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.