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.