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.
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.