October 21, 2010

Craftsman NEXTEC 12-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver - Review


Thus far, we've been pleasantly surprised with Craftsman's 12-volt line, particularly their cordless oscillating tool. A couple weeks ago, we got word that they released a right angle impact driver and when they offered to box one up for us and send it on for a review, we happily agreed.

craftsman_right_angle_w_hitachi.JPG craftsman_rt_angle_w_hitachi2.JPG

To test this tool, pretty much like all of the others, we just plugged it into our daily mix of activities. This one happened to come along at a time when we were building and installing some kitchen shelves and a wooden counter top. The process meant driving a lot of screws in cramped spaces and nothing says, 'driving screws in cramped places' like a right angle impact driver.

craftsman_rt_angle_hand.JPGSo what did we think of the tool? Well, when we envision what our ideal right angle impact driver looks and acts like, it falls short. It's actually bulkier than we were expecting and the head of it is pretty big, especially when compared to the Hitachi right angle impact. The Craftsman has a little battery indicator light which is nice and an LED which is also a help, but unfortunately, the LED only comes on when the chuck is moving...some brands make it so a gentle press of the trigger turns the light on and nothing else.

But when we step back into reality, the Craftsman looks better and better. The tool has some impressive power and did everything we asked it to. In a head to head test against the Hitachi, it proved to be stronger than the green and black tool and the Craftsman is much smaller than the chunky Ridgid JobMax right angle impact driver.

craftsman_right_angle_in_case.JPGIn the past, we've made a lot of mention about the fact that 12-volt Craftsman cordless tools only come with one battery and that that fact excludes them from contractor consideration. In this case, we'll hold off on the criticism because the right angle impact is really a specialty tool and it's unlikely that you're going to work an entire battery down in a single sitting.

$100 at Sears

Read More in: All Reviews | Cordless | Lithium-Ion

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at October 21, 2010 5:30 AM
Recent Comments

I have the Makita (Mosquita) right angle and love it. I had the Rigid prior and there is no comparison. (Other than the fact they are both cordless, right angle impact drivers... OK, so you can compare them). The light that stays on for 15 seconds, the fact that you can run either the compact or long run batteries, the glow in the dark trim ring (Funny, nobody mentions this feature. Handy when you're stuck in a dark sink base, looking for your driver after you've drilled the pilot hole...) I haven't had an issue with tool body length, but there have been occasions it wasn't able to drive a 3 1/2" screw fully into hickory along it's entire depth. I can't fault the tool as I later tried with a standard gun and promptly broke 2 high quality "Lubricized" screws.

Posted by: Chris Coleman at January 17, 2011 10:05 AM

I think that Milwaukee just released an 18-volt rt angle drill/driver. Either one will probably do you fine as far as durability, so I'd go to Home Depot and make the choice on look and feel (also check the warranty). If you go Makita, make sure you get the blue li-ion and not the white. More torque, more speeds, more good. Cooler looking too.

Posted by: Tool Snob at October 21, 2010 1:28 PM

I've got a 14.4v makita drill driver kit that my girlfriend got me for my birthday a few years ago (she's totally a keeper.) But I've been looking at some of the 18v lithium kits and it's come down to the Makita or the Milwaukee. But I'm leaning towards Makita because they include a right angle driver in their 18v tool lineup. It's not cheap (@$150 for the bare tool on Amazon.) But it looks pretty sweet and if you've already got the batteries I think it's definitely worth it. My only concern would be the overall length of the tool. Any experience with that bad boy?

Posted by: Ethan at October 21, 2010 9:06 AM
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