Porter Cable 18V Lithium Drill Kit

A well balanced drill with 325 in/lbs of torque and an all-metal 1/2" chuck


Porter Cable 18V Lithium Drill Kit

This 18V lithium-ion drill/driver from Porter Cable is quite similar in appearance and function to the Porter Cable PCL1800D Ni-Cad that I recently reviewed.
Most of the exposed body of the PCL180DRK is covered with a rubber overmold, which adds a level of shock, dust and moisture protection to the drill, while making it more comfortable in use. The section around the motor, and a slight band at the base, is covered with a high impact ABS plastic.
The business end of the drill has an all-metal 1/2" chuck. Metal is much preferred as this end of the tool is likely to get the most abuse. The chuck is also a single-sleeve keyless design, which means you can easily tighten or loosen the chuck with one hand. The clutch (torque adjust) collar appears to be made of ABS as well, or some other composite material. Not having this part out of metal isn't an issue with me; it gets a lot of wear, but I've never had one damaged on a work site or in the shop. The clutch has 24 settings, ample for all my drilling needs.

All metal single sleeve chuck
24 position clutch
Like most drills today the PCL180DRK has a pressure-sensitive trigger that allows you to control bit speed for precise drilling or screwing applications; the more pressure you exert on the trigger, the faster the chuck spins. The dual speed of 0-350 RPM (low gear) and 0-1,200 RPM (high gear) is adequate for any drilling and driving task. At the highest torque setting the drill delivers 325 in-lbs of torque. I could easily drill 3/4" holes through double 2 by 4s and 1-1/2" holes through 1" hardwood. Sinking large screws and setting large lag bolts does put a somewhat more noticeable strain on the motor.

Easily removable battery, but no battery charge indicator
Bit holder, but no belt clip
LED work lights have proven to be useful features on power tools, and I'm pleased to see one on the PCL180DRK. It makes things easier when drilling in tight spots that aren't especially well illuminated. This work light is just below the clutch (where most manufacturers tend to place them). I much prefer a light that is located on the base of the tool, aimed upwards - it casts a wider beam. On-board bit storage isn't something that I find of much value as I tend to use screws with #2 Robertson heads exclusively. However, I was disappointed that Porter Cable didn't include a battery charge indicator, side handle or belt clip on the drill. I think that all three of these features are very useful, particularly to trades people.

Variable speed trigger
Two position speed selector low (0-350 rpm) high (0-1,200 rpm)
At 3.8 pounds, the PCL180DRK is one of the lighter drills that I've tested. The weight savings comes, no doubt, primarily from the use of a lithium-ion battery. Lighter tools are not only less fatiguing to use, but I find that they are invariably better balanced. This drill, by the way, is also compatible with Porter Cable's PC18B Ni-Cad batteries (if you happen to have any of them laying around the shop).

Bright LED work light
Light, well-balanced, good power
You get two lithium-ion batteries with the PCL180DRK, along with a fast charger (30- 45 minute charge time) and a handy soft side canvas carry bag. Plus you get Porter Cable's new 3 year warranty and 1 year free service.
I've been using this drill/driver for about two weeks, so it's way too early to say how it will perform in the long run. However, I'm very satisfied with it so far. I find the drill to be well-balanced, light, and with all the power I require for most of my drilling and driving tasks. For just under $200 you could do a lot worse than the PCL180DRK.



  • 18V lithium-ion battery generating 1.1 Ah
  • 325 in/lbs of Torque
  • 0-350/0-1,200 RPM
  • 1/2" all metal single sleeve chuck
  • 24 clutch settings
  • LED work light
  • 3.8 lbs weight
  • 3 yr warranty, 1 yr free service
  • Includes two PC18BL lithium-ion batteries, fast charger, one double ended bit, soft side carry case

AVAILABLE FROM:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide

Carl Duguay, March 2010
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