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The 20V MAX battery system is winding its way through the Stanley Black & Decker product chain, and what you see above represents the Porter Cable take on it, starting with the most common tools — a drill/driver and impact driver. Read on for details as well as some comparisons to the line-founding DeWalt models.

Right up front: we already know all about the DeWalt 18V/20V controversy. You can read our thoughts on it here.

Porter Cable calls the PCCK600LB a “compact drill/driver,” and it seems to incorporate some of the somewhat squat design elements of the DeWalt compact (DCD780). Note, though, that while the DeWalt capitalizes on the compact form factor with a shorter chuck and battery assembly, enabling it to fit in some incredibly tight spaces, the P*C model retains an extended chuck and a heavy, chunky battery. While all this yields about a half-inch in length difference, the pictures make it look like a bigger practical effect. We’ll see when we get a chance to take a look at one of them in person.

One big note: the Porter Cable features a metal chuck.

The internals seem quite different as well. The Porter Cable offers a two-speed transmission like the DeWalt, but spins at either 0-400 or 0-1,600 RPM vs. the DeWalt’s 0-600 or 0-2,000 RPM. Sticking with the SBD’s now-standard “unit watts out” (UWO) power spec, the P*C reports 330 UWO vs. DeWalt’s 350.

The Porter Cable got the full ergonomic treatment, though, including the DeWalt’s narrower grip and small motor body. Though this has proven controversial among some users who fear that the handle might prove a weak point for drop stresses, we like it. It’s much more comfortable than beefier grips, and we tend to buy tools for the 98% of the time we use them instead of the 2% we drop them. But we can see the concern. If you drop your drivers often, keep this in mind. As of the last drop test we did (sadly over two years ago), Bosch fared best. We really need to do another big drill roundup soon.

Other minor features include a battery gauge (pretty standard across the board now, thankfully), some accessory storage, an LED work light, rubber side bumpers to keep you from scratching the crap out of your work when you lay the drill down, and a belt clip that clamps to either side (or, more importantly to us anyway, is removable).

Porter Cable’s other tool hitting stores at launch is the PCCK640LB impact driver, sporting specs of 0-2,900 RPM/0-3,100 BPM, a 1/4″ quick-change hex chuck, and most of the drill/driver’s other basic features.

While we’ve been comparing this to the DeWalt, these tools aren’t made for direct comparison. Yet we can’t help but compare them, as the pricing is so similar. The Porter Cable PCCK640LB retails for $200 on Amazon today, where you can also score a DeWalt DCD780C2 for $220. So in this case, we think the comparison is apt; you’re probably going to choose between these (assuming you like the general ergonomics, which are pretty similar) based on the other kit tools or your current experiences with Porter-Cable or DeWalt — or based on the feature differences. Either way, though, you’ll get a hell of a lot more drill/driver for ~$200 than you did even a few years ago.

The PCCK600LB 20V MAX 1/2″ Compact Drill/Driver [Porter-Cable]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

The DCD780C2 20V MAX Compact Drill/Driver [DeWalt]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


18 Responses to Porter Cable Gets the 20V Max

  1. James C says:

    The designs of some of these new drills are getting out of control. It looks like these were built out of Legos.

    • Ray says:

      Wow, no kidding. 21st Century Rococo styling. All that’s missing is some tailfins, orange flames, and a chrome skull. That would make it look even more “fancy”.

      Then again, they’re all like that now.

  2. karl says:

    wow that is ugly.

  3. DoItRite says:

    Sort of has the “Transformers” look. I would think that all of those angles, corners and edges would make it more likely to catch on stuff if you had it attached to the belt. More so than a rounded design anyway.

    I’ve had too many tools grap onto things as I walked by or at the top of a ladder and take a tumble to their death. I would pass on it for the design alone.

  4. Mike D says:

    Only PC tool I own is now uselss as the brand-sepcific (shared with flex) gas cannisters are usefully now longer manufactured. Chances of me buying into a line of battery powered tools with this experience – close to zero.

  5. browndog77 says:

    My first battery powered tool was a 12v Porter-Cable model in 1989(I actually bought 2 of them). They were absolute workhorses, and only when the NiCad batts would no longer charge did I replace them. I went to Milwaukee, then Bosch, Craftsman, Bosch again. Those old PCs were the best! Since PC was taken over by Delta (and now by B&D)I don’t have any experience w/ their stuff. Maybe next time I’m in the market!

  6. Tyler M. says:

    Not that it will probably sway anyone’s decision to buy or not to buy these tools, but I found these in store for the first time today. Black & Decker/Dewalt/Porter Cable/stanley has the 20v Max on the four brands now. The battery connections and slides for the Porter Cable and Black & Decker tools are identical. I didn’t see any lone batteries in either brand so I couldn’t actively try it in the other but I feel they probably did this on purpose. Very interesting to see someone make something interchangeable across brands.

    • DIY/not for pro use says:

      Thanks for that Tyler. I’ve got a BD drill with this battery and have been considering some porter cable tools to expand around the battery. Plus porter sells a quick charge, and I haven’t found one from black and Decker.

  7. Pro Remodeler says:

    Nice looking tools. These are essentially rebadged DeWalts and I like the looks of these better, even the color.

  8. John M. Brown says:

    I’m in the market for a battery-powered drill. However, I won’t be buying this one because PC has been bought by B&D. To me, B&D is NOT representative of a quality tool. Too, even if I were interested, I do not see a “kit”, i.e., storage case, battery charger, & extra battery which are fairly standard with the better tools. Sorry PC, but you’ve just lost my interest in ALL your tools.

    • Glenn says:

      DeWalt is also Black & Decker. In fact I used to work for them.
      You would be surprised how much of the DeWalt branded items simply get re-badged as Black & Decker. Not so much the power tools, but certainly on the Accessory side of things.

    • Chris Allen says:

      Years ago I had this great, let me restate that… GREAT 10inch dual compound sliding miter saw from the German company AEG. Compact and more useful than damn near any miter saw I see on the market today. When I came to after my divorce and realized I did not have the saw any more, I started to search out another one, only to discover that AEG had been bought by B&D, and they stopped production on that saw, the factory rep that I had tracked down told me rather pointedly that they could not have that saw competing against the Dewalt line. That 10inch saw was able to do about every thing Dewalt’s 12 miter saw did, for about $300 less, plus it was a dual compound, an option you can’t get from Dewalt for less than $300. Really miss my old PC’s 19.2v drills, damn those things were beasts.

  9. Terry Smith says:

    Well,These are by far the most powerful battery tools I’ve ever seen. Going to definitely purchase the bear tools (circular saw, Sawzall, jig saw, to be powered by the 20 v. batteries. You can pick one up after a month of non use and it will be charged. So look what you’re missing out on Joe Brown. Who cares who makes them?

  10. Adam Wood says:

    many companies are owned or linked to other brands. This should not stop you buying a tool. Ryobi is part of thw milwaukee fold, so are milwaukee as poor as ryobi? These pc 20v tools look aimed at a market between diy and heay duty trade, if they sold them in the uk id def consider them.

  11. Glenn Taylor says:

    I just purchased a recon pack with 2 batteries, drill, light, saw and sawzall, got two batteries with it for only 250, really great deal. I was apprehensive at first, but it kicks ass, it’s a great system, I purchased the driver 4 days later and plan on getting the entire system, retiring my old ryobis and building my ass off.

  12. Tom says:

    The Porter Cable and Black and Decker 20v battery systems are essentially interchangeable.
    There is a small “notch” on the right side (looking into the connector) of a Porter Cable 20v battery. The “notch is on the left side of a Black and Decker. A Dremel will add the “notch” on the opposite side literally in less than a minute. After which anyone’s battery its anyone’s tools or charger.
    Amazon gets $66 for a B&D 20v 4AH battery and $91.50 for a Porter Cable 20v 4AH battery.
    Just FYI,

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