Porter Cable 12v Drill Driver & Impact Driver Review

February 7, 2011 | by Ethan (email) |

A lot of manufacturers are pushing into the sub-compact market. Bosch has a 12 volt lineup and, more recently, DeWALT released its own cordless, compact series. Porter Cable is also a contender, unveiling their own 12 volt set last August, and they were kind enough to let us try them out. We’ve already reviewed the new 12v Clamp Saw, and today we have the opportunity to review the Porter Cable 12v Cordless Drill Driver and Impact Driver.

Porter Cable Set

Porter Cable 12v Compact Tool Kit Review

I’m a big fan of this compact set. Porter Cable has done a great job keeping these tools lightweight and versatile. They include some nice features like the belt hook and magnetic bit holder, but Porter Cable still managed to keep the price competitive. While these tools can’t replace a heavy-duty set, they’ve become my go-to choice for many small jobs.

The Good: Light duty jobs; very compact; lightweight; LED light; metal belt hooks; magnetic bit holders.
The Bad: Can’t replace a heavy-duty drill driver or impact driver.
Overall: Inexpensive cordless drivers with good features and great performance.


The entire line of 12v MAX tools is equipped with 12v lithium ion batteries. Batteries charge in 30 minutes and really hold their charge. I let one sit almost a month and was still able to tackle a couple odd jobs. Two batteries mean you can work and keep one in the charger.


The first thing you notice about this set is the size and weight. These tools are small and capable of fitting where other drivers can’t. It also means they won’t weigh you down when clipped to your tool belt. The drill driver weighs 2.4 lbs, and the impact driver weighs 2.6 lbs (with battery). They aren’t the lightest or smallest, but they won’t fatigue your arm or shoulders even when working overhead.

Driver Comparison

Porter Cable spent some quality time on the ergonomics too. These tools are well balanced and feel good in your hand. Handles feature a nice, rubber comfort grip. The variable trigger and direction control are within easy reach.

Power and Torque

I used this set for a couple random jobs around the house and repairing a fence. Both tools performed admirably but can’t replace a heavy-duty set. The drill has a 2-speed gearbox and delivers 220 pounds of torque. The impact driver puts out 950 pounds of torque and 2,600 beats per minute.

Porter Cable Drill Driver

Additional Features

There are a couple other features worth mentioning. Both drivers have a magnetic bit holder, LED work light just above the trigger and a metal belt clip holder.


Drill Driver

  • Voltage: 12V Max V
  • Battery Type: Lithium Ion
  • Chuck Size: 3/8 “
  • Speed: 0-315/0-1,200 rpm
  • Length: 7.5 “
  • Clutch Settings: 20
  • Torque: 220 in-lbs
  • Chuck Type: Single Sleeve
  • Variable-Speed Trigger: YES
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs w/Battery lbs

Impact Driver

  • Voltage: 12V Max V
  • Battery Type: Lithium
  • Chuck Size: 1/4″ Hex
  • Chuck Type: Quick Release
  • Torque: 950 in-lbs
  • BPM: 0-2,400
  • rpm: 0-2,500
  • Variable-Speed Trigger: Yes
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs w/Battery lbs

What do you think? Ever used this set?

6 Responses
  1. The Porter Cable looks great. We just got the Craftsman C3 impact driver kit because we already have the 19.2 set of cordless tools and wanted to add an impact driver to the arsenal. So far we love it. Our next step is probably a Lithium Ion set. We love the power and size of these impact drivers.

  2. Your photos are fantastic – clear and professional

  3. Brian says:

    I tried the feel of a bunch of the 12v Max tools at my local store, and I have to say that I love the feel of the Porter Cable set (and the price is attractive as well). The problem I have is knowing if the 12v Max set or the 18v set is more appropriate for my personal usage.

    I’ve spent hours searching the internet and I can’t seem to find an answer to my question: “What kind of screws would you want a traditional cordless drill/driver for, what kind would you want a 12V impact driver for and what kind would you want a 18V impact driver for?”

  4. Ethan, I’m glad to find your review on the Porter Cable Drill Driver! We’ve got a more heavy duty corded model, but I think this may fit the bill for some cabinet assembly type projects for us! If it gets an OPC thumbs up, it’s worthwhile in my book!

    • Ethan says:

      Most manufactures have a 12v line now, and if you already have some cordless tools, you might consider sticking with the same brand. Often, they’ll offer dual chargers.

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