Although most people think that 12V cordless drills are only suitable for light-duty home maintenance and basic DIY projects, these compact little drills will also appeal to professionals who use far more powerful drills. Why? Even though the bulk of heavy-duty work on some projects is done using 18V or 20V drills, when it comes to finish work, or stuff like putting up cabinets or shelves, or getting into tight spaces in order to complete the job, 12V cordless drills are essential. Basically, they are great for some basic tweaks around the house, but they also have a professional appeal.
When I write these reviews, it’s pretty easy to start with drills that are made by top brands, or the ones that are high-end and most expensive. But, I also enjoy finding those hidden gems, cordless drills that aren’t best-sellers, but which still have a lot to offer. Most of the time, I wind up pleasantly surprised. One of those drills is the PORTER-CABLE PCL120DDC-2 drill/driver. It attracted my attention because of its high rating across multiple online platforms.
Compact Size + Small Weight
One of the things 12V drills have going for them is their diminutive stature, which allows you to reach even the most cramped locations, and their weight, which won’t fatigue your arms. The PCL120DDC-2 measures just 7.5 inches, which makes it ideal for jobs I have just described. The unit also weighs only 2.4 pounds. According to stats I have found online, the PCL120DDC-2 falls into the top 40% as far as small weight is concerned.
The PCL120DDC-2 has a 3/8-inch keyless chuck, which is something you would expect of 12V drill. I would have preferred to find that the PCL120DDC-2 has metal chuck sleeve, instead of a plastic one. Obviously, plastic was used to save weight, but it is less durable than metal. Of course, you won’t be using the PCL120DDC-2 for any kind of heavy-duty work where metal components inside a cordless drill are a necessity, but plastic parts have a shorter life span whichever way you cut it. But, the great thing about the chuck on the PCL120DDC-2 is that it has spindle lock, which holds onto the bit tightly, even at high-torque rotation.
220 Inch-Pounds of Torque for All Jobs
220 inch-pounds of torque from a 12V cordless drill? That is exactly what you get with PCL120DDC-2, which is well above average for its class. The PCL120DDC-2 also allows you to choose between two speed settings: low speed setting, where the drill operates at 0-350 rpm, and high speed setting, where the drill works at 0-1,200 rpm. In order to avoid incidents where you apply too much power, and then wind up stripping the screw, the clutch has a total of 20 different settings, which should help you fine-tune the drill for the project at hand.
Lithium-Ion Batteries for Extended Use
By now, you know that Li-Ion batteries are lighter, smaller and hold the charge for much longer than the equivalent NiCd or NiMH batteries. The batteries inside the PCL120DDC-2 have an amp rating of 1.3Ah, which is about average for its class. The drill also comes with a quick charger, which is able to recharge the battery in just 30 minutes. Remember, some of the cordless drills out there ship with regular chargers, which take anywhere between 3 and 5 hours to fully recharge the batteries, which is a lot. You won’t have to worry about that with the PCL120DDC-2. In fact, the unit comes with two battery packs, which means all-day operation is completely feasible.
Additional features on the PCL120DDC-2 are pretty much standard, but still very useful, and they include an LED work light, which will help you in situations when there is not enough light illuminating the work surface. I have to point out that you will be encountering these situations a lot when using these small 12V drills, because they can reach inside small cabinets and drawers, where there is not enough light. The PCL120DDC-2 also has a belt hook, which means you can hang the drill on your tool belt.
PORTER-CABLE are pretty consistent in delivering good-quality power tools, so it puzzles me why some of their product slip under the radar of most people. It’s a shame, especially in the case of the PCL120DDC-2, which is a great tool that is relatively affordable. For such a small drill, it delivers plenty of torque, and because you get two battery packs with it, you can carry on with your work uninterrupted. Remember those hidden gems I was rambling on about in the intro? The PCL120DDC-2 falls into that category. As for the flaws, there aren’t many, expect for the plastic chuck.