Mastercraft 12V Lithium-Ion 1/4" Hex Drill/Impact Driver

Good choice for an avid DIYer or hobbyist woodworker


Mastercraft 12V Lithium-Ion 1/4" Hex Drill/Impact Driver

If you are looking for a 12 volt tool that offers the combined features of a drill/driver and impact drill, then you might want to take a look at the Mastercraft 54-1263-0, one of the few such tools currently available.
Impact drivers are all the rage, in large part because of the tremendous torque advantage they offer over conventional drill drivers. That difference is readily apparent with the 54-1263-0, which delivers 75 inch-pounds of torque in drilling mode, and ten times that much, 750 inch-pounds of torque, in impact mode. Likewise, there is a significant difference in rotational speed. In drilling mode the 54-1263-0 provides 0 to 700 RPM, while in impact mode it delivers 0 to 2,350 RPM. What is amazing is that this variation in power and speed is driven by the same little (well, relatively little) 12-volt 1.3 amp-hour battery. Part of the reason for this difference is that, in impact mode, the extra energy comes from the circular hammering that takes place - it's much like turning a wrench to loosen a nut and simultaneously hammering on the wrench to provide extra force. Most drilling operations don't need a lot of torque; it's when sinking screws and bolts that torque shows its true mettle.

12-volt 1.3 amp-hour battery
1/4" hex drive with plastic coated sleeve
Whatever the explanation, the result is that the 54-1263-0 offers a whole lot of extra power when you need it. And that's the important thing to remember. You don't need 750 inch-pounds of torque to sink a 1-1/2" #8 screw in a piece of 2" oak - not unless you want to have the screw come completely out the other side of the oak piece. However, you will need more than 75 inch-pounds of torque to sink a 3/8" x 6" lag bolt in a doubled up header.
The 54-1263-0 has a 1/4" hex chuck, as do virtually all impact drivers. I've a slight preference for 3/8" chucks, as I have a large investment in high quality drill bits, and I use them frequently - which means that for all my drilling work I'd end up using a different drill. However, if you primarily use (or intend to use) hex shanked drill bits, or you're looking for a driver (rather than a driller), then this might not be an issue for you.

Selector switch: drilling or impact mode
Variable speed trigger and forward/reverse button
There are 21 chuck settings (plus a drilling mode) that you'll use with it's 0-700 RPM speed range. The low speed range is fine for setting screws, but I would have liked to see a higher drilling speed range as well, for drilling applications. The chuck is all plastic; for shop use this is quite adequate, but I wouldn't use one on a job site. A metal chuck (or at least a metal cover on the end of the chuck) would be preferable.
In impact mode the 54-1263-0 performed quite well. The high speed range (0-2,350 RPM) and impact rate (0-3,300 impacts per minute) made short work of sinking 6" lag screws in 2 by material. The only issue I had was the quite noticeable vibration in impact mode - much more vibration than I've noticed with other impact drivers.

The 54-1263-0 is fairly light for a combo drill, weighing in at 2.4 pounds, and, given that it incorporates an impact driver, not overly long (7-3/4" from the end of the chuck to the back of the drill). The battery slides into the handle, and this has the effect of making the handle rather chunky. Typically these handles measure about 6-3/8" in circumference, or about 2" at their widest. If you use the drill intermittently, then it isn't likely to be much of an issue (unless you have very small hands). However, when holding the drill for longer than ten or fifteen minutes it begins to become uncomfortable.
The only other feature it has is an LED light, which I consider to be a standard feature today. Likewise for the much referenced 'rubber overmold grip'. An on-board battery fuel gauge would have been nice, along with a belt clip. Still, you do get two batteries, a fast charger, and a carry bag (though it doesn't look to be very durable).
The 54-1263-0 would, in my view, make a good choice for an avid DIYer, or a hobbyist woodworker looking for a single tool for both drilling and driving. If you don't think that you'll really need the impact feature, then take a look at the Mastercraft 54-1211-4, which is a standard 12V drill driver (without the impact feature).


  • 1/4" Hex
  • 12V lithium-ion battery, 1.3 Ah
  • 21+1 chuck settings
  • 0-700 RPM (drill) 0-2,350 RPM (impact)
  • 0-3,300 IPM
  • 75 in/lbs torque (drill) 750 in/lbs torque(impact)
  • LED work light
  • 2.4 lbs weight
  • 7-3/4" head length
  • 3 year warranty
  • Includes: fast charger, 2 batteries, bag, bits

MODEL #:54-1263-0
Carl Duguay, February 2011
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