By now most of our readers are familiar with Mac’s new cordless line. When we first learned of the line last year and discovered that they were compatible with Dewalt batteries, there was a lot of speculation that Mac was simply putting a red casing on Dewalt tools and bumping the price up a bit. It was a fair assumption considering both are owned by Stanley/B&D, but as we got our hands on them we quickly realized that wasn’t the case.
Dewalt doesn’t even offer a cordless ratchet to compete with the BRS038. Dewalt does offer a 12V 3/8″ impact wrench (DCF813S2), but it is radically different in terms of looks and performance compared to Mac’s BWP038. We also reviewed Mac’s beastly BWP050 which we learned wasn’t even in the same hemisphere as the Dewalt’s DCF889.
So, does Mac’s 12V BDP038 Drill/Driver carry on the tradition of being Dewalt’s stronger (and somewhat better looking) brother, or have we finally found a genetic clone?
About The Tool
Seeing how we already had sufficient batteries and chargers, our test model came as a bare tool, but it is also available in several kit formats including the 2 battery BDP038-S2 the 3 tool BCK338-S3 which includes the 3/8″ ratchet, impact, and drill. As with all of Mac’s cordless tools, it is fully compatible with Dewalt 12V Max batteries and features smart charging. Other features like anti-maring bumpers, single sleeve ratcheting chuck, and variable speed trigger with electric brake, are all what you would expect in a professional tool. While the drill is a 3/8″, we were able to get a 13/32″ full shank bit in it and all the way up to 1/2″ with the reduced shank type bits.
As with all the Mac cordless tools we’ve reviewed, we got the BDP038 with the intention of using in on our ATV race trailer. It’s compact size and exceptional balance made it a great fit for our application which consist almost entirely of aluminum, plastic, and mild steel parts and will never require a hole saw, spade bit, or auger. In this instance less is certainly more and a compact design can mean the difference in repairing an installed part, or removing it which takes time and time is usually not in abundance at the track.
In terms of power, Mac doesn’t publish a torque rating. I can tell you only that it’s sufficient for both our application and for my expectations of a 12V drill, but when buying a 12V drill, are we really looking for raw power? Sure, we want the drill to be sufficient, but in my mind we’re really looking for precision and compactness. It does feature an LED work light, but it’s more equipped at seeing what you’re drilling than where you’re drilling. The BDP038 performs well in wood, plastic, aluminum, and thin steel applications, but I wanted to push the drill a little, so I figured I’d put it to a real test and see how it performed in 3/8″ plate with a 13/32″ bit (the biggest full shank bit it would hold).
To do this, I followed all my normal protocols for drilling in steel. Low speed, plenty of cutting fluid, and stopping every 15-20 seconds to add more fluid. Sure, this is the tortoise’s approach to the race, but unless you just like burning up your bits, it’s the only way to go. My point is that this isn’t something I did to give the drill the best chance of success, it’s the proper procedure.
That being said, the BDP038 came through beautifully and aside from being a little harder to maintain pressure on due to it’s compact stature, really didn’t feel much different than doing the same task with my 18V drill. No binding, no overload trips, just consistent power from start to finish. If that doesn’t meet your definition of sufficient for a 12V drill, you need to re-evaluate.
As for driving applications, the BDP038 does a fine job. The woodworking crowd will notice the absence of seemingly 50 clutch settings, but the 5 settings (10 when you figure the halfs) it does have provides a sufficient selection for a wide range of fastening applications, and if you’re a dedicated woodworker, you’re probably opting for it’s cousin, the Dewalt DCD710 anyway. Mac’s goal is to make each task for the Flat-Rate Tech a little faster, and flipping through a bunch of clutch settings you don’t need takes time. That extra few seconds doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up over time.
BDP038 vs. DCD710
While not cosmetically identical, there are naturally similarities between the two.
How do the numbers stack up?
As you can see, they spec out nearly identically, but specs and appearances aside, there are some differences between the two. The DCD710 features a plastic chuck and 15 (actually 30) clutch settings whereas the BDP038 is an all metal chuck and offers 5 (10) clutch settings. The Mac also features the same “automotive fluid resistant” body as the other tools in the line. Also identical between the two is the 3 year warranty and 1 year service contract.
Judging it on it’s merits, the BDP038 is a solid performer. It delivers a nice quality tool in a package that’s compact enough for interior work, yet powerful enough to shoot holes in a frame. While the BDP038 more closely resembles it’s Dewalt cousin than any of the other Mac cordless tools we’ve reviewed, a drill really has the smallest margin of potential improvement. Mac essentially took the DCD710’s DNA, and placed it in a purpose built automotive body. It brings to the table a couple of additional features the automotive crowd will appreciate, without sacrificing anything they will miss. I have to admit I was surprised just how much this little guy grew on me over the couple of months I’ve used it. I almost want to keep it at the shop rather than on the trailer, but I’ve gotta stick to the plan I suppose. I also feel obligated to mention that the chuck on this thing is fantastic. Probably the most secure ratcheting chuck I’ve used. As for critiques, again, my only desire is to see Mac step up to a 5 year warranty. If you insist on a 20V model, this little guys big brother, the 1/2″ BDP050 is always an option, but I think most Techs will appreciate the size and power of the 038.
This is our 4th review of Mac’s new cordless line and while I’ve been happy with all of the tools, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this line. Mac has made some pretty fine additions to their line over the last year or so, and there’s more to come 😉
As always, thanks for reading, and stay tuned to TIA for more from Mac Tools!