Rockwell has entered the cordless brushless tool arena with three new offerings – a drill/driver, a hammer drill, and an impact driver. The drill was previously available at Menards, but is now shipping to other distributors.
Reminder: 20V Max = 18V.
Rockwell’s new RK2852K2 20V Max brushless drill/driver offers some reasonably good on-paper specs.
Torque delivery maxes out at 531 in-lbs, and the 2-speed gearbox is quite speedy with no-load ranges of 0-600 and 0-2000 RPM.
Features include a 1/2″ single sleeve ratcheting chuck, LED worklight, 18+1 clutch settings, and a compact design. The kit comes with (2) 2.0Ah batteries and a 1-hour charger.
Buy Now(Drill via Amazon)
The RK2853K2 brushless hammer drill is similar to Rockwell’s new drill/driver, but with the addition of a 24,000 BPM masonry-drilling hammer mechanism.
Buy Now(Hammer Drill via Amazon)
Rockwell’s RK2860K2 1/4″ hex impact driver also boasts some decent numbers – max torque delivery of 1500 in-lbs and 2800 RPM/3000 BPM motor speed.
Amazon’s product description for the new impact driver says it has 20+1 torque settings, but there doesn’t seem to be an electronic torque or speed control dial.
There is a small hard-to-read feature towards the base of the tool, but this is missing from most of Rockwell’s product images. Even if this was an electronic speed control, it would be a pain to cycle through “20+1” settings with a button.
Buy Now(Impact Driver via Amazon)
Rockwell justifies the high pricing by emphasizing how brushless motors require no maintenance compared to brushed motor tools, and that their “batteries for life” program helps to reduce costs of ownership over time.
However, unless the gap between MSRP and actual retail pricing widens, these tools will be hard to find appealing. The prices of these tools approach those of Bosch and Dewalt offerings, and of other consumer brands’ brushless models. This, on top of Rockwell’s lack of product selection in their 20V Max lineup, makes me reluctant to consider the brand in favorable light.
The only other Rockwell 20V Max tools that are currently available include a drill, an impact driver, and a cordless SoniCrafter oscillating multi-tool.
I must say, the tools look very sharply designed, and the tools’ 10-year motor warranties – notice how they say motor warranty – causes me to raise an eyebrow in interest.
One more thing that I find off-putting is how the tools themselves say “20V Max,” or rather “20V MaxLithium,” while all of the marketing language on the product pages and press release I found online simply say “20V,” which can be misleading, as “20V Max” is simply a fancy way of saying 18V.
The “20V max” and “12V max” ratings annoy me as well.
I frequently joke on LED and flashlight forums about “Chinese lumens” (the tendency for imported flashlights to claim 2x or 3x their LED’s rated output) but the problem is everywhere. 10-15 years ago, it was common for $10 computer speakers to be rated at 1000W “peak”. Stores still sell shop vacs that claim to have 5-6hp motors. Until relatively recently, air compressors had the same inflated specs. Even car manufactures are occasionally caught inflating their MPG ratings (Hyundai and Kia were just nailed for this).
On the subject of these Rockwell tools…seems hard to justify spending $400+ on a pair of drivers that belong to such a small lineup. If I’m going to invest in a new battery ecosystem — and, really, that’s what we’re doing when we abandon one manufacturer’s lineup for another — I’m going to choose an ecosystem that has plenty options for expansion.
There’s going to be a drill and impact combo kit, model RK1807K2, available for $280, although I couldn’t find any retailer that carries or even lists it yet. $280 is still a bit much, seeing as how you can get a Dewalt brushless combo for the same amount. Actually, Dewalt’s compact brushless combo is $1 cheaper, and is usually eligible for holiday promos.
I can’t quite figure out what Positec is thinking regarding positioning of the Rockwell brand – compared to their Worx brand. Both look to me to be primarily aimed at the middle pro/hobbyist to homeowner of the spectrum – with some innovations and novelty. Lowes seems to do well with them – and the Positec webpage cites past awards they’ve received from Lowes. One nice thing I infer by their offerings is that they apparently have decided that the Rockwell brand name is worth something – not just a flag to wave to pass off inferior goods. Rockwell International (RI) was once a major conglomerate (think space race) – sold off its Delta, Porter Cable and Porta-Nailer subsidiaries to Pentair – who then split them up and sold them again. When RI was still in business – they put the Rockwell name on tools that were more akin to Black & Decker – leaving their Porter Cable brand as the professional line.
They only use the Rockwell name in the US because the trademark was abandoned for Power Tools years ago. They have no affiliation whatsoever with the original Rockwell Power Tools. In all other markets these same exact tools carry the Worx brand name.
I’m surprised they haven’t had class action lawsuits on the wet/dry vacuums. If you notice small engines only list engine displacment not horse power ratings after they got hit with a class action lawsuit some years ago for inflated horse power ratings.
The rk2852k2 can be purchased at menards for 159.00
Rockwell’s MSRP is always higher than actual price. Look at their eBay account.
I buy strictly bosch tools and have never had any problems with their quality and love their attention to details and user friendliness. I will always buy bosch and nothing else. However….if I were in the market for a new drill or driver I would have to def. consider this as a viable option to compliment my other tools. Here is why. Even if rockwell had no other 20v max tools In their lineup it is still very inviting. You get a charger, a battery, and obviously the drill. With the batteries being good for the life of the drill it’s already worth more than the cost of the actual drill itself. Also the drills motor being guaranteed for life you are clearly getting your money’s worth with or without already having invested in another tool lineup. If the dewalt was ten 30 dollars less you would still be getting a better deal in my opinion. I believe dewalt to be a little overrated as far as quality anyway personally.
Somehow your homepage shows a pair of porter cable drills in the image but when you read more, you see the images with the Rockwell drills.
Are you using an iPhone or iPad with iOS8 and Safari? There’s a bug that I cannot fix on my end.
Indeed, iOS8 + iPad. Seems like it’s fixed now.
I have a impact and drill in one. And was Woundering if it was garanteed for life??? K2515k2.2
Watch out for what they claim on their warranty. I bought a drill/impact set with 20 years on batteries and 3 years on tools. Found out it doesn’t include the battery charger. Now Rockwell wants to sell me a new charger at full retail plus shipping. When I asked about the 3 year warranty, they said the charger is not included and only has a 1 year warranty. I have yet to find this information in the literature that shipped with the tools. I won’t be buying Rockwell anymore.