Back in June, Stuart and I went to the Dewalt 2016 media event. Stuart had to leave after the Dewalt portion, but I stayed for the second day at Black and Decker University. While there, I had the opportunity to preview a selection of several tools from each SB&D brand, including some new tools from Porter Cable – their first-ever brushless drill and impact driver.
Since then, we have also seen the emergence of a new super value-oriented Porter Cable brushless drill, and an impact driver as well. This post will focus on the new premium-level brushless tools.
But before I start on about the new brushless tools, I want to make a correction to something I said in the comments of another post. I had commented that Porter Cable was now targeting handymen and repairmen, but this is not quite accurate. After I dug into my recorded audio of the event, I realized that I had misremembered what the rep said. He actually said they were targeting tradesmen and professional residential users.
The Porter Cable rep had characterized these users as jacks of all trades who are often involved in the demolition, framing, and finishing of a project — most often small crews that purchase tools with their own money. These users are looking to get high value out of their purchase.
What we were told at the show was that Porter Cable 20V Max cordless power tools are now divided into three categories: compact, premium, and brushless. The new brushless Edge drill and impact driver – with Edge being their new brushless category branding – are the first tools in the brushless category. So how does the new PCC608 brushless drill that Stuart recently wrote about fit into this scheme?
This is what Porter Cable Product Manager Brian Everhart says regarding the PCC608LB:
“The PCC608LB 20V MAX Lithium Compact Brushless Drill is a promotional 2-battery offer available for $99 MSRP. Professional performance at extreme value prices allows users to easily make the transition to brushless.”
This was said in the context of a comparative discussion about the 2 new brushless drills and current value-oriented and premium brushed motor drills.
The New Brushless Tools
Able to use any Porter Cable 20V Max battery, the PCCK607LB brushless drill and PCCK647LB impact driver will give the user 50% more runtime than the brushed versions (PCC601LB andPCC641LB respectively). It is notable that the PCC601 and the PCC641 are the newer non-premium models that ship with 1.3A batteries, while the new Edge drill and impact ship with 1.5A batteries.
What this means is that the 50% more runtime claim is partially due to the difference in battery capacity.
When we asked Porter Cable about this, and why they were comparing the new premium brushless tools to the current value-oriented non-premium models, they rationalizing it as a “user experience” comparison.
For example, if you buy the PCCK607 with the 1.5Ah batteries, you’ll get 50% more runtime that the PCC601 with 1.3Ah batteries. These are the batteries that are bundled in the respective drills’ kits, and so it’s a logical comparison despite not being quite “apples to apples.”
According to my math, using the same battery, the brushless motor in the PCCK607 will give you 30% longer runtime than the PCC601.
I came to this estimate by normalizing the runtime per amp-hour of battery charge. 1 unit of runtime (minutes, hours, days, whatever, it just cancels out) for the PCC601 drill and its 1.3 Ah battery pack, divided by 1.5 units of runtime for the PCCK607 drill and its 1.5Ah battery pack gives us a 1.3x multiplier, meaning a 30% motor-dependent increased runtime estimate.
So, the efficiency factor = 1.3, meaning that, given Porter Cable’s “50% more runtime” claims, and taking battery capacity out of consideration, the brushless motor contributes to a 30% increase in runtime.
And that’s in addition to being more powerful.
Stuart’s Note: Why the need for math? Because to us it seems inappropriate to compare tool runtime while taking into account different battery pack capacities. Porter Cable’s fine print does not give you all the information you need to fully understand their “50% more runtime” claims. I wouldn’t quite call it misleading.
Porter Cable designed their new 20V Max Edge premium brushless tools to stand out from the brushed models. The new color scheme has a lot more red, and the housing prominently says brushless in several places.
The PCCK607 drill will deliver 370 MWO, which they say is 20% more powerful than their PCC601, and 12% more powerful than the PCC600. The product packaging and sales sheet compares the drill to the PCC601; we bugged Porter Cable for the PCC600 comparison figures.
The plastic 1/2″ ratcheting chuck also offers improved bit retention compared to older designs. The 2-speed transmission runs from 0 – 450RPM in low and 0 – 1800RPM in high.
The new brushless drill measures 7.4″ long and weighs 3.3 lbs with compact battery.
- 370 MWO
- 0-450/0-1800 RPM
- Weighs 3.3 lbs
- 7.4″ long
There’s one more notable feature – a new mode collar that allows users to switch from drilling mode to driving mode without moving and losing the torque settings.
Buy Now(via Amazon)
Buy Now(via Lowes)
The kit comes with (2) 1.5Ah battery packs and a compact 90-minute charger (PCC699L).
The drill kit is available now at select Lowes stores, and will be available nationwide starting in November. We have already spotted these tools in stock at several online retailers.
If you search for the kit online or at retailers, be sure to use the whole model number, PCCK607LB, and not just PCCK607. Why? The PCCK607LA kit is a drill and Bluetooth speaker combo that features the previous value-oriented PCC601 brushed motor drill.
The PCCK647LB impact driver is 14% shorter than PCC641, measuring 5.8″ from front to back. It weighs 2.9 lbs with compact battery.
The impact driver features a one-handed bit chuck and delivers 1400 inch-lbs of max torque. It’s a single-speed model, running at 0 – 2700 RPM.
- 1400 in-lbs max torque
- 0-2700 RPM
- 5.8″ long
- Weighs 2.9 lbs
Both tools have an integrated LED light, battery fuel gauge, and belt hook.
At the event, the Rep said the new brushless tools would ship with the “cup” charger rather than the full size charger. The reasoning for this was that their research showed that contractors didn’t want to carry a big charger around with them all the time.
The “cup” charger is smaller and lighter than the bigger charger, but features the same 1A output. Both will charge a 1.5Ah battery in around 90 minutes.
Like the drill, this new impact is available this month at select Lowes stores, and will be available nationwide by November.
Any idea if they will be providing larger capacity batteries? To my understanding they sell a the 1.5, 1.3 and maybe a 4ah?
Yes there is a 4.0Ah: https://www.amazon.com/PCC685L-20-volt-Lithium-4-0-Amp-Battery/dp/B00FQ8OHJ6
They didn’t mention anything about larger capacity batteries.
Will they be updating their saws or grinders to brushless motors?
They did not say anything directly, but the fact that they emphasized their compact, premium, and brushless categories at the event sure implies that they will have more brushless tools. A category need more than two tools.
But this is PC they through that cheap brushless drill category buster in the mix a few weeks ago, so who knows.
I own the PC cordless grinder and it could sure benefit from a longer run time — more power would be nice too :>)
Seems like a good product with 1 major drawback I see if they are targeting profession users. I will preface this by saying I do millwork/casework for a living and personally a Makita user but…..
90 minutes to charge a SMALL battery? In a professional setting, that’s way too long. If they want to get users to truly adopt cordless tools they would have to cut that Charge time nearly in half. I know some other brand charge times are comparable as well but I could never wait that long personally. Does that mean over 3 hours to charge a 4.0 AH?
With a 1 amp charger that means it would actually take 4 hours to charge a 4.0 AH battery.
I don’t see why that would be a real problem though – have you ever drained a 4 AH battery in less than 4 hours using a brushless drill or impact driver? If the answer is yes then you aren’t the target market for these tools.
These tools aren’t for hard core production work where you are drilling dozens of holes per hour or driving hundreds of screws per hour. The vast majority of “tradesmen” using these tools will get all day or more on a single battery charge making the recharge time a non-issue.
Yep..up to 200-250 min
Ive never had any of my PC batteries take that long but i have the better chargers as well. Can easily charge the smallerbatteries in around 30 mins and under an hour with my 4.0 ones.
my biggest problem with these is that they look like toys. they could be the best tools around, but if they look like they came with a child’s playmobile workbench then it will be hard to convince people to buy them. it’s like they were going for “futuristic” and went too far :-/
I dislike the capacity/runtime shell game. I’m still PO’d about the 18V tools I invested in.
I recognize the value of brushless, but I fail to understand all the flavors of batteries, tools, and chargers.
i build cnc saw machines and use both the drill and impact almost daily. I am very happy with them both and they are holding up great for the past couple of months. one concern is the round screw bosses on the battery packs. i fear that if the drill is dropped and lands on this plastic boss it will surely smash and deform it.
Yep..up to 200-250 min