reports the charge condition of the its integrated (read: non-removable) lithium-ion battery with the press of a button. Moving forward an inch or two you’ll find a speed switch labeled with a “1” and “2” for low and high speed selection. It’s important to note that the SC1400 is not a variable-speed drill. The trigger is an on/off switch which engages the drill at the selected speed, 350 RPM in “low/1” or 1400 RPM in “high/2.”
The direction switch is tucked up above the trigger and features arrows that clearly point which direction a fastener will go.
As “pro” as the fit and finish might feel, the SC1400’s chuck is definitely consumer-grade. It’s a friction keyless type made of plastic which any B&D drill owner will find familiar. Right behind it is the setting ring for a 5 position clutch (with full-on drill setting as well).
Black & Decker heaped quite a few claims onto the little SC1400’s back: “33% smaller and 30% lighter than traditional 18V drills” appear in bold letters for example, and of course they claim it’s powerful.
After handling it a bit we found that it is indeed quite light and very small, even compared to our other 14.4V drills. But powerful? We needed to be sold.
So, for this test we choose 3/4” hardwood (oak) and decided to test it Toolmonger style, which is to say, drill ’till it runs out of gas or blows up — whichever comes first. (Since B&D says this is a full fledged drill and not a driver, we decided to forego a screw-driving test and instead see how many holes the SC1400 could do on a single charge.)
We also decided to do the test with the biggest bit we could jam in the 3/8 chuck, which turned out to be a 13/32″.
Read on to page two for our in-use testing.