January 16, 2014

Bostitch BTC400LB 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Drill/Driver

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Update: Bostitch just informed us that the pricing on the drill should be $150 and not the $80 that Amazon is selling it for. Who knows what's going on over at Amazon, but they just bumped the price down another $10 and added "only one left in stock," so go on and get while the Gettins good.

Sooo...Bostitch is into power tools now. At the moment, they've got a basic line-up; Standard carpenter gear, nothing too fancy. Jigsaws, recips, circ saws type things. No routers or anything specialized. We were curious about the line-up and the quality level, so Bostitch was nice enough to send us one of the 18-volt drills to check out (the flagship tool of just about every product line).

So the drill is a low-key affair. It's compact model with a smaller sized battery, just a drill/driver. Not the whole hammer-drill set-up. We're actually big fans of the compact drills for their light weight and overall maneuverability. The Makita compact has been one of our stand-by tools for the last couple years. Why bother with any added weight if you don't need it?

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We've had the Bostitich for a month or two now and it's helped out on a number of projects and honestly, it's a nice drill and when you factor in the very low price, it starts to enter "killer deal" territory.

First, to put things in context, Bostitch is part of the DeWalt/Stanley/PorterCable/Black&Decker family of tools. It's all the same company. And like most companies, they're going to want to cover as much ground as they can. So that said, in marketing terms, the Bostitch tools have a specific target area, which seems to be the mid/low/entry level-range contractor tool. They don't compete with the feature heavy (and far pricier) DeWalt tools, and they're stronger and more durable than the part time homeowner B&D tools. I'm not exactly sure how the Bostitch tools relate to Porter-Cable, but in the end I really don't think it matters, it's all marketing anyway. To really put a conclusion on all of that would take a massive amount of side by side testing and analysis.

So anyway, back to the drill.

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It's got all of the standard features; 2-speed gearing, 20-something clutch settings (does it really matter how many there are?), an LED, and a keyless chuck. The look of the tool is really nice; Bostitch orange with plenty of black over-mold, including some strategically placed protrusions that protect delicate surfaces when the drill is put down. The handle is really comfortable and tapers nicely. If anything it's a little on the short side. Someone with big hands might be a little crunched in. Nothing too uncomfortable though.

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The tool comes with a cool little cartridge that attaches to the base of the handle. The small piece has space for two additional bits. It's a nice feature. We like any drill that gives a little bit storage. The piece is easily removed if you're not into it.

Honestly, there's not a whole lot else to say about the drill. It's good and basic and that's pretty much what we like about it. Someone spending all day driving lag bolts will find it weak, but that's not really a fault of the drill, that's using the wrong tool for the job. This is a mid to light duty drill, perfect for in the garage or as a carpenter's second or third drill. It would be a great on a punch list when you can't bear to drag around your big hammer drill/driver anymore.

And the price is....$80. Yeah, that's it. Pretty crazy low, if you ask us. Update: It's not the correct pricing. The drill should be $150 or so, which makes a lot more sense.

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Oh yeah, one other thing that we really like about this drill is that the case is super-small. It fits everything comfortably and there's plenty of room for bits and all the other junk that collects, but overall, the thing is tiny. Even in the most overloaded contractor van, you'd be able to find a spot for this thing.

At Amazon

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at January 16, 2014 7:34 AM

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Recent Comments

yeah looking good,I dig the contrast between the slate and warm wood.

lol @ the PC, so true. I took the Ryobi 18volt vs Versabond challenge 8 years ago, it surprisingly did very well for a kitchen + bath tile job.
I'm putting down Hex subway/metro mosaic sheets down today, first time working with these,they are a seriously pia to install for the uninitiated.

One thing about tile setting is it makes you look forward to painting.


Posted by: Kevin at January 18, 2014 1:34 PM

Heh. Oh man, the Bostitch Vs. Versabond would be pretty funny. I tried the compact Makita a little while back because I was too lazy to go and get a stronger drill from the garage and things got ugly.

You know, the funniest thing about Porter Cable is that with all the restructuring/rebranding/shifting stuff going on, they have maintained this thread of completely kickass woodworking tools, like the biscuit cutter, the dovetail jigs, and the pocket hole jig. They're all fantastic, but seem to have little to do with the rest of the company's releases. That brand is a real head-scratcher.

Thanks on the floor! It's coming along. Just need to find time to grout it...


Posted by: toolsnob at January 17, 2014 9:59 PM

I agree PC is in a strange place, it seemed to be a quasi-housebrand for Lowes for awhile before the kobalt powertool launch.When PC/Delta got bought out they kinda knew at the time that the brand was going to be the Mercury to Dewalts Lincoln.
Looks like solid drill buy especially for the price,but their labeling/branding just seems to be all over the place.

A true test would be putting that Bostitch to work & mix a couple bags of that versabond. : ) BTW,the new floor is looking good.


Posted by: Kevin at January 17, 2014 12:41 PM

Ya, I hear you. What's so strange about it is the overlap between bostitch and PC. I could see a pro/diy/homeowner split, but the fourth tier is odd. I'm sure some number cruncher has figured out that this kind of saturation is a good idea for the company. Plus, the fact that it's all the same company might not be recognized by most shoppers. Who knows. But yeah, it's a decent drill in the end.


Posted by: toolsnob at January 17, 2014 1:06 AM

saw this tool at walmart a week or so ago,with some other Bostitch tools. I'm not understanding why they have so many overlapping labels and what the point is, do we really need 4 tiers of power tools from Stanley?
Stanley should be handtools, Bostitch should stick to fasteners,airtools,,etc PC for woodworkers, craft hobbyists, Dewalt construction grade and B&D for homeowners.


Posted by: Kevin at January 16, 2014 6:11 PM
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