Published on December 1st, 2013 | by Greg0
Black & Decker Goes Platinum: A Drill, And So Much More
Your average homeowner, apartment dweller, or small business doesn’t need a full suite of tools. For many people, it’s a matter of money- good saws and screwdrivers can add up fast. For urbanites, it’s also a matter of space- a table saw might be a nice thing to have once in a while, but tripping over it every day isn’t worth it, and good luck setting it up in your one bedroom ‘loft’. That’s a surefire recipe for sawdust and a mess, and we don’t have much of a yard or a garage to work in.
The Black & Decker Platinum line of power tools bridges that gap between your regular Joe and your professional contractor. And this comes not just from a regular Joe, but from a few professional contractors, who live by their durable tools. Recently, we’ve been doing a few tasks that go way beyond your run-of-the-mill furniture assembly or shelving setup. One of the things they don’t tell you when starting a retail store: you’ll need tools you can rely on, close at hand, for all of the random things that go wrong. Starting up a coffee shop was the perfect test bed; we tried both pretty low-key tasks at home before having some pros try them out on some serious masonry work, drilling into brick walls. And though they started out skeptical, by the end, they were nodding their heads begrudgingly.
With tools, as with most things, you generally get what you pay for. You could always turn to a lower-priced electric cordless drill or screwdriver, but could rest assured that it wouldn’t be able to handle anything beyond light wood or drywall. The more expensive models were incredibly capable, but usually too heavy for anyone to enjoy using. Batteries were always an issue- wearing out fast, taking forever to recharge. And there wasn’t much in between- cordless tools had a chasm in the middle. The Black & Decker 20v Max Lithium Platinum Drill/Driver (technically, model LDX120P-2) fills that gap, with tons of power (enough that your pros will be surprised). It also comes with two battery packs, meaning you can swap them out. But we didn’t really need to- a single charge lasted us for more than a day of hard use or weeks of irregular use. They claim it can hold a charge for up to 18 months, and the charger even offers a fast-charge option when you’re in a hurry.
It’s fairly compact, and not that heavy- a bit over five pounds. There’s a built-in light to illuminate your target while working, and eleven clutch settings. The maximum of 650 rpms isn’t that fast, but it’s power that typically matters more, and this little guy made it through steel without breaking a sweat. We found it easy to grip, easy to hold, and well-balanced (some drivers have battery packs that make them quite difficult to lift).
The coolest part of all, though, is that it’s part of a family that they call the MAX System. Basically, the entire front half of the driver detaches, allowing you to slide on another type of tool- after all, they all utilize the same basic motors. We tried out the Reciprocating Saw Attachment, which certainly won’t take over for your carpentry work- but it’s perfect for making quick work of scrap, trimming branches, and the like. It’s an impressive design, simple to change blades, and easy enough to use one-handed allowing you to keep one hand on the item you’re cutting. And there are plenty of other attachment options too, like a sander, or even an impact driver!
After weeks of use, the Black and Decker 20V Drill/Driver has more than held up to hopes, surpassing our expectations of what a battery-powered drill this light would be capable of. At the price, it’s a bargain- available now for $121 or so, online, you could also pick up the handy 6-tool combo kit and be prepared for most any DIY or home improvement task for under $200.