We have reviewed Porter Cable routers, but this is our first review of an 18V Lithium-ion cordless kit from Porter Cable. Now we have had experience using them on different jobs, but have never reviewed them for the site. We are going to do this review in a couple different parts. This article is going to be the main overview of the Porter Cable combo kit model PCL418C-2. In the upcoming articles we will go more in depth on the drill, circular saw and reciprocating saw.
The Porter Cable Kit comes with:
- Drill/driver – PCL180D
- Circular Saw – PCL186CS
- Reciprocating Saw – PCL180RS
- Work Light – PC180FL
- Two 18V Lithium-ion Batteries – PC18BLEX, PC18BLX (We will go into this later)
- Charger – PCLMVC
- Bit Tip, 18T Carbide blade, 6” Reciprocating Blade
- Tool Case – Soft Case
As we said this is going to be a brief overview of the kit and we will get more in depth on the drill and both saws in the next articles. We will touch a little bit about these now.
Porter Cable Two 18V Lithium-ion Batteries – PC18BLEX, PC18BLX
We should start out talking about the spring loaded batteries, that way the rest of the article will make sense. The combo kit comes with two batteries, like every other combo kit. What is different is the type of batteries the kit comes with. While they are 18V Lithium-ion batteries, they have a different Amp hour rating. When we first opened up the box, we were a little shocked to see this as we thought someone at the factory was playing a joke. After double checking with the outside of the box, we saw this was not a mistake. When we stopped to think about this, we thought this was a very cool idea to encompass in the tool kit. The batteries are differentiated by LX and EX. The LX has an amp hour rating of 1.3 Ah and weighs 15 oz. The EX is bigger and has an Amp Hour rating of 2.6 ah and weighs 1lb 15 oz. The batteries are the same length and depth, but the EX is taller.
As we mentioned we really do like this feature. While we know some might want the same battery, this logic does allow the user to match the battery to the work. If I am going to drill a couple holes from a ladder, why would I want to have a heavier battery, when a 1.3 Ah will work just fine. On the other hand, if I am going to be cutting through some ¾” plywood, I can just grab the EX battery and get more work done. Very logical and nice thinking by Porter Cable. As you may have guessed the charge time is different. The LX will charge in about 30 minutes, while the EX takes double the time at 60 minutes. You like the math? Reminds me something my dad use to tell me. There are four types of people in this world. Those who can count and those who can’t. The batteries are interchangeable and the LX and EX will work on any other tools in the kit.
Porter Cable Drill/Driver – PCL180D
Picking up the drill, you can feel it has good balance, even with either battery attached. The drill is light, weighing only 3.8 lbs. The drill has some good power to it with a torque rating of 325 in-lbs. The RPM is 0-350 low and 0-1,200 high or speed setting 2. The drill uses a ½” metal single sleeve chuck which means more durability and a higher bit retention. The drill also has a small LED light in the front to help light up the work area. The forward/reverse is in the traditional place on a drill for easy operation.
Porter Cable Circular Saw – PCL186CS
The 6-1/2” saw also has a good balance and feel. It will cut through 2.1” of material. You can adjust the shoe depth by using a thumb knob located towards the back of the saw. There is a measurement guide on the side to help the user set the appropriate depth of the cut. There is also a beveled feature, which is a nice option to have. The speed of the saw is 3700 RPM. The saw does have some serious power to it, cuts very nice and easy to control. There is not a laser on this model, but some of the other Porter Cables do offer a laser.
Porter Cable Reciprocating Saw – PCL180RS
A reciprocating saw is great to have around. Not that it gets as much use as a drill or circular saw but, it is just one of the tools that when you need to destroy something, it can save hours of work. The reciprocating saw also has a good feel and balance, with either battery. The Strokes Per Minute comes in at 3,000. The tool also offers a tool free blade changing system. Just lift the lever and slide the blade in. While the shoe pivots, it does not adjust in length.
Porter Cable Work Light – PC180FL
The work light uses a push button on/off switch with a D-handle. The bottom of the battery acts as a nice wide base to let the user shine the light in any direction. We do like the idea of an adjustable beam on the light along with the pivoting head. While many manufacturers are using LED for their lights, for some reason Porter Cable decided on sticking with the traditional incandescent bulb. Not that this is a deal breaker for the kit, but we would like to have seen an LED light. There is also an extra bulb included in the kit.
Porter Cable Overview
Overall this seems like a great kit. The kit comes with the four most popular types of tools used by a person, so it is a practical kit to own. We like the fact that there are two types of batteries. While we do know some will prefer to have both the same batteries, we do like the fact that the user has more freedom to choose. For a quick or lighter application, you can grab the LX battery and go to work. For heavier applications, a user can grab the EX and have longer running time. All in all the tools have a good balance and feel to them. If someone is looking for a nice kit to have around and wants a name brand, but doesn't want to pay the higher price of the other manufacturers, the Porter Cable PCL418C-s can be a nice fit.