Black and Decker Matrix 12V – Review

Man I loved the movie the Matrix, until they ruined it with all the sequels.  Well now Black and Decker has come along with their own Matrix.  At first I was a bit skeptical, I mean I am not sure if I like the idea of a modular tool.  We have seen it before with the RIDGID JobMax that had limited fanfare, but Black and Decker decided to target not the pro market.  Instead they targeted the DIY casual user with a low MSRP.

The Matrix comes in 3 base platforms: a 12V which we will focus on in this article, a 20V and a corded version.  Our 12V tool came with a charger and 1 battery.  The battery goes in vertically not horizontally like on most 12V grip  packs.  This design allows the unit to stand up and give it a more comfortable grip, although the unit is a bit big for a 12V.  Now the bad part, it takes 3 to 4 hours to charge the battery.  That alone makes the tool limited to the scope of work you can do unless you get more batteries or the 20V or AC versions.

I really like the grip on the 12v Matrix, it is very comfortable and there is a bit holder molded onto the back of the tool base.  Balance is a different story depending on what attachment you have on.  I was disappointed that there is no LED on the unit as I think every tool should have an LED light these days.  The rubber over-molded grip helps your hand stay planted and protects the tool from marring any surfaces when placed down.  The grip is very comfortable and the entire tool feels well built.

You wont be building an entire house with the Matrix, but the Matrix can handle almost any punch list item from sanding and drilling to cutting and routing.

Drill:  The 3/8″ drill has  600 rpm with 11 clutch settings for more delicate work.  The chuck holds the bit with ease, simply twist and lock and your set.

Impact:  The Impact worked well for driving in 2″ screws into a 4×4 and made the tool a tad nose heavy.  For the homeowner it is great and will get most jobs done.

Jigsaw:  .5″ stroke length, 0-2100 spm with 12V battery.  The jigsaw works well for small jobs, when you need more power you can upgrade to the 20V or AC version.  It uses tool-free T or U shank blades.

MultiTool: 2.8 degree oscillation angle and up to 14,500 opm.  For extended work the trigger needs a lock as your finger tires out.  The tool has more vibration than I would have like to have seen. However Black and Decker took their award winning tool-less blade change from the Porter-Cable brand and added it to this tool.  Obviously this is designed for small quick jobs and being as versatile as it is did a good overall job as an oscillation tool.

Sander:  0-6500 OPM12V battery.  We got about 11 minutes of run time with this attachment.  The shape allows you to get into tight spots.  Of course  you could always just get the multi tool attachment which comes with sanding disks also.

Router: 6800 rpm and 16mm of depth adjustment.  The router is good for quick small projects.

To sum it up, I like how Black and Decker is offering an innovative tool for the home owner at a great value. You can add accessories for roughly $29-$39 per accessory, which is a nice price point.  I really liked the Matrix, but the 4-5 hour battery charge time was a bummer.  With a faster battery charger this tool would almost perfect for any homeowner.

 

The Matrix hits shelves just in time for the holidays and will be released on November first.

23 COMMENTS

  1. What were they thinking with the 12 volt tool with a 4-5 hour charge time? That would have been passable for a homeowner drill, but some of the other tool heads are battery drainers.The 20 volt tool for 20 more bucks is the better deal. If its comparable to the sears version of this concept it has a 30 minute charge time also Plus the 20 volt battery works with the b&d lawn tools. The system is a good idea, but the 12 volt model seems like the dud out of the system compared to the 20 volt and corded.

    • I thought the same way but needed to consider that it is only $50 which is a good price point for someone that might use it for 10 min once a week!

  2. I just think of the home owner that buys it and plans on doing a project on a Sunday and run’s out of a charged battery with 90% completed,and how much that would suck. I was just shocked at the charge time never seen a charge time like that on l-ion tool before.

  3. I actually own the thing and I can tell you the battery life is so long I could care less if it takes 4 hours to charge… It has almost always been enough and the one time it wasn’t, I really should have been working on something else anyways so it didn’t really affect me…

  4. I agree with Frank that the important factor is how long the battery lasts, not the charge time. I use it for a few hours at a time, for little things (I “turn” apartments for re-rent), and it works VERY well. then I go on to the next thing on the list. Good price and size for what it is for. Plus you can always buy a second battery to have charged, like most people do for the bigger rigs.

  5. Hey everyone, I just had a quick question, I know this product is still very new and that leaves a lot of room for opinion, but I am looking for a drill just for basic renovations or odd jobs. I saw this drill and was really impressed and I am planning on buying the 20v version. Is there anyone who can say whether it is worth it or should I look at something else, I really like the modular design and would be planning on getting the router and sander for some small projects. Any comments would be appreciated

  6. I’m looking at the 20v version of this for a number of jobs around the house. I was planning to purchase a cordless impact wrench for removing lugnuts from my car (80-95 ft-lbs). Would this driver be capably of doing that?

  7. Even you would be better off picking up one of the ryobi kits, and adding their impact wrench. The only thing is if it still has enough torque. Right now its a good time to buy tools you can get a good deal on a set and once you have a charger and batteries you can add bare tools to the battery platform. The only brand even though the lsa is nice is rigid they don’t seem to be adding too many tools to their line up.

  8. I am wondering if the speed of this tool is variable relative to trigger pressure. I currently have a B&D cordless drill that is not and so I am looking to buy a new one. Thanks.

  9. Hey, i was thinking of getting the 20v for just random house hold projects. Would this be a good tool for building small things such as a picnic table to something like a box deer stand? I am just a beginner getting into doing projects like this and don’t have much knowledge on it all but i know you can learn anything on google.

    I was also wanting to know (this is probably a really dumb question) what all exactly does the router and multitool do?

    • The 20V is a great line of tools and will have more in the future for you to expand your line. A router is a great tool for detailed fork. As an example there are bits that allow you to put edges on wood to make the finished product much nicer. A Multitool can be used for all most anything. Great for sanding, small cuts and more. There are some great videos on Youtube that show what these tools do. And that’s not a dumb question. We all had to learn sometime

  10. Alright thank you. I will have to check them out whenever i purchase the attachments. Could you suggest any good sites to help teach beginners on building basic items? for example maybe a table, chair, picnic table, a small bar, etc?

  11. The 4 hour charge time shouldn’t be an issue. What may I ask is the ave run time on the 12v? Is the charge time the same on the 20v? And if you know what is the run time on that? I understand run time is based on what you are doing – my general project standard to work off of would be screwing 2x4s to fence posts and then screwing in privacy fence panels. Nothing I do is that difficult but can be time consuming. I’ve always had a corded drill and doing this 100 ft from my home and 60 ft across too messy with cords. Thank you for your replys.

  12. Daniel:
    The run time is great on both of them. It is a common misconception that higher voltage causes a drill to last longer. While the end result is yes, the truth is that both batteries would die at the same time if discharged at 1Amp. The difference is that the 20v could screw in a screw faster (higher voltage) and so it seems as if it lasts longer.

    In the end I’m telling you that I have had it and built a 20×20 greenhouse with 2×4’s and clear hard plastic paneling on the sides and used only a single battery. It took me about 2.5 hours. To be fair however, I only used it for drilling, the cuts were done with my table saw.

    Frank

  13. Picked one up today. It’s the first cordless I’ve ever owned. I had been getting by on a 9 yr old corded B&D drill, and no wonder I allowed myself to live in such misery. I just got sick and tired of stripping every wood screw that came into sight. This thing is awesome. I drilled and mounted several of the wife’s curtain rods today, and it was a breeze. Can’t wait to put into play when I finish my chicken coop for the spring!

  14. I bought the matrix and honestly I liked it. Asked family to buy me accessories and I had all of them. (It was during christmas so it was cold and didn’t use it til march) I like the impact and skill the best. The main problems is the charge time and the 1.5aph batteries. I had an extra battery. I built a triple bunk bed for my girls and used 2 fully charged batteries in 1-2 hours of use drilling and putting in lag bolts in 2x4s. After first battery died I used the charged one until dead nbur the other battery was not charged enough. I had to turn to my trusty 120 v ancient (over 40 year old) drill to finish. If the charger was an hour charger I might not have taken it back. But I did and I am getting a dewalt with a 30 min charger and 3.0 ah battery x2. Also the drill is very slow. Not very good on the drilling. For the home owner that does medium sized projects I would NOT recommend. For a basic user. Go ahead. But honestly it is very frustrating to not be able to use because of the slow charging. Summary: good tool for basic use. Anything more get something different or buy the extra battery and fast charger. Hopefully the bring out a bigger battery for u guys.

  15. I just purchased the 12V version of the Matrix. I wanted a light, fairly powerful tool with enough power to drive in long screws and work longer than 15 minutes. I looked at the 20V version but the weight was more than I wanted to deal with. I would like to see this tool packaged with two batteries, but I see another battery can be purchased for around $30.00 in most stores.
    Even though most of the optional attachment don’t appeal to me I can see where someone might like them for small projects.
    The feel of this tool is very good and the power seems ample for most home projects. If you’re trying to replace a 20V yellow tool by purchasing a $50.00 12V tool then you are going to be disappointed, but if you are looking for a tool to handle small weekend home projects then this one might be the one for you.

  16. I own the 20V version of this, and have been using it this week to do the grunt work of renovations in my office.

    Over a span of a couple of hours I toggled back and forth between the drill head, the sander, the jig saw, and the rotary saw. All four handled all the tasks that I threw at them without any problems, and plenty of battery power left over at the end.

    I’ve read reviews that say this isn’t the tool for a professional contractor, but I can vouch for the fact that it suits a DIY homeowner just fine.

    One other note, I read a review that said the design of this unit, when using the trim saw attachment, creates balance issues and makes it dangerous to operate. I cut through about 12 feet of inch-thick particle board (having never used a power rotary saw ever before) and never once felt like I was out of control or a danger to myself or others.

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