Rockwell has just come out with two new 16V lithium-ion cordless tools – a drill/driver and an impact driver. The new tools are designed to provide more power than competitors’ 12V tools and less bulk than their 18V offerings.
Both the drill and impact driver are said to be fully-loaded and highly maneuverable to get in and out of tight quarters quickly and efficiently.
16V Drill/Driver RK2600K2
The new drill’s torque delivery is rated to be 302 in-lbs, which is slightly behind the 325 in-lbs Milawaukee’s soon-to-be-released 12V FUEL brushless drills are capable of. Just looking at the numbers, the 16V drill does out-rate competing models by Bosch, Dewalt, and Makita.
Additional features and specs include: 3/8″ keyless single-sleeve chuck, 2-speed gearbox (0-400/0-1500 RPM), 16-setting clutch, and 2.75 lb weight. It also features a belt hook and LED worklight that blinks when your battery power tuns low.
The standard kit will come with two 1.3Ah 16V li-ion batteries. 30-minute charger, carrying bag, and starter screwdriver bit.
Rockwell boasts that the 16V drill outperformed major competitors’ models by driving more 1-5/8″ drywall screws into 2″ MDF on a single battery charge.
16V Impact Driver RK2611K2
The impact driver is rated at 950 in-lbs, which is also bested by Milwaukee’s upcoming brushless 12V offerings. Bosch, Dewalt, and Makita’s latest 12V impact drivers deliver 930 in-lbs, 950 in-lbs, and 800 in-lbs of torque, respectively.
The 1/4″ hex impact driver weighs in at 2.5 lbs and features a variable-speed gearbox (0-2400 RPM/0-3000 BPM).
One pleasant surprise is that the new impact driver is only 4.9″ long, which is quite short compared to the 6″+ length of most other 12V impact drivers currently on the market. The tool is also angled upwards slightly for improved ergonomics and handling compared to 90°-angled pistol-grip impacts.
As with the drill/driver kit, the impact driver comes with two 1.3Ah batteries, a 30-minute charger, carrying case, and screwdriver bit.
According to Rockwell the 16V impact driver outperformed competing 12V tools by driving more 7/8″ self-tapping metal screws into 1″ MDF ina single charge.
Both the drill and impact driver have some appealing features, especially the impact driver. But I’m not bought on the idea of the 16V platform’s “best of both worlds” marketing. I’m a fan of 12V tools and 18V tools, and there are reasons to buy tools of both sizes.
Competing Drill/Drivers: Milwaukee M12 | Bosch PS31 | Dewalt 12V
Professional brands are making the move to brushless, with Milwaukee leading the way with their M12 FUEL lineup. It would be foolish not to presume that Bosch, Dewalt, Hitachi, Makita, and other brands are in late stages of their own brushless 12V developments.
There is also a pending shift from 1.5Ah battery packs to 2.0Ah battery packs. On paper, a 16V 1.3Ah battery pack can deliver more power than a 12V 1.5Ah pack, but a 12V 2.0Ah pack comes out on top.
If you look closely at the images you’ll see that 16V = 16V Max, which means 14.4V nominal. 12V Max tools have three 3.6V cells, 18V/20V Max tools have five, and 14.4V tools have four. So while it’s technically true that these are the only 16V power tools in the professional tool marketplace today, they’re really not.
Other brands have not come out with new 14.4V/16V Max developments in some time, and these tools are not that much more powerful than competitors’ last-generation 12v models. These concerns aside, the $140 price point is extremely reasonable, and the impact driver’s compact and user-friendly design beckons for a closer look.
Both tool seem to lean closer towards 12V cordless tools than 18V/20V, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The Milwaukee website lists the brushless drill at 350 “peak” inch lbs of torque. I’m assuming this is when the battery is fresh off the charger.
The screwdriver is rated at 325 in-lbs, the drill/drivers at 350 in-lbs. It’s difficult to determine true comparative specs since Milwaukee’s ratings could be taking into account the 4.0Ah XC battery that is included in the drill/driver kits along along with a 2.0Ah pack. “Peak torque” could then refer to the amped-up torque delivery only made possibly by pairing the tool with an XC battery.
Not bad, but not earth-shattering either. Doesn’t seem too surprising given the market that Rockwell seems to be aimed towards. Not really sure why you’d want to go in between 12 and 18 volt for something like this though, the compromise doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense when you have to invest in a brand new battery platform (unless you’re buying new anyhow).
Without the rest of the tools in the competing 12v or 18v families, it’s just a drill & driver.
That’s very true. I used to own a 14.4V drill/driver back in NiCad days, and always regretted it, because there was no more matching tools to buy. I made sure to avoid that mistake when I went to a LiOn system.
We still have some 14.4 NiMh battery powered Milwaukee caulking guns hanging around.
I think that’s the point. These days Milwaukee emphasizes their M12 and M18 li-ions, and that’s all. They revitalized their 4V lineup with M4 branding, but I really don’t think there will be any M16 tools.
A lot of people are hanging on to their 14.4V tools but aren’t buying new ones, limited selection and availability notwithstanding.
I had a gut feeling that 12 volt tools were starting to look a bit bulkier……..suffering from “model bloat”. This only confirms it. But in this case its more marketing bloat, where everything has to get bigger and better since 16 volt is obviously supposed to be better than 12 volt.
sounds like a 16 gauge shotgun to me. and please, enough with the max already
I don’t see that happening anytime soon. It might even be a legal/trade requirement since the true voltage of 12V and 20V Max tools are 10.8V and 18V. That’s possibly why the branding is true to the voltage in overseas markets without *Max disclaimers.
pointless…..10.8 and 18 Volt is all you need…..
I’m with Monte. Several years ago, I came upon a 16v craftsman lithium drill and flashlight kit. My Dad, who is an excellent cabinet maker (in his spare retirement time) started to some on the side home helper work in his neighborhood and he has a Ryobi 18v drill. I bought the 16v li set for him. I really wish (now in hindsight) I bought him the 10.8v Makita set which was more popular than the M12 line at that time. Now I look at these stats and am wondering if I should career change to Rockwell design and show them how remove their heads from the sand box. Although not a fan, Rockwell’s 12v line seems to have a growing fan, maybe keep developing that line would be better for them? It seems strange to re develop a line that went belly up several years ago.
An old thread, but I just saw it and feel the need to speak up for 14.4, a few years ago I bought the Panasonic 14.4 li-ion drill and impact driver to replace my aging PC 19.2 and never looked back. They were definitely an Improvement and on the jobsite they seemed to outperform and outlast most of the “bigger and better” 18 volt systems around me. Of course, the market has changed and other companies have the brushless motors now. I do agree, though, that on a marketing level it is a misstep for our domestic market.
Excellent tool. Was impressed with the quality.Thought they would be junk for the price! Like the smaller size but still has the same power. Bought this as a combo with the impact drill and it came with batteries for life. 1 battery died after a year and they replaced for only shipping charges. The impact died after 1.5 years but with the 3 year guarantee they replaced with the 20v impact drill with battery and charger for only $19 bucks. I have owned craftsman, dewalt, ryobi and hitachi and in my opinion these are better than all of them, especially for the price.
Is the Rockwell 20v Lin battery interchangeable with the 16v li tools. I can’t seem to find new 16v batteries anywhere so want to know if the 20v will work before I go buy one
20V Max is 18V nominal, 16V Max is 14.4V nominal.
I have seen no indication of cross-platform compatibility, but you’ll have to consult Rockwell just to be sure.