Black & Decker 12V Lithium Drill Driver

A good light duty, general purpose drill that won't break the bank

LDX112C_500

Black & Decker 12V Lithium Drill Driver



Not more than a few years ago, lithium-ion batteries, LED work lights, and anti-slip soft grips were 'must have' features. Today, these features are common place. 12V lithium-ion batteries seem to have become the standard power source for consumer grade cordless power tools. They are light weight, don't dissipate their stored energy when not in use, and generate sufficient power for most of the drilling and driving tasks homeowners are likely to encounter. They're also ideal for hobbyists and craft makers. It's a rare thing to see a new power tool with a NiCd battery - particularly on a consumer grade tool.
 
While I occasionally see some new power tools that don't incorporate an LED work light, they're largely standard features now. LED lights don't consume very much power, and they're oftentimes useful. Likewise, anti-slip soft grips (and 'ergonomic handles' for that matter) are ubiquitous. It's like saying the tool comes with a trigger.
 
As expected then, the new Black & Decker 12V Lithium Drill/Driver (LDX112) has all the basic features you would expect to find on a consumer grade power tool - Li-ion battery, LED work light, anti-slip grip, and yes, a trigger - variable speed at that.
 
Black & Decker refer to this battery as a 12V Max. The 'Max' refers to the fact that the battery initially charges to a maximum 12 volts, though only 10.8 volts is available under load. This is because the battery uses three 3.6V cells. Some companies have begun using three 4.0V cells, giving a full 12V under load. Still, this battery provides enough power to easily drill 3/4" holes through 2 by 4s, and firmly sink 2-1/2" #8 screws in pre-drilled holes. The 0 - 600 RPM speed is adequate for driving and fastening tasks; a higher speed setting would be nice when there's a lot of drilling to be done. The 100 inch-pounds of torque is enough to set 3" lag bolts in pre-drilled holes. Black & Decker claim that the battery lasts up to 5 times longer - but note that it's in comparison to a 12V NiCd battery, not a Li-Ion battery.


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Smooth moving clutch with large easy-to-read settings
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Two-piece chuck
 
Most of the LDX112 is made of high impact ABS plastic, which gives the tool its light weight; just be careful not to drop it on a hard surface, particularly if you happen to be up a ladder. I was glad to see that it has a clutch with 10 torque settings (plus drill mode), with large, easy to read settings. It's easy to strip a screw head, or drive a screw right through drywall if you don't lower the torque level sufficiently. The clutch rotates easily, audibly clicking into each setting. The LDX112 has a standard two-piece chuck that works well. The front part of the chuck has a positive gripping surface though the secondary sleeve is a bit smooth, not providing as durable a grip. The chuck provides slight tactile feedback when the bit is fully tightened. At the tip of the chuck is a metal rim that protects the chuck from damage.

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Forward/reverse switch and trigger work well together
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Small but bright LED light
The forward/reverse switch is where it should be, easily accessibly with your thumb or side of your forefinger. The LED light is small, but quite bright, and as on most drills, located right under the clutch. However, the nose of the drill casts quite a shadow on anything above the center point of the bit. I prefer drills that have the light positioned on the battery housing so that the light slants upward. There isn't any on-board battery power level indicator, so you have to guess when to re-charge the battery. There is a handy bit clip at the back of the battery housing that works well, securely holding screw bits in place.

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On-board storage for one bit
 
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Rounded base contributes to wobbling when the drill is set on its base
The LDX112 is comfortable to hold, and is very well balanced. Unfortunately, when set down on its base (the battery housing), it wobbles a fair amount, though it hasn't fallen over yet, even with a large bit in the chuck. The rounded edges on the battery housing likely affect its stability.
 

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The LDX112 comes with a 3 to 5 hour diagnostic charger. There is a little countersunk hole in the base of the charger so that, I assume, you can screw it to the wall. Just use a #4 or #5 screw so that it seats fully in the countersunk hole. You can then leave the charger permanently plugged in and store the battery in the charger so that it's always fully topped up (the battery won't overcharge).
 
All in all, for under $60, this is a good light duty, general purpose drill. Light weight, well balanced, and with ample power for most of the drilling and driving tasks the average homeowner is likely to encounter.
 

BDlogo

KEY FEATURES:

  • 12V Max lithium-ion battery
  • 0 - 600 RPM
  • 100 in/lbs torque
  • 3/8" keyless chuck
  • LED work light
  • 11-position clutch
  • 2 year warranty
  • Includes: (1) 12V battery, charger, double ended bit

MANUFACTURER:Black and Decker
AVAILABLE FROM:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
RETAIL PRICE:$59.99
MODEL #:LDX112C
MADE IN:China
Carl Duguay, October 2010
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