The drill is one of the most widely used power tools around. So it only makes sense to have a drill you can rely on time after time. One with good balance and plenty of power, which brings us to our review of the Porter Cable 18V Lithium-ion drill model number PCL180D.
Specifications of the Porter Cable Drill
- Powered by 18V Lithium Ion – Either battery works LX or EX
- 24 Clutch Settings
- Variable Speed Trigger
- 2 Speed – 0-350 and 0-1200 RPM
- 325 in-lbs or Torque
- ½” Single Sleeve metal Chuck
- LED Work light
- Weighs 3.8 lbs
- Length 8.5”
There is a lot to talk about regarding this drill as it provides the user with some pretty good features. First is the 18V Lithium-ion batteries the drill receives its power from. The drill can be powered by either the 1.3 Ah LX batteries or the 2.6 Ah EX batteries. This is a great feature to have since it gives the user more flexibility. Like most other drills it has a 24 clutch setting and a variable speed trigger. On the top a user can adjust the gear setting from Low (0-350) to High (0-1200) rpms. Unless you are a DIY person who hangs a picture or hobbyist, we always recommend getting a ½” drill. Not that you always use those bits, but it’s a nice option to have when you need it. That was one of the main items we liked about this drill, the ½” metal chuck.
The drill delivers 325 in-lbs of torque. To change from forward to reverse, the push button is located in the same position as all other drills, easy access for the thumb or index finger. On the front of the drill there is a LED light that helps light up work areas that may have a shadow or be dark. Overall the drill is light weighing only 3.8lbs and the length is 8.5”
Operation & Handling
When picking up the drill, we always look at balance as the first item. The Porter Cable drill is a well balanced drill with either the LX or EX battery. After long periods of use, we had little to no fatigue in our arms or wrist. The handle is large enough for even for the biggest of hands. The rubberized grip on the handle is also helpful when gripping the drill with sweaty hands or you are wearing gloves.
As noted everything else is pretty much in the same location as other drills, so it’s easy to use and easy to change settings. The clutch setting turns very easy which allows the user to adjust the setting in a snap. We do like the single sleeve metal chuck as it was easy to change bits and held our different bits in place, even under heavy conditions.
We have to say we were very pleased with the performance of the drill. At first we were a little worried about the difference in torque, but for most applications you will never miss the extra torque, unless you are doing some heavy duty use on the job site. For your DIY or professional who is looking for a drill for anything but heavy duty use, this drill will work perfect.
Some inexpensive drills we have tested tend to have runout problems. We thought this might be the case with the Porter Cable. After drilling a bunch of holes and using it over time, we felt that the tolerance was great on this drill and the run outs were less than we expected.
We used the drill for a couple weeks. We did everything from driving screws to making some cuts with a hole saw bit for door handles. The drill performed every job without any problems. No bogging down, no bit slipping. As you can see on the video we ran some 3” screws into some wood and a spade bit through some wood. Even with added pressure from the user, it went through without bogging down.
Having a drill that can handle even the toughest jobs makes all the difference in the world. It makes jobs a lot easier and in the end, you get more work done. The drill is a little under powered compared to the competition, but for the price and the name, it’s hard to beat. The balance and feel of the drill is great. We like the fact we can use either the LX or EX batteries on the drill. This gives the user more flexibility to match the drill set up to the application of use.
We always like to hear back from our readers on their experience with these tools – good or bad. Do you have experience with this tool? How has the long term use been? What applications have you used the tool for? Is this a DIY or professional grade tool? Let us and other readers know.