Variety is the spice of life, and I do love the spicy. That includes just about every area of my life, including, or maybe especially, when it comes to my tools. The more I have, the more I want, and the more I find uses for new ones because while I may have a tool that will get the job done, it might not always be the best tool for the job. And who wants to do a job without the best equipment to do it with? Am I right here? Say I’m putting together a new bookshelf for the living room. Do I want to use a handheld screwdriver to put that bad boy together? Heck no! I need a power drill/driver, or an electric screwdriver at the very least, or my hand might literally fall off before I’m done.
Now, one thing I have discovered is that the best tool isn’t always the biggest or most powerful one. Sometimes a mid-range tool is the absolute best thing you can have because it isn’t underpowered, which will frustrate the heck out of you, or overpowered, which will drive you crazy trying to get it to back off and not be so brutal to whatever it is you’re working on. My latest favorite tool of the day is the right angle drill/driver, which appears to come in a variety of power ranges just like every other power tool. I was shocked and surprised too, so don’t go getting your panties in a bunch over it, I’m right here with you and I’ll show you the way.
Less Power Doesn’t Have to Mean Lower Performance
Today I’m taking a look at the Craftsman 9-17562 Nextec Right Angle Impact Driver. Seeing as how that’s a pretty long name, I’m going to simply refer to it as the 9-17562 from here on out. The first thing I need to tell you is that the 9-17562 uses a 12-volt battery. It is a Lithium-Ion battery, so it’s pretty lightweight as far as batteries go, and even at 12-volts it should still pack a decent punch. In this case, it allows the motor to deliver a maximum of 700 inch pounds of torque in both forward and reverse. Now, that isn’t a huge amount of torque, all things considered, but when it’s combined with up to 2,100 RPM, you can see that Craftsman has put some power into it. It’s kind of the baby bear of these tools – not too strong, not too weak, but jusssst right. And just remember one thing: it may only be 12 volts, but it’s an impact driver so it should still outperform full sized 18 volt drill/drivers.
By the Power of Craftsman!
While I’m on the subject of power, I have to say that I love the fact that the 9-17562 has a battery fuel gauge on it. Not all power tools do, and I think they’re the greatest thing since the coffee break. Seriously, if there’s no gauge how are you supposed to know how much juice is in there before you start losing power? Unless I have a fully charged battery right off the charger, I have no idea how long I’m going to be able to work before the tool starts dogging and making me nuts. Even if I start with a full battery, if I’m working on a more heavy duty project where the tool needs to use a good bit of power, without a gauge I have no idea when it’s going to start to die on me. So I love the fuel gauge on this one, especially that it turns from green to yellow and then red so I have a really good idea of just how much power I have left to work with.
Show Me the Features!
Now that we’ve talked about the power in this puppy, let’s see what else it has to offer. It has a 1/4 inch quick connect clamp to allow for quick bit changes. I did see a review by someone stating they would like it to have a keyless chuck, so while I haven’t figured out what the difference is yet, I will. If you already know, you’re ahead of me on this one! It does have an electric brake so that the bit stops moving when the trigger is released (a great safety feature), and an LED work light which turns off when the trigger is released. The head is small enough that it should be able to fit into most small spaces, but it seems that the reverse/forward button is in an awkward place, on the left side just a bit below the head, making it easy for it to get bumped when you don’t want it bumped. I’m sure if you used it enough you’d figure out how to avoid hitting it, but just be aware of that when you first start using it.
This is pretty cool in that it isn’t called a “set”, yet you still get a battery and charger, 4 drill/driver accessories (though I haven’t been able to find out what those accessories are so I’m just going to call it a 4-piece bonus gift), and a case.
Give Me the Lowdown
I know Craftsman has had some hits and some misses over the years, and I think the 9-17562 probably fits right in the middle of those two extremes. It’s certainly a nice looking tool and has received some really great reviews, but it does have a few issues that you should at least be aware of before you buy, which are mentioned in the paragraphs above. It doesn’t seem to have any major flaws that I could dig up, and that’s always a good thing, especially when combined with the high praise most reviewers have left. It seems to me that this could certainly be good to have around the house as well as on some jobsites, depending on the type of work being done. So if you’re looking for a right angle impact driver to help you with those jobs that have areas you just can’t get a regular size drill into, take a closer look at this Craftsman. It might be just what you’re looking for.