A month ago we discovered that Black & Decker was working on a modular tool system. We have since verified that Black & Decker is in fact soon releasing a new line of power tools with interchangeable attachments. Here is a preview of all we now know about Black & Decker’s new Matrix modular tool system.
Black & Decker’s power tools, including the new Gyro screwdriver that wooed and impressed us, are typically aimed at homeowners and DIYers looking for light to medium duty tools. We don’t expect the new Matrix tools to go head-to-head with pro-grade tools, but we certainly appreciate the flexibility and versatility the system offers. As of now, our outlook is optimistic and hopeful.
Black & Decker Matrix Cordless & Corded Base Units
Black & Decker will be launching the line with both cordless and corded handle units. Ridgid has already done this with their JobMax modular tools, but over time.
12V & 20V Matrix Power Handles
There will be two cordless Matrix power handles, based off of Black & Decker’s 12V Max and 20V Max lithium ion platforms. The power handles appear similar, but with different battery pack mounting styles. Hopefully we’ll see a more compact 12V Max handle in the future.
12V and 20V Max starter kits will each come with a power base unit handle, charger, li-ion battery, and drill/driver attachment. Both kits will be available in October and will be priced at $50 for the 12V kit and $70 for the 20V kit.
4.0A Corded Handle
A 4-amp corded base handle unit will be available in January with drill/driver attachment for $40. From what we can tell, the functionality won’t change between corded and cordless power handles, although we would expect greater power from the AC model.
Black & Decker Matrix Tool Head Attachments
Black & Decker is launching the Matrix line with a number of drilling, driving, cutting, and sanding attachments. Each tool head will be priced at $29-39.
There is a strong possibility that there will be a number of bundle options available in addition to the drill/driver power base handle starter kits. According to one source there will be a starter kit that includes drill/driver, detail sander, jigsaw attachments, but we have not yet verified this.
We would also expect to see special bundles or promotions around the winter holidays.
The basic drill/driver tool head features 0-700 RPM variable speed and 11 clutch settings. Maximum torque will likely depend on which Matrix power handle is used with the tool head.
The oscillating multi-tool head is rated at up to 18,500 OPM and can be used for sanding, cutting, grinding, scraping, and all the other applications one would use a multi-tool for. It also features a tool-free blade change design similar to that on the Porter Cable multi-tool.
The compact jigsaw features an aluminum shoe (from the looks of it), variable speed 2,800 strokes per minute, 1/2-inch stroke length, and tool-free blade change.
“Up to 1,300 in-lbs” of maximum torque, presumably with the corded tool handle. Expect a little less power from the cordless power bases. The motor is also rated at 0-2700 RPM and 0-5400 BPM.
The compact detail sander looks to be similar in size to Black & Decker’s mouse sander, which is typically used for light sanding, scrubbing, and polishing tasks.
B&D describes the router as ideal for use on decorative edging projects, small woodworking projects and more. It looks like a light-duty trim router with maybe an inch of depth adjustment. Max speed is 9000 RPM.
Circular Trim Saw
The circular saw spins up to 3400 RPM (with 20V power handle) and can be used on plywood, paneling, and small boards. Blade-size is 3-3/8″, with one general purpose wood-cutting blade included with the tool attachment.
Where to Buy?
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Three power base handles:
- 12V Max
- 20V Max
- 4A AC Corded
- drill/driver (included with starter kits)
- impact driver
- oscillating multi-tool
- detail sander
- trim saw
Reminds me a lot of the Ridgid/Ryobi Job Max but in a different form factor.
Yes, but the execution is much different. I can see the Matrix line gaining much more popularity with DIYers than the JobMax system.
This looks exactly like the Sears Craftsman. I think they are made by the same people. I would buy the one that has the lower price. Buy a battery from BD and try the fit on the Craftsman
I’m interested in this as well, but for the opposite reason. B & D’s customer service is terrible, and if something goes wrong they won’t stand by their product. I’d like to replace my dead B & D charger with a Craftsman if they are the same batteries.
I saw a youtuber that did just that. It requires a minor modification. There’s a slight difference with with the mating socket. He just trimmed off the offending lobe and it fit fine.
this seems so obvious that i smacked my head and said ” doh !”
i only do light weight work now and this is exactly what i need.
It looks to me as though the trick here is to keep the attachments as far back on the tool as possible, so that the handle lines up properly. I would like to see what it looks like with the circular saw attached. If the handle rides to high, I would be a bit concerned.
Back in the early ’60’s a bunch of marketing types (I’m guessing at this – because they obviously were not professional tool designers) promoted a whole bunch of tools that could attach to your corded drill. One was a jigsaw, another a circular saw, one an oscillating sander and so on. I don’t recall a router (speed was obviously an issue) – and the oscillating tool was probably still a medical tool only. Anyway – none of these drill add-ons worked well – or lasted anytime at all in the marketplace. Maybe time has solved some of the issues with these earlier incarnations – but time will tell
Ridgid’s JobMax modular tools are fairly capable and robust. The problem is that they’re not quite as economical as DIYers would want them to be, which is why I think B&D’s line will be more successful.
Time might tell if they’re good, but probably not. My guess is that they’ll be a big hit over the winter holidays no matter what.
Black & Decker had a router/planer combination where the router motor would also fit in the portable planer base, I can imagine it would not have balanced out very well. The older models came in an excellent wooden case which I think I would rather have than the tools.
We have an old Rockwell (Porter Cable) # 150 – router – planer combination. The motor was a 150M, the Router Base a 150B and the Planer Base a 150P. I think we acquired it with a shop – as I can’t imagine having approved its purchase over a dedicated stand-alone PC router and a dedicated PC planer – many of both we still have in productive use.
A rule I feel applies : when something tries to do more than one thing, it does neither very well. Interesting they included a corded version, I have pretty much given up on cordless power tools.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
I had pretty much given up on cordless, too, after killing the bushings in two, and discovering their batteries failed quickly. When Craftsman changed their batteries every other year I stopped looking at cordless tools completely.
Ten years on, I had the opportunity to use DeWalt 18v tools in my father’s shop. Modern “pro” cordless tools are the real answer. “Consumer” tools are cute, but they are designed to be inexpensive and light, not durable and long lasting. A tool store manager let me know that when a major manufacturer surveyed their end users, that’s what they wanted. Light and cheap. The good news is that they only went that way with their lower line products. I had a set of BD Firestorm willed to me. The recip saw is unusably weak, the circular saw doesn’t have enough torque to cut more than 1/4″ material, and both drill/drivers “clamshells” broke within a couple of years. The good news is that I replaced the clamshells, they were cheap. I hand them to students and volunteers during set building sessions and keep the DeWalt tools for my use.
You’re probably right. I went through two Craftsman 19.2v drills, my parents went through a 14.4v drill and an 18v drill that suddenly died after less then a week of use. So I think I might give up on cordless as well. However, the corded version is only 40, so I MIGHT try it, at least we won’t have to worry about battery life, right? I’m not a hater on this product, I WANTED the battery to last longer then 20 minutes for drilling small holes, but it didn’t. I’ll post an update regarding the corded version when I get it. I don’t think it comes out until January of next year, though.
The battery that comes with the set is a 1.5 amp/hour battery. You can buy separately a 6.0 amp/hour battery.
I dont hate the idea, but I do hate the look of the these tools. If they toned down the “design-i-ness” of the handle…..it cold be a decent home owner set or even auxiliary tools for the diy’er with the 20v (18v) handle. I always think about the best tool set i’ll buy for my next girlfriend. This could be it.
I wouldn’t buy them for myself cause i’m a tool-o-phile of sorts, and cant take this setup too seriously. I wouldn’t mind owning the job-max system though.
I actually like the look of the handle, as it seems nice and grippy. But I must agree, the tools do have a sort of home-friendly look to them. Still, I’d say the designers did a pretty nice job with the aesthetics.
A corded drill, with the adjustable clutch. I have been looking for one of these, for ages. Finally B&D does it (I think Skil did it a while back, with a module that replaced the battery on a cordless drill, and turned it into a corded one).
For anyone who drills holes in sheet metal (I do that a lot) having a clutch on your drill, saves your wrists when the bit ‘grabs’, as well as prevents chipping the bit (by sheet metal, I mean 1/8 and 1/4 inch, not stuff like heater ducts). When the bit suddenly ‘grabs’, the clutch slips, the bit doesn’t chip, and the drill doesn’t snap your wrists. While I love my many years old Magnum Hole Shooter, it can hurt a guy, if he’s not careful, especially drilling in awkward positions.
A clutch would also let a person use a corded drill to drive deck screws, without battery changes, as an example.
If one of the top line makers, like DeWalt, Makita, Milwaukee, Ridgid, etc would make a corded drill with a clutch, I’d order one tomorrow. I hear Ridgid makes a corded JobMax powerhead that their drill module would attatch to, and I intend to check them out before my next big DIY project.
Pretty sure it Ryobi that had a corded 3/8 drill driver, pretty sure it is still available @ Depot or TTI tool stores at various outlet malls around the country.
Thanks, I’ll be on the look out for it.
C. Roger Carroll
Great gift for Christmas .
I can verify the Ryobi drill. My wife bought me the cordless Ryobi kit from the Depot last Xmas. I have had good use of them (just a DIYer, though my pro-carpenter uncle uses a set just like mine. When he’s working on his own projects – he saves the DeWalts and Milwaukees for his bread and butter use) I like them a lot, good battery life, not much use for the reciprocating saw though – convenient for the one time use for removing a nail or the occasional quick-cut, but after I saw one of the Craftsman corded reciprocating saws for $20 at work (it was bought / possibly used – oh yeah, I look at the clx everyday), I snagged it. I would recommend the rest though, trim saw works a treat.
Anyhow – I didn’t even realize there were “modular” tools like this, kind of interested to see how well they work, as I would love to have a set of tools for inside the house rather than the shed.
just realized U were talking about the corded… *doh*
I’ve personally been using the Black and Decker 20v Max Matrix drill for the past few weeks. Up until yesterday, I’ve been using it to drill half inch diameter holes, about a half inch or so deep for shelf pins. I’m doing it in 8 foot long pine 2 by 10’s from top to bottom. I managed to do one side of the board, and the battery died. I loved the feel of it, don’t get me wrong. It has a really nice rubber grip to keep it in your hands, and the power output is better then what I’ve used. But the battery life is absolute crap. I just used it not too long ago today and the battery died on me again. It takes several hours to charge.
The oscillating tool attachment was something I was looking forward to getting, but it’s basically for show. If you push too hard even into wood, it just grips the wood and vibrates aggressively back and forth. Cuts when you push lightly, but it takes a long time, unlike the real oscillating mulit-tools. Very disappointed in this, especially since just doing DIYer work, it didn’t perform adequately. I plan to return this and consider the corded drill, in hopes it will last a bit longer.
I might just forget about cordless tools altogether after this, since I can’t afford a high end drill from Dewalt or Milwaukee and probably never will. Show me a drill that will last for years, a battery that will hold a good charge for years and I might buy one. I went through 2 Craftsman 19.2v drills. Got the extended warranty that still only put it to 2 years. Well, just like clock work, it died after the warranty expired. I was so excited when this drill game out, I was even the first one in my local Wal-mart to buy it.
The price, the attachments, and the nice look and feel of the drill sold me. Now I have to take the walk of shame and return it. Hopefully I get cash and not store credit!
There’s my rant. If anyone has any advice regarding fixing battery life, I’d take it. I’d rather NOT return this and be drillless, but I can put that 70 bucks to better use.
I hope you have not returned the Matrix drill yet. Send me a message at [email protected] and I can help you with the batteries. I work for Black & Decker and would be interested in you testing out some new batteries for this system.
Thanks for the review and giving Black & Decker a try.
I’ve been using b& d 20 VOLT matrix and all tools for several years. I’ve always had three batteries so never run out of juice or power. Love the drill head and impact driver and jig saw and the changeabilty and power. Head trimmer works well and so does the sander. I have not been able to use my router as I cannot get the collet to tighten on the bit shafts. Skilsaw works well but no depth adjustment. Overall love this tool, use it a lot remodeling ,works great. Even bought a second one for In case they stopped making them for some reason. Both work great. Cordless is what makes it so great. I agree with the earlier comment about the oscillating cutting tool not running fast enough to do the job.
Wanted to add spelling an content corrections.
That should say the hedge trimmer works well.
All tools is synonymous with attachments.
I recharge my 20 volt matrix batteries wit a high speed charger that works great.
I have a B&D weed eater and a pole saw. I have two batteries for each. One is always on the charger. I just bought the Matrix that uses the same battery. I haven’t use it yet. I really like my other two B&D cordless tools. Since I don’t usually tackle big projects I think I’ll get good use out of this tool. If I do tackle a larger project, I’ll probably invest in a 6.0 amp/hour battery.
I work in the IT field and often do side-jobs in Home Theater & Surveillance installations. I’ve been using a B&D Firestorm 14.4V cordless drill/driver for over 7 years. Mine is not the basic Firestorm, but the one with the removable chuck and a 1/4″ collet. B&D tools are geared more toward the homeowner than the pro, but this old setup has served me well over the years.
Above, Charles said his Firestorm drills broke their clamshells. The rubber ribs on the outside of my handle started peeling off and my clamshell is cracked in the area of the handle. So, I wrapped the handle tightly with 3M friction tape. No further cracking and it feels good in hand.
My Firestorm has gone through several sets of batteries (I always keep a pair, one on the tool, the other on the charger) over the years, but it has also gone through quite a lot of 2×4 studs for me to pull cables, a lot of lag screws/bolts, and a lot of smaller screws. For jobs on vehicles and larger fasteners (lag screws/bolts, lug nuts, etc.), I use a 1/4″ hex to 3/8″ square drive adapter and my socket set. Of course the tool does not have the torque to break lug nuts loose, so I use a breaker bar to break the lugs, jack up, then use the Firestorm to pull the lugs off in mere seconds.
From time to time, I have used my Firestorm for everything from putting a single phone/network jack in, to completely wiring an entire house for everything low-voltage (phone, network, intercom, A/V, CCTV, etc.), to hanging flat-screen TV’s.
I have been using my Firestorm for things B&D probably never imagined it being used for. Aside from the cracked & taped handle, it has stood up to the fairly regular use and occasional abuse I have put it through quite well.
One thing I don’t see on the Matrix system (maybe it’s there & I just haven’t seen it, maybe it is missing) that my old Firestorm has – a 2-speed transmission on the drill/driver.
The Matrix system has certainly piqued my interest. The cinchers would be if I could confirm the presence of a 2-speed transmission in the drill/driver, and if B&D would add a quick-charger. The LED lights many people have mentioned would be icing on the cake. When I’m crawling through a ceiling pulling cable, I have a head-light on my forehead anyhow – LED lights would be nice, but not a deal-breaker in my book.
Craftsman’s Bolt-On system (ToolGuyd Preview) has an exclusive 2-speed hammerdrill attachment.
Personally, my preference would be to buy into the Bolt-On system first, and add additional Matrix power handles and heads later. The QuickBoost charger pushes the Craftsman starter set ahead, especially with reports of the Matrix having long charging times and short runtimes.
F3 – There is not a 2-speed drill for the B&D Matrix system but there is a Quick Charger. We do have some new flashlights coming that work off the system. If a 2-speed drill is required, I suggest looking at the Craftsman Bolt-On system which also has a quick charger with a Boost function.
For a homeowner with small to medium projects, this might not be a bad deal. I have been using the B&D MT1405B-2 for about 9 years now and it’s been an awesome tool for me. Of course I’ve gone through about three 14.4v battery packs but who expects years and years of battery life with these things.
I think they may be charging too much because you may have to buy the attachments separate from the drill ($79 for the drill and $20-$30 per attachment). The MT1405B-2 came as a set for under $100.
I’ve used B&D almost exclusively my whole life, very little disappointments overall with the various tools. Still have the original trim saw, and I love the cordless 18 volt drill with removeable chuck. The motor died, got a replacement, its keeps on and on. Overall, batteries don’t hold a charge, but are usable. Just got the Matrix, for the torque driver atttachment. Can’t wait for the corded powerhead, though. Thanks B&D. Well satisfied.
I’ve seen the Sears/Craftsman Bolt-On system advertised now too. It looks identical to the B&D Matrix system. From what I’m seeing, it looks like the systems may be interchangeable (i.e.: I can put a B-O head on a Matrix handle & vice-versa).
Do you know if this is true? One-way, or either brand on the other?
My FireStorm 14.4V drill with removable chuck finally snapped its clamshell. Am in the middle of a job and awaiting my final payday at the end of the project, so I put some J-B Weld on it and it is holding up, even driving 3″ screws through pressure-treated lumber without pilot holes. I do have an 18V B&D drill too, but am trying not to use it too much b/c I am using my 18V circular saw, vacuum, etc., and don’t want to end up with both my 18V batteries dead simultaneously (it happened while waiting for the J-B Weld to cure).
Anyhow, given the state of my beloved 14.4V drill/driver, I need to start looking into a replacement tool set.
If the B&D/Sears tool accessories are interchangeable (2-way), I’ll buy the B&D 20V starter set and add the B&D oscillating tool, Sears hammer-drill, etc., a piece at a time.
The B&D Matrix starter set is the same price at Wal-Mart as it is at Home Depot, but the Wal-Mart set includes an LED work light (I bought one for my father around Oct/Nov ’12 after his old drill’s battery died & couldn’t find a replacement battery locally).
Interchangeable? One-way, or either brand on the other? Heads, Handles, & 20V Batteries?
I got the trimsaw attachment for the matrix and the screw that you need to remove to attach the saw will not loosten at all. I even removed the upper part of the blade guard to use a pair of vice grips but still it will no budge. Any b&d folks here that can comment?
Does anyone have a definitive answer about whether the Craftsman Bolt-On and the B&D Matrix systems are interchangeable?
Previously I would have bought the Craftsman because I have a lot of Craftsman tools and have great experience with them (with one notable exception–their multitool/oscillating tool, I went through 2 of the battery operated models and 6 of the corded models in less than 3 years–I paid only for 2 of them, the rest were replaced on warranty! That’s correct eight tools.)
However, that was when we had a Sears store in our little community in Alaska. Now we have a Wal Mart and saw the B&D tool there.
I have the old version of the black&decker multitool. Lead acid batteries 14.4 V and charger broke down. Now I use it with a flexible solar panel 68W 12 V DIRECT. It works perfect under the sun. No charge controller needed.
what kind of adapter fits sockets and fits in driver head
Something like this?
One caveat: I had a Sears drill and when the battery gave out I went nuts trying to get a new one – no luck, I had to throw the whole unit (drill, battery charger) out. The lesson: get a second 20 Volt battery, because in a few years you won’t be able to find one on this planet! This is known as “planned obsolescence”, which makes you buy a new tool every so often. Good luck!
how do you tighten the router bits on the router attachment?
i have the exact same question. bought the router from amazon and was planning on using it for light woodworking. its been 2 onths and havent gotten 5 mins of usage out of it. the router bit just falls out when the vibrations start.
tried all possible ways to tighten it but so far have been unsucessful.
my first experience with b&d and its been terrible. now its just a paperweight.
Vid here where the guy explains how to lock the spindle so you can tighten it properly. @ 1.37