The folks at Craftsman sent over a sweet surprise: A 19.2 C3 Cordless Impact Driver Kit. (Insert caveman grunt here.) Now, your first thought might be, "Looks like a regular drill to me," followed up by the question, "What's the dif?" Think of it like this, if the guts of an impact driver were to be animated in a Pixar kind of way, there'd be a hundred little humanoids inside with hammers beating away at the chuck. Comparatively, this makes your job--the real humanoid--much easier. Although the spectrum of impact drivers varies greatly--as do the costs--all are workhorses. The Craftsman C3 lives up to that adjective as well.
Out of the box:
The 19.2-volt C3 kit comes with a very nice, soft-sided, padded carrying case, two 19.2-volt nicad battery packs (made by DieHard), a 1-hour charger, 2 screwdriver bits and a handy socket adapter.
Down to business:
The speedy 1-hour charger lived up to its name, as soon I was ready to roll. But first, I still had some preliminary investigating to do.
I pulled out my kitchen scale and weighed the battery*, as nicads are notoriously heavy. The 19.2v measured 1 pound 15.7 ounces. (Comparatively speaking, the lithium ion battery of my 18v Hitachi weighs 1 pound 8.7 ounces.) Altogether--battery and driver--the unit weighed in at 5 pounds 6 ounces. Not bad!
With the battery attached, the driver felt nicely balanced in my hand. The body itself has an impact resistant housing and an ergonomic grip. It also features a nice, bright built-in LED work light that runs off the battery, (some drivers' work lights run off an independent button battery), and illuminates when the trigger is pulled. Changing the driver's bits couldn't be easier thanks to its 1/4" metal hex coupler.
LED not on:
Impact in action:
The driver's 'impacting mechanism' produces 1,500 in. pounds of torque and 0 -3,500 impacts per minute. What does that mean in the real world? It means the 2-1/2" #8 decking screw, the 5/16" x 2" lag bolt and 1/4" x 3" lag bolt were no match for the driver. Each went through a cedar 4x4 and a pine 2x4 with relative ease. (The cedar, of course, was like going through butter.) The forward/reverse switch made taking the screw and bolts out as easy as they went in.
The Craftsman 19.2v C3 Cordless Impact Driver is a worthy addition to any DIYer's tool collection. Most homeowners will not outgrow it. As far as its $150 price tag is concerned, its cost versus performance ratio just might be unparalleled, as brands with comparative specs will set you back double that. Ultimately, if you're ready for some assistance when driving screws and such, the Craftsman 19.2v C3 is a great entree into the world of impact drivers.
*As I can't guarantee the calibration of my kitchen scale, these weights are estimates only.