- Made in USA
- Same quality as Makita, Milwaukee, Bosch
- Best for professionals
- Founded in America, all tools made in America with globally sourced materials
- Noticeably lighter and comfortable tools
- Made in China
- Same quality as Ryobi, Black & Decker, Kobalt, Rigid, Skil
- Fine for homeowner/hobbyist/DIY enthusiasts
- Craftsman was acquired by Black & Decker and we can assume same quality
- Considerably larger, heavier and bulkier to use
It’s general consensus that Craftsman tools are of lower quality than Those from DeWalt but they’re certainly cheaper. Craftsman tools are a budget pick and would serve well for light woodworking and light auto repair. They have had a bad name for sure but the company has launched new product lines and it looks promising. Or is this a case of same monkeys different forests? Which drill and driver set should you go for. As you may be thinking, this DeWalt vs craftsman battle will be a one-sided match with DeWalt taking most trophies.
DeWalt vs craftsman: Comparison Chart
This is a huge brand with a big following. They’ve been producing great power tools and their Cordless Drill is just as great. With a 20 volts motor, this drill carries enough punch for all demanding tasks. The clutch and speed settings are easy to adjust too and you will find this practical when working on projects of varied nature. With a comfortable and sturdy grip complemented by an impressive fast turning speed, this unit certainly ranks well on the best power tools list. Perhaps the only other drill that could challenge it would be the Makita(amazon).
This wouldn’t be a powerful drill if it weren’t rotating at 2,000 RPM. I’m yet to see another drill that’s faster. With a lever, you get to choose between two speed presets too. The low speed setting (up to 600 RPMs makes the drill act as a screwdriver when woodworking and during joinery. You’ll switch to the higher speed setting (upto 2000RPM) when boring through thicker chunks of wood.
In the packaging, there are two 20 V lithium-ion batteries. With the trigger locked in, the unit runs for 40 continuous minutes on a single charge. This is quite impressive as the batteries carry enough juice to finish off simple tasks. The batteries won’t run out when you’re working. Either way, it wouldn’t hurt plugging in the other battery to the charger while you’re working. It takes 40 minutes to fully charge each battery.
Weighing 3.5 pounds, this is a light cordless drill and won’t feel heavy when working. The internal components are innovatively arranged too evening out how the weight is distributed. The half inch chuck is keyless and you don’t require a key to tighten or loosen drill bits. This may not be the most noticeable feature but you will appreciate it if you often lose keys.
The 15 torque settings this cordless drill comes with makes fine tuning easy. I’ve seen drills with up to 30 clutch settings but that is certainly an overkill. The LED at the front ensures that the unit doesn’t cast shadows on the places you’re holding. It also has a bit holder attachment when you need to carry multiple bits (and spares) but I’m yet to see any handyman use this feature.
There’s a 3 year warranty offered by the brand on the unit and on the batteries. They will repair (or replace) units that have manufacturing defects. Usual tear and wear isn’t covered in this warranty however. The only shortcoming of this drill is that the manufacturer doesn’t disclose how much torque it pushes. DeWalt rates this drill at 360 UWO – an arbitrary unit they’ve come up with – instead of rating it in Newton Metres like we’re accustomed to.
Craftsman 20V cordless drill: Why I wouldn’t get it
It’s rumoured that the once great brand was acquired by Black and Decker. With a 2Ah 20V battery, this drill will last long when drilling though softwoods or when acting as a screw driver. However, the drill/driver functionality is a power guzzler and it will often drain the batteries before your done with a task. This is surprising considering that brushless motors have evolved and use up less power these days. Like most drills, the batteries on this unit have a fuel gauge embed on the too. The display on this unit is bright too and is visible even in bright sunlight.
The handle is firm and surprisingly comfortable. There’s a nice ergonomic over-mold on the handle that ensures it doesn’t cause discomfort even when hammer drilling for longer periods. The handle is easy on the hands and wrist even when drilling at unusual angles.
It’s two speed gearbox has 13 torque pre-sets when you need to fine tune the drill. It gets up to 1800RPM on high gear and up to 600 RPMS on the low gear. It’s a surprise that the unit has a metal chuck (which I prefer for durability) instead of the plastic chucks manufacturers are switching to these days. Even though this is a light drill (slightly over 2 pounds), most people would go for the heavier DeWalt drill any day due to its reliability and durability.
Corded versus Cordless
There are three main criteria when considering whether to buy corded or cordless and I’m going to call them the three P’s: Performance, Personal Usage and Price.
There was a time when cordless and corded tools were a world apart in terms of performance. Battery powered tools just couldn’t match a corded equivalent and those that came near ran on big, big batteries. Some tools were only available as a corded model because it was just inconceivable that said tool could be powered by a battery and still be useable.
Thankfully times have changed, most notably since the advent of Li-Ion batteries, whose small form-factor allow much larger capacities within a useable platform than would have ever been possible with their Ni-Cad predecessors. Developments in motors and their efficiency and some generally excellent R&D have lead us to a point where cordless tools can not only compete with their corded counterparts, but in many cases (especially when comparing “DIY” to Pro) exceed them.
So then, the performance argument is no longer black and white. There will always be corded tools that are more powerful than the very best cordless alternative, but whether or not to opt for them is often determined by the remaining P’s.
This may be the most important factor when determining whether to buy corded or cordless; how and where will you use it?
A cordless drill/driver or combi drill is a must for any tool box (more on that later), but what of the rest?
If your table saw or mitre saw will never leave the shed/workshop, then it would be a no-brainer to go for a corded model for the price-to-performance benefits. But it your shed is fairly confined and you often find yourself having to move such tools outside to work with them, then perhaps a cordless model might be the better option.
Cordless rotary hammer drills (also known as an “SDS” drill) – particularly the small one-handed models, are much easier to use and manoeuvre with up a ladder or doing over-head work, but smaller models cannot drill to the same capacity as a corded, and a larger model that is as capable is also – cable notwithstanding – just as cumbersome.
Can you get power to where you intend to work? There’s little point in buying a corded reciprocating saw to prune trees 500 yards down your garden unless you’ve also got a portable generator. Conversely if you’re using a high-drain tool (such as a mitre saw or angle grinder), are you prepared to purchase enough batteries to avoid having to stop the job regularly while they recharge? Are you working in a position where it is convenient to stop and change batteries regularly (possibly not if working unaided on a roof)?
A pro-grade corded angle grinder can be bought very cheaply (strangely, usually for the same or very little more than a “DIY” version), whereas the cordless equivalent will set you back up to ten-times the price. Do you really need a cordless one, or will a corded one suffice?
One thing that is almost a prerequisite of buying cordless tools is to buy into the same system, i.e. the same manufacturer and the same battery type. It makes no sense to own five tools from five different manufacturers. Buying into the same system means all batteries are interchangeable, thereby you should always have a spare on hand. It also means that you can buy tools “bare” or “body only” – which is to say the tool alone without batteries or charger – and use the batteries you already own. So then, before committing to a cordless tool consider all the tools in the range and ensure they have everything you may need, not just now, but in the future.
While sharing batteries has its advantages, it can also be a negative depending on your usage and how many batteries you own; if you have two batteries to share between five tools and flatten them both chopping up skirting board on your mitre saw, you’ll find yourself stood around waiting for them to charge instead of being able to get on with that hole that needs drilling – a corded mitre saw (or drill, for that matter) wouldn’t have caused you the same issue. If you only have one battery between five tools and said battery fails, all your tools become useless until you have obtained a replacement.
Sadly price always comes into it somewhere! While it is indeed true that these days cordless tools can in most cases compete with corded models, that inevitably comes at a price. As a stand-alone item you can generally at least double the price of a corded version to get an equivalent cordless model, and that’s as a minimum. Though of course, the cost of cordless tools reduces significantly when purchasing “body only”, for example; a cordless reciprocating saw complete with two batteries and a charger may cost in the region of two-and-a-half to three-times the price of a corded model, but if you already own a cordless drill from the same range, thus have the batteries and charger, then the same reciprocating saw “body only” will set you back roughly 25% more than the corded version.
So then, Personal Usage and Price become very closely tied. While some people will favour the flexibility of cordless, others will prefer the price and moreover the price-to-performance ratio offered by corded. Also bear in mind that while manufacturer A and manufacturer B might be roughly the same price when it comes to drill/drivers, manufacturer B’s angle grinder, when you come to buy it, might be the twice the price, so make sure you’ve done your research before committing to anything.
A consideration that doesn’t fit into the three P’s is battery availability. Generally speaking, the battery is the first component of a corded tool to fail (they don’t last forever), more so if it is being shared between several tools therefore being used more often.
These days most pro-tool brands have adopted a model of maintaining one battery platform rather than chopping-and-changing every few years (perhaps largely due to the uproar caused some years ago when one of the top-end brands discontinued a battery platform after a very short service life), so now more than ever seems a safe time to invest in a range of cordless tools (and it is another reason to go for Pro rather than “DIY”, whose spare battery availability varies from non-existent to sporadic at the low-end, to under-powered and/or over-priced at the upper-end), but do bear in mind that if your batteries die your tool(s) becomes useless until you can replace them, and if you can’t gain quick access to a replacement the job will once again be put on hold.
When it comes to batteries, consider how many are supplied with the tool in the first instance, how much additional batteries cost and the Ah (Amp hour) rating. The Ah rating is a measure of the battery’s capacity; the higher the rating, the longer it will power the tool for. Because the power consumption of tools varies – both within the scope of a tool’s own usage and between differing tools – and because manufacturers rarely publish even maximum power consumption figures, it is impossible to use the Ah rating as an actual measure of runtime, so just know that bigger equals better.
These days 2Ah should be considered the minimum, but many pro-grade tools already come with a minimum of a 4Ah capacity battery with larger ones being available. It is always preferable to have at least two batteries, so if one runs flat you have a fully charged one ready to use.
Brushed versus Brushless
You may have noticed the term “brushless” while browsing tools, but what does it mean and what are the implications?
Traditional DC (direct current, as in battery-powered) motors employ something known as brushes to deliver current to the motor windings, which is what makes them rotate. Brushless motors, as the name implies, do not. There is much, much more to this concept than simply removing the brushes, but as this is a guide to tools rather than an exercise in electronics I will try to stay on point.
In real terms a brushless motor has two key benefits; there are no brushes to wear out and the motor is more efficient.
The former, while advantageous, is not the major problem many would have you believe. Yes brushes wear out over time, but it takes a long time. If you are using the tool sporadically rather than day-in, day-out, you may never need to change them. They are also cheap (and usually easy) to replace and many pro-grade tools are often supplied with spares from the off.
The real advantage comes from the increased efficiency of the motor. Put simply, power saved in the operation of the motor is extra power than can be used in the application of the motor. This can translate to increased torque, rotational speed, hammer-blow force or simply battery runtime. In many cases it applies to all the above.
So then, what are the cons? Price, as usual. With brushless tools being relatively “new tech”, they come at a premium compared to their brushed counterparts. The day will inevitably come when brushless tools are the norm, but while ever brushed tools still exist, you will pay more to upgrade to the brushless version.
Is the additional cost worth it? For the average DIYer it is debateable. While the advantages are real, brushed tools are very capable (and up until a few years ago were the only option), and the performance benefits gained from choosing a good brushed pro-tool over a “DIY” variant are significant enough to not warrant spending further on a brushless version. Neither does a tool being brushless automatically make it better than a brushed version; while the motor may indeed be more efficient, unless the manufacturer has made good use of the extra power available, you may find the only benefit you gain is increased runtime. Compare specs carefully when making your decision.
While there are a myriad of different voltage cordless power tools available – 14.4V, 22V, 28V, 36V, 54V, etc – many of these are either outdated or the reserve of the really high-end professional tools, so to that end we can concern ourselves with just two; 12V (10.8V) and 18V (20V).
I know what you’re thinking – that looks like four different voltages. You can thank marketing for that.
Li-Ion battery packs are made up from differing numbers of 3.6V battery cells. Three of these wired in series will give you a 10.8V battery pack and five will give you 18V. These are the two systems that exist today (excluding those mentioned in the first paragraph). There is no 12V or 20V system. So why do you see them advertised?
When fully charged, 10.8V and 18V battery packs can peak at 12V and 20V respectively, though their actual operational voltages are the lower value. Nevertheless, some manufacturers jumped on the opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and claim the higher value. That is why in the case of tools sold as 20V you will often see them marketed as “20V max”, which is in effect a disclaimer; the battery pack may peak at 20V maximum, but this is not its operational voltage.
Strangely, the 12V moniker seems to have been much more widely adopted and without the “max” disclaimer incorporated. Either way, when comparing tool systems, 18V is the same as 20V and 10.8V is the same as 12V. From this point forward, purely for simplicities sake, we’ll refer to them by their more commonly known values of 12V and 18V.
With that out of the way, which system should you choose? Again, this comes down to price and personal usage. While 18V tools have the obvious benefit of more power, 12V tools have come a long way in the last few years and very capable tools are now available in this battery platform that wouldn’t have been conceivable a decade-or-so ago.
The obvious benefits of the 12V platform are usability and price. While the tools themselves tend to be cheaper, so also are the battery packs because they contain fewer cells. The battery packs are smaller and lighter than their 18V equivalents and 12V tool systems on the whole are designed as a compact range of products. The combination of smaller and lighter tools and battery packs means the tools are generally more manoeuvrable and easier to use in awkward or confined spaces and more comfortable to use over long periods. These are very positive benefits and I personally tend to find myself choosing to use a 12V tool over its 18V counterpart in cases where both are capable of the task in hand.
That said, 18V tools have the power advantage and in many cases (as discussed earlier) will give corded tools a run for their money. This makes them a viable alternative to corded tools where a 12V version would not compete, and the 18V range of any tool manufacturer is often larger because there will always be certain tools – mitre saws for example – that could not (realistically) be powered by 12V batteries.
Of course, it’s one thing having the power available and another thing entirely to use it wisely. There are 12V tools that exist that out-perform some of their 18V counterparts. This comes down to a range of things, from motor efficiency (think back to brushed versus brushless), good R&D in the design of the tool and in many cases a manufacturer’s product line-up and marketing model (that is to say, entry-level tools may have lesser specifications and be aimed at the casual user or to encourage upgrading). Don’t assume that an 18V tool will automatically be better than a 12V – as with everything research is the key.
In my view the ideal situation would be a combination of both battery platforms, and some manufacturers help facilitate this by offering dual-voltage battery chargers that will cope with both. If, as is more likely, you only plan on investing in one system, consider all the tools you think you may need and where you intend to use them. If you are going to need a cordless angle grinder or mitre saw, opt for the 18V platform. If you intend to do all your drilling with a combi drill/driver, again opt for an 18V. If however you have a corded drill and will use your drill/driver mainly for screwing and minor drilling, you might find a 12V tool perfectly adequate and more comfortable to use.
When it comes to corded tools, the only thing to watch out for is that you’re buying a 240V tool. While that sounds obvious, most if not all professional tools are also available in 110V versions, which is a safety requirement for site work. They require a transformer to operate and while you could go and buy one there is little point in doing so when you could just buy the correct tool to start with!