At the moment, Craftsman’s new V20 brushless drill/driver is sitting on my bench, waiting to be tested. While I am extremely eager to put it to the test and get that review going, I was even more eager to put a different Craftsman cordless drill ahead of it.
Last week, I picked up the Craftsman cordless drill kit that will be featured as a Black Friday 2018 and holiday season special at Lowes. It’s the Craftsman C20 CMCD700C1 cordless drill kit, with their entry-level drill, a 1.3Ah battery, and charger.
Right now, it is $69 at Lowes, with a “was” price of $79.
I must say, the box is a very nice “buy me!!” shade of red.
Here’s what you get – the Craftsman CMCD700 cordless drill/driver, V20/V12 charger, and a double-ended screwdriver bit.
The drill is advertised as being Versatrack-compatible, and they tell you clearly on the box that it’s an optional accessory that’s not included.
- 280 UWO (unit watts out) max torque
- 0-350/0-1500 RPM
- 1/2″ chuck
- Weighs 2.7 lbs without battery
- 8-1/4″ length (measured)
- LED light
While I tested this and the brushless model – briefly – at Craftsman’s big launch event earlier this year, there was so much going on that I didn’t get a good feel for the details. Plus, this is a production model, and so little things might have changed.
The first thing I noticed was that the battery connects to the tool very securely. It’s almost satisfying how the two engage together. While it does require a little more effort than some other brands’ battery systems, I’d rather this than sloppy engagement.
The Craftsman drill has a good feel to it. All of the new Craftsman V20 cordless drills share the same handle grip design.
It also wasn’t lost on me that Craftsman included a standard charger, or what I’m calling a standard charger. They could have supplied this kit with a more basic charger, but they didn’t.
The speed selection switch isn’t as prominent as I’m used to, but I didn’t have any problems sliding it back and forth. It might be harder to feel for with gloved hands.
It has a 23+1 setting adjustable clutch, meaning there are 23 adjustable power settings, plus a full power “drilling” mode. I’m pleased that the clutch is easy to turn, and its markings are clear and easy to read.
Going from the highest clutch setting to drilling mode requires a short turn; there are no other selector switches.
The chuck has a plastic sleeve that’s easy to grip. In my testing, it held securely and I haven’t experienced any issues yet.
When it came time to testing the drill, I was a little apprehensive. I’m used to using and testing higher-levels of cordless drills. A $69 cordless drill kit? 280 UWO (unit watts out) when I’m more used to the 460 UWO of Dewalt’s compact brushless drill?
I’m working on a new standardized way of evaluating cordless drills (please let me know if you have any testing suggestions), but I settled on the following methods for this and a few other models I’m testing at the same time.
- 1/8″ twist drill
- 1/4″ twist drill
- 1/2″ self-feeding spade bit
- 3/4″ self-feeding spade bit
- 1″ self-feeding spade bit
- 1-1/2″ self-feeding spade bit
- #6 x 5/8″ self-drilling wood screw (Philips #2)
- #8 x 1-1/4″ self-drilling wood screw (Philips #2)
- #10 x 2″ self-drilling wood screw (Philips #2)
- #10 x 3-1/8″ self-drilling wood screw (Torx T25)
- 1/4″ x 3″ self-drilling lag screw (3/8″ nutdriver)
The self-drilling spade bits I were using have a max speed of 1500 RPM, which is what the Craftsman V20 drill is rated to at its higher speed range. There’s a suitable amount of power for the 1/2″ spade bit, but barely. The low speed range must be used for these kinds of bits.
When attempting deeper 1/2″ holes, the drill can push to around 2″ deep in the long edge of a 2×4. I’m sure that it can drill further if reversed for the hole to be cleared out a little.
When drilling 3/4″ holes, it could make it through the short 1.5″ thickness of a 2×4. Drilling through the 3.5″ edge is possible, but care is needed.
I stalled the drill a couple of times when being mildly aggressive with the 3/4″ spade bit. I also bound up the bit to where the Craftsman drill couldn’t reverse it out of the hole. It did effort to reverse the bit, but the motor overheated a little to where some smoke came out of the air vents.
One of those times, when the Craftsman drill couldn’t back out, I removed the drill and attached a pro-brand 12V-class brushless drill, and it was able to back the bit out. A second time, with the 3/4″ spade bit maybe 1.5″ deep into the edge of a 2×4″, I had to bring out a heavy duty 18V-class drill to free up the bit.
In a real-world application, I would have cleared the chips by backing the drill out a little, instead of attempting deeper holes in one go.
I was able to drive a 1″ self-drilling spade bit about 3/4″ into a 2×4 when it stalled. After that I moved onto fastening tasks.
But, later on, with a freshly charged battery pack and after giving the tool a break so I could do something else, I brought out a 1-1/2″ self-drilling spade bit, to see what the Craftsman V20 cordless drill could do. It stalled twice, but was able to complete a hole through the 1.5″ thick face of a 2×4.
For fastening tasks, the Craftsman drill fared well, driving all of the screws flush. From #6 x 5/8″ through #10 x 3-1/8″, it was able to drive them all, and without pre-drilling any of the holes.
The #6-5/8″ screws weren’t quite flush, but that’s more due to the choice in fasteners. Just enough torque, and the clutch stops the screws from going further. Too much further, and they’ll strip out the holes and free-spin. If you want to drive these screws flush, pre-drill the holes and use a countersink to make a nice recess for the screw head.
When I came back to the drill after a while, and right after I put it through the quick test with a 1-1/2″ self-drilling spade bit, I had no trouble completely driving in a 1/4″ x 3″ lag bolt, using a 3/8″ nutdriver. I repeated the test two more times, to be sure.
Now, I hadn’t pushed it to its absolute limits yet, and there are more tests I want to do, but I’ve seen enough to get a good sense of the tool’s capabilities.
Craftsman V20 Li-ion Battery
Craftsman includes a 1.3Ah Li-ion battery with this kit, and it held up well. While the battery was depleted quicker than I had anticipated, I had also been pushing the drill to its limits. The high current draw, as well as the battery’s elevated temperature during extended use, hastened things along.
But, the battery pack powered through everything the drill asked of it. And it has a built-in capacity fuel gauge, which is always appreciated. They *could* have built a more basic battery for kits like this one, without a fuel gauge, but they didn’t.
The battery pack has a quality feel to it, and as mentioned, it very securely connects to the tool.
Craftsman V20 Charger
The included charger is one of the reasons I think this Craftsman kit is a great value. This isn’t a barebones charger, it’s a full V20/V12 charger.
Craftsman V12? I can’t wait to see what they come out with a 12V Max platform!
I was surprised at how fast the charger brought the battery pack from fully drained to 100% charged. Looking at the back of it, it states a 1.25A output. It can recharge the 1.3Ah battery in what – about an hour? That’s decent for a kit like this.
On the back of the charger, there are keyhole hangers and they very clearly specify the center-to-center spacing right on the back of the charger (3.5″). Those are nice touches that a lot of people will appreciate.
I rated the Craftsman V20 CMCD700 cordless drill as 3/5 for power, and 3/5 for speed because it’s a lower powered and slower tool compared to many others on the market. However, it proved to be capable. For tougher test scenarios, it completed what was asked of it, it just took a little longer.
It can handle common light to medium duty DIYer drilling and fastening tasks. For mid-to-heavier duty tasks, care must be taken to ensure a lighter feed rate, which means not putting too much pressure on the drill, or being careful to clear chips out frequently.
I wish that the top drilling speed was a little faster, but since you cannot gain speed without losing torque, I’m happy for the balance that we’re given.
There weren’t any real disappointments as far as the user-experience goes, but the drill doesn’t feel perfect enough for a 5/5 score. 4/5 is still very good. It’s a drill I’m comfortable using.
Frankly, this kit is a heck of a good value – I’d rate it 6/5 if I could.
I would consider this to be a very good value drill kit for DIYers, homeowners, and *maybe* value-minded pro users who need a light duty backup.
There are no “gotchas,” no gimmicks, and not much to complain about. From what I can tell, at least from limited testing so far (there’s more to come), it’s a nicely balanced cordless drill.
If you are willing to spend more, there are better drill kit options out there. A higher budget will get you more speed, which means faster application times, more power, which means less struggling through harder tasks, and either a second battery pack, or a higher capacity battery.
But, this drill can still do a lot, and it’s a fantastic bargain at $69.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking to buy a cordless drill on a $50-$80 budget. Spending less will result in too many compromises. Compared to cheaper options, this kit gives you a relatively fast charger, a 1/2″ chuck, and a reasonable balance of speed and power for the money, not to mention great ergonomics and a fairly compact size.
This might be the best budget drill I’ve ever used. It’s a long way from being the best compact drill I’ve used, but I was delighted to find that Craftsman made compromises in its design, but not sacrifices. It’s value-priced, without feeling cheap.
To put things in perspective, the Dewalt DCD771C2 cordless drill kit, which was a hugely popular $99 kit before the brushless special buy model came around (DCD777), features a 300 UWO power output, 0-450/0-1500 RPM gearbox, and is bundled with (2) 1.3Ah batteries. This Craftsman CMCD700 cordless drill is nearly a half inch shorter, is only 6.7% less powerful, features the same speed ranges, and is bundled with (1) battery pack.
What it comes to is this – you’d have to spend at least 43% more to find the next best cordless drill/driver kit, at least given current options and pricing.
The test sample featured in this review was purchased at retail pricing.